By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Three games into the regular season, the Detroit Lions offense, which many expected to be prolific after the offseason additions of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron, has yet to deliver.

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The unit scored 10 points Sunday against the Green Bay Packers after scoring just seven points against the Carolina Panthers the previous week. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has already been sacked seven times, and against the Packers, he took nine hits.

“That’s one of the most disappointing things,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. “That’s something that we try to pride ourself on, not getting the quarterback hit, and [we] spend a lot of time on protections and stuff, so it’s something that we definitely need to get better at.

“Sometimes it’s protection, sometimes he holds the ball too long, sometimes it’s wasn’t a good play call, so we’ve all got our finger in it,” Lombardi added. “[It’s] something we need to get better at.”

The offensive line has been missing right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who has been replaced by Garrett Reynolds and Cornelius Lucas. Lombardi and guard Rob Sims both said Reynolds and Lucas are not the reason for the offense’s struggles.

“There’s some things we need to iron out,” Sims said. “I think we have them ironed out. Just early in the season technique stuff, but also remember we’re in a brand-new offense, so it’s all of us. It’s the receivers, it’s the backs, it’s the tight ends, it’s everybody. Of course we take it hard in the offensive line room because that’s the only stat we have, but it’s all of us, and the more important stat right now is 2-1. We’ll figure it out.”

The Lions will need to figure it out quickly since they face the New York Jets this week. By the numbers, the Jets have equalled the Lions in terms of quarterback harassment.

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Both teams have recorded seven sacks and forced five fumbles, which is as many as any team in the NFL. The Jets defense has also intercepted four passes, another stat which puts their defense at the top of the league.

“It’s a combination of really good players with really good coaches and a really tough scheme,” Lombardi said. “It seems like every play there’s a new defense up there, new front and new pressure or new coverage, and so it’s very difficult to zero in and target this defense. You add that to they’ve got a really strong group of players, and so it’s always one of those weeks. You know when you’re playing the Jets you’re not going to get a lot of sleep because it’s a complicated defense that you’ve got to spend a lot of time on, coming up with plays you think are going to work and protections you think are going to block these guys.”

As far as the production of the offense, the Lions expect more. Scoring just 17 points over two games hardly matches the preseason hype, but Lombardi said the situation is not as concerning as it might appear.

“You come out of a game like [Green Bay] disappointed in the number of pointed you scored, and then when you look at it, you see that I think we had seven drives that got into plus territory, and you know it’s not like we’re going three-and-out every drive and things are a total disaster,” Lombardi said. “We need to play better, we need to score more points, but I think there’s not that – normally you might have come out of two games where you didn’t score a lot of points and you feel like, ‘Oh my God, we’re really in rough spots,’ but I think we can see we’re getting first downs … I think we’re really good on third down conversions, so there’s a lot of positives that we can build on.”

Sims pointed out that the players are in a new offense, one they have been working all offseason to master.

“It’s just the rhythm, and that takes time,” Sims said. “New offenses, like anything, like playing next to a new guy, it just takes time for that cohesiveness and things to come together, and it will, and we’re confident, and we’ll be good.

“I think our points will come, our yards will come, our stats will come, our numbers will be there,” Sims added. “We’re too talented at our skill positions for it not to happen.”

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