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Lions notes: Detroit needs an improved pass defense

Detroit’s defensive backline must be better in 2019.

Detroit Lions v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions passing defense let the team down last year. Darius Slay slightly regressed after an outstanding 2017 season, and between Nevin Lawson, Teez Tabor and a group of bottom-roster players, the team failed to put a starting level corner across from him. While the rush defense was great towards the end of last year, it was all for naught due to the teams failures in the defensive backfield.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell laid out realistic goals for the 10 teams who are least likely to make the playoffs this season according to their Football Power Index. Detroit comes in ninth, with a 16.9% to make the postseason.

Barnwell says that a realistic goal for the upcoming season would be getting their passing defense DVOA to a league average 16th in the NFL, saying that:

The Lions dropped from 19th to 27th in defensive DVOA, including a 31st-ranked finish in pass defense DVOA. They were the league’s worst pass defense against No. 1 wideouts, sixth-worst against No. 2 wideouts, worst against third wideouts and seventh-worst against tight ends. There’s room for improvement.

Detroit had the second-worst passing defense in the league in 2018, it seems impossible to not improve in 2019. If they meet Barnwell’s goal of coming in 16th, they may be a playoff threat in the upcoming season.

  • Bleacher Report’s Chris Rolling listed a few rookies that he believes are having disappointing preseasons up to this point. Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson makes the list—Rolling cites his lack of production up to this point—but that seems harsh as the rookie’s lack of playing time up to this point could also be read as the Lions coaching staff trusting the rookie and knowing he does not need extended playing time in preseason.

  • In the wake of the team signing defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. to an extension Wednesday, the Lions official PR account highlighted how great “Snacks” 2018 campaign truly was on Thursday.

  • Speaking of Snacks, some details about his new extension are trickling in:

  • The Detroit Lions were paid a visit by the Make a Wish foundation on Thursday, as highlighted by their official Twitter account.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.