From day one of training camp, the offense’s main focus has been to run the football. In Week 5, the philosophy remains the same.
Last week in Chicago, the offense rushed for only 90 yards, and this Sunday it won’t get any easier. The Steelers defense brings its patented 3-4 defense, which is ranked fourth in the NFL in rush defense.
Center Dominic Raiola is aware of the challenge and feels this game will be a good measuring stick.
Raiola: “Every week we are trying to improve on it. That’s what we set out to do going into this season. It’s going to get better every week. We’ll have to see what we can do. I mean, you figure out things to improve on week-to-week, and come up with better things to do. I think it is just more of a challenge to see where are run game is.
“It’s just different. We make our little adjustments here and there. We have 3-4 rules and then we have 3-4 rules, so we just go over the 3-4 rules. It is a little more preparation because we don’t go against it a lot, but it’s going to be good for us because we are going against two 3-4 defenses in a row.
Fullback Jerome Felton, who has played an essential role in the Lions offense, believes the running game has suffered due to a lack of execution and this week he knows there will be no room for error.
Felton: “I just think it was execution (against Chicago). We watched the game and went back on Monday and watched film and I just feel like we didn’t execute when we needed to. We knew they were going to put a lot of people in the box and we were going to throw it early and that’s what we did and we were successful at it. Then, when they took a guy out and went to stop the passing game we should have been a lot more successful running the ball.
“It all comes down to execution and that’s something that’s always a work in progress and that’s something that we have to come in here this week and correct. They’re not going to give you anything cheap; you’ll have to earn everything you get. They’re just a tough bunch and you have to match the intensity and be physical to go play against them.”
The majority of the defenses the Lions will face this year will run a 4-3 defense and Raiola and Felton that facing a 3-4 requires extra preparation in game planning.
Felton: “We practiced against a 4-3 all through training camp and most of the team’s that we play have been a 4-3, so when you go up against a 3-4 you have two big outside linebackers that are really good at rushing the passer and you have three big guys in the middle. You don’t really get a lot of push on it because they’re really big up front, so you have to get a lot of stretch and try to respond to gaps on the defense. It’s definitely challenging and something that we’re really going to have to focus in on and execute our game plan to be successful.”
Tags: Dominic Raiola
Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 8 Comments »