Skip to main content

TWENTYMAN: 5 areas Lions need to improve following bye week

The Detroit Lions are on a bye this week, which gives head coach Dan Campbell and his coaching staff an opportunity to take a deep dive into the tape of the first five games to try and find ways to help this team have more success coming out of the bye.

"I'm going to change some things up," Campbell said Monday. "I mean, I'm going to look at everything; at the way we practice, the way we go about it. You know, do we need to practice longer? Do we need to practice less? Do we put on pads? Those are all things that I'll be looking at over the next week."

It wasn't all bad for Detroit the first five weeks of the season, but there are areas that need immediate improvement after their 1-4 start.

Here's a look at where the Lions need to be better when they return from the bye:

1. Limiting big plays

The Lions rank last in the NFL in points allowed and are 31st in total defense, and giving up big plays both rushing and in the pass game play a big factor in those numbers.

The Lions have allowed 25 rushes of 10-plus yards in five games, which are the most allowed in the NFL so far this season. They've also given up eight runs of 20-plus yards, also the most in the league.

Overall, the 88 plays of 10-plus yards opponents have gotten on the Lions both rushing and passing are the most. It's four more than the next team (Houston) has allowed (84). Their 25 total plays of 25-plus yards rank 29th.

It's hard to play good defense when giving up as many big plays as the Lions are early this season.

2. Sacks

Detroit's generated just seven sacks in five games, which is more than only Arizona (6) and Las Vegas (5) through the first five weeks of the season. To put that number in a little bit of perspective, San Francisco leads the NFL with 21 and Dallas is a close second with 20.

Rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson leads the team with 3.0, but all of those came in the first 30 minutes of the Washington game Week 2. No other Lions player has more than one on the year.

3. Giveaway points allowed

The 31 points the Lions have allowed after turning the football over are the fourth most in the league behind only the Rams (33), Saints (39) and Colts (46). Detroit's 21 giveaway points by the offense are the most in the NFL.

"I mean, always costly to turn the ball over any time," Lions quarterback Jared Goff said. "But whenever it results in a six, it's even more costly."

Goff has thrown two pick sixes and had a fumble returned for a touchdown in just five games.

4. Inside the 30 passer rating

Creating turnovers and being good on third down and in the red zone are vital to being a good defensive unit. STATS INC. breaks downs numbers both in the red zone (20 yards to goal line), but also inside the 30 to goal line.

In that 30-yard line to goal area, the Lions have allowed opponents to complete 27-of-38 (71.1 percent) of their passes with eight touchdowns and no interceptions for a 128.6 passer rating. That's the highest rating allowed by any team in the NFL in that zone. The 4.8 yards per play opponents are getting inside the 30 are also a league high.

5. Third down offense

Part of the reason the Lions are on track to break the NFL record for fourth-down conversions and attempts is because they haven't been good enough on third down. Detroit's converting 36.9 percent (24-for-65) of the time on third down, which ranks 22nd. Buffalo and Kansas City, two teams considered to have explosive, high-powered offenses, convert better than 50 percent of the time on third down to lead the league.

On 3rd and 1, the Lions' offense has converted just 2-of-5 times (ranks 28th).

Related Content