Injuries are a part of life in the NFL.
Teams who are able to overcome them with good depth on the roster are usually the ones left standing in the end.
The Lions were hit hard by injuries on defense and it certainly affected them toward the end of the season.
Heading into the Thanksgiving game against the Packers in Week 11, the Lions ranked 9th in total defense, 27th against the run and 5th against the pass.
They lost safety Louis Delmas and corner Chris Houston to knee injures against the Packers and suffered other nicks and bruises over the course of the next few weeks. Delmas didn’t return until the playoffs and Houston was never 100 percent.
The injuries hit the Lions hard.
They ended the season 23rd in total defense, 23rd against the run and 22nd against the pass.
“We didn’t adjust well to dealing with those injuries,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Monday. “How much of it was due to losing Delmas and Chris Houston and Willie (Young) and Lawrence Jackson and those guys? We lost a lot of depth on our D-line; we lost a couple key players in our secondary.
“I think you look at the injury situation: our offense, other than the running back position, was relatively healthy over the course of the season. Defensively, I don’t think we could say the same. It’s the same defense, I think, after about week 8, 9, 10, whatever it was, (that) was top-10-type defense. Obviously we didn’t finish that well.”
That’s an understatement.
The Lions allowed a combined 90 points and 1,176 yards of offense in losses to the Packers and Saints to end the season.
Just as important on the Lions’ offseason to-do list as re-signing defensive end Cliff Avril and linebacker Stephen Tulloch is continuing to build depth on defense.
Injuries are a part of life in the NFL and the Lions need to put themselves in a better position to deal with them.
“We certainly still have work to do there,” Schwartz admitted.
Tags: Chris Houston, Cliff Avril, Lawrence Jackson, Louis Delmas, Stephen Tulloch, Willie Young
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