Allen Park — Changing schemes is no easy task, but the Detroit Lions have managed to quickly adapted to the team's new offensive system. Four games into the season, entering the bye, the team ranks eighth in yards per game and 10th in points.
Not bad for a team that finished in the bottom third of the league in both categories a year ago.
The thing offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has liked the most about the start has been the versatility of his unit.
"I think one of the things I do like is just some of the diversity we have in terms of our go-to guys and who we have the ability to get the ball to," Bevell said. "We are using a lot of different players and a lot of guys have catches and a lot of guys have runs. The ball is being spread around and that’s something that I like."
The Lions became the first team in NFL history to have four different players have a 100-yard receiving game through three games. Kenny Golladay is pacing the passing game with 19 catches, while Marvin Jones leads the team with 277 receiving yards.
In total, 11 different players have caught a pass, with four catching 11 or more.
The ground game's distribution has been a bit more lopsided, with Kerryon Johnson receiving more than two-thirds of the team's carries, but J.D. McKissic and Ty Johnson are also finding ways to contribute.
The stable of backs finally broke through on Sunday against Kansas City, gaining 168 yards on 33 carries. That resulted in a balanced attack that put up a season-high 30 points.
"We talked about how we were kind of one guy away," Bevell said. "We had 10, 11 guys doing a pretty good job, and we needed all 11 working together. I think you could see that last week. I think we did a much better job in the run game. We averaged over 5 yards a rush in that game. I thought our guys did a really good job of taking the message and really working on it. I like the mix that we were able to have because of it."
And yet the Lions still fell short of maximizing their opportunities in the loss to the Chiefs. The offense could have easily put another 10 points on the board had they only taken care of the football in the red zone. Instead, they lost two fumbles just short of the goal line.
That's the area the Lions need to improve the most in Bevell's eyes.
"I think the thing we are always working to improve on is the turnovers," Bevell said. "We have to continue to make sure we secure it. We had two last week that were game-changing plays. That is something we are going to definitely focus on."
Detroit's six turnovers rank in the bottom half of the league.