The Defense Needs Work
Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin seems primed to leave Detroit for a head coaching job of his own this offseason. In his three years with the team, the Lions have ranked second on defense once (2014), and eighteenth twice (2015, 2016). The holes left after the loss of defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley have never properly been addressed.
The Lions traded for, and extended Haloti Ngata to fill that role, but he has not lived up to his billing. Aside from breakout defensive end Kerry Hyder, the Lions’ front four failed to pressure opposing team’s quarterbacks. Granted, Ziggy Ansah spent most of the year battling injury, and looked better down the final stretch, but the defensive line as a whole still needs improvement.
The secondary didn’t fare much better. Aside from “Big Play” Darius Slay, and perhaps safety Glover Quin, the rest of the secondary is barely serviceable. The Lions’ pass defense was so awful, that they set the record for the highest opponent completion percentage in NFL history (72.7%).
It will be interesting to see how the 2017 Detroit Lions will perform with a new coordinator. I expect defensive personnel to be the focus of Bob Quinn’s offseason.