After the Detroit Lions ranked second worst last season with 14 takeaways, Head Coach Matt Patricia knew that “ball awareness” needed to be emphasized to his players during the offseason.
The Lions’ ranking in takeaways also forced General Manager Bob Quinn to recruit more playmakers.
Their judgments were accurate, and now the Lions are 10th in the league with three takeaways already as they head into Week 3.
Patricia told the Detroit Free Press on September 20 that he felt he had to do a better job of explaining to his players what they need to be attentive to on the field and what opponents they needed to “attack” in certain scenarios on the field, and said they began training on ball awareness in the spring.
Lions safety Tracy Walker, who intercepted Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and was the first to chalk up a takeaway for the Lions, said it’s, “a huge adrenaline booster”, and went on to say that one of his coaches from years ago told him that “turnovers come in bunches.”
The Lions seem to be fulfilling that prophecy with three takeaways in two games.
Walker said that the momentum is contagious; when one teammate makes a good play, the rest of them are ready to make one, too.
Although it’s still early in the season, the Lions defense doesn’t look anywhere near ready to give up their momentum.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Superbowl LII winner and the favorite for tomorrow’s game against the Lions, have also racked up three takeaways this season, heading into tomorrow’s game at home with a 1-1 record. The Lions are now 1-0-1.
“We’re going out there just competing,” Walker said. “We’re going out there making plays, just having fun and playing out there with each other.”