Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions: 3 Things Lions Need to Change
1. Special Teams Coach Danny Crossman Needs to Go
Becoming the first team since at least 1940 to give up punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns in consecutive weeks (according to STATS LCC, via Freep.com) is not a record you should be proud of.
Special teams has been a problem going back to the previous coaching staff, and a promising preseason and first two games didn't change that.
Take away the special team gaffes and we're 3-1 instead of 1-3. You can't blame the players, because they play how they're coached. One mistake is fine, but this has been a train wreck for years.
It needs to be fixed ASAP. No more excuses.
2. Brandon Pettigrew Needs to Strengthen His Hands
The amount of drops, especially in scoring opportunities, has become the Achilles heel of this team. Pettigrew's stats put him in the same league as some of the best.
His drops place him on everyone's trash heap.
I can understand a few drops here and there on difficult throws or diving catches, but these haven't been those types of drops. He's dropping easy catches.
It has to stop.
Someone invest in some of those old school hand squeezers or something. He must have the weakest hands of someone his size ever.
His strength in blocking isn't good enough anymore.
3. Scott Linehan Needs to Adjust His Play-Calling
Teams have been playing us with a two-deep safety set since the 49ers did it in Week 2.
And it's working.
Linehan needs to find a way to counter this, or this team will be picking in the first 10 in the 2013 draft. The Lions have too many weapons to be struggling offensively.
I can understand that Raiola, Peterman and Backus hamper the running game that's supposed to counter that type of defense, but if you know they're a problem, you have to play-call around it.
Screen plays, more slants and more creative play-calling can all make the defense guess. Continuing to run with the same game plan, regardless of what the defense throws out there, is simply stubborn.
And stubborn play-calling will find you on the coaching unemployment line. If he doesn't adjust to the defenses being thrown at him, he deserves to be there.
The Detroit Lions are better than their record shows, but they deserve to be there because of coaching and should own it. Unless they're willing to accept that they're 1-3 because of themselves, there's a chance to turn it around.
If they only accept that they were beaten, then there's little hope for the rest of this season.
Change needs to come. It either comes now, or more substantial change will come in the offseason.
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