Lions rank 21st in total team speed in ESPN calculation

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The emphasis on making the Detroit Lions faster has been a key point for GM Brad Holmes and his staff. And the results are starting to show.

The Lions ranked 21st in overall team speed in a recent data tracking project by NFL Next Gen Stats and ESPN. While that might not seem great, it’s a decided step forward from the Bob Quinn/Matt Patricia era that emphasized bigger players over team speed.

First, the methodology behind the rankings,

To create the rankings, we factored in each team’s fastest players at every position who see plenty of playing time, and we weighted each position’s average yards covered per second for the players’ fastest plays since the beginning of the 2020 season.

The Lions finished in 21st with an overall average yards-per-second of 9.39. Detroit was 21st on offense and 19th on defense, and the fastest player on the team is (injured) cornerback Jeff Okudah at 10.15. The fastest unit relative to the rest of the league is linebacker, no doubt elevated by the additions of Derrick Barnes and Alex Anzalone and the departures of Jahlani Tavai and Jamie Collins.

Team speed doesn’t necessarily equate to wins. The three fastest teams are Carolina, Philadelphia and Seattle, who combined to win two games in the last four weeks. Arizona (23rd) ranks slower than the Lions, as does Green Bay (24th); they are the top two teams in most NFL power polls. Then again, the slowest team in the league is the New York Jets, who enter Week 8 at 1-5 and are last in the league in scoring offense.

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