Coming off a down year, the Detroit Lions need to make these five moves if they want to rebound in 2019 to become a playoff bound team.
The Detroit Lions appear to be all but done this season. With five games left on the schedule, the Lions will likely be setting their sights on 2019 much quicker than fans wanted them to.
With next offseason in mind, here are five things we believe the Motor City must do in order to avoid posting a similar performance next year.
#1. Find themselves a new OC
The Lions have done everything to build this offseason around quarterback Matthew Stafford. They had a top-tier wide receiver corps before promptly shipping away Golden Tate. Detroit appears to have a future 1,000-yard rusher in rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. And they’ve invested heavily in their offensive line.
Outside of replacing Stafford himself, finding this team a new offensive coordinator appears to be the next logical step. This group needs a new direction and I believe head coach Matt Patricia will make the push to find himself one for them this offseason.
#2. Add a pass rusher or two
One again, the Lions enter 2019 with questions surrounding defensive end Ezekiel Ansah‘s future. Despite injuries limiting him to just five games so far this season, the 29-year old has posted 4.0 sacks. It seems unlikely that Detroit will be willing to give him another contract in the Motor City, but they may feel pressured to.
Regardless, they need more pass rushers in Detroit. The NFL Draft seems to be the likely source in 2019, but this is a team with several needs. So finding free agent gems will be key as well. Getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks may undoubtedly be a top need in 2019.
#3. Continue to address their offensive line
A decision needs to be made about starting right guard T.J. Lang‘s future in Motown. He played just six games this season due to injuries and missed three games the previous season. Under contract in 2019 to make a whopping $8.25 million, Lang might have played his final game in Detroit.
If so, the Lions will be in the market for a quality replacement. This is a group that has been heavily invested in since general manager Bob Quinn took the reins nearly three years ago. That focus should continue this offseason as the offensive line in Detroit is still too inconsistent.
#4. More defensive playmakers
From the defensive line, to their linebacker corps and in the secondary, the Lions defense will continue to be overhauled to fit Patricia’s unique scheme in 2019. After his first season in Detroit, one thing is clear. This roster simply needs more playmakers across the board in order to execute the way their head coach wants them to week in and week out.
#5. Add another running back, playmaking tight end
Kerryon Johnson’s lengthy injury history means the Lions can never solely rely on him to be their workhorse. They need to find themselves another young running back to pair with him. And Detroit clearly misses tight end Eric Ebron. They need to find themselves a similar pass-catching threat who will be far less inconsistent.