Film Review: What’s wrong with Lions’ offense?

DET at MIN 3Q 1-10 Vikes disguise coverage

A version of this article was published by the Detroit Free Press.

Entering this season, there were high expectations for a Lions’ offense that was far too inconsistent last season.

Detroit’s priority in the off-season was to improve the offensive line and, by extension, the league’s 28th-ranked rushing attack, which averaged a paltry 3.6 yards-per-carry (29th). They traded for veteran guard/center Manny Ramirez, drafted guard Laken Tomlinson in the first round and added running back Ameer Abdullah in the second round. Continue reading

NFL Draft Film Study: Todd Gurley

Gurley

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America

A version of this article was published by the Detroit Free Press.

With the release of Reggie Bush earlier this week, the Detroit Lions could be looking to revamp their running back corps. I wrote at the conclusion of the season that running back should be one of the top priorities this offseason. With Bush gone, there is now ample room for an upgrade. Joique Bell, Theo Riddick and George Winn remain in the fold, but the Lions desperately lack a true home run threat out of the backfield. They are likely to add another back before training camp, possibly through the 2015 NFL draft.

Each week, we’ll examine a running back from this year’s talented crop. Up first is Georgia’s Todd Gurley. 

In the first season under the new regime of Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi, the Detroit Lions seemed to focus on taking the pressure off of Matthew Stafford with a more balanced and conservative offensive approach. Continue reading

Lions All-22: Dissecting the Impact of Golden Tate

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04: Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) runs in for a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys free safety J.J. Wilcox (27) defends during the first half of an NFL wildcard playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, TX – JANUARY 04: Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) runs in for a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys free safety J.J. Wilcox (27) defends during the first half of an NFL wildcard playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

A version of this article was published by the Detroit Free Press.

At 25 yards old and entering the prime of his career, wide receiver Golden Tate entered last March’s free agency looking for a juicy new contract.

A month prior, he had won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and was coming off of his best season as a pro. Tate posted a team-high 64 catches, 898 receiving yards and five touchdowns while playing in a run-heavy offense. He led all receivers with 21 forced missed tackles in 2013 and owned the lowest drop rate of any wideout with at least 100 targets since 2011. Pro Football Focus also graded Tate as the leagues’ best punt returner. Continue reading

Lions All-22: Offense squanders first half opportunities in loss to Packers

DET-GB Ebron, Burnett

Green Bay Packers’ Morgan Burnett breaks up a pass intended for Detroit Lions’ Eric Ebron (85) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

When facing a vaunted offense like the Green Bay Packers, you cannot waste opportunities to score points. This is especially true at Lambeau Field where the Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers’ insane 23 TD-0 INT ratio, entered the game 7-0 while scoring 41 points per contest. Continue reading

Lions All-22: The good and bad from Matthew Stafford in Chicago

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A version of this story was published by the Detroit Free Press.

Matthew Stafford had plenty of great moments and forgettable moments in the Lions’ 20-14 win over the Chicago Bears last Sunday.

The sixth-year quarterback displayed his attributes, both the good and bad in leading his team to yet another fourth quarter comeback victory. He showcased toughness and made plays when his back was against the wall. He also made you scratch your head and ask yourself what he was thinking on multiple occasions. Continue reading

Lions All-22: Running game struggles early, comes through late to seal victory over Vikings

Photo Credit-detroitlions.com

Photo Credit – detroitlions.com

A version of this story was published by the Detroit Free Press.

Much has been made of the Lions’ erratic offense this season. A group with elite talent at wide receiver and quarterback should be able to string together quality performances like they have in the past.

After consecutive road losses to the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals and AFC-leading New England Patriots in which the Lions scored a total of five goals, the Lions had feasted on bottom feeders in recent weeks. The offense was humming in back-to-back 34-17 home wins over the porous Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, seemingly righting the ship. Continue reading

Lions All-22: Stafford, passing game gashes Bears

CHI-DET Ross 31yds v Cov3

A shortened version of this article was published by the Detroit Free Press.

On Thanksgiving Day, Matthew Stafford had his finest game in two months in leading the Lions to their best offensive performance since week one.

Stafford posted season highs in completions (34), completion percentage (75.6 percent), and yards (390) as the ice cold Lions’ offense awakened from its season-long slump to score four touchdowns in a satisfying 34-17 win over the hapless Chicago Bears.

The team started poorly (a strip-sack of Stafford set-up the Bears at the Lions’ five-yard line) and Chicago stormed out to a 14-3 lead.

However, the offense responded with a confidence-boosting drive of its own culminating with a beautifully thrown touchdown pass from Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Continue reading