Allen Park — It’s no secret that defense has been the Lions’ biggest bugaboo in recent years. Last season, they were among the worst in the league, ranking second-worst with just 28 sacks, tied for worst with seven interceptions.
The issues can be the defensive line, which didn’t get off to a strong start after signing Trey Flowers in free agency. Flowers had surgery on his shoulder and got off to a slow start to the season.
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He’s got some help this year, with the Lions’ additions of lineman Danny Shelton, linebacker Jamie Collins and safety Duron Harmon. All three have a history with the New England Patriots and thus have some familiarity with the defensive scheme that coach Matt Patricia wants to run.
Some of that can carry over and provide some continuity to fill in some of the gaps and take some of the pressure off those who might be less familiar with some of the nuances. Flowers can see some of the benefit.
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“I don’t know necessarily whether chemistry moves from team to team but (Collins and I) understand the particular background of this defense and just the scheme of this defense we kind of can be on the same page when it comes to different calls we make or different things we do,” Flowers said Saturday. “I think knowing how to play in this defense and know how it works, or the overall scheme of the defense is then we’re able to play fast, able to play off each other and get a feel for each other out there.”
There’s generally criticism about adding so many former Patriots, but it’s a smart idea and something of a shortcut to improving the defensive group if they have that familiarity. Whatever it takes to generate the productivity and kick-start the defense is worth the effort.
While younger players might take some time to get adjusted and process all the details, some of the vets can fit right in and be ready to go.
“I think just bringing in a lot of guys that work hard, showing attention to detail. A lot of vet guys with a lot of experience, especially from a defensive line standpoint, that bring that experience to the defensive front and bring that technique and fundamental on of football that it takes to be a dominant defensive front,” Flowers said. “The amount of guys we brought in and the type of guys we brought in, they’re willing to work and ready to work.”