Despite New Defensive Coordinator, Lions' Defense Has Not Changed Much
It’s no secret that the Detroit Lions' defense was one of the worst in the league a season ago.
It ranked 31st in total yards allowed, and was dead last in the NFL against the pass.
After firing former defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and bringing in Cory Undlin in 2020, the hope was things would change at least a little bit on defense.
With plenty of new faces on the defensive side of the ball, it is difficult to imagine the unit being any worse.
After three quarters against the Chicago Bears last week, it appeared the Lions may have semi-improved after only allowing a total of six points.
Now, a lot of the Bears' offensive struggles could have been blamed on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the early goings.
But still, the defense was getting the job done.
However, the fourth quarter hit, and Trubisky found a rhythm, allowing the Bears to score 21 unanswered points.
As the game came to an end, many of the same issues the defense had in 2019 seemed to still be concerns -- most notably, the lack of blitzing, the overall pass rush and missed tackles.
To be fair, injuries in the secondary and the early ejection of linebacker Jamie Collins definitely played a role.
According to Pro Football Reference’s stats, the Lions averaged the following on a per-game basis last season: 7.4 blitzes (third-fewest in NFL), 7.8 total pressures (fifth-fewest) and 7.9 missed tackles (also fifth-worst).
Against the Bears, the Lions blitzed just eight times, and accumulated eight total pressures and nine missed tackles.
Even though it’s an extremely small sample size after just one game and without any preseason action, those marks are awfully similar to last year’s averages.
There is still time to correct these mistakes, get healthier and to make a change in scheme philosophy.
If not, the defense sure seems to be on a similar trajectory to its dreadful 2019 season.
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