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Key Question for Lions' Defense ahead of Training Camp

Read more on the key question for the Detroit Lions' defense ahead of the start of training camp later this month.

The Detroit Lions have a variety of issues on both sides of the ball, heading into the beginning of training camp later this month. 

Let's take a look at the biggest question mark facing the defense, as it prepares for the upcoming 2021 season.

Will Detroit be able to generate more of a pass-rush in 2021? 

Of the organization's myriad of issues defensively a season ago, one of its most glaring ones was its inability to wreak havoc on opposing passers. 

From a pass-rush standpoint in 2020, leading the way was EDGE defender Romeo Okwara, who was rewarded for it with a three-year contract extension this offseason. 

He finished last season with career-high marks in a variety of statistical categories, including sacks (10), tackles for loss (11) and QB hits (18). 

It was all fine and dandy, and the Lions loved the production he provided. Yet, he was the franchise's lone consistent source of getting after the quarterback in 2020. 

In fact, Everson Griffen, who's a free agent presently, finished with the second-most sacks on last year's squad (3.5), and he was acquired midway through the 2020 campaign. 

And then, of all the returning players from last year's roster, Trey Flowers checks in as the second-leading sack producer, and he finished with just two sacks on the season. 

Long story short, Detroit's pass-rushing unit was rather anemic a season ago, making it a major focus of the new regime this offseason. 

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First-year Lions general manager Brad Holmes' biggest move to upgrade the unit came when he traded for Los Angeles Rams defensive end Michael Brockers. 


Brockers, who was given a new three-year, $24 million deal ($11 million in fully guaranteed money) by Detroit, had a solid campaign a year ago when it came to getting after the quarterback. 

In his final campaign in Los Angeles, the 30-year-old suited up for 15 games, and recorded five sacks, five tackles for loss and 10 QB hits, tying a career-high mark he originally set in 2013. 

Holmes also notably added defensive linemen Levi Onwuzurike (second-round pick) and (third-rounder) Alim McNeill via this year's NFL Draft, in an attempt to upgrade both the pass-rushing department and the run defense. 

So, a concerted effort was made by Holmes & Co. to improve the team's ability to consistently get pressure on opponents' signal-callers. 

And, while the production might not be significantly better, I think the Lions will be able to create a more consistent pass-rush in 2021.

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