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Lions Defense - To Blitz or Not to Blitz?

Everyone remembers the Detroit Lions 2008 pre-season right? When the Lions went 4-0 and pretty much dominated the other teams with their defense? Not just the back-ups either. The defense pounded on the other teams starting quarterbacks as well. If nobody noticed, there was a major difference between the pre-season defense and the Lions regular season defense. It was the scheme!

In the pre-season, the Lions blitzed almost continuously and it caused havoc for the opposing quarterbacks. When the regular season started and the games counted, Marrinelli lost his courage and the Lions rarely blitzed. In the few games where the Lions defense looked good for portions of the games during the season? They were blitzing.

I have heard the arguments enough times. The Lions don’t have the talent to blitz, right? Wrong! The lack of talent on the Lions defense in 2008 was why they needed to blitz and blitz a lot! The truth of the matter was, they did not have enough talent to play normal defense. They could not pressure the quarterback using just the defensive line. Opposing quarterbacks sat in the pocket for far too long, just waiting for a receiver to get open. The Lions defensive backs were not good enough to cover for more than 2 or 3 seconds tops. The Lions complete lack of talent in 2008 made it impossible to win games by playing conservative defense. If you cannot pressure the quarterback and you cannot cover the receivers, you WILL lose.

That is why bad defenses should blitz. Get pressure on the quarterback. Make him get rid of the ball early often enough and he will make mistakes. Will you get burned if you blitz a lot? Sometimes you will, absolutely. But ask yourself this…. How often did the Lions get burnt when they did not blitz? A lot! If you will get beat a lot when not blitzing, what do you have to lose by blitzing? Nothing.

It has always been argued that if you blitz too often, you will get burnt. The truth of the matter is, it is only the good defenses that don’t need to blitz. They have the talent to cover receivers. They have the talent where their defensive line can pressure the quarterback. They get it done without the blitz. If you want to win in the NFL, you need to pressure the quarterback. If your D-line is not good enough to get it done, you have to find a way to get it done. That is why they blitz. That is why the Lions need to blitz.

Mark my word… If the Lions blitz a lot in 2009, they will win 6 or more games. If they play a conservative defense again, they will win no more than 4 games at best.

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