Grading the Lions After Six Weeks

We grade Detroit position-by-position as the team returns from its bye week ...

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- It's been their only productive mode of attack. Give credit to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan for coming up with unique ways of deploying a short passing game while the Lions played without their quarterback (Matthew Stafford) and second-best receiver (Nate Burleson) and with their best running back (Jahvid Best) hampered.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Other than a couple of flashes from Best, the run game has been non-existent. The Lions went into the season knowing they didn't really have a true power run attack, but they expected to average at least four yards a carry. That hasn't happened.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- The Lions have made steady improvement. The front four is the strength of the team and has been outstanding all season. The back seven has gone from atrocious to just bad. CBs Alphonso Smith and Chris Houston have been strong the past two games and FS Louis Delmas appears to be as healthy as he's been all season.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Inconsistent. On the whole, they are stingy against the run. However, with all the problems at linebacker and at safety early on, they have given up way too many big plays.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- They are calling it the Detroit All-Stars because GM Martin Mayhew brought in several elite special teams players last summer, and they have been living up to the tag. There has been sharp improvement in every phase: coverage, returns, placekicking and punting.

COACHING: C -- Give coach Jim Schwartz high marks for keeping the team together through a tough early schedule and a barrage of injuries to key personnel. Give him credit for not accepting excuses or moral victories. He wanted no part of the talk that his team was actually overachieving by being competitive in every game. "Our only goal is to win football games," has been his mantra. Deduct some points, though, for some questionable game strategy, particularly in losses to Minnesota and Green Bay.

Lions Report Top Stories