What are the Concerns Facing The 2015 Detroit Lions?


The Detroit Lions have opened their rookie camp, and with that the 2015 football season has started. The start of the real season is still a long way out, and many things could impact the Lions as we approach training camp.

It’s not too early to focus on main areas of positives and negatives for the Detroit Lions this season. In this three-part series we will breakdown: concerns, positives and breakout players.

Today we are starting out with the concerns for the 2015 Detroit Lions.

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Matthew Stafford 

Most are willing to point out that Stafford had a bad offensive line and no running game, and I will agree that last year Stafford was, at times, put in a position to fail. I don’t think Stafford is an “elite” quarterback, but I think he is a top 15 quarterback. With that said, the Lions season will hinge on how good Stafford is in year two of the Lombardi offense.

He took a step in the right direction last season by throwing fewer interceptions. My concern however, is his performance on the road. Comparing Matt Stafford’s home and away numbers is night and day. Last season, Matt Stafford QB rating on the road was the Lions worst QB rating on the road since 2009.

Let’s look at his ratings from this past season alone.

Stafford’s Home QB Rating – 98.0

Stafford’s Away QB Rating – 74.9

Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions /

Detroit Lions

Stafford has yet to beat a team on the road with a winning record, which is a bit of a concern. Obviously the blame shouldn’t be all on Stafford, however this year he has to prove he can win big games away from Ford Field. The Draft was centered around Stafford, with offensive players Laken Thomlinson and Ameer Abdullah being picked in the first two rounds. The offensive focus puts more weight on Stafford to perform better, specifically on the road.

Defensive Line Step Back?

I have been vocal that I believe Ndamukong Suh leaving doesn’t kill the Lions. I’ve been adamant that Deandre Levy is the Lions best defensive player.

However, you can’t deny the impact Suh had on opposing offensive lines. Suh commands double teams which freed the linebackers to make plays. Haloti Ngata coming to replace Suh is a great acquisition.

What I worry about though with the Lions defensive line is if Tyrunn Walker is just hype?

Walker is highly regarded and the Lions had their eyes on Walker, but I do think the Lions defensive line will take a step back, not much as I expect Ziggy Ansah to have a huge year. Losing Suh hurts, yet it doesn’t cripple Detroit to the point they go back to the historically bad defenses they had in 2011, I expect the defense to be top 10 this season.

I think that is manageable.

Joe Lombardi

Lombardi comes from an undeniably great coaching background, after-all his grandfather was the great Vince Lombardi. Joe didn’t coach well enough in my mind, and a lot of Lions fan felt the same.

When Joe Lombardi came to the Lions, everyone saw the Saints offense and thought it would be a smooth transition into the new offense. It was anything but smooth. Joe Lombardi scaled back the play book in efforts of giving his team a weight off their shoulders, between the bad offensive line play, no running game and below average year for the Lions tight ends, the plan didn’t work to Lombardi’s liking.

Going into 2015, I want to see Lombardi make strides in his career has a OC, he’s smart there’s no doubt. I thought he pressed too hard, and on ESPN’s NFL Insiders the panel agreed that Lombardi was passive and trying not to make a mistake. Herm Edwards chimed in saying, “When you think passive as a coach, your team follows suit”

Hopefully Lombardi learned off his first year, and can be more aggressive in a good way.

Eric Ebron 

Eric Ebron is a worry, I don’t worry like most because last year I was listening to the Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio they had Tony Gonzalez on, and he was asked about Ebron and why some rookies just have a hard time adjusting to the NFL as a tight end.

"“When you transition from college to the pros, not many are ready for that step. I know for me, It took a while for me to learn my routes, play book and on top of that the speed of the game is much faster than it was in college.”"

Gonzalez and Ebron had similar number their rookie year, I look for Ebron to be an ingredent to the Lions success or failure this season. I believe if Ebron becomes the player I think he can be, it opens up the field for Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.

Next: Did the Lions give Stafford a chance in the draft?