Going into last year’s season, many Detroit fans had high hopes for our offense. After hiring Saint’s quarterback coach (and grandson of NFL Legend) Joe Lombardi, and drafting an athletically gifted, pass-catching tight end in the first round, Eric Ebron, many Lions fans expected to see a high scoring, prolific offense throughout the majority of the year. What they got instead was a below-average offensive line, a low-accuracy quarterback, and a run game that couldn’t seem to break the line of scrimmage most of the time. While the offense struggled last year, I believe that the improvements made by several veteran players, and the contribution of some of the new additions from the offseason will propel this unit to the level of production Lions fans have hoped for.
1. Matthew Stafford
Learning a new offense is an extremely daunting task. Last year was Stafford’s worst in terms of passing yards compared to the past 3 years, and I believe that that had a lot to do with his inexperience in Lombardi’s offensive scheme. With an entire offseason to learn the playbook, and a revamped, younger offensive line to protect him, I believe that Stafford will have what he needs to finally take the step from ‘good’ to ‘great’.
2. Eric Ebron
As the #10 draft pick, Ebron had extremely high expectations from both the Lions coaches, and fans. His rookie season was rather underwhelming, with only 25 receptions for 248 yards, and there are many fans that are already considering him a bust. Ebron has the physical size to be a matchup-nightmare for defensive backs, and I believe that his progress this offseason will enable him to become the multi-threat player we hoped for.
3. Ameer Abdullah
This second round pick out of Nebraska has been the talk of the town for most Lions fans the past few weeks. His explosive speed, aggressive running style, and hard-working attitude have already impressed coaches at mini-camp, and some are viewing him to take over as the #1 RB in front of Joique Bell. There are some criticisms about his size, but his body metrics are almost exact to one of the greatest runningbacks in NFL history, and the Lion’s most iconic player, Barry Sanders (yeah, I said it). Look for Abdullah to make a big splash in 2015, running behind a strong O-line.