The Detroit Lions had fourth-quarter leads in six of their nine losses last season. They need to start focusing on their lack of close out ability in the fourth quarter right now in summer practices. It’s one of the most important things for a team to be able to do, and it was one of the worst aspects of the team in 2013.
Jim Caldwell is notoriously “not dwelling on last season’s mistakes,” which is hopefully just coach speak, because even though he wasn’t around, he should absolutely over-analyze the Lions’ mistakes. They made so many, yet were still in contention. There has to be something that can be fixed to at least cut down on the bad decisions and bad defense, and Caldwell must address it.
Changes have been made on the offense, and there’s some buzz about new defensive schemes, but fourth-quarter losses come down to coaching. There has to be a system in place. No matter what a coach says, you do not play the fourth quarter the same way you play the rest of the quarters, especially if you have a lead.
Major change is hopefully coming to the Lions this season, and that change must start with their ability to close out games they have already won. If the Lions can fix that issue, they’re in the playoffs, and moving forward to being an elite team at the top of the NFC North in 2014 and beyond. We’ll see what Caldwell does to shape the team’s mindset before the start of the season.