Detroit Lions- QB, RB, or pass rush?

Detroit Lions- QB, RB, or pass rush?

Post by Mark A. Blickh » Fri, 02 Apr 1993 06:36:35

Recent controversy has reigned over the need for a pass rusher, either Reggie
White, or through the draft.  Considering all of the high picks the Lions
have made in the past few years, is this necessary?

Rd.1- Robert Porcher, Rd.2- LB Tracy Scroggins, Rd.1 Kelvin Pritchett (trade),
also in top 3, DE Dan Owens, DT Marc Spindler (was to be 1st DL taken in
draft before injury).

Of course, Jerry Ball deserves consideration, although the Lions talked trade.

Does anyone know what the new defensive coordinator is planning (3-4, 4-3,
who's going to start)?

Obviously more draft picks or Reggie White is going to bump somebody (although
we still need bench depth).  All of these guys have promise.

Can the Lions hope to win with QBs and RBs (the offense) instead?
Maybe the Lions need veteran backups at both positions.  Of course, QBs are
VERY expensive nowadays, with back-ups going for multi-million dollar
contracts.  Yet it seems a Ferguson might help out when injuries strike
(and Lions fans can bank on it).

Maybe what we need is an analysis of the Lions past.  Using Neft and Cohen's
reference work, I will chart the Lions' key players at QB, RB, and pass rusher,
along with the Lions' win total.

1977- QB Greg Landry- 56%, 1,359 yards, 5.7 per att. 6 TD, 7Int. Rank- 4th
     Note- Lions QBs were sacked 54 times, worst in NFC, 2nd to N.E.
     Rushing- 1,706 yds.  3.6/att.  11 TD- about average- Horace King- 521 yds.
     Pass rush-  32 sacks- below average- stand-out was Doug English.
     Record- 6-8

1978- QB Gary Danielson- 57%, 2,294 yds. 6.5/att. 18 TD, 17 INT. Rank- 3rd.
     Note- started 6th game on, replacing Landry.
     Rushing- 2,163 yards, above-avg.  Dexter Bussey- 924 yds.
     Pass rush- 55 sacks- 2nd in NFL to Dallas- Al "Bubba" Baker- 2nd round
        pick- rookie had 23 sacks!  Rushing 'D' below- avg, but not bad.
     Record- 7-9 - note- started 1-6, ended 6-3.

1979 QB- Jeff Komlo- 50%, 2,238 yds. 6.1/att. 11 TD, 23 TD, Rank- 14th.
     Note- Danielson hurt in final pre-season game-
     Rushing- 1,677 yds. Last in NFC- Bussey- 625 yards.
     Pass rush- 45 sacks, above average.
     Record- 2-14!

1980 QB- Gary Danielson- 59%, 3,223 yds, 7.3/att. 13 TD, 11 Int, Rank 5th.
     Rushing- 2,599 yds. 3rd in NFL. Billy Sims- 1,303 yds. Led NFC 13 TDs.
     Pass rush- 44 sacks- above average- Doug English sat out season.
     Record- 9-7  Note- started 5-1, went 4-6, finished 2nd in tie to Minn.

1981 QB- Eric Hipple- 50%, 2,358 yds. 8.5/att (best in NFC), 14 TD, 15 Int, R9
     Note- won 7 games after Komlo and Danielson went 2-4.
     Rushing- 2,795 yards- Best in NFL- Sims- 1,427 yds- 13 TD(best in NFC)
     Pass rush- 47 sacks (best in NFC)- English returned.
     Record- 8-8  Note- lost at home (was 7-0 until then) in final week to
        Tampa Bay- who won the division at 9-7.

1982 QB- Danielson- 51%, 1,343 yds. 6.82/att. 10 TD, 14 Int, Rank 14th.
     Rushing-1,022 yds. (average- strike year) Sims- 639 yds. (2nd in NFC).
     Pass rush- 32 sacks- 3-way tie for NFC lead.
     Record- 4-5, made expanded playoff- lost at Wash. 31-7.

1983 QB- Hipple- 53%, 2,577yds. 6.66/att. 12 TD, 18 Int. Rank 12th.
     Rushing- 2,181 yds (average)- Sims- 1,040 yds (had broken hand).
     Pass rush- 43 sacks- below average- had traded Al Baker.
     Record- 9-7, won Central, lost at SF, 24-23 (Murray missed kick).

After 1983- the tale is too gruesome to tell.  The conclusions- I don't
know what the Lions need to win.  Are they destined to a future of
mediocrity?  Probably not, because 1991 offers some hope to the Lions.
1991 was a true team performance, but maybe an aberration- they scored only
339 points while giving up 295- not typical for a 12-4 team.

I believe that the data presented above (the years with Sims particularly)
show that the QB needs the most improvement. Consistent injuries, poor
outings by benchwarmers, no star QB to build a team on.  Even with Sanders,
the Lions will be nothing more than mediocre without a solid QB.

Sure, Peete had a good 1991, but the pass rush only got 30 sacks, below
average for the NFC.  Sanders is the key, but I believe that Andre Ware (or
Peete, Kramer if they win the job) is going to be the real determiner of
the Lion's 1993 record.  Of course, a strong OL will help both Sanders and
the QB.  Lets think wisely before we throw good money and good draft picks
after bad.  The pass rush will not win as many games as its high-profile
suggests.  Perhaps the change in defensive philosophy will help- after all

Mark A. Blickhan-  GO LIONS! GO ANGELS!

1979- QB Jeff Komlo- 50%, 2,238 yds. 6.1/att. 11TD


1977- Greg Landry
(and you Lions fans can bank on that