Detroit Lions: Stay Calm or a Cause For Concern?


The Detroit Lions 34-9 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday marked the first time in the Jim Caldwell era that the team has lost consecutive games. The Lions were also defeated in week 11 by their former backup quarterback Drew Stanton and the Arizona Cardinals.

Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Now, granted, Tom Brady and the Patriots are currently playing in a class of their own, so a loss in Foxborough, Mass. shouldn’t be too deflating. However, while Brady and Co. were seemingly firing on all cylinders last Sunday, the Lions seemed to spit and sputter in every facet of the game.

Were the Lions just victims of a tough two-game stretch against two very good teams, or did they lose because they deserved to?

Either way, Detroit now enters a short week as they prepare to play host to the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on Thanksgiving this Thursday. Before they do though, lets take a look at the biggest areas of concern for the Lions as they prepare to right the ship against the division rival Bears.

Offensive Execution Must Improve, Starting Up Front

It’s frustrating. It really is. As the Lions entered their ninth consecutive quarter touchdown-less Sunday, I found myself at a complete loss for words. How could a group with so much talent execute so poorly?

Is the inexperienced, now patchwork offensive line to blame?

Is it Matthew Stafford‘s decision making?

The inexcusable, yet frequent drops from the wide receivers?

Or the system and play calling at the hands of a rookie offensive coordinator?

After a full 24 hours of deliberation I officially realize that the answer is actually all of thee above.

Up front, the o-line is undoubtedly a complete and udder mess. The two best players in the unit, Larry Warford and Riley Reiff are now both injured, (the severity of Reiff’s injury is still unclear however). Cornelius Lucas replaced Reiff against the Patriots and may find himself starting again against the Bears. If he does, it could spell major trouble for Detroit.

Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Catch The Damn Ball

Matthew Stafford did a better job distributing the football in my opinion against New England, but still missed some throws that should have been made.

Likewise, his wide receivers, Calvin Johnson included, dropped some very catchable balls. It’s a problem that is easy to correct, hopefully they can make it happen.

You Play The Game To Win

With the Detroit Lions loss yesterday, it made the outlook on the rest of the season clear — they need to win out. Or at least win four out of five.

More from Detroit Lions

The Green Bay Packers are now atop the NFC North and the Lions are a full game behind.

On the plus side, the Lions are embarking on a three-game stretch of home games against teams that have struggled this year.

At the same time, no game is a given and the Lions must play each and every game to win.

In New England, coach Caldwell and his staff continued to do a few things that left me puzzled.

  1. The “mandatory” substitutions of players.
  2. The ultra-conservative play calling and game plan.

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no doubt, Jim Caldwell is a pretty good coach. He has instilled a different attitude in Detroit and his players have responded well to his coaching style. There is also no question that he was out coached by the great Bill Belicheck last Sunday.

Now, that is certainly nothing to hang your head at, but there was more than one occasion on Sunday that seemed like a little more aggression could have went a long way.

Caldwell’s decision to punt on a fourth-and-3 from New England’s 39-yard line was bizarre to say the least. Even with a good punt, Detroit gained only 32 yards of field position, and had to give up a scoring opportunity to do it. That’s a terrible tradeoff.

The Lions were also far too content with kicking field goals. One was from the 2-yard line, and one was when Detroit was trailing by 21 points in the second half. The kick was good, but the Lions still trailed by three scores late.

And last but not least, when Detroit had a fourth-and-inches midway through the fourth quarter, and trailing 24-6 — Caldwell punted.

With all those things in mind, I will make it clear, I do not think I am smarter or could be a better head coach than Jim Caldwell. I also understand that the offense did very little to inspire much confidence for Caldwell to attempt to go for it on fourth and short.

I also know this however, not trying is the equivalent to giving up.

With everything to lose and their season on the line, were all about to find out what this Detroit Lions team is made of, starting Thursday.

Should Lions fans stay calm or is there a cause for concern in the Motor City? Can they shake the moniker of the “same old Lions” and prove that their not the same team that collapsed late in 2013?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below! Also, be sure to give us a “like” on Facebook and a follow on Twitter with the links below!

More from Detroit Jock City