Through two games last season, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and the offense were more aggressive in the deep-passing game.
The deep-passing attack has been all but non-existent to start the 2020 season.
Stafford has only completed two deep attempts in 2020 -- a 10.7 percent deep rate -- compared to eight in the first two weeks of 2019 -- a 22.7 percent deep rate.
No doubt, Detroit's offense was hampered by the hamstring injury suffered by wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
Last season, the fourth-year wideout led the entire National Football League in deep receptions with a total of 16.
Lions second-year offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell addressed this week whether the deep-passing attack can be opened up a little with Golladay possibly back in the fold.
"They (opposing defenses) are definitely legislating against that. That’s our job to continue to look down the field. But, if we don’t have it, bring the ball underneath and check it down -- which I think we’ve been doing," Bevell said. "But, the first thing I think (that) will always help us is run the ball. That way they’ve got to bring extra safeties down in the box and give us some better looks. There’s still with blanket coverage, there are opportunities to take shots down the field, and we’ll continue to try to find ways to get those.”
Stafford and Golladay certainly developed a solid connection during the first half of last season, and the results spoke for themselves.
Golladay led the league in touchdown grabs, and the offense was able to stretch the field on a pretty consistent basis.
"I love being out there throwing it to him (Golladay). But, he's trying to help our team win, as is everybody on this team. He's not just a receiver trying to get his. He's trying to help us win. And the best way he can help us win is (to) go out there and perform like he did," Stafford explained Wednesday in his weekly media session. "So, I was obviously really happy for the year that he had last year -- both when I was in there and when I wasn't. I'm just happy that he's at least somewhat turning the corner, I think."
Going up against a high-powered Arizona Cardinals offense Sunday, Detroit will certainly need to open up the offense.
Bevell & Co. are hoping the potential return of their biggest playmaker gives the Cardinals more to think about ahead of their Week 3 matchup.
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