The Detroit Lions have a huge defensive problem and they are going to try and do something about it this week. On Monday, coach Dan Campbell said they will be making some roster changes on that side of the ball in search of players they can trust and who will stick to their orders.
“We need to get players that we think we just can, that we can rely on, that we can rely on to get out of there, because once they’re reliable, their teammates will trust them,” Campbell said.
At this point I’m not sure if the Lions can add anyone who’s going to make a tangible difference, and it seems Campbell isn’t talking about that anyway. Instead, it looks like the Lions are planning to bench some players and give a shot to someone who’s been on the bench or played only a limited role so far.
So today’s question is:
What formation change should the Lions make on defense?
My answer: The Lions have problems pretty much everywhere in the lineup, so there really isn’t a shortage of players who can or should be replaced. The problem, of course, is finding capable players on the list who can replace them.
Not much is going well in the defense line. The edge defenders don’t win their one-on-ones, and while Detroit got a solid defense earlier in the season, especially in the run defense, it hasn’t been quite as consistent over the last few games. Maybe it’s time to see what undrafted rookie Demetrius Taylor has in him.
I’d like to see the Lions on the brink making some changes as reserves Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant haven’t done much at all on pass rush, but Detroit has no one else they can trust. What are they going to do, bring in Jarrad Davis from the practice squad? Promote James Houston in the sixth round? Do you play Anthony Pittman there? None of those options inspire much confidence.
At the linebacker level, Malcolm Rodriguez still plays at an extremely high level. Alex Anzalone has had an up-and-down season so far. In an ideal world, it would be nice to see some of his pictures go to a younger player like Derrick Barnes, but the sophomore linebacker has to earn it. Anzalone is also not really the type of player who tries to do too much. He generally sounds good on his job so I’m not sure Campbell is talking about him when he suggests staff changes.
At cornerback, it may be time to start tough talks with Amani Oruwariye. He has struggled a lot in the last two games. He’s had the support of the coaching staff and he’s coming from a back injury, but he seems to have lost a lot of confidence and appeared to have a hand in miscommunication on a touchdown against the Seahawks.
The only question is who would replace him? Jerry Jacobs is an option, but he probably won’t be ready until after parting. Will Harris is almost certainly the answer if a change is made this week, and that won’t inspire much confidence among skeptics.
Detroit undergoes a series of safety experiments while trying to find a replacement for Captain Tracy Walker. Last week Kerby Joseph made his debut, and despite giving up a touchdown on the opening drive, he competed and played well enough that I don’t think Detroit will want to replace him right away.
So… overall it’s hard to see many ways the Lions can improve their workforce with internal options at this point.
Do I miss something? Discuss in the comments.
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