#1 The Detroit Lions should claim former Dolphins DT Jordan Phillips von laiyongcai92 01.12.2018 03:24

On Tuesday Youth Kenny Golladay Jersey , the Detroit Lions made an odd transaction. They waived special teams player Dee Virgin. While the move itself wasn’t all that surprising, the fact that Detroit had no corresponding move, leaving them with an empty roster spot, is somewhat strange. Typically, that’s a sign the team has an addition in mind, and we’ll likely hear of it on Wednesday.I, too, have a transaction in mind for the Lions, and it has to do with a move the Miami Dolphins made on Tuesday. They added center Wesley Johnson (remember him?) and promoted defensive end Cameron Malveaux from the practice squad. To make room for the two, they placed center Daniel Kilgore on injured reserve, but more relevant to our interests, they waived former second-round pick, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. The Lions should absolutely put in a claim for Phillips, and here’s why.The Lions’ interior defensive line is really badDetroit was hoping to get serious contributions out of two key free agent pickups: Sylvester Williams and Ricky Jean Francois. The former had all the promise of a nose tackle, while the latter had valuable knowledge and experience of the Matt Patricia scheme. Francois has already lost the starting job to A’Shawn Robinson, who entered the season a healthy scratch. Williams has just five tackles in four starts, and even though his job is more to fill space, he hasn’t been doing that either. His PFF grade of 61.9 is good for 77th among interior defenders. Phillips fits the physical profile of Detroit’s needsAt 6-foot-6, 341 pounds, Phillips is exactly the kind of player the Lions could use as a rotational nose tackle when Williams is ineffective, injured, tired or a combination of all three. Phillips is fairly gifted athletically (6.53 RAS), and his incredibly tall frame makes him a tough man to push around in the run game.His NFL Draft profile reads as exactly someone this Lions defense desperately needs. From Lance Zierlein:So not only does he physically fit what the Lions need, but he excels at exactly what the Lions schematically need out of a nose.The downsidesAt this point in the season, you aren’t going to pluck a player from waivers or free agency that will drastically alter the course of your season, unless said player comes with some serious baggage (hi, Dez Bryant). So, yeah, Phillips isn’t going to be the best player on the defense suddenly. Phillips has been publicly called out for his inconsistent play before Youth Taylor Decker Jersey , accused of dogging certain plays when tired.“The bottom line is Jordan has got to play better overall,” Vance Joseph, his defensive coordinator, said back in 2016. “Out of 35 plays, Jordan is playing a solid 25 plays very solidly. He’s having four or five plays where it’s not very good.”It went on like that for a couple years in Miami, leading Jordan, once a starter alongside Ndamukong Suh, to be delegated to a rotational role. Phillips hasn’t started a game this year and has played in just 124 total defensive snaps. He wasn’t very happy about that: And his first reaction upon getting cut by the Dolphins? Pure bliss:For many, that’s a clear red flag in terms of character. Someone who doesn’t defer to the coaches may struggle when adversity inevitably hits. Desperate times call for desperate measuresAdmittedly, that’s a lot of downsides for someone I’m banging the table for, but the Lions are desperate. It’s doesn’t help that Phillips may not be well-versed in Patricia’s system and is currently the third lowest graded interior defender according to Pro Football Focus, but this team is bleeding out, allowing nearly 160 rushing yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry. Last year, the worst run defense allowed just 4.9 YPC. Phillips had very clearly mentally checked out in Miami, and we’ve already seen some new additions make an immediate impact for Detroit. Eli Harold, added just before the season, has three sacks already. Romeo Okwara, added during Week 1, has been the leading snap-getter on the defensive line over the past two weeks, garnering over 80 percent of snaps in games against the Patriots and Cowboys. “Change of scenery” is an often-used excuse to drum up hope that a busted player could succeed under a new team, and that could very well be what I’m pitching here. But there’s not much room for this Lions defense to fall, and a player like Phillips comes cheap (still on his rookie contract) and without much risk. Put Phillips in a rotational role to begin in the hopes that his limited role will minimize the plays he takes off. If he shows promise and understands the scheme, there’s no reason why he couldn’t displace Sylvester Williams as an eventual starter or at least share the role equally come November.Film Room: Taking a look at Jarrad Davis’ success and failures in preseason so far It is already pretty well documented that Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis had a rough rookie season. The 2017 first-round pick had struggles in coverage in 2017 and even became unplayable on passing downs in the latter stages of the season. His sophomore year with a new coaching staff gives him a chance to put his past struggles behind him and this preseason was his first chance to show that he can turn it around. His preseason has not gone as planned, though. The issues he had in coverage last season still seem to haunt him, and he has made a few key mistakes that have cost the team. Davis has made a few great plays in preseason, though, and they mainly came in the run game.Davis is great at finding gaps in the offense’s run blocking and exploiting them to make plays. He is a great at shooting through gaps and causing mayhem in the backfield. The linebacker can rack up tackles for loss and stuff runs at the line of scrimmage if given the opportunity. This was also his greatest strength in college at the University of Florida and definitely the skill that earned him his first-round status. While he did miss a few crucial tackles in the Lions third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was on a wet sloppy night where he may have had trouble gaining proper footing. His tackling form has always been hit or miss, but the only game this month where he made such glaring errors was against the Bucs in unusual conditions. While it is something to note Youth Christian Jones Jersey , it’s not something to really knock him for, especially when he was only in position to make some of the tackles he missed because of his ability to shoot through gaps so well. While Davis is great at shooting through gaps and taking advantage of any chinks the armor of the opposition, he isn’t very good at eating space in run defense. If a gap doesn’t open up for him, then he isn’t good at creating one. He gets blocked out of plays way too easily and does not have any real moves in his arsenal that he can use to shed blocks. He can make plays if the offense gives him a chance to, but he is a poor playmaker on his own. A run-stuffing linebacker needs to be able to eat up space in the middle of the opposition’s offensive line and create traffic on the interior to force runs back outside. Davis still has not shown that he can do this at the NFL level, and that’s a real concern entering Year 2.These faults in his game also make him a poor pass rusher. He can’t shed off blockers when rushing the passer, is too stiff and doesn’t have the bend or athleticism necessary to really create interior pressure. Just like he does against the run, though, Davis can fire through the gaps that open in pass protection to make plays in the backfield. He is great at blitzing from the second level of the defense if the guys in front of him can stretch out the protection. The linebacker also can cannon through the offensive line on delayed blitzes as well. Davis will never be a great pass rusher from the interior, but he has shown that he can bring a second wave of pass pressure if the coverage behind him allows the time. The aspect of Davis’ game that earns him the most criticism are his failures in pass coverage. Through three weeks of preseason there is no indication that he has grown at all as a coverage linebacker. His instincts often fail him, and he often just wanders himself out of position, like on this play against the New York Giants.Giants running back Wayne Gallman runs a route out of the backfield and is to be picked up by Davis in man coverage. This looks to be an option route, where Gallman will either break inside on an angle route or outside into a quick out. Davis follows him towards the end of the offensive line, but drifts too far to the outside. The running back sees this and breaks his route back inside creating an easy touchdown throw for his quarterback. The most frustrating thing about this play is that Davis wasn’t even beat by the running back, he beat himself. There is reason for him to drift that far outside. He vacated the middle of the field where he had no help between himself and the endzone. If Davis had stayed inside and given up outside leverage instead he would have forced the quarterback into a harder throw and forced the running back into an area where there were more defenders around to break up the pass. Davis getting beat in coverage without much effort by the offense has been a continuing concern for him, even in zone coverage. On this play against the Buccaneers, Davis was responsible for covering the middle hook route. When the Bucs tight end runs a route behind Davis and breaks it off to his inside, the linebacker should have been there to bracket him and take away the throw. Instead, Davis had wandered too far to his left, staring at the running back who ran a flat route. The running back had already been picked up by a different linebacker and there was no reason for him to be occupied. He gives up his position inside and the Bucs get an easy first down throw. The linebacker has a knack of getting preoccupied by teams’ opposing running backs and wandering himself out of position. Even when his assignment is clearly not the running back it still becomes his focus anyways. This tunnel vision also makes him a liability on play-action passes. Wandering himself out of position also allowed Tampa Bay to convert a fourth-down play last Friday.It looks like Davis’ assignment here is to play man coverage against the running back. The running back stays back in pass protection. Davis should have stayed back at the second level and waited for the back to make a move, but he instead rounds the pocket to chase him. By making a move all the way around the pocket, not only does Davis lose any sort of middle contain the Lions defense has but if the running back was planning on slipping out of his blocking stance into a route then Davis would have been well out of position to pick him up. There was no reason for Davis to make the move and just like the other plays he walked himself out of position instead of being forced to do so. While Davis obviously has some potential to succeed in the NFL, he is going to seriously have to grow as a player in order to thrive in this league. As I mentioned in my Eli Harold film piece last week, a linebacker that can not pass rush well or drop into coverage will not last long in today’s NFL. Davis will obviously be given more time than the average player to figure it out due to his status as a first-round pick. For his own sake, and the sake of Detroit’s defense, it needs to be sooner rather than later.

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