Hyder: Lions pass rush lacks 'pocket push'

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Kerry Hyder

Allen Park – Opposing quarterbacks have registered a league-high 120.2 passer rating against the Lions defense.

Part of that is due to a lack of disruption up front, particularly the past two games. In last week’s loss to the Bears, the Lions could only muster two sacks and five quarterback hits against journeyman Brian Hoyer and the then-winless Bears.

Through four games, the Lions are tied at No. 12 with nine sacks. They also rank in the middle of the league with 19 quarterback hurries, led by Khyri Thornton, Haloti Ngata, Kerry Hyder and Devin Taylor, who all have three each.

The defensive line is responsible for three passes defended, eight sacks and 12 tackles-for-loss but has yet to force a turnover. Hyder has been a bright spot with five sacks, the second-most in the league, while Ngata and Taylor have each added 1.5.

If the Lions are going to pull out of their three-game tailspin Sunday against the unbeaten Eagles, Hyder said generating an effective pass rush is essential.

“We just have to keep playing hard and getting off blocks better. We're pushing the pocket but we're not finishing,” Hyder said. “We have to get off our blocks, make some tackles, make some sacks.

“At this moment, we're just not getting the pressure that we want and we've looked at ourselves in the mirror and we know that we have capable guys, so we just have to keep doing what we're doing and it'll come. We just have to keep playing hard."

Taylor added there also needs to be better communication and planning up front.

"It's just something that's so simple that you wouldn't think about,” Taylor said, “but it's something that universally makes a whole lot of difference because when everyone's on the same page, everything works together no matter even if they were to make a great play. Just us communicating as a whole allows us to stay together.”

With defensive end Ziggy Ansah sidelined since Week 2 with an ankle injury, the defensive line has been without its biggest playmaker who led the Lions with 19 quarterback hurries and 14.5 sacks last year. Still, Hyder said that’s no excuse.

“You're not going to replace a guy like Ziggy Ansah but as a group, we're able to affect the passer,” Hyder said. “We have guys that are capable of making plays. We just have to step up and do that.”