Led by a new head coach, the Detroit Lions are looking to unseat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. What five players need to play better this season?
There are 16 franchises that currently make up the NFL’s National Football Conference. And unfortunately for the fans from the Motor City, there is only one club among that group that has still failed to make a Super Bowl appearance.
The last time the Detroit Lions were crowned league champions was way back in 1957. Since then, there has been the occasional postseason appearance. But this club hasn’t won a division title since 1993 and hasn’t prevailed in a playoff game since ’91.
This offseason, the organization opted to part ways with head coach Jim Caldwell after a fairly successful four years at the helm. The Lions made two playoff appearances over that span but unfortunately, failed to post a victory. So enter former New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who has a history with the Lions’ current general manager Bob Quinn.
The duo will try to turn things around and get this club back in the playoffs for the third time since 2014. And if Detroit is to come away with the win in the postseason, they may need these five players to step up in a big way this fall.
5. A’Shawn Robinson
It was a solid second season for the former University of Alabama standout. But if the Detroit Lions’ defense is to make significant strides, they will need more from interior presence A-Shawn Robinson. The 23-year-old pro was a 16-game starter for the club in 2016. He finished the year with 53 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble while knocking down six passes. And his overall grade from Pro Football Focus shows that he improved from his debut season.
Still, Patricia and new defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni may be hoping that in his third season, Robinson could push the pocket a little more. Detroit finished with only 35 sacks (12 by end Ziggy Ansah) by year’s end. The former member of the Crimson Tide is an intriguing talent. So don’t be surprised if his year three in the NFL is less-than-charming for the opposing quarterbacks he’s chasing down.