Detroit Lions Yet to See Full Potential of Run Game

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 2 months ago '18        #1
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Detroit Lions Yet to See Full Potential of Run Game

They need to show it better, sh*t we're already 5 games in.

"Detroit entered this season with the mindset they had a 1A and 1B option at running back in D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. The plan was to use both players, split carries and go with the hot hand when the opportunity presented itself.

Lions running backs coach and a*sistant head coach Duce Staley said early in training camp Swift and Williams were going to be his version of thunder and lightning.

Through five games, the plan has played out like the Lions had hoped, minus the record of course. Williams has 55 rushing attempts and Swift has 52. Swift has caught 29 passes and Williams 15.

Swift and Williams are the NFL's only running back tandem to have at least 175 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards each through Week 5. Detroit and Cleveland are the only teams in the NFL to have two running backs each with at least 325 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns this season.

Staley on focusing on the fundamentals
But Staley says we still haven't seen the true potential of the thunder and lightning duo as he envisioned it.

"I like it, but of course we want more," Staley said. "We wish we could be in a situation where we can do that all game. Where we can have the thunder and lightning I talked about earlier in the year.

"Just the situation we've been in when you're behind you can't continue to stick with that mentality of running the ball. You kind of squeeze a few in here and there, but you're up against the clock, you're behind a little bit and you have to kind of speed things up and go to a different package."

To Staley's point, the Lions have trailed by double digits in the second half of every game this season. They haven't been able to use their run game as a weapon down the stretch to ice a game and wear down a defense.

Staley's hopeful they'll soon be in a position with a lead in the fourth quarter to be able to lean on the likely strength of this offense, which is their run blocking upfront and the rushing attack featuring Swift and Williams.


Rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has recorded 13 receptions for 135 yards combined in the last two games and seems to be building a nice rapport with quarterback Jared Goff. Some of that is out of necessity, due to injuries suffered by the Lions at receiver, but it's also been a conscious effort to get the fourth-round pick more involved after he started the season with just 10 targets and six receptions over the team's first three contests.

"Saint's done a great job and I think it's our job to get him involved more," Goff said this week. "It's on me, it's on how we're doing things. We need to get him the ball a little bit, and I think last week we did that (seven catches for 65 yards).

"He's a guy that as a rookie, he doesn't look like a rookie. He's stepped up and he's a guy that four or five years from now, I expect to be in the tops of the league of guys in the slot or even outside that can make those plays and do those things that you'd like to see him do."


Last year was a tough one for Lions guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai. He missed the beginning of the season due to a broken foot and battled through injuries all season long, missing six games total.

Vaitai signed as a free agent last offseason to play right tackle, but ended up playing tackle and guard. After the Lions drafted Penei Sewell No. 7 overall this offseason, they asked Vaitai to make the permanent switch to guard, and it's been a flawless transition for him.

So far this year, Vaitai hasn't allowed a sack or been called for a penalty.

"After what happened last year, I've got a little chip on my shoulder," Vaitai said Thursday. "Wherever the coaches need me I'll be ready for it. I'm just trying to help the offense win a game."

The Lions have rushed 119 times for 515 yards (4.3 avg.) and four touchdowns this season. Of Detroit's 119 carries, more than half have been inside rushes. Vaitai, fellow guard Jonah Jackson and centers Frank Ragnow and now Evan Brown have played pretty well inside for Detroit."

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 2 months ago '18        #2
Eclectic  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x125 OP
Props total: 145472 145 K  Slaps total: 6229 6 K
Detroit Lions Week 6 injury designations: 4 players questionable vs. Bengals

"The Detroit Lions declared their Week 6 injury designations ahead of their matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Ford Field. While they have four of their six injured players listed with questionable designations, all are expected to play on Sunday.

Return to practice tracker
LT Taylor Decker (finger) — Day 3 of the 21-day evaluation period
DL Kevin Strong (thigh) — Day 3 of the 21-day evaluation period
On Friday morning, the Lions placed starting kick returner Corey Ballentine (hamstring) on injured reserve, which opened up a spot on the active roster. That open spot will likely be filled by either Decker or Strong once they are ready to contribute, but when that might be isn’t known at this time.

“We’re just taking it day-by-day,” coach Dan Campbell said about Decker at his Friday press conference. “He’s been getting used to it. He went out there Wednesday, kind of had a bigger club if you will, and then we reduced it Thursday and got him some reps. It’s hard to say right now. We’ll do some more today and then see where we’re at. We still have a roster spot with (Corey) Ballentine down, so we’ll just kind of play it by ear.”

Unfortunately, Decker was unable to practice on Friday which is a pretty strong indicator that he likely won’t be activated for this game.

Strong is also not likely to be activated, as Campbell said Strong was “a little further away. We’ve got him back and he is practicing, but I think he’s probably about a week out.”

With an open spot, the Lions have the option to make another roster move but because they are up against the cap—due to all the money invested in players on injured reserve—but they will more than likely enter the game with just 52-players on the active roster, something they did against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3.

Ruled out
After placing Ballentine on injured reserve, the remaining injured Lions were able to get in practice time this week and are all listed as questionable to do not carry an injury designation.

RB D’Andre Swift (groin)
RB Jamaal Williams (illness/hip)
TE T.J. Hockenson (knee)
EDGE Trey Flowers (knee)
Swift has seen limited work throughout the practices most weeks this season, but come game time, has not looked limited and that pattern is expected to continue this week as well.

Williams missed Thursday’s practice with an illness but was able to return to practice on Friday. He has been dealing with a hip injury that has limited him the last two weeks, but like Swift, has been good to go come game time.

Hockenson was rested on Wednesday and return to listed practices with a compression sleeve on his leg. He played through the knee injury last week and is also expected to be available on Sunday.

Flowers’ knee injury cost him Weeks 3 and 4, but he was able to return to action in Week 5 and appears on track to start again on Week 6.

No injury designation
LG Jonah Jackson (shoulder)
CB Amani Oruwariye (hip)
Jackson was new to the injury report this week, and while his shoulder injury limited him on Thursday, he was practicing in full on Friday and not a*signed an injury designation, indicating he will start at left guard once again.

Oruwariye was a surprise addition to the injury report this week after playing every defensive snap in Week 5. He missed Wednesday’s practice but returned to the field in limited form on Thursday and got in a full practice on Friday, which led to a no injury designation. He will start."


 2 months ago '20        #3
Chozen  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
Props total: 28848 28 K  Slaps total: 4862 4 K
Trash a*s team

 2 months ago '18        #4
Eclectic  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x125 OP
Props total: 145472 145 K  Slaps total: 6229 6 K
Detroit Lions keys to victory over Cincinnati Bengals

"A few things typically accompany a team when they are waist deep in a rebuild like the Detroit Lions are.

Extremely young and inexperienced roster? Check. Issues with depth at nearly every position? You bet. Razor thin margin of error on a weekly basis? Oh yes.

Despite these glaring problems, the Lions have nearly come away with a victory on a couple of occasions. They took the Baltimore Ravens to the wire and lost on a record-setting 66-yard field goal from kicker Justin Tucker as time expired. They played one good half of football against the Green Bay Packers before turnovers and mental errors k*lled them down the stretch. Then there is Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph who broke his career high twice last week as the Lions once again found a way into the record books for the all of the wrong reasons.

Anyways, looking for two ways the Lions can stay in the game and potentially notch a win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Ford Field?

You’ve come to the right place.

Winning the turnover battle

Lions head coach Dan Campbell has said on multiple occasions that his young team has to stop with the self-inflicted wounds in order to start coming away with wins. When you lack game-breaking talent at the majority of positions, your margin of error is obviously a lot thinner than that of other teams. And while the Lions have come close to victory, there are plenty of reasons why they are currently winless. Like the fact that the offense has turned the ball over at least once every week but one (Baltimore in Week 3) and have committed two turnovers in three of their first five games.

With a turnover differential of -1, Detroit is just about average when compared to the rest of the league. But as we have seen, turnovers have come at crippling times and have often turned the tide of the game. For example, they were hanging around in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers before quarterback Jared Goff tried forcing a throw that led to an interception for a touchdown. Or when the offense botched several red zone opportunities against the Chicago Bears, including two turnover on downs and two fumbles by Goff. With the margin of error as thin as it is, the Lions have to clean this area up if they hope to come away with a win Sunday.

Whether the offense takes care of the football and plays a turnover-free game, or the defense forces former number one overall pick Joe Burrow into turning the ball over, the Lions need to come away victorious in this department. Burrow, while leading his team to a 3-2 record, has thrown six interceptions on the season. The Bengals are also having trouble protecting their franchise quarterback, having given up 14 sacks through five weeks of play. Generating consistent pressure on Burrow will be essential if the Lions are going to force a few takeaways.

Push the ball downfield

Maybe even more than their propensity to give the football away, another issue that has plagued the Lions has been their inability to create explosive, chunk plays down the field. When you consistently rely on long, sustained drives to score, you increase the odds of something going awry.

Yes, the Lions’ lack of playmakers in the wide receiver room has been well documented. Losing receivers Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus to injury doesn’t do anything to help the situation. Still, Goff has flat out been unwilling to take shots down the field this season and his 6.6 yards per attempt (27th among quarterbacks) makes for a really inefficient passing attack.

The NFL is a copycat league and with five weeks down, there is plenty of current film for coaches to look at to prepare for an opponent. And if we are doing some honest self scouting, the Lions probably do not strike fear into many defensive coordinators.

My approach to stop the Lions offense would be simple. Stop the run early, and dare Goff to throw it downfield. If running backs Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift get going on the ground, the Bengals will likely begin to slide safeties down near the line of scrimmage. And the only way to force a team out of stacking the box, is to throw the ball over their heads. Even if some of these shots fall incomplete, it at least makes the Cincinnati defense think twice about sending extra help to defend the run.

On paper, the Bengals have the upper hand in plenty of critical areas. If the Lions can control these two aspects on Sunday, they at least give themselves a f*ghting chance."

 2 months ago '17        #5
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x5
Props total: 88905 88 K  Slaps total: 32536 32 K
Duce Staley was ill

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