3 issues the Lions MUST address this offseason
The Detroit Lions’ 11-win season was cut short after a late onslaught via the Dallas Cowboys.
While some will point to fourth quarter flags dictating the result, Matthew Stafford’s 0-18 record against winning teams on the road continues to hold true. Despite adding talent last offseason on offense like wide receiver Golden Tate and tight end Eric Ebron, the Lions find themselves on the outside looking in. Even a stellar defense couldn’t assist in the playoff push.
Turning the page to the offseason, FOXSports.com takes a look at three issues the Lions must address.
Life after Ndamukong Suh: The league’s best defense against the rush was largely dictated by Ndamukong Suh’s play. Suh is a three-time All Pro, but the Lions are reportedly "preparing to lose" him to free agency. While Suh is under contract through 2015, he can void the final year of his deal since he inked it during the previous collective bargaining agreement. Lions president Tom Lewand postponed contract negotiations in July until after the 2014 season. Without Suh, the Lions defense would lose some toughness, but what makes the situation even more peculiar is the team declined defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s fifth-year option this past offseason. However the Lions plan to replace Suh’s production, it certainly appears like it could fall flat.
Retooling the offensive line: With two quality running backs and a stout passing game, one would think the Lions’ offensive line would be the strength of this unit. Injuries, though, have left it depleted. While guard Larry Warford and tackle LaAdrian Waddle will return next season, adding some beef in the trenches would surely benefit the entire offense.
Retaining their defensive coordinator: Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has generated plenty of interest, piloting the league’s toughest defense. Austin, who will reportedly interview with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills, is an aggressive play-caller and has some believing he’s the best young defensive mind in the business.