Here’s a closer look at the Detroit Lions’ quick counts from their decisive Week 15 win over the New York Jets, along with some thoughts on what they might hold going forward.
Jared Goff: 68 (100% of offensive shots)
D’André Swift: 27 (40%)
Justin Jackson: 22 (32%) – 19 Special Team Snaps (68%)
Jamaal Williams: 21 (31%)
Jason Cabinda: 10 (15%) — 13 (46%)
Swift has returned as RB1 for the Lions, and while the stats speak of an increase in efficiency, the eye test still leaves something to be desired. Swift’s natural instinct to move laterally in a scheme designed to run north and south continues to work against each other. On more than one occasion against the Jets, Swift had daylight and a blocker in front of him, but instead of taking what was there, he tried for the bigger game and ultimately failed to take his chance.
Jackson and Williams are much better at following their blocks and finishing runs, but they lack Swift’s explosiveness. If the Lions hope to get the running game back on track, it will start with Swift maximizing his runs and then setting up the bigger backs to weaken the defense.
Brock Wright: 32 (47%) – 8 (29%)
Shane Zylstra: 25 (37%) — 3 (11%)
James Mitchell: 16 (24%) — 8 (29%)
Wright was the hero of week 15, but this group as a whole only received five goals on that day. Moreover, when the targets move to the tight side, it is usually for short wins. Zylstra caught his lone pass for four yards, Mitchell caught both of his targets for a total of 12 yards, and both Wrights were designed for short gains – luckily he was able to convert the latter into a 51-yard home call.
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 57 (84%)
DJ Chark: 52 (76%)
Josh Reynolds: 40 (59%)
Caliph Raymond: 20 (29%) — 6 (21%)
Jameson Williams: 13 (19%)
The Lions continue to take it easy on Williams as he matched his fast count from last week. The Lions are really in no rush to push him too much at this stage, but most expect that number to increase in the last three games. The top three options pretty much held true, as Raymond saw his snaps increase as the Lions sent his hot hands away.
Taylor Decker: 68 (100%)
Penei Sewell: 68 (100%) — 5 (18%)
Dan Schipper: 3 (4%) — 5 (18%)
Matt Nelson: 2 (3%) — 5 (18%)
The Lions continue to be creative with how they use their sixth offensive linemen sets and you have to think there’s some long-lasting game play. Another trick could be in the making along the way.
Guards / centers
Frank Ragnow: 68 (100%)
Jonah Jackson: 68 (100%) — 5 (18%)
Evan Brown: 68 (100%) — 5 (18%)
Logan Stenberg: 0 (0%) — 5 (18%)
Welcome back, Evan Brown.
Isaiah Buggs: 36 (57%)
Ali McNeill: 31 (49%)
Benito Jones: 16 (25%) — 4 (14%)
Buggs continues to push for an off-season extension. Only once during his three seasons in Pittsburgh did he have a five game game as good as the one he has now in Detroit.
McNeill had a few fewer shots than usual, but his impact was felt when he was on the field, earning PFF’s second-highest mark of any Lions defenseman.
Aidan Hutchinson: 54 (86%) — 4 (14%)
John Cominsky: 51 (81%) — 4 (14%)
Romeo Okwara: 26 (41%) — 3 (10%)
James Houston: 25 (40%) – 12 (43%)
Josh Paschal: 14 (22%)
PFF’s top-rated Lions defenseman was – no surprise – Hutchinson, whose balanced skills make him an impact player on a weekly basis.
Aidan Hutchinson earned the Lions’ highest PFF mark for defense vs. the Jets (83.4)
As of Week 11, his PFF rating is 89.5, which is FOURTH among ALL NFL EDGE defensemen.
— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) December 19, 2022
Cominsky continues to prove he belongs in a base role, Okwara has settled on a higher shot count – and production returns for good after a two-sack performance – and Paschal’s role has held steady since returning from injury.
The surprising news here is that Houston’s role is growing, and wouldn’t you know it, he took another sack – his fifth in four games.
Alex Anzalone: 62 (98%)
Malcolm Rodriguez: 36 (57%) — 4 (14%)
Chris Board: 10 (16%) — 23 (82%)
Jarrad Davis: 10 (16%) — 9 (32%)
Anthony Pittman: 5 (8%) — 23 (82%)
Josh Woods: 0 (0%) — 23 (82%)
With Derrick Barnes injured, this is close to the same splits the Lions have used over the past two games. Rarely leaving the field, Anzalone plays the best football of his career, making a valuable contribution to the Lions’ defense resurgence. Rodriguez is still alive at just over 50% since his elbow injury, but this could also be rookie wall management.
Davis has no more raises on matchday, so it will be interesting to see if he gets promoted to the active squad if Barnes is out due to injury. A player like Austin Bryant, who has been healthy for the last few games, may not be as valuable to the team as Davis right now.
Jeff Okudah: 62 (98%)
Jerry Jacobs: 62 (98%) – 8 (29%)
Will Harris: 61 (97%)
Amani Oruwariye: 1 (2%) — 6 (21%)
Mike Hughes: 0 (0%) — 16 (57%)
With Okudah and Harris back to full health, the Lions leaned quite a bit on their nickel pack in this game. Jacobs remains a boxed starter and was rewarded for his hard work with his first career interception against the Jets. With the starting trio all available, Hughes was relegated back to a reserve role.
Kerby Joseph: 63 (100%) — 10 (36%)
DeShon Elliott: 39 (62%)
CJ Moore: 29 (46%) – 23 (82%)
Ifatu Melifonwu: 0 (0%) — 19 (68%)
With Elliott injured early in the second half, the Lions had to turn to Moore to fill in and he did admirably. Coach Dan Campbell didn’t have an update on Elliott after the game, but if he misses one time, Moore should be the next man. Melifonwu continues to spend his days adjusting to the position change after missing almost the entire off-season due to injury.
Jack Vos: 15 (54%)
Scott Daly: 9 (32%)
Michael Badgley: 5 (18%)
After being perfect for most of the season, Badgley has now missed a field goal in three of the last four games. This one was very challenging, from 54 yards on a cold winter day, but that could be a good thing as the coaching staff now know their limitations.