Lions looking to tighten up against specific run plays

Posted Oct 19, 2011

The NFL has its fair share of cliches and one of them is that "this is a copycat league."

In other words, if a team falls victim to a particular play, that team can expect subsequent opponents to run that same play in the hopes of achieving a favorable result.

If there is a trend with the Lions defense, it is surrendering long runs from scrimmage via a trap or wham play. Last week against San Francisco, Detroit gave up runs of 47 and 55 yards to running back Frank Gore via that play.

"It's just one of those things that is a difficult read, but it's a play that we can stop," said linebacker Deandre Levy. "It's a matter of being in the right place and knifing in there, going against what your normal read says."

Though the Lions have given up long runs on the same play, they aren't giving up long runs with the same mistake.

In fact, Gore's 47- and 55-yard runs came against two different personnel packages.

So if there isn't a single mistake to point out, how is it corrected?

"You’ve got to play disciplined, you’ve got to read your keys and you’ve got to play for your teammates – not only for yourself – every snap," said safety Louis Delmas. "Then when your number is called to make a play, you’ll be able to make it."

Once Kansas City saw success in the ground game early in Week 2, subsequent teams have woven this play into their game plan to try and find the same success.

The bad news for the Lions is that they have continued to struggle with it.

The good news for the Lions is that this isn't a physical issue - it's a read and react issue.

"If this defense is played properly and everybody fits up where they fit and everybody’s doing their job, then team shouldn’t run the ball on us," said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. "We just need to, as a defense, consistently have the right fits and make sure everybody’s in the right spots."

Achieving that gets back to the basics: practice.

"We have to tighten our reads in a little bit differently now," said linebacker Stephen Tulloch. "We need to have all the linebackers and everybody on the same page.

"We need to get back to the fundamentals, just reading our keys, and getting back to being the top-ranked rush defense."