Don’t count out Da’Shawn Hand as Lions move on without Trey Flowers

Detroit News

Not only are the Detroit Lions facing the prospect of having to replace their best receiver this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, the team will also have to find a way to compensate for the loss of one of their best defensive players, Trey Flowers. 

Flowers landed on injured reserve on Monday. A specific injury wasn’t announced by the team, but he exited Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter after his right arm went limp. He’ll miss at least the next three games and potentially more. 

Da'Shawn Hand

Before the injury, Flowers was having a typical season, by his standards. His pass-rush production has unquestionably been down — just 15 pressures and 2.0 sacks through seven games — but he’s continued to be one of the league’s most fundamentally sound, all-around edge defenders. Analytics site Pro Football Focus currently ranks him 11th in the NFL at the position for the season. 

The obvious solution to pick up the slack for the Lions will be Everson Griffin, who will join the team this week after being acquired in a trade from the Dallas Cowboys. 

“I think it’s fair to say everybody’s excited,” defensive coordinator Cory Undlin said. “Talked to him on the phone, excited to see him in person here. We got to get him on the field first, get him in the meeting room, and then I’ll think we’ll get a feel for the best spot for him.”

Playing a rotational role for the Cowboys, Griffen was averaging 40 snaps through seven games. And as a member of the Vikings in 2019, he handled nearly 57 snaps per week, so a big workload wouldn’t be an issue assuming he can get acclimated to the defensive scheme quickly. 

Other edge options for the Lions include the bevy of linebackers they’ve been using along the defensive line this year, from Christian Jones to Reggie Ragland to Jahlani Tavia, but each are undersized for an every-down role.

Subscription: Four Downs: Matthew Stafford will keep getting smashed if Lions don’t fix offensive line

If it’s size the Lions need, they could always shift Da’Shawn Hand from his typical interior alignments to the outside of the defensive formation. It’s something he’s done sparingly this year, but it’s certainly part of his resume. 

“He’s been rushing the passer (well) the last three weeks,” Undlin said. “Hand has been a part of the program since we kicked this thing off, so obviously when you lose a guy like Trey, everybody’s gotta step up. We got (Griffen) coming in here, so he’s going to help with that, but everybody else has to step up as well. And like I said earlier, we’ll work on the packages and the personnel to get us in the best situations so we can have some success. I don’t know right now what that’s going to be, but we’ll know by the time we get to Sunday for sure.”

‘Bad coaching’

The Lions had two bad mental mistakes on Sunday when they had just 10 players on the field. One was during a two-point conversion early in the fourth quarter, when the Colts went ahead, 28-14, and started to create a comfortable margin.

In both cases, the Lions had a player running off the field, thinking he was the extra player and not wanting to get a penalty for 12 players.

“Bad coaching, that’s what that is,” defensive coordinator Cory Undlin said Tuesday. “Down there in the red zone, there was obviously some confusion from the players; we had a guy run off, and then we had a substitution on third down going back to first down.

“So, no excuse for it. Bad ball, and it starts with me, just like everything does. I would say this without getting into all the specifics — which don’t really matter — because we had 10 guys on the field, and at the end of the day, it starts with me. I’ll leave it at that.”

Articles You May Like

Detroit Lions go totally toward defense in Mel Kiper’s first 2023 mock
Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond boosted his pay nicely with All-Pro season
Former Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson named to Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame
Alex Anzalone offers relatable analogy for Lions defensive turnaround this year
NFL Sunday Divisional Round open thread: Bills vs. Bengals; Cowboys vs. 49ers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *