Detroit Lions Must Be More Balanced in 2014

By Brian Kalchik
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions need to be more balanced on offense in 2014. This statement is easier said than done as the Lions do feature the best wide receiver in the league in Calvin Johnson and also one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Matthew Stafford.

However, a more balanced attack will be better for both Stafford and Johnson.  In his early years with the Indianapolis Colts, new Lions head coach Jim Caldwell‘s team was a pass-first, pass-second and run-third offense. Although they put up impressive offensive numbers they were still unable to win the big one.

In 2006, Caldwell and the Colts turned to a two-pronged running attack with rookie Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes, and with a committed approach to the running game they became world champions.

The Lions already have two quality backs in place in Reggie Bush and Joique Bell that both fill the bill. Bush is the change of pace back who can break a big one at any moment, and Bell is the bulldozer who can get the tough yards between the tackles.

The offensive line already has some solid pieces in place with Riley Reiff, Dominic Raiola and Larry Warford who are solid pass protectors but remain run blockers at their core.

With hopefully a re-committed focus towards the run game, Stafford can be more efficient in the passing game, cutting down on mistakes and giving Johnson even more opportunities to make explosive gains. Stafford has thrown the ball over 1,300 times in the past two seasons, and that’s not the formula for building a complete offense capable of producing in the postseason.

With a more balanced attack, Detroit can cut their down their horrible minus-12 turnover ratio and give their defense time to rest which in turn will produce better results in 2014. If the ratio is 55 percent pass and 45 percent run or better, Detroit will win. If the ratio is 60 percent pass to 40 percent run, the Lions will lose.

New offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, fresh from the New Orleans Saints, will know that by throwing less the Lions will win more in 2014.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and connect with him on Google.

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