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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Big plays a big headache

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry weighed in on the whole Tampa 2 debate Thursday. Like Rod Marinelli and Lovie Smith before him, he defended the honor of the defense, if not the way the Lions are playing it.

Of the NFC-worst 2,951 yards the Lions have allowed this year, Barry said roughly 41 percent – 1,202 – have come on their 35 biggest plays. (Independently, I went through the box scores using Barry's criteria – the five biggest plays per game – and came up with 1,199 yards. With such a small discrepancy, I have no interest in rechecking the math).

Regardless, the Lions are allowing a substantial amount of offense on less than eight percent of their defensive snaps.

"You guys make fun of the head coach, you make fun of me when we say that we're this close; we are this close," Barry said. "When you give up 1,200 yards on 35 plays, that's ridiculous. Out of 440? So there's a lot of football that we've been doing good things, we just need to consistently do it and we've proven that we can't break down."

I'm sure a similar stat could be regurgitated for every team in the NFL. No one allows teams to regularly march 80 yards on 4- and 5-yard (or even 10- and 12-yard) gains. Barry's point, however, is that the Lions are giving up too many big plays like Santana Moss' 50-yard touchdown catch last week or the 86-yarder Bernard Berrian had earlier this month or the 62- and 66-yard touchdowns the Falcons scored in the season opener.

"I've never heard of that before, a team taking its worst 35 plays and it calculating up to 1,200 freaking yards," Barry said. "That's unbelievable. And that's what we just keep preaching to our guys, if we ... eliminate those five plays a game – or maybe don't eliminate them, maybe we hold them to 18 yards instead of 50 or 60 or 80 - then you have a dang chance."


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