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Examining the Detroit Lions’ flaws: What’s fixable, how to fix it

We discuss the biggest issues facing the Detroit Lions right now, and debate which are fixable and how to fix them.

NFL: NOV 23 Packers at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If the past two weeks have taught us anything, it’s that the Detroit Lions have some obvious flaws. That doesn’t mean the team is doomed, just about every team in the NFL has flaws. However, it has been a bit of a rude awakening for some who believed this team would walk to a division title and have a good chance at the NFC’s top seed. Those hopes are gone now, time to face reality.

So on this week’s episode of the PODcast, we recap the Thanksgiving letdown against the Green Bay Packers, then dig a little deeper into the team’s current weaknesses. How many can we expect the Lions to fix in a hurry, how many are deeper issues that Detroit is unlikely to remedy?

Take, for example, quarterback Jared Goff’s turnover issue: three interceptions against the Bears and three fumbles lost against the Packers. Is this something that will be easily fixed by better pass protection or is this a deep-seeded issue with Goff that is bound to just come out at times?

Then there’s the Lions pass defense. While it has statistically been getting by all season, it has not looked consistently good even across a single game. Pass rushing issues have been prevalent all year, and that has put the Lions’ shorthanded secondary in a tough spot.

Coach Dan Campbell points to the team’s sporadic success (7.0 sacks vs. Falcons, 5.0 sacks vs. Packers, 6.0 sacks vs. Raiders) as a sign the Lions have the right players in the building.

“We’ve been able to generate pressure and so this unit’s going to be just fine,” Campbell said after the Thanksgiving Day loss. “We’re going to get going and we pressured a little bit more today, played a little tight, but these are our guys, man. And these guys can do it and they’ve done it. That same thing we just faced there, we went out to Green Bay, and we were able to create pressure. We weren’t able to do it today.”

Do we buy that? Is there anything the Lions can do schematically to help generate more pressure that defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn isn’t doing enough of? And how can we ignore the fact that despite those 18.0 sacks across the three games mentioned above, the Lions only have 5.0 sacks in the other eight games combined?

We discuss it all in the latest episode of the PODcast. Here are some approximate timestamps for our conversations:

  • 4:30 — Main takeaways from Thanksgiving, overall level of concern?
  • 7:00 — The Lions’ overall philosophy is clear
  • 8:30 — Why you should expect the Lions offense to rebound
  • 14:10 — Can Jared Goff calm down under pressure?
  • 16:30 — Offering minor hope for the defense
  • 17:45 — Some defensive philosophy issues
  • 20:30 — Any hope to improve pass rush?
  • 29:00 — On a scale of 1-10, what’s the concern Detroit loses the division?
  • 33:00 — What is the Lions’ true identity: How they’ve played lately, or their overall level of play for the season?
  • 38:00 — More talk of pass rush inconsistencies
  • 42:00 — Will we see any midseason major schematic/philosophy changes like in previous seasons?
  • 49:00 — Players who could break out in the final six games of the season

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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.