Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lions Are Improving, I Guess

As tough as it may be to hear, the Lions are a better football team that last year or the year before that.  The talent level is starting to increase and Detroit could be close to breaking out.  Sadly, they have been close to breaking out for about each year in the late 90's, and we all saw how that went.  Let's look at the state of the team while I give you some Blue Kool Aid.

The team is competitive: Something we couldn't say for the last few years is that the team is competitive.  Every game the Lions have a chance to win or tie at the end of the game.  With this team in year two of a rebuilding project, we are seeing a transition.  Remember when the Brown or Texans came into the league?  The first season they were awful and beat some crappy teams to set up another high draft pick. The second year they competed, won around 3-5 games and were competitive in all but two or three games.  In the third year, they compete for the playoffs.  So, this is a satisfactory season if we look at it from this angle.  It's frustrating, but I believe we have to stay the course.  Being able to compete every weekend is pretty big. 

The talent level is rising:  The defensive line is stacked top to bottom, and the offense is full of weapons.  Remember when it was a rookie Cliff Avril, Dwayne White with Corey Redding (who has been traded twice and doesn't play much anymore) and Chuck Darby were the starting defensive line?  What a difference.  Our wide receivers were Megatron, John Standeford, and Adam Jennings.  Our secondary had nobody at all.  Ernie Sims was our best player, maybe on the team.  There hasn't been this amount of talent for Detroit since 1999.  Now we have to fill more of our holes and get some depth.  That can take years, not two offseasons.

Schwartz is a rookie too:  He has had made some terrible calls, and can't manage the clock and the team is penalized more than any other Lions team in history.  The penalties are on him.  That being said, he is (hopefully) learning on the job.  Belichick didn't just walk into the NFL and start winning and making excellent decisions.  Dungy needed time too.  Schwartz is probably not in that class of coach, but it is too early to give up on him. 

Injuries:  Not an excuse.  I just wanted to point out how sick I am of hearing this.  Its the NFL, everyone is hurt.  Sure, not having depth hurts us more than other teams, but its not a get out of jail free card.

For the rest of this season to be a success, the Lions need to break their road losing streak and win 3-4 more games.  I thought 5-6 wins wasn't asking much at the beginning of the season, and now it looks unattainable.  Plenty of teams get hot to end the season and then play well at the beginning of next year.  I can only hope we can do something similar.  This season will be hard to watch to the end, but the team has to improve with more games under their belt, not get worse.  Next year has to be a march to the playoffs, or we can officially declare this team stuck in neutral. 

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