Rob Rubick: Lions O set for breakout

By: Rob Rubick
Ford Lions Report Live Analyst

 

Offensive Keys

Offensively for the Lions this is going to be a breakout week.

The Eagles are cocky and arrogant enough in their secondary that the Lions may not see that deep-two shell they've seen so far this season. They're going to see some more man coverage.

Philadelphia is very confident in its secondary. They can play man-to-man against the Lions receivers.

If they do that, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson really could have a big day. If the Lions come out and see that cover-two shell, it's going to be another long afternoon and they're going to have to be patient

If the Eagles do play that cover-two shell, you have to be able to run the football.

Mikel Leshoure was trying to do too much on every play. He's not a scatback. He's a banger.

He can run the ball, he's got moves and has speed to get up the field, but he's got to run to his strength and that's taking it inside, breaking tackles and then getting to the outside.

Matthew Stafford has been getting a little bit of flack but he's played well so far this season.

He's throwing accurately and throwing to what's there, but people aren't seeing those thirty yard chunk plays anymore, so everyone's jumping on the bandwagon and saying that Matthew Stafford isn't playing well.

He is playing well, making his reads and throwing the ball where it needs to go.



Defensive Keys

On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have an opportunity to get healthy.

They need to create some turnovers, which is something they haven't been able to do this season.

Michael Vick is fumble prone. He's proven that this year and his entire career. When he runs the ball, he's a small quarterback and he doesn't protect the ball very well.

There's a chance for Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch to come off the edge, knock a few loose and give the Lions a short field offensively.

The secondary, which was so opportunistic last year at creating turnovers, hasn't been doing it this year.

The key in the NFL is to win the turnover battle, especially when you're on the road. The Lions will have the opportunity to do that.

The Eagles haven't run the ball well at times this year so that should play into the Lions' hands. The secondary has been pretty solid at helping with the run defense.

People are complaining, but the Lions defense only gave up six points to a Vikings team that's proving they're a good football team.

If they can play that well in the secondary, then they have to get pressure with four up front.

The Lions whole defensive scheme centers around the success of the front four putting pressure on the quarterback and they haven't done that so far this year.

They're ninth in the league in sacks but if you look at how many pressures they've had and how many knockdowns they've had, they're way down in those categories.

If they can get at Vick, create turnovers, get pressure, and be opportunistic, they're going to have some success.


Special Teams keys

The Lions have to improve on their cover units.

They can't create vertical or horizontal lanes in the coverage units. They've got to be more physical on the edges, keep their feet and turn things back inside.

As a return man, you can't be blocked one-on-one. If you get blocked one-on-one,  natural lanes will open up and there's going to be big plays by your opponents.

The Eagles are going to exploit that as well. You have to make two guys block you. You have to get off blocks and for a lot of these guys, this is why they're in the NFL.

Doug Hogue really has to step up. Tahir Whitehead has to step his game up.

When you're a backup linebacker or a backup safety in the NFL, you better be a special teams demon. These guys have got to step up and they have to play better.

You can't put all the blame on Special Teams coordinator Danny Crossman because he doesn't get to cover any kicks.
 

Atmosphere in Philadelphia

In the NFL, there are no birthday parties wherever you go. There are no ponies and clowns.

Every city is after you and they're all rude.

When I played, New England was actually the rudest crowd in the NFL.

Philadelphia has always been tough. New York is tough. For these guys, it's nothing different. They've been there before.

The biggest concern is crowd noise and there are much louder places than Philadelphia around the league.

Rob Rubick joins Tom Leyden and Herman Moore on the Ford Lions Report Live every Sunday at 11 am throughout the season. You can follow Rob on Twitter @RRubick
    

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