Detroit Lions: 2 players that will ignite a struggling offense

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions offense needs a shot in the arm, and two players that perhaps will make their season debut Sunday will hopefully provide the much-needed spark.

Head coach Dan Campbell has been forced to guide this under-manned, inadequate roster through yet another extensive rebuild, and the results have not been very kind to the first-year coach.

The Detroit Lions have been without starting left tackle Taylor Decker for the first half of the regular season, but he’s said to be on track to make his season debut Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Decker is just one of the plethora of injuries this group has suffered in 2021.  The Lions are minus arguably their best player on each side of the football for the season; the teams’ top pass-rusher Romeo Okwara, along with their elite center Frank Ragnow.

Getting Taylor Decker back should help the struggling Detroit Lions offense.

Decker underwent finger surgery just a week before the start of the 2021 regular season but appears on track to make his season debut Sunday.

The return of Decker will force rookie Penei Sewell from left tackle, where he’s performed exceptionally well during his rookie season, to the right side, where he struggled mightily this summer.  Sewell’s first task will be to deal with star pass-rusher T.J. Watt.  The return removes utility tackle Matt Nelson from the starting lineup.

With the Detroit Lions struggling in all facets of the game, adding Decker to the lineup should help Detroit get back on track in both the passing and rushing game.  Detroit ranks 26th, averaging 93.1 rushing yards per game and 21st in passing offense, averaging a mere 228 yards per contest.

Quarterback Jared Goff has underperformed for the Detroit Lions in his first year with the team, often checking the football down rather than pushing it downfield; having Decker back protecting the blindside should help Goff feel a bit more comfortable standing in the pocket for an extra beat allowing him to target the intermediate and deep routes a bit more often during the second half of the year.

Adding Josh Reynolds should help the Detroit Lions’ abysmal passing game.

After the organization elected to avoid claiming Odell Beckham Jr. despite having the first chance to claim him on waivers, the Detroit Lions opted not to pass up the opportunity to claim Josh Reynolds from Tennessee.  The decision also gives Goff a much-needed boost at the receiver position and a familiar face to throw the football to.

I don’t expect Reynolds to walk in and be an NFL number one caliber receiver. Still, I do expect him to be the teams’ most productive pass-catcher during the second half of the season, and perhaps someone who can perform well enough to remain in Detroit for the coming years.

Reynolds asked for his release from the Titans in hopes of finding a place where he could earn more targets.  It’s slim pickings playing behind the likes of Julio Jones and A.J. Brown.

So far in 2021, Reynolds commanded just 13 targets making ten receptions totaling 90 yards with the Titans.

Reynolds spent four seasons with Goff in Los Angeles, making 105 grabs and totaled 1,374 yards behind Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.

I projected that the Detroit Lions would target Reynolds this past offseason in free agency but elected to go with Tyrell Williams and Breshard Perriman instead.

Next. Goff not good enough to overcome offensive woes. dark

With both veteran receivers no longer with the organization just ten weeks into the season, Reynolds will have an opportunity to play as the top targeted pass-catcher for the first time in his career.