Amon-Ra St. Brown Detroit Lions offense must show up against Jets
It will be a battle between strengths when the Detroit Lions 6-7 (N.Y.) take on the Detroit Lions Sunday, Jets (7-6) at MetLife Stadium
The Lions sport a top-five offense (26.8 points per game), while the Jets feature the No. 6 defense in the league (18.7 points/game).
Detroit wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown understands that the matchup — termed as a “heavyweight fight” by his head coach Dan Campbell — will be a tough one for him and his teammates.
“It will be two good, and as I said, high-powered offenses against a high powered defense,” St. Brown told reporters Wednesday. It’s going to be difficult. We are excited to find out who they are.
“They’re a great defense. They are a top-five league defense. They are very mobile. They hit. They have DBs and a strong front-seven so this will be a tough matchup. We are excited for it. We have to be prepared, because we are a very good offense. One side will win when they have a good offense and a great defense. So, we got to make sure that we’re bringing the heat.”
The second-year receiver is coming off a six-catch, 68-yard receiving game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14, and he’s put up some gaudy numbers in his last five contests overall.
During the aforementioned stretch, the USC product has hauled in 43 balls for 499 yards and three touchdowns, while catching 86 percent of his targets from Lions signal-caller Jared Goff. It equates to an average of nine receptions and 100 yards a game.
St. Brown has been nearly impossible to stop for opposing defenses over the last five games. However, this doesn’t mean Sauce Gardner, the Jets No. 1 cornerback, will be given the assignment. The assignment against St. Brown will be given to the No. 1 cornerback. Why? Because Gardner, a Detroit King High School product, focuses his attention on receivers outside of him, while St. Brown works out of the slot.
Regardless of who’s covering him, St. Brown is ready for the challenge that lies ahead in facing the Jets, which boast a top-five pass defense. He is aware that his recent high intake of targets is not a guarantee.
” Every week is different,” St. Brown said. “Some weeks you feel like you might get more targets this week,” St. Brown said. The games in which you think, “Oh, I probably won’t get the ball this game,” are the ones where you score the most and get the ball most. It’s not something I think about too often.
“It’s all about getting out there and seeing what happens. In practice, you might say, “This is the first read for quarterback, he’s going open.” But when you get out there in game, he’s not open, and the guy you never thought would pop will be open. It’s not something I think about too often. In the game, things move around, and you never know what happens.”
There’s been a noticeable transformation that Detroit has undergone since starting off the year with a 1-6 record, and for St. Brown, it starts with Campbell, the organization’s second-year head man.
” He instills that mindset in us every day. We follow him. He has never faltered. Campbell said St. Brown that he’s been the same person throughout the season. “And as players, we couldn’t ask for more. We want to win for him. Win for yourself. Do it for your city. Do it for everyone. It feels great right now, when we win. We still have a lot to do .”
For the veterans, like Taylor Decker (7th year left tackle), the culture shift in the locker room is even more evident.
Decker has been a member of the Lions since being drafted by the franchise in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Since his second year in league, when Jim Caldwell was still on the sidelines in Detroit, he hasn’t had a winning season.
Now that Detroit has won five of its six previous games, it is playing meaningful football in December. It’s been a refreshing change of pace for the veteran lineman.
” I feel like it’s been through it,” Decker said Wednesday to reporters. Decker said Wednesday that he is not an old man, but that he has played a lot of basketball. It’s amazing to see how we have been able to fight, scratch, and claw our way through this and finally start to have some success. Although it’s only a small sample, it’s a start. Now, the trick is to sustain that.
“It’s what good teams do, they sustain it (and) not just over a six-game stretch or 10-game stretch. It can last for years, years, even decades. It’s been enjoyable, it’s been satisfying. It’s been a validation for many guys, especially the young men who have come here. Even though we didn’t have much success at first, it was a good reminder that hard work does pay off. “
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.