The Detroit Lions have issues. I think we all knew that would be the case this year given their roster depletion this offseason, but Week 3’s close contest against the Baltimore Ravens may have caused some fans to forget. The Chicago Bears were more than happy to serve the Lions fanbase a stark reminder: this team is not close to being a true contender right now.
Unfortunately, the issues are everywhere. For the past three weeks, the offense has gone scoreless in one half. The defense has had severe issues in both stopping the run and slowing the opposing quarterback. Injuries are mounting, frustration is building, and it appears confidence is waning that this team will truly show significant improvement by the time the season is done.
Many are already looking ahead to the offseason to see how this team can amass the talent they’re clearly lacking right now, but the main problem there is: Where to start?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
What is the Lions biggest weakness right now?
My answer: I think it’s got to be the secondary. Right now, the Lions are giving up a the highest yards per pass attempt (10.6), the third highest passer rating (116.4), and they have the fourth fewest passes defended (11).
Obviously, the Lions have been dealt a tough hand when it comes to injuries on that side of the ball. Losing Jeff Okudah for the season in Week 1 was a tough blow both for 2021 and the future of this secondary. Same goes with third-round rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu, a player many hoped would get significant playing time and show some progress, but it appears he will miss a significant portion of his first NFL season with injury and may not play at all.
The Lions are currently at a point where they’re starting a 2018 fifth-round pick, a 2020 undrafted converted safety and a 2021 undrafted rookie at their corner spots.
The situation at safety isn’t much better. Though the Lions had two promising young talents in Will Harris and Tracy Walker, neither has performed particularly well, and in the case of the former, it’s been really, really bad. Dan Campbell has already made some personnel changes, getting Daryl Worley and Dean Marlowe in the rotation, but no combo seems to be working too well right now. Campbell did not hide his frustration from this group after Sunday’s loss to the Bears.
We need these young guys to grow at a drastic rate, you know. And as long as you’re not making the same mistakes and not playing scared, but the same mistakes are showing up now a little bit. We’ve got to find a way or we’ve got to find somebody else that can do them. And whether that’s in the building, which we’ve got a couple other guys, or — you know, you go from there. But it’s not from lack of effort. It’s not from want to. It’s none of those things. But we just — they’re hurting us a little bit right now.”
It’s good that some of these young guys are getting the opportunity to learn on the fly this year, but how many of these guys are truly going to be a part of the team’s future? Is Bobby Price a future starter? How about Jerry Jacobs? The guys that truly need the most development at corner are sadly on the injured reserve list right now.
And is any safety other than special teamer C.J. Moore going to even be on this team next year?
Both the present and the future of this secondary looks bleak right now. Hopefully Campbell finds some answers.