Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Lions: How Far Have They Come?

When I started this blog almost three years ago, the biggest concern with the Lions was picking who they would take with the first overall pick, and actually winning a football game.  Remember, the Lions at that point had lost 23 of 24 games and had another long road losing streak ahead of them.  They just had the worst season in the history of professional football.  They broke then rebroke their own record for road losses in a row.  The team had less talent than a expansion team and the team direction was in the ground.   The Lions had one great player, Calvin Johnson, and a good kicker.  That was about it.

Now winning on the road isn't a hurdle to worry about.  The Lions went 5-3 on the road this year.  Good enough for most teams to make the playoffs, as the Lions did.  From 2001-2010 the Lions won 8 road games total, (8-64) until they won two in Florida last winter.

Its also encouraging  to see how far the talent level has risen.  The Lions have one of the best pool of young talent in the league.  The group is led by Matthew Stafford, who has shattered every Lions record in existence, at the same time shattering the idea that he is injury prone and brittle.  The other side of the ball has seen improvements too.  Think about three years ago, who was the best player on the defense?  Ernie Sims, who has bounced around the league since being traded by Detroit?  Dwayne White?  Now the defense has talent and has an identity.  Honestly, I think the defensive line underperformed this year, and the linebackers as well. If they had done their job, we wouldn't be in the league cellar when it comes to stopping the run.  But for the first time since Robert Porcher and Luther Ellis played, there is hope the Lions defense could improve and not have to rely on pad level and shovels to stop someone.

Was this season a success?  Yes, that's an easy question.  The Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1999, found their franchise QB and found what their electric offense can do.  But this season also showed how far the Lions have to go.  They have little to no running game and at times the passing offense struggled.  The defense has its own problems.  And now we have to worry about signing everybody under the salary cap.  Another off season as productive as the last two should lead to another playoff berth and possibly a deep run.  Two years from now, the sky is the limit. Before you get upset with how the season ended, remember how far the Lions have come, and remember that time when losing a playoff game was just a dream.  


  1. Weston, who do you think the Lions should draft?

  2. The Lions do have one advantage in drafting later. They can best available and still get someone who can help them a lot. Also with the new draft salary rules, the Lions can get someone pretty cheap. Some of this has to do with who the Lions can get in free agency. The two most obvious positions of need are offensive line (mainly LT) and secondary. Backus has been beat up all year and was hurt in the playoffs. He is a free agent and probably won't be resigned. The secondary need is obvious. I could see all four positions replaced. Its that bad. That being said, I like ASU's LB Vontaze Burfict, hes a beast and we may need a new LB. Stanford's LT Martin would be awesome as well, or Riley Reiff, Iowas LT. At corner Dre Kirkpatrick of Bama or Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard. Kind of early to tell, still have the Senior Bowl and combine to go, but that is my early guesses.