Sep 112011

In just a couple more hours the Lions 2011 season is going to start down in Tampa. Expectations for the Lions are higher than they’ve been in almost twenty years I’d say. Matthew “If Healthy” Stafford, and the rest of the offense has the football media quivering in anticipation. Ndamukong Suh and the others guys on the defensive front have opposing quarterbacks shaking in “fear.” And the secondary has wide receivers across the league licking their chops in anticipation. Clearly there’s still some work to be done, but the NFL is funny, it doesn’t allow for a team to gradually rebuild. The arc of players’ careers is generally such that you need everyone to peak at the same time in order to truly succeed. Unlike baseball where you can accrue the assets over the course of time football is much more immediate. The crucial thing for the Lions to realize is that they have to strike now.

And of even greater importance they cannot buy into any of their hype. Yes, they ended the season on the longest active winning streak in the league. Yes, they went undefeated in the preseason. But none of that matters. Every year there’s one team that all the experts anoint as the up and coming hot stuff team, and more often than not that team flames out horribly. I can all to easily see the Lions falling into that trap.

But then again maybe not, maybe they make it through the season injury free (or as injury free as any team in the NFL can make it). Maybe Stafford does develop into the quarterback, everyone hopes he’ll be, but the contrarian experts say he’s not. And maybe, just maybe, the Lions will actually be relevant as the season winds down. It’s asking a lot, but there’s hope around the team now, and hopefully that hope won’t get immediately squashed. Either way, I’ll be watching.

Sep 282010

A brief rundown of the Lions’ season to date:

Week 1: Lions see victory snatched away from them courtesy of a somewhat bogus call. Plus Stafford gets broken.

Week 2: Lions put up a good fight, but don’t quite have enough to pull out a win against the resurgent Mike Vick. Still, hopes are high considering how well Jahvid Best played.

Week 3: Lions come crashing back down to earth with Best getting hurt, and the Lions losing by double digits.

Week 4: Lions are playing on the road against an angry Green Bay team. I do not predict any good things will happen. 0-4 is looking like a strong possibility.

So, as we approach the end of the first month of the NFL season the Lions are…well pretty much right where they were last year. Maybe a bit more resilient, and possessing a bit more aptitude, but still nowhere close to being even an average football team.

It’s what makes the NFL such a frustrating sport. One unlucky hit can ruin your entire season. Any chance the Lions had this year was basically flattened along with Stafford’s shoulder.

Hopefully when Stafford gets back in November, healthy. The team will go on a nice little run that positions them well heading into the lockout next year.

Aug 252010
Detroit Lions (@jschwartzlions)
8/25/10 11:37 AM
Just had the pleasure of meeting Joe Paquette, who walked 425 miles from Munising to AP. The loyalty of #Lions fans never ceases to amaze me

Speaking as a bitter, and highly burned, Lions fan, this is quite possibly the best bit of black comedy I’ve read in ages.

Nov 242009

You might’ve heard the Lions beat the Browns Sunday. However, what I find truly remarkable about this is way the Detroit sportswriters are falling over themselves with their effusive praise for the team. The moral of the story? Go 0-fer and you set the bar for next year really low. That being said, good, gritty win for the team, and Stafford. As much as I was, and still am, a fan of Joe Harrington, you never saw a picture like this of him:

Oct 232009

Excellent article on Jim Schwartz by Michael Rosenberg in today’s Detroit Free Press. More so than any other coach in recent memory I want Schwartz to succeed. He is my absolute ideal for a head coach, assuming the wins start accumulating. Sure, going into the offseason I was more in favor of Josh McDaniel, but Schwartz is cut from the same sort of cloth. I especially liked Schwartz’s rejection of “systems” and instead focusing on winning. After enduring years of system coaches it’s refreshing to have a coach who is flexible, and can adapt to the players he has. Now right now what he has isn’t very good, but another year or two of bringing in the sort of talented multi-faceted players he likes the team could finally return to respectability.

Apr 262009

I’ve already made my feelings known about the Matthew Stafford selection, but the Lions still had two other picks in Day One. With the twentieth pick the team selected TE Brandon Pettigrew. Now on the surface this was a poor selection given all the deficiencies at defense. However, the Lions haven’t had a really good tight end since…Charlie Sanders. Pettigrew isn’t flashy like a Jeremy Shockey, but he’s a complete player who should be starter. So I liked the pick. Now with the thirty-third pick the Lions drafted S Louis Delmas. This pick I had problems with, simply because the top two middle linebackers were still on the board. Granted a lot of people had Delmas as the top safety available, but the Lions have had a gaping hole in the middle of the defense for a very long time. What better way to restart a desultory defense then by drafting a new leader for it?

What am I looking for in Day 2 is the team to select a MLB, o-line depth, and d-line depth. If they can add those pieces this will be a very successful draft.

Apr 252009

The Lions signed Stafford. I was more or less resigned to this quite some time ago. I can’t really say the decision excites me, but then again, I was fired up when the Lions drafted Joe Harrington. I do agree with the idea that you have to lock down your quarterback in order to succeed in the NFL, and history does kind of say that the best way to do that is to draft one high — the last four teams to win the Super Bowl did so with a quarterback drafted in the top 15 after all. Plus I’ve been swayed by those talking heads who said that Aaron Curry would not provide proper value for the pick. Hopefully Culpepper will be adequate this year so Stafford can take his time getting acclimated, and who knows, maybe the kid really be the second coming of Bobby Layne.

What I’m more interested in is what the team does with the four other picks it has in the first round. Mayhew and Schwartz absolutely have to address the deficiencies at mike linebacker and DL, and more depth at OL would be fine too.