Last year, the Detroit Lions’ pass defense was one of the worst in the league. They finished 30th in passer rating allowed and t-27th in yards per attempt allowed.
This offseason, they went to correct that, adding two new starters at the cornerback position in Rashaan Melvin and Justin Coleman, and they drafted safety Will Harris in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Through three weeks, it looks like the Lions made a huge upgrade.
Top 5 #NFL Teams - Defensive Open Receiver %— SportSource Analytics (@SportSourceA) September 24, 2019
1. #Lions .......…...63.5%
2. #Ravens ...…….64.2%
3. #Packers ……...64.2%
4. #Patriots ….……64.8%
5. #Jaguars ……...65.0%
All of these teams doing a great job of not allowing open receivers.
No team is covering receivers better than the Lions through three games, and that’s just the beginning.
Detroit is also doing an excellent job getting their hands on opponent’s passes. They currently rank third in the NFL in passes defended (24), just two behind the league-leading Patriots. By comparison, the “elite” defenses of the Packers and the Bears have 18 and 16 passes defended respectively.
As for the more traditional stats, the Lions still rank quite high. They’re seventh in passer rating allowed (80.1), and 11th in yards per attempt (6.8).
With the Kansas City Chiefs coming to town, the Lions’ secondary will be put to the ultimate test—especially if star cornerback Darius Slay can’t go due to his hamstring injury. Patrick Mahomes is entering Week 4 as the league leader in passer rating (134.9), yards per attempt (10.5) and passing touchdowns (10).
- Message to other teams: Don’t blitz Matthew Stafford:
When the #Eagles blitzed Matt Stafford:— Ron Jaworski (@JawsCEOQB) September 23, 2019
8 snaps, 62% comp, 10.1 yd/att, 1 TD and 135.9 passer rating...
No blitz/Base Rush:
25 snaps, 54% comp, 5.0 yd/att, 0 TD & 68.1 pass rating! #JawsStats #StatMonday #FlyEaglesFly #DETvPHI
- Chris Burke of The Athletic has a neat piece on Jamal Agnew’s 100-yard kick return, including quotes from the main players involved on the play. (Subscription required)
- Frank Ragnow is having a quietly awesome season. Check out this block on All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox:
#Lions C Frank Ragnow is PFF's No. 1 ranked center in the run blocking department for a reason https://t.co/18gqTKoxGP— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) September 24, 2019
- Speaking of the Lions’ offensive line, they come in at 11th in PFF’s up-to-date offensive line rankings. According to the article, not only is Ragnow the first-ranked run blocker, but he’s got the second-highest overall grade of all centers.
- No running back faced more eight-man fronts in Week 3 than Kerryon Johnson, and he would like defenses to cut it out, please:
There must be some kind of conspiracy theory going on to not let me prosper??? Like I’m a nice person i don’t deserve this https://t.co/EP4TsCf8bM— Kerryon Johnson (@AyeyoKEJO) September 23, 2019
- Two Lions players made PFF’s Team of the Week: Obviously, Jamal Agnew was one, but who was the other? Sorry, I’m going to make you click. Your finger could use the exercise.