Finishing games and being better in crunch time has turned into a rallying cry for Lions players and coaches this offseason.
It's easy to see why, too, considering Detroit finished last season with the league's third worst record at 3-12-1, but they held a fourth-quarter lead in 10 of those contests and were tied in another. They were 3-7-1 in those games.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media this offseason and said being better in the fourth quarter has been a big focus this offseason.
"The fourth quarter we got to pick it up, we got to finish," Bevell said. "Something that we preach all the time."
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has come up with the phrase "Dagger Time" to represent those end of game moments that too many times last year the Lions came up short.
"We call it Dagger Time now, so it's a little fun," Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson said after Monday's first padded practice. "It's something we came up with in a team meeting. Everyone says finish, but I think we wanted to change it up. We've heard that throughout all growing up is finish, finish, finish, but we kind of wanted to put our own little spin on it.
"It was something Stafford came up with and we're just all trying to buy into it. It's a little spin that us as an offense and as a team we've adopted."
It goes to show just how small the margin of error is in the NFL between winning and losing that the Lions can be leading or tied in the fourth quarter of 11 games and finish with just three wins on the year. Coaches and players preach all the time how games come down to just a handful of plays. Detroit didn't find a way to make enough of those plays late in games last year.
Finding ways to make more game-changing plays late in contests will be one the biggest keys to seeing significant improvement in the win column for the Detroit Lions in 2020.