The Detroit Lions established themselves as a good team on the ground to begin the season. Their rush attack helped them win games, notably against the New York Giants.
However, head coach Dan Campbell has seen his team’s effectiveness on the ground decline recently. And ahead of the team’s Week 17 game against the Bears, it’s an area he wants to improve.
“That’s just one of those things, that us, as coaches, we have to put an emphasis on — more of an emphasis than we have,” Campbell said Monday after an embarrassing loss to the Carolina Panthers. “And it’s up for us to design a good run game. And it’s up to them to make a go of it and make it work and finish and all those things.”
A few weeks ago, Detroit’s leading rusher wasn’t even an offensive player. Defensive back CJ Moore ran for 46 yards on a fake punt, which was good enough for him to be the team’s leading rusher against the Minnesota Vikings.
This past week, quarterback Jared Goff led the Lions in rushing. His 15 yards on three carries were good for a three-yard lead over D’Andre Swift on one less carry.
Campbell says the issue isn’t running the ball more. There’s more to it than simply handing the ball off to their running backs more frequently.
“It means efficiency. We have to be better when we do run the ball, to get more chunks,” the Lions head coach said. “We have to be better, so we have to work on it and make an emphasis on it, and we have to work on it and we’re going to work on it Wednesday and we’re going to work on it Thursday.”