Allen Park — The bye week is a time for self-evaluation, to figure out what's going right and what's going wrong. With the positives, you try to figure out how to sustain them, while seeking to correct the shortcomings.
The Detroit Lions are in a good spot, coming through a tough start to the schedule with a 2-1-1 record. The new offense has been solid, the pass defense stellar, and the team is generating turnovers at an impressive clip.
That's the good news.
The bad news, at least on defense, is the team isn't stopping the run anywhere close to as well as they did a year ago. Through four games, the team is allowing opponents to gain 4.8 yards per carry.
Part of the reason has been sloppy tackling. But defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni sees reason for optimism.
“Well, I think that we have had some games where it has been very good," Pasqualoni said. "There are probably a few tackles that we would like to have back. Certainly, we’re not perfect, but I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re not there yet, but we’re going in the right direction.”
Last season, the team was one at the best in the league wrapping up. According to Pro Football Focus, the Lions missed just 74 tackles. This year, they're on pace to miss 124.
But in a loss to the Chiefs, the game before the bye, the Lions missed as a season-low six tackles. The hope is this is part of the team working through the kinks of the sloppy play that plagues the league every September.
"We really are just working to eliminate the bad football — keep trying to get to good football, consistent football," Lions coach Matt Patricia said last week. "I think we’re obviously in rhythm. We understand what the week looks like.
"We understand what the work is that has to go in week in, week out in order to prepare and get ready to go, and what's really important to us is that process and being consistent, because that’s how we improve.