Being a scout is a lot like being a private investigator and in this article, I have been tasked with finding the three things Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford must fix immediately, based on film study of the first quarter of this season.
However, to do this, I had to start by looking at the big picture. For starters, there has been a radical shift in offensive philosophy between last season and this season.
The thing that really struck me last season was just how aggressive the Lions were at pushing the ball deep downfield.
Stafford led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns through the first eight games of the season before getting injured.
Detroit offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell returned to the sidelines in 2020, but it’s like aliens have abducted him and replaced him with a much more conservative clone.
It is unbelievable to me how conservative this offense has looked through the first four games.
Nothing about the 2020 Lions offense makes sense to me, and Stafford has looked extremely uncomfortable adjusting to this new and far less effective strategy.
For starters, the consistent long ball has all but disappeared, and it has been replaced by what I call, “dink-and-dunk,” which is a whole lot of short and intermediate range passes.
The thing about dink-and-dunk is it takes a lot more of those short little passes to be completed in order to keep drives moving.
And without any real offseason, the timing between Stafford and his receivers just has not been there so far.
The tempo has not consistently been there.
For every completion, there is an incompletion, and drives have been bogged down.
It makes little to no sense to switch to this conservative offensive philosophy, given the team did not have any real offseason or preseason