We are more than two months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams stare at mini-camps, OTAs and more, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. You can play catch-up by clicking here. Next up are the Detroit Lions.
It’s an area that the Detroit Lions just can’t seem to get this issue solved. Over the past three seasons, for numerous reasons, this club hasn’t been able to mount a consistent ground attack. Back in 2014, only four teams in the league gained fewer yards rushing. One year later, the team finished dead last in the same category. This past season, the Lions finished 30th in the NFL – averaging a dismal 81.9 yards per game on the ground. A healthy Ameer Abdullah could change this in 2017 but the team didn’t do much to address the running back position this offseason.
In 10 of their 16 regular-season contests this past season, Jim Caldwell’s club allowed two or more scores through the air. All told, the Lions surrendered a whopping 33 touchdown passes – 10 of those in the team’s final three contests. General manager Bob Quinn addressed the cornerback position numerous times this offseason. The team added D.J. Hayden, who wasn’t re-signed by the Oakland Raiders, plus drafted Jalen Tabor (2-Florida) and Jamal Agnew (5-San Diego). Of course, a pass rush that produced only 26 sacks in ’16 (thanks to a less-than-healthy Ziggy Ansah) must get better as well.
As previously mentioned, a lack of pressure on opposing passers certainly hampered the defense. And it was also one reason that the Detroit Lions managed a mere 14 takeaways. The team failed to force a turnover in its final four contests, as well as the playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. This is one aspect of the club that needs to get better if the club is to make any strides this fall.