The Detroit Lions are officially through five of their 10 allotted OTA’s in Allen Park, MI and to the surprise of many, the defense appears to be ahead of the star-studded offense.
The expectations of the Detroit Lions offense is higher than it has ever been. With the newly acquired talents of Eric Ebron and Golden Tate added to a group that already consists of Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, there is more than enough talent at the skilled positions to move the football and score points. Furthermore, throw in a brand new coaching staff well-known for their offensive successes individually and it’s safe to say, Lions fans are expecting wins as a result.
With anticipation in the air as the Lions offense hit the field for practice open to the media, many were surprised by “rust” the unit showed on the field. With new coaches getting acquainted to new players, players getting acquainted to new playbook’s, and continuity still building, growing pains are to be expected.
Offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, who was hand-picked by new Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is not concerned with progress of his unit to this point.
“Listen, I know these plays work. I know that the offense that we’re developing will work.”
The team’s new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, has already made his presence felt in Detroit. He is a high-energy coach and the enthusiasm he displays extends down to his assistant coaches and then to the players. They love the scheme. They like the aggression. They believe in what they are doing and seeing.
The Lions have also gained some much-needed flexibility and versatility, from lining up ends inside the tackles to rush lanes for linebackers to coverages that can disguise plays to help the secondary. It is all stuff that has been done before, but for the Lions right now, it feels shiny and new.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was on hand, however cornerback Chris Houston and Nick Fairley were not. Houston missed most of the team’s off-season workouts with a toe injury that required surgery earlier this month and Fairley remains out while he recovers from a non-football procedure.
Houston is not expected back this spring; Fairley should be available for minicamp next month.
With so much hype around what the Lions’ new offense will do once the season starts, the defense appears to have developed a chip on their shoulders.
When the regular season does finally roll around, maybe it will be the D that everyone is talking about in Detroit.