Zac Snyder: A pass rush
The Detroit Lions defense has spent the better part of the season getting picked apart by opposing quarterbacks. Eight of the first nine quarterbacks the Lions faced this year finished their game against the Lions with a quarterback rating above 100. Opposing quarterbacks have completed at least 70% of their passes against the Lions nine times through 15 games.
It would be easy to jump on the secondary for those woes, but they’ve actually held up pretty well all things considered, especially in the second half of the season. The biggest problem has been the amount of time quarterbacks have to survey the field and find an open receiver. The Lions pass rush just hasn’t made life difficult on opposing quarterbacks.
Through 15 games, the Lions have just 25 sacks as a team. Only the New York Jets (24) and Cleveland Browns (22) have fewer sacks on the season. Big plays on defense have been few and far between for the Lions all too often this season, and that starts with their inability to create havoc up front.
Fortunately, the big plays the Lions have come up with have come in big spots, namely game-sealing interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams. However, the Lions are tied for 22nd in the league with just 10 interceptions in total – a number that very likely would be higher if opposing quarterbacks were consistently facing more pressure.
The Lions need a lot more production from their pass rush in 2017, and New Year’s Day is an opportune time to start.