Behind Enemy Lines: Detroit Lions
Before Sunday’s showdown with the Detroit Lions, I go Behind Enemy Lines with Matt Urben of SideLion Report for some insight on the NFC North opponent. Similarly he asked me questions regarding the Texans, and you can read my answers here. But back to the Lions:
1. Matthew Stafford has been playing lights out this season. What is the difference in his play this season?
The difference in his play this season has been efficiency. Matthew Stafford has always put up good numbers, but because of poor decisions and forcing the ball to Calvin Johnson, he was mistake prone in the past. It’s also a product of Jim Bob Cooter’s play calling. Cooter has tailored the Lions’ offense around Stafford’s skill set as a QB -his quick release and ability to spread the ball around.
2. How has Marvin Jones been so good at replacing Calvin Johnson this season and how has the trio of Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin been this season?
I think Marvin Jones has always been a very talented receiver but just didn’t get the amount of looks playing next to AJ Green. He also brings a deep-threat element to the Lions’ offense that they really haven’t had. Matthew Stafford has developed good chemistry with Jones. Most assumed Golden Tate would be the number one guy but since the first preseason game, Jones and Stafford have really clicked.
3. None of the Lions running backs have over 200 rushing yards this season. Is that a function of play calling, the offensive line or are the running backs just that bad?
The Lions running game has been almost nonexistent for a number of reasons. One, they are extremely young on the offensive line. Two, they’ve been devastated by injuries to running backs Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington. Somehow, they are surviving by substituting the short passing game for ineffective runs. Detroit cares more about yards per carry than they do total yardage in terms of the run game and you can tell by the low rushing totals.