After embarrassing loss, Lions change up meetings
When the Detroit Lions met Monday to review film of last weekend's blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals, they decided to change the manner in which they made corrections.
Rather than meet for a short film review followed by more in-depth sessions with each position group, the entire offense watched all of Sunday's game in the Lions' auditorium and called out their mistakes as they happened in front of coach Jim Caldwell.
The idea was to bring more accountability to a unit that has caught plenty of heat for the Lions' 0-5 start. And according to players, it worked.
"We sat in here and watched the tape in this very room with everybody on offense after the game, I guess on Monday, and just hashed it out," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "Everybody call out when you can be better. If you did something good, other guys were, 'Hey, nice job,' this, that and the other. Just more of that. More guys understanding what it takes on offense to have a good play, and that's 11 guys doing the right thing all the time, full effort, assignment-sound. And that's what it's going to take."
The Lions rank last in the NFL in rushing offense and lead the league with 15 turnovers, three more than the next-closest team.
They've struggled in pass protection, been worse at run blocking, can't seem to get open downfield, and Stafford was benched for his erratic play.
Caldwell typically sits in the team's install meetings, when parts of the game plan are put in for the next game. But tight end Eric Ebron said it's rare that he spends time in the offense's game review.
"To see everybody stand up and do what and tell what they did wrong, it takes a lot of guts to do that, especially with the head coach in there," Ebron said. "It was just -- it was different."
Caldwell asked questions such as, "What were you thinking on this play?" And, "What would you do better on this play?" Ebron said. And the film session gave players a better understanding of how one mistake can affect the entire offense.
"I thought it was important that we kind of all sat there together at the same time, so everybody could hear the corrections on every single position and see exactly what our issues are," Caldwell said. "Oftentimes, you may know, but offensive linemen might not know what's going on with a wide receiver, or vice versa. But every once in awhile, that's certainly worth doing. So we felt that way, and that's why we did it."
Along with the change in film review, defensive end Darryl Tapp said the team's leadership council met apart from Caldwell to discuss ways to get the Lions' practice performance to better carry over to games.
One small change was evident at Wednesday's practice, when the Lions spent less time on position drills and allocated some of that practice period to installing their run defense for the week.
"Anytime that you're not playing quite like you'd like to be playing, then it typically goes back to, 'Hey, let's see what we can do to improve,'" Caldwell said. "Because you fight like you train, you train like you fight. And so we've just got to make certain that that area is as tight and secure as it can be, so we're always looking for it. Every week, we're always looking for ways to improve. We're looking for ways to improve our roster, we're looking for ways to improve everything. Question everything. And so that's no different."
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.
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