Last year, the Detroit Lions had a uniquely bad pass rush. Opposing quarterbacks averaged nearly 3.05 seconds to throw the ball against Detroit’s defense. No one else in the league was over the 2.95 mark. They also ranked last is ESPN’s pass rush win rate—which measure whether a pass rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds.
Last year, the Lions finished with a pass rush win rate of 24 percent. This year, that number is at 19 percent. The next closest team? The Cincinnati Bengals at 30 percent. Oh, and in case you were wondering where they fell when it comes to run stop rate.... well, you probably already know. They’re 29th with a rate of just 27 percent.
Lions coaches continue to downplay the issue. Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin said this week that their treatment pass rush is dependent on their game plan for the opposing quarterback.
“Some guys, it’s really hard to get there, and the emphasis of that quarterback is not necessarily to try blitz him or hit him,” Undlin said this week. “You obviously want to put pressure on him, put the clock on him. Each guy is different.”
There’s certainly some truth to what Undlin says, but with a pass rush so incomparably bad, it’s hard to defend what the Lions defense is—and isn’t—doing.
- Jeff Daniels gave all the feels about being a Lions fan to Rich Eisen:
- A few of Lions beat writers took a closer look at Jeff Okudah’s debut to see what went wrong and if anything went right. All three require subscriptions, unfortunately. Here’s The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner charting each play. Meanwhile, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press urges fans to “pump the brakes” on bashing Okudah. The Detroit News’ Justin Rogers also took a closer look.
- Here’s a look at the players the Lions protected from practice squad poaching this week:
For Week 3, the Lions have protected the same four practice squad players from last week:— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) September 22, 2020
QB David Blough
RB Kerrith Whyte
TE Isaac Nauta
CB Dee Virgin
- What does Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury think of the Lions’ new defense under Cory Undlin? “It looks very similar to me.”
- Not sure it really means all that much, but the Lions use motion at the snap at the lowest rate of any NFL team through two weeks:
Week 2 motion at the snap report, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Analysis video trackers.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) September 22, 2020
This is specifically only when the man is motion is moving at the snap, which is where we've found there to be an advantage for the offense. pic.twitter.com/Wav6d07EQg
- RIP Gale Sayers: