The Detroit Lions are at the midway point of their 2019 season, and while quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions' offense have been rolling, the defense has some room for improvement.
The Lions' defense currently ranks 31st in the league, allowing an average of 424.1 yards per game. Head coach Matt Patricia was asked Monday in his weekly press conference if he has considered taking over defensive play calling duties.
“Coach P (Paul Pasqualoni) calls the defense,” he said. “Certainly there’s situations where he and I talk about calls or there might be calls that I feel we might want to make in certain situations. The good part about being head coach is you can make those calls in any three phases of the game.
“I’m concerned about the entire team. Certainly I spend a lot of time on the defensive side of the ball, and I have the utmost confidence in coach Pasqualoni and the defensive staff to get the calls and the communication and get the game plan put together the way that we want to and I’m certainly involved in that and get that orchestrated.”
The Lions are dealing with injuries on that side of the ball with defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand, safety Miles Killebrew and safety Tracy Walker all ruled out for Sunday's game, but they could potentially be getting defensive tackle Mike Daniels back.
Daniels has been out with a foot injury since Week 3. He's listed as questionable, but is looking forward to getting back on the field when he can.
“If you don’t have that feeling, you’re not a competitor,” Daniels said after practice Friday. “Any player that’s had to miss any amount of time, whether it’s one game, a quarter, even a series from injury, they feel like, ‘Okay, when I get back out here, I got to get rolling.’”
SCOUTING THE BEARS
While Detroit's defense has struggled this year, their Week 10 opponent, the Chicago Bears, have had some of their own problems on the offensive side of the ball.
The Bears' offense ranks 29th in the NFL, averaging just 266.8 yards per game.
“It’s losing. It’s not playing up to what we know we're capable of,” Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said this week about what's frustrating the team. “It’s making simple mistakes. It’s getting out-executed. It’s getting outplayed, when we know we’re capable of much more, when we know we have more inside us, when we know we’re talented.
“We’re still coming up short. There are a lot of really simple things we did last year, that we do in practice. On game day, we’re coming up short. That’s why we have this crappy feeling. That’s where the frustration is. You can tell we don’t like it.”
Trubisky is taking a lot of the blame for the offensive struggles, but Bears head coach Matt Nagy knows it goes beyond just one person.
“When you get into these situations, that’s always the number one person that gets attacked,” Nagy said. “We understand that. We know the why’s behind a lot of stuff.
“We’re in this thing together. I think it speaks volumes to who we are as a team, as a family, as an organization. It’s just not the way we roll, fellas.
“It would be pretty easy to go ahead and point at one person. That’s not what this is about. We hold everybody accountable. We want to make sure we look for solutions.”
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Bears, click here.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Click here for the full Lions-Bears injury report with game designations for Sunday's contest.
- The Lions announced Monday that Head Coach Matt Patricia has been nominated for the NFL’s 2019 Salute to Service Award.
- Catch up on all the news from Darrell Bevell and Paul Pasqualoni's Tuesday media sessions.
- The Lions teamed up with Talons Out Honor Flight to take veterans on a touching trip to Washington D.C. last weekend.