The Lions may have beaten the Jets on Saturday, but the first team units struggled with some of the same things that limited the team’s effectiveness in 2016.
Missed Opportunities For Turnovers
On the defensive side of the ball, the first team missed out on two opportunities to create turnovers. First, the Jets recovered a Christian Hackenberg fumble in a scrum. Then, Glover Quin dropped a would-be interception on a tip drill. Missed opportunities are not a luxury that a defense that was ranked 20th in turnovers in 2016 can afford.
On special teams, the kickoff coverage unit also failed to secure a fumble forced by Teez Tabor. While a potential recovery would have been negated by an offsides penalty on Steve Longa, you’d like to see a Lion come up with the ball.
The first team offense went three-and-out on one drive and failed to capitalize on premium field position on another. On the first possession, they began on New York’s 43-yard-line after a defensive three-and-out and a seven-yard TJ Jones return. After a quick 18-yard strike to Golden Tate and a six-yard carry by Ameer Abdullah to the Jets’ 19-yard-line, they took a sack, failed to convert a 3rd & 15, and trotted out Matt Prater for a chipshot. The team will need to stop settling for field goals in the red zone if they want to make noise in 2017. The team ranked 17th in red zone efficiency in 2016, and that possession didn’t bode well for any improvement.
Their next time out, they netted two yards in three plays and quickly punted. While they finally scored a touchdown on their third and final possession, the first team didn’t give fans much cause for optimism.
Thankfully, it’s just the preseason and it’s more about knocking the rust than anything else. If these issues persist into the regular season, it’s unlikely the team will win its first playoff game since 1991.