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Anthony Lynn is hindering the Lions’ offense with questionable play-calling

Dan Campbell has taken ownership of the Detroit Lions struggles due to some questionable late-game coaching decisions. While hindsight is 20/20, it’s safe to surmise he’s aware the Lions could be at least 2-2 on the season if he made a few better choices. In that same breath, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn accepts responsibility regarding the Lions’ defense. He knows they have to get better. And they’re showcasing flashes of improvement even with losing key players to injury at an alarming rate. It’s now time for offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to step up to the plate and take his medicine because the Detroit Lions’ offense is horrendous.

And that falls squarely on his shoulders as a play-caller. Outside of the young receivers stepping up as much as possible, the offense is stagnant.

During the Lions’ 24-14 loss on Sunday to the Bears, the Lions virtually abandoned the run game in the second half. Between D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, the Lions rushed the ball four times. Swift had two carries for four yards, while Williams had two carries for nine yards. 

Now to be fair to Lynn, Swift didn’t have a great game on Sunday. He had eight carries for 16 yards, which averages out to two yards per rush. Swift is better than that, and not utilizing him more that day makes sense. 

But it doesn’t make sense when it comes to Jamaal Williams. 

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) talks to offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn during warm-ups before the preseason game Friday, Aug, 13, 2021 against Buffalo Bills at Ford Field in Detroit.

Williams is six feet and over 220 pounds. On Sunday, he had 12 carries for 57 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. How does Williams only touch the ball twice in the second half with both in the third quarter? Based on the averages, he would’ve been very effective in keeping the Bears’ defense honest. 

Williams opened the second half with a six-yard run and didn’t touch the rock again until the Lions’ third drive of the half at the 4:45 mark in the third quarter. 

He finished the game with 14 carries for 66 yards. 

And again, I reiterate, he did not touch the ball in the fourth quarter. 

Along with that, in their short-yardage situations, why isn’t Lynn trusting Williams instead of Jared Goff? There were six plays in the second half where the Lions were either third-and-short or fourth-and-short. In each of those six plays, the Lions relied on Goff to make a play. 

And he converted on only two of them.

Yesterday afternoon, Dan Campbell addressed the lack of use of Williams in those situations.

“We’re going to reevaluate all of our third-and-short type situations and figure out exactly what we need to do,” said Campbell. “What’s going to be best for us moving forward.” 

“Jamaal ran his rear off yesterday. He was on point. And so, look, it’s certainly something we’re going to look at.”

So far this season, the Lions’ offense has not only blown it on short-yardage situations, but the offense has gotten off to slow starts. The Lions have been scoreless in the first quarter in three of their four games. Along with that, over the last two games, they’ve been scoreless in the first half. 

The Lions initiated a realistic and genuine rebuild this past offseason. And it’s nowhere near time to hit the panic button. Dan Campbell and his staff deserve some credit. There have been noticeable improvements with the team from a culture standpoint. They’re playing hard from start to finish. But at some point, the slow starts for the offense have to come to an end.

And Anthony Lynn has to be accountable for that. 

Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.

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