After another dismal showing, Lions still trying to figure out what's ailing defense

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Oakland, Calif. — With each loss, Lions coach Matt Patricia sounds more and more like a broken record.

It's the same vague criticisms that the team isn't consistent and it boils down to his and his staff's need to coach better. 

Predictably after giving up 450 yards and 31 points in a loss to the Raiders on Sunday, it was more of the same. 

A defensive coach by trade, Patricia's defense has been getting torched more often than not this season, and there has been little reason to believe a fix is around the corner. For the fourth time in four losses, the defense surrendered more than 425 yards of offense, while those opponents have averaged 158 yards on the ground. 

And to the man, that's starting to wear thin on Detroit's defensive players. 

"It's frustrating, because last few weeks, I feel like the offense has been playing really well and if we're playing better defensively, the outcomes would be different," linebacker and team captain Devon Kennard said.

Defensive end Trey Flowers, the $90 million defensive end signed this offseason to help bring some of that consistency, echoed many of Kennard's sentiments. 

But neither player offered much more than platitudes about how to correct the woes. Flowers, who has known nothing but professional success after playing four years in New England prior to coming to Detroit, hinted this roster's effort level still isn't where it needs to be. 

Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) runs against Lions defensive back Will Harris (25) during the second half on Sunday.

"It's just the focus," Flowers said. "Yeah, we can go out there and work, go through the drills, but it comes to focusing on the details and doing it consistently. We can go out there one drive have good technique, good fundamentals, good tackling, then another drive, we miss tackles or we're out of our gaps. It's about focusing on consistency. 

"We work hard, but focusing on the consistent effort, the consistent focus is what will take us to the next level."

Lions cornerback Darius Slay admitted he wasn't an X's and O's guy and had little advice about what adjustments could be made to the way opponents are beating Detroit up front. But he acknowledged it's tough to swallow when it's the same breakdowns week after week. 

"This league is a copy cat league," Slay said. "They see we have a problem with that, they all do the same thing. Everybody in the world knows we play this, so they run this. They do it all the time. We ain't seeing nothing new.  Ain't new plays designed up. It's the same ones we have a problem with since the first week of the season.

"I don't know, we might be putting the pieces of the puzzle in the wrong spots."

For Patricia, it's back to the drawing board, starting with breaking down the film from Sunday's loss, to see what corrections he can make to his process and get those puzzle pieces in the right place. 

"We go back and look at the tape first, and see what we can coach better and try to get it taught in a different way, if we have to," Patricia said. "There are maybe some things in there that are OK because we're focusing on the really negative plays. 

"A lot of times, game like this — unfortunately we've been in a couple of them — when it's up and down like that, it's usually just inconsistency, all the way around. I have to figure out how to take that out."

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers