Lions’ pass rush fizzles; is it a talent issue?

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Coming into the season, it appeared the Lions would struggle to find a pass rush, especially if former Pro Bowler Ziggy Ansah couldn’t return to form. That observation has come to fruition, especially in recent weeks, and it’s put an excessive strain on the rest of the defense.

“You always want to be able to get pressure obviously, it gets the ball out of the quarterbacks hands a little bit faster than you’d like,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “We have to do it sometimes in different ways and that’s always an area, obviously, you can see we’ve been trying to make some adjustments to try to get some of those things fixed.”

With the front four unable to generate consistent pressure, the Lions have leaned on blitzing, sending an extra rusher on more than a quarter of opponents’ pass plays. That too has been ineffective.

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In Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, the Lions got pressure on just five of Joe Flacco’s 36 dropbacks. He was hit once and not sacked. No quarterback was under duress less frequency on Sunday.

Ansah, who has battled injuries all year, didn’t record a single pressure on 20 pass-rush snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

Caldwell rejected the idea that the Lions have a talent issue up front.

“I would not agree with that assessment,” Caldwell said. “We just are not playing as well as we’re capable.”

The lack of pressure also can be tied to the Detroit’s lack of interceptions. The team has picked off just one pass in the five games since the bye.