Balanced Offense key to the Detroit Lions Success

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks to throw in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks to throw in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions are out with the old, in with the new when it comes to their offensive philosophy. New OC Darrell Bevell hopes to bring a balanced attack on offense; the change should excite fans.

For so long the Detroit Lions offense appeared stale along with being very predictable.  Although last year was the first year under new head coach Matt Patricia, he decided to retain Jim Bob Cooter after quarterback Matthew Stafford lobbied for him.  It was more of a courtesy to Stafford than anything; he wouldn’t be expected to learn another new playbook and get a feel for his new head coach all in the same year; well things are going to change in 2019 for the better.

I can’t express how many times Jim Bob Cooter dialed up a three-yard play call on say, third and eight to go.  Along with that type of play calling, how many times do you recall a downfield shot having two routes intersect one another?  ALL THE TIME…  That is unacceptable in the NFL, why take a shot thirty yards down the field when you have two routes within a couple of yards of each other?  It’s inviting a crowd of defenders mixed in with a couple of receivers also in the vicinity, simply not efficient.

Matt Patricia did try to change the culture last season by bringing in LeGarrette Blount hoping he would be the inside running chain mover the Detroit Lions desperately needed.  He didn’t work out too well in Detroit; it appears there isn’t much tread left on those tires.  The Lions are expecting a big year out of their lead back Kerryon Johnson.  He will be accompanied by C.J Anderson who at this point in his career will be an upgrade to Blount.

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The Lions have upgrades all over their offense that will favor Bevell’s playcalling style.  Along with upgrading their backfield, the Lions have improved their entire tight end group.  The team drafted T.J Hockenson with their first-round draft pick.  If he’s as advertised, he will surely become a top TE in the entire league in not to long.  He’s expected to be a stout run blocker, a guy who can stretch the field and also make plays in the intermediate passing game.  He’s a difference maker, and immediately much better than both Luke Willson or Levine Toilolo.

To go with Hockenson, the Detroit Lions signed Jesse James formally of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He’s an in-line blocking tight end who can also be dangerous in the passing game.  His large 6’7 frame will make him a valuable redzone threat.  He’s only 24-years-old meaning he’s just entering his prime;  he’s a breakout candidate that will fly under the radar all season long with much attention being placed on Hockenson.

The Lions also drafted Isaac Nauta who’s another above average run-blocker along with being considered sure-handed.  You can see the team has put a lot of emphasis on fixing the run game.  There is no doubt Matt Stafford has all the physical attributes to be a very successful quarterback–we’ve seen it, but when you are passing all of the time, you become very predictable. I think Kenny Golladay is poised to have a monster year, but the team would benefit greatly by signing another veteran receiver or having a Brandon Powell type player that’s currently rostered breakout helping Danny Amendola & Marvin Jones compliment Golladay.

The O-line makes me a bit nervous but moving Frank Ragnow from left guard to center balances out the line some.  He has the potential to become one of the best centers in the league; it’s where he excelled in college.  The right-guard position appears it could become a revolving door unless someone steps up during camp and solidifies the position.

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If the Detroit Lions can keep Stafford upright –we should expect a very balanced attack and although Stafford will likely never eclipse the 2011 season again; he should be as efficient as ever, that bodes well for this team.