ALLEN PARK — After three straight losses, the Lions’ defense is under scrutiny.
It allowed 503 net yards, including 166 rushing yards in the loss to the Vikings on Sunday.
The head-scratcher is that going into the season, the Lions’ defensive line looked like it would be the strength of the defense.
So far that has not been the case.
Lions coach Matt Patricia blamed it on lack of communication, consistency and the need for better coaching on Monday. He still thinks they can improve in the 10 games left this season.
“We’re always going to coach, and work, and try to improve and get better. Certainly, that’s happened many times in the years past where teams have gotten better as the season has gone on,’’ Patricia said on Monday.
Defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison agreed with his coach about communication and working on the details.
Harrison said no one is panicking yet, but they are certainly disappointed in the 2-3-1 start this season.
Five thoughts from Harrison:
1. He points a finger at himself for not playing up to his usual standards. “Obviously it’s very disappointing, especially having the guys we have in the room. It really starts with me upfront, I have to do a better job in the middle getting some of those plays that I’m used to making that I’m not making this year,’’ Harrison said on Monday. “There’s a lot of things that I can blame it on but the only thing I can do at the end of the day is throw effort at it during the practice week and try to perform on Sunday.’’
2. The veteran, in his eighth NFL season, can’t pinpoint why he’s not making the plays he used to make routinely. “Let’s just say teams are doing a good job of making sure I’m accounted for, it hasn’t stopped me in the past and I don’t see why it should stop me now,’’ Harrison said.
3. When last season ended, the Lions defense was one of the best in stopping the run. Today they’re ranked 28th in the NFL, allowing an average of 139.2 rushing yards per game. (The overall defense is ranked 31st.) “It’s been a long season and we have a long season ahead of us, again we can’t look back in the past and we damn sure can’t look at what we did last year,’’ Harrison said. “It’s a new year, the offenses get paid too so they’ve done a pretty good job a scheming up some runs and things we aren’t doing well they’re exploiting them.’’
4. Harrison said he doesn’t think it has anything to do with missing the preseason. “There’s a lot of things to blame it on, that’s one of the things. Obviously I missed a lot of the preseason but again I’ve been playing football for a long time and the game hasn’t changed. Just got to get better and get better fast,’’ Harrison said.
5. The Lions host the Giants, Harrison’s former team, on Sunday at Ford Field. He said it’s no big deal. The big deal is facing Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley. “Because he’s big, fast and strong and can catch the ball out of the backfield,’’ Harrison said. “He can do just about everything on the football field including lining up at receiver. I’m pretty sure he can play quarterback too, he’s just one heck of an athlete.’’
(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)