Detroit Lions: 5 offseason needs in 2020

Detroit Lions

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 03: Trey Flowers #90 of the Detroit Lions runs off the field against the Oakland Raiders during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at RingCentral Coliseum on November 03, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

They remain the only member of the NFC not to make an appearance in the Super Bowl. What do the Detroit Lions need to address just to get into the playoffs?

In four seasons as head coach of the franchise from 2014-17, highly-regarded Jim Caldwell led the Detroit Lions to a combined 36-28 regular-season mark. There were three winning seasons and a pair of wild card appearances. The club did not prevail in the postseason in either instance but then again, this is an organization hasn’t won a postseason game since 1991.

No matter. General manager Bob Quinn opted to make a change and brought aboard a familiar face from his days in Foxborough in defensive-minded Matt Patricia. His tenure in the Motor City began with a 48-17 Monday night home loss to the New York Jets and has resulted in a 9-23-1 win-loss record. Due to many circumstances, including the loss of veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford for the second half of ’19, the team enters 2020 with a nine-game losing streak.

It also enters the new decade with Quinn and Patricia. But can this duo reverse the team’s recent misfortunes? And what does the organization have to key on if it wants to escape the NFC North basement where the team has resided the past two seasons?

5. Improve the pass rush

Doing a better job of getting after opposing quarterbacks. That was the thought when Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn inked New England Patriots’ defensive end Trey Flowers to a five-year, $90 million deal roughly a calendar year ago. He would play and start in 15 games, finish with 51 tackles, forced two fumbles and tie for the team lead with outside linebacker Devon Kennard with seven sacks. That tandem combined for exactly half of the club’s quarterback traps (28) in 2018. And that team sack total was tied for the second-fewest in the league.

It’s safe to say that Patricia and new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, late of the Philadelphia Eagles, have some work to do to generate some heat.

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