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Lions hope getting back to basics will boost run game

By Eric Coughlin
Special to The Detroit News
Lions running back Kerryon Johnson

Allen Park — Much has been made of the Lions' rushing struggles over the past decade and especially last season when they averaged 3.4 yards per carry to their opponents' 4.2.

New offensive line coach Jeff Davidson thinks that improvement can happen when the line gets back to run-blocking basics.

"To leave it in simple terms, we have jobs for everybody on every play, and guys that are responsible for blocking certain members of the defense, we have to make sure they stay on their blocks," Davidson said. "That's where we start. I'd love to say that it's always that easy."

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Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter warned about only focusing on one facet of the offense during the offseason. His was more concerned about improving the offense as a whole.

"Every year is its own year," Cooter said. "I don't live in the, 'Last year we were this, so this year we need to change this one thing or upgrade this one thing.' It's a brand new year. It's a fresh year.

"Whatever we did well in the past or poorly in the past, it doesn't mean we get to pick back up right there. Something we might have been real good at, we better not just put that in our back pocket and say, 'Hey, we got that locked up.' There's a lot we're trying to improve. Last year's evaluations were made in the offseason and dealt with."

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.