Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Megatron's effect on Lions' RB plans
By Tom Carpenter
ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert took a look at how Calvin Johnson affected the Detroit Lions' production against certain defenses last season, dubbing it "The Calvin Johnson Effect."
"In 2012, the Lions ran more plays (855 of a possible 1,160) against defenses with six or fewer defenders in the box than any other team. They also faced, by far, the fewest number of 'stacked' boxes -- eight or more defenders within two yards of the tackle and five yards deep. That happened on only 1.6 percent of their plays (19 of 1,160)," he wrote.
However, the trouble was that the Lions failed to take full advantage of the thinned out box via the rushing game. It's something they need to address this offseason:
Kevin SeifertLions: The Calvin Johnson Effect
"A six-man box is an open invitation to run, and to their credit, the Lions tried. In 231 attempts, they rushed for an average of 4.48 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns. But they managed a first down on only 18.6 percent of those runs, tied for No. 21 in the NFL in that scenario, which to me is a bottom-line percentage that opposing defenses can live with in exchange for maximum attention on Johnson. ... What does this mean as the Lions begin constructing their team for 2013? I think it highlights the need for a running back/running scheme that can better capitalize on defenses who are dropping one or more extra defenders into coverage as frequently as they did against the Lions last season. Perhaps Jahvid Best could have filled that role, and it's one we've discussed in relation to free agent Reggie Bush as well."