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Lions Defense; Is It Aggressive Enough?

The Detroit Lions defense is as good as it has been and better since the turn of the century. In 5 weeks it has accumulated 14 sacks and 7 interceptions. In a 16 game season that would work out to be 44 sacks and 22 interceptions. That is 6 sacks more than their best season in the last decade and only once have they had more interceptions. In 2000 they had 25. The question is, are they being aggressive enough?

The Lions have the 6th most sacks in the NFL right now with 14 total sacks. But of those 14 sacks, 11 of them have come from their defensive line. Two sacks have been wracked up by defensive backs, leaving the linebackers with only 1 sack. Think about that. 79% of their sacks were by their defensive linemen. Of the top 8 teams in sacks, only one team has a higher ratio than the Detroit Lions. 87% of the Eagles 15 sacks have come via the defensive line. Now you can choose to look at that and see how good the Lions defensive line is, but it makes me wonder just how many sacks the Lions would have if they were more aggressive.

Look at the Chargers for instance. San Diego has 18 sacks after five games. Only 3 have come from their defensive line. That means that the linebackers and defensive backs have accumulated 83% of the teams sacks. Imagine if they had the Lions defensive line. Talk about a team that would be laying the pressure on opposing quarterbacks! Now some might say that if the Chargers had the Lions defensive line, that they would not need to blitz so much. My question is, why wouldn't they want more sacks? Every time you put the quarterback on hi back, it is one less time he is throwing down field. The last time I checked, there are greater that he will complete a pass throwing into double coverage than he will when he is sacked.

In my humble opinion, it is nearly a crime that after 5 games, the Lions back 7 defensive players have only 3 total sacks. Of the top 8 teams in the NFL in sacks, only the Eagles are worse in that category. Their back 7 have only 2 sacks. The next closest to the Lions is Tennessee. They have 5 sacks by their back seven.

Julian Peterson is supposed to be a good linebacker for chasing down quarterbacks. Zack Follett is supposed to have the speed to do so. So why are they not doing so? As good as the Lions defensive line is, when they send an extra man, there should be no reason he shouldn't get a hurry on the quarterback if not a hit or sack. The more you pressure a quarterback, the more often he will hurry his throws. The more he hurries his passing, the better chance of an interception.

Yet when all is said and done, the Lions defense is playing well. At the Detroit Lions current pace, they will have 44 sacks and 22 interceptions. In recent years, those numbers would rank approximately 5th best in the NFL in each category. Which is a far cry from the league worst defense the Lions have displayed in recent seasons huh?

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