This offseason, there was the occasional murmur about the fact the Detroit Lions spent free agent money and their first round draft pick on more offensive weapons, when it was thought that, by and large, the defense was the bigger issue for the team. The latter part of this statement is true. The Lions had more issues on defense heading into the offseason, and they still have issues on defense. On the other hand, their offensive has the potential to be quite good, and the folks at Pro Football Focus agree.
You may recall a while back that PFF ranked the starting rosters for every team in the NFL. Well, now they've ranked the offense of all 32 teams. This includes backups and such, although the rankings skewed toward starters, and then rankings were given for the four position groups as well. Those groups are quarterback, running back, receiver, and offensive line. In their rankings, PFF have the Lions ranked ninth.
While I think I'd have them one spot higher, this is still a reminder that this offense has a lot of potential. The Lions rank as high as fourth and as low as 13th in terms of position groups, which is quite strong. Only the New Orleans Saints, who finished ranked number one, have as high of a floor. Of course, now Detroit actually has to live up to this ranking.
There's a lot that goes into that. Mostly, Matthew Stafford has to live up to his potential. Hopefully Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi can help make that happen. Detroit ranked 11th in quarterbacks, which seems about right, perhaps even a bit high. However, Stafford certainly has the potential to be a top five quarterback in this league. Detroit's offensive line a bit underrated potentially. This team has the potential to be an elite offense, but it is hard to trust that to happen based on past results.
Then, of course, there's the fact that if PFF were to do a defensive ranking, I reckon the Lions would finish much lower, probably in the bottom 10, certainly in the bottom half. A team can overcome defensive issues with offensive firepower, and the Lions could be such a team. Pro Football Focus seems to think they have the potential. I think they have the potential. Now it just has to happen.