The offseason actions of the Detroit Lions spoke volumes about the team’s intent to improve it’s offensive output – particular optimizing the play of franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The team rebuilt the coaching staff, putting coaches with extensive quarterback coaching experience in place while adding pieces to the skill positions around the quarterback to increase the chances of success.
Now, with a new playbook, new offensive philosophy as well as new and improved weaponry, the Lions will publicly unveil their new look attack this evening when they host the Cleveland Browns.
It will also be the first chance for the coaching staff to look at the offense against an opposing team’s defense.
“One of the things we’re looking for is being very efficient and obviously, put points on the board,” said head coach Jim Caldwell. “I think that’s the thing you look for, for all offenses. It’s our offense, it’s the Lions’ offense. There’s some elements of it from a little bit of everything, but the fact of the matter is, we want those guys to make certain that we get a good sense of the running game, that we can mix it up with our pass to kind of tie in with it as well. Also, it has the ability to open it up a little bit because of the weapons that we have. We’ve got a pretty versatile offense, but efficiency is the thing we’re looking for and putting points on the board.”
One of the items put in place to improve the likelihood of success is an increased emphasis on pre-snap movement and adjustment – something that fans will see tonight despite – what is expected to be – an otherwise vanilla approach to play calling.
“For us, it’s going to be probably more multiple formations than we’re used to seeing, I guess fans of the Lions are used to seeing,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford. “Maybe some more motions and shifts and things of that nature. We’re still going to be an exciting offense, going to throw the ball, going to run the ball and hopefully have some big plays.”
It’s not that the Lions didn’t employee this strategy a year ago but expect more of it in 2014 – starting with tonight’s game.
“I think we did a decent job of moving guys in different positions last year but we’re going to make it tougher on teams to understand where guys are going to line up, what their split is going to be, if they’re going to be motioning or not, all that kind of stuff,” said Stafford. “Just helps guys with releases on the outside and in the run game helps with angles.”
As for Stafford himself, the new coaching team has worked hard on rebuilding the way he – and the other QBs – operate. This is inclusive of everything, from the way they read a defense to how they setup before they throw the ball – something the Lions top signal caller has embraced.
“I’m being coached differently, our drops are different, our reads are different, our plays are totally different,” said Stafford. “It was kind of nice to scrap everything and start from new with the way they wanted me to do it. I’ve been trying to embrace myself in that as much as I possibly can and it’s been fun.”
The early results have indicated progress. For the most part, Stafford has looked sharp in camp and has yet to throw an interception through 11 camp practices – something none of the other quarterbacks on the team can claim.
Of course, it’s not just Stafford. Having continuity on the offensive line has helped the transition to the new offense and the additions plus internal growth at receiver has been impactful.
“From top to bottom it’s as good as a receiving crops that we’ve had here since I’ve been here,” said Stafford.
If the Lions want to compete for their division, reach the postseason and advance they will need rely on their team strength – the offense.
Today will be the first look at the new offense that is the foundation of this franchise.
Lions to unveil new offense against Browns
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