Insights into Lions Defense

I belong to another Lions community that has a lot of pretty knowledgeable individuals similar to a lot of the guys in here. One member shared a thread he found on reddit and it was a) pretty good insight and b) led to some pretty good conversations. I have been sitting on this information for a while but figured it was worth sharing. Frankly, I don’t believe the future is as doom and gloom as perhaps some might think.


Interesting. That is something I guess I’ve figured Patricia preferred, since he likes to play coverage over pass rush, but it was a nice explanation of the “why”. Or attempted explanation.

Also…“flag on the play”…great name man…

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Why exactly does this convoluted reddit thread give you hope for the future?

So, what I gather is Matt Patricia’s scheme is genius, it’s just that Quinn can’t provide the talent or players who are able to execute correctly.

Boy, that sure gives me hope for the future boy howdy.


Yeah. WTF

Interestingly the second Patricia left the Pats started rushing more players again and the defense improved significantly. Go figure

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The problem is the team can’t cover over the middle. I don’t care how long you give the guys that they had rushing the passer, they simply didn’t get there. This isn’t an either-or type of situation, it’s both. The scheme is terrible, the execution was terrible and the talent on the field didn’t have the skills to play in the scheme. You don’t get literally the worst defense in the history of the franchise, given that it had a lot more Talent than the 08 defense, just because of one factor. You get it because everything failed; Health scheme ability coaching…the whole enchilada.

Question that has to be answered is this: When healthy, will this scheme work? We don’t know the answer to this because of the inner interrelated question of do we have the right guys to play in this scheme? There’s just a whole lot of no for the answer going on across the whole board. I can’t believe that Martha will take any more s*** from Quinn and Patricia about “we just need time to get our guys in here”, because Quinn knows what he was looking for from the beginning, which was to get a Patriots Way coach in here, and thus either was or should have been drafting for it from the get-go. Patricia so far has shown absolutely no ability to adjust in game or in season. You need to go back to the first game against the Jets last year where he looked completely shell shocked and it’s because he was completely unprepared. Not much has changed on that front. I don’t expect this defense to take a Great Leap Forward next year abd I don’t expect this team to win a playoff game, therefore I expect Patricia to be fired and Quinn possibly as well. I just hope they don’t burn up another draft and free agency bringing in fat slow front seven guys so that it takes another three years after they get popped for us to Lurch on to another course correction to bring enough speed into this defense to compete in a modern environment

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Ok, then trade down to 5 for Okudah or TD again for Delpit. I do think they “tried” to increase their ability to rush the passer with their front 4. They saw what Hand did and thought he’d be back for 2019. They dropped top DE money on Flowers. Though they didn’t expect 15 sacks, they did expect elite level pressures. Then they spent big money on Daniels, which was a bit of a medical risk, but what you “attempt” to get when you get Mike Daniels, IS pass rush, more than any other specific trait. They also spent a 4th round pick on Austin Bryant as a SAM to rush the passer.

Then… Lions happend. So, I expect two things to happen simultaneously. We ARE going to add a couple more pieces this offseason devoted to getting to the QB. But we get Hand and Bryant back, and Flowers healthy to start the season (barring offseason injury). AO really could snag that #2 CB role I think, but it would be better to make him a backup by bringing in a legit #2. Okudah is really starting to look like a smart pick to me if we can score a bit of a TD. Throw some dough at Slay and then maybe you can grab another Safety fairly high up. FA looks pretty good at DE and rush OLB, so I think we may not be as in bad of shape as we feel right now. But I’ve been wrong before and it’s all gone to doo doo…

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I think coverage skills out of the line backing group has been the biggest problem with the defense since we lost Levy.

I’m not going to pretend to know enough about football schematics to know this for certain but it seems logical that hot reads often target linebackers so even if we fix the pass rush our fatal flaw as a coverage unit still may hold the defense back.

Teams who want to cover well don’t draft Tavai and Will Harris.

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I fully expect Jeff Okudah to be the pick and have said this from the get go . He could even be the pick with Chase on the board.

Jeff Okudah is a Blue Chip prospect at an extremely tough position of high monetary value , you pay Slay and Okudah on the rookie deal and you have DUO of Elite Man Corners for the now and the future

Healthy guys coming back, add to the pass Rush in FA , get a Line Backer that can actually cover and this is a better Defense …

Harris started 6 games and is a rookie and despite that Harris had the lowest completion % against, only behind Slay of the defenders here that were targeted 20 or more times…
Harris is a keeper and will only get better

He’ll be in the league but he will never be a coverage safety.

He is not that …he was not drafted to be that . The Lions still need a true FS center fielder single high guy …
The way we use 3 safeties here, Walker and Harris with a true FS is what the Defense needs . Tavon Wilson is not that .


Thanks for sharing the thread.

I do believe MP values coverage over pass rush. He wants DE’s to contain and DT’s to read and react. DT need to collapse the pocket but teams were able to double team our DT’s and take them out of play.

MP and BQ tried hard to trade for every good CB that hit the market. Especially the ones who were good in man coverage. They weren’t able to accomplish this.

In theory MP’s scheme makes sense. Especially when you consider that good QB’s get rid of the ball so quickly that they can negate a great pass rush.

But MP’s scheme is flawed … bare with me.

If you rarely blitz and only send 3 or 4 DL repeatedly then you make it very easy for opposing OL to block and hold a pocket all day. Which they did. When you give any QB enough time, eventually a WR will get open or the QB will force a contested ball and hope for a PI call. If the Lions would occasionally mix up blitz packages they would confuse the OL blocking assignments, allowing DL to break free and collapse a pocket. You don’t have to blitz a lot but you still have to do it.

With that in mind BQ has built this team to fail if you ask me. Our LBers are too slow and our DE’s aren’t good pass rushers. We lack players in our front 7 that have above average speed and range. Then at safety we lack a true single high S with the range to be successful.

I hope that MP has his sites set on a DC that will challenge his defensive scheme. A guy who can make the necessary adjustments needed.

I hope that BQ enters FA and lands an upgrade at DT, OLB (edge) and CB2.

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The sad truth is teams were able to single our DT’s and take them out.

You keep harping on the LB’s and I understand, but… Part of many NFL schemes (including ours) is to create hesitation on the line by changing who rushes and who drops. We heard the cute buzzword last year about Houston’s “Diamond Front” oooooooh. Same thing. 5 on the line, rush 4.

So we have Kennard who’s playing like a DE most snaps but then bails on other snaps. We have Tavai who plays like a MIKE on many snaps but on the line others and also able to drop back into coverage.

IMO, you’re not going to get “sideline to sideline” quick LB’s for this scheme. That’s a term typically used for smaller LB’s in other schemes. That doesn’t mean our guys are naturally NOT going to be able to cover. Kennard and Tavai can play with the speed that’s needed of them, but they don’t have the speed to overcome bad reads or biting on play action (Tavai) or other players playing out of position (Wilson, Davis, Walker, Harris).


We don’t play enough zone and that is a big part of what kills us over the middle. Combine that with slow footed LB’s (Tavai, Jones, Kennard) or the athletic one with zero instincts in coverage (JD) and an unwillingness to play JRM or Killebrew more all leads to it being a gimme with us over the middle. I haven’t studied NE enough, but do they suffer like we do in this regard, or do they just somehow ahem “do it better?”

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Is there any other kind?

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Tracy Walker is a true FS. The problem is he’s also our best safety at covering bigger TEs. Our defense was too predictable with the Diggs and Walker pairing. Diggs doesn’t have the size to matchup against TEs or the range to play single high.

Drafting Harris, a guy with size length and speed like Walker, should enable us to disguise coverages since both could play single high or drop down into the box to cover TEs and provide run support.

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That’s interesting because Carroll and Wagner seem to be saying be exact opposite. He has the physical presence to lay the wood to a FB and the range tonolay sideline to sideline