Embed from Getty Images The last two football games of the 2018 season were ugly. Michigan Wolverines defense gave up 103 points and 1,035 total yards in blowout losses to Ohio State and Florida. Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown called it, “The most disappointing experience I’ve ever been through in my entire life.”
Jim Harbaugh’s fourth year defensive coordinator, Brown said he does not believe it was schematic issues that lead to the meltdown. Don Brown said “It’s not the concept, I’ve gotta do a bit of a better job.” That is the starting point.
Entering the 2019 season that will be a little more tricky. Replacements are needed for several defensive players from last year’s group. Linebacker Devin Bush, defensive lineman Rashan Gary and cornerback David Long all entered the NFL draft as juniors , while defensive lineman Chase Winovich and safety Tyree Kinnel, have graduated. Leaving a big void that needs filled.
Michigan lost 47% of the teams total tackles from last season, also 41% of the teams sacks. Lost in these gaudy numbers is the fact above the numbers the Michigan defense lost the ever important intangible leadership. From Devin Bush and Chase Winovich. That is a lot to replace.
“It’s always next man up no matter what happens,” said junior safety Josh Metellus. Now Michigan and Don Brown have had all winter to get ready. Ready for what comes next. New players need to pick up the system quickly this spring. Players need to focus on growing into their roles.
As for Don Brown he fired this off “We’re going to do some things a little differently.” What exactly that is, is unknown and is likely to remain that way until August 8, when the Wolverines kickoff the 2019 season.
That is Don Brown and the players focus of spring practice. To get players acclimated and up to speed of the defensive system. Michigan can not afford to have another season ending meltdown in 2019.
Embed from Getty Images The 0-2 Detroit Lions showed some signs of life during Sunday’s loss to the 49ers. Here are some of the good, bad and ugly from the first two games. Also why I firmly believe in Matt Patricia.
No matter the early results the sky has not fallen. First and formost the Detroit Lions of 2018-19 were never going to be a playoff team. I believe that is by design. General manager Bob Quinn has a long term vision and one Lions fans need to remember.
The defense is a hot mess. I will have more on that unit in a moment. Kenny Golladay is having a fantastic he is on his way to being a game changing wide receiver. That is good because Golden Tate who is in the last year of his contract is playing like a guy who does not want to get hurt in order to get a big payday.
The running game is actually showing signs of life. Rookie Kerryon Johnson has breathed a new life in the run game. He should get more touches as the season moves along.
Da’ Shawn Hand, has been the lone bright spot on a terrible defensive line. The unit misses too many tackles and does not generate much of a pass rush. There is still a lot of improvement to be had.
Linebackers have begun to cover pass routs better. And have been solid against the run.
The offensive line has been all over the board Rookie Frank Ragnow has allowed more quarterback pressures than any lineman in the NFL. Taylor Decker at left tackle is the worst rated run blocker. Both are young players who have time to put in the work and clean up their game.
Because the defensive line has yet to find the footing they need. The secondary has taken a hit. No pass rush has allowed wide receivers to get open sooner.
Matthew Stafford who was a top 5 deep ball passer last season is currently #32. He has been victim of the drops. Detroit Lions receivers have dropped more passes than any other team in the NFL.
So based on all of that. The Lions have gotten better. Remember this is a long process. Bob Quinn took over a roster of far less versatile players and is slowing bringing more into the organization.
Other than a questionable use of the clock in week one Matt Patricia has not shown me anything that makes me think the Lions made the wrong pick at head coach. For a team that was not going to the playoffs this season. It if far more important the learn Patricia’s system and find out who can and can not play in his system.