The Detroit Lions are in great shape as they make their way through the bye week. Currently they’re the No. 2 seed in the NFC and hold a comfortable lead over the rest of their NFC North rivals. They’ve had some bad luck with injuries up to this point, so the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time.
Despite the hot start, there is some uncertainty about whether this team can really make a deep run in the postseason, especially after—regardless of if you agree with it or not—their conservative approach during the trade deadline.
If the Lions want to compete for more than just a division title, they may have to make some adjustments in the second half of the season. That leads us to today’s Question of the Day...
What changes (if any) should the Lions make out of the bye week?
I don’t claim to be an offensive or defensive coordinator or to know more than the coaches, but there are two things that stick out to me that I would like to see the coaching staff make some changes to.
First, I would love to see the Lions throw the ball a bit more on second-and-long. I understand the idea of trying to get to third-and-manageable, but the Lions’ tendency for running on second-and-long has become predictable at this point, and their success rate has been low. If you take a look at the chart below, the Lions are running the ball on second-and-long at a fairly high rate compared to the rest of the league, with only the Cardinals, Giants, and Steelers ahead of them.
Ok, I'm sorry everyone but the graph I posted before had an error and was looking at all plays not just designed runs. Here's the real correct chart showing how often teams run on 2nd and long and their success rate on those runs. pic.twitter.com/A300xtHAox— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) November 2, 2023
The other change I would like to see is less of a schematic change and more just wanting to see more consistency and execution from the defense when rushing the passer with five or fewer players. When the defense has been able to generate pressure with just a four- or five-man rush, they have been elite.
They are either putting the QB through hell like they did with Jimmy Garoppolo on “Monday Night Football” or they are getting absolutely torched by Geno Smith or Lamar Jackson. There doesn’t seem to be much in between, and if the Lions want to make a deep run in the postseason this year, they are going to need to find a way to consistently generate pressure without relying on sending extra blitzers, and it’s going to have to come from not just Aidan Hutchinson.