The Detroit Lions are NOT what mainstream sports media is telling us. It’s all a big fat east coast bias lie. Yes, I know of the Stomp, the Handshake, and the Arrests. Each of those breaking stories felt like a bullet ripping thru me. We can all agree that these Lions are not a bunch of choir boys, but instead they are a professional football team that over the last several decades has gotten very little respect from those same smug mediots. So why should we expect any different now that we have finally turned the corner?
Regardless of what you see and hear, these Detroit Lions are an up and coming team that the rest of the NFL had better be prepared for or be left wanting. After an outstanding 2011 season which ended with a surprising playoff berth, the Lions have kept their core talent, veteran leadership, and coaching staff. Like that cold leftover pizza stashed in the fridge, this team’s flavor is just going to get even better.
In a somewhat quiet off-season the acquisitions may have been few, but they have been effective. Topping this list was drafting a much needed left tackle. Let’s face it, Jeff Backus cannot handle those top notch speed rushers he has had to face, particularly the ones that are in our own division. The sooner newcomer Riley Reiff can take over the better.
The Lions passing attack ranks near the top with only the lack of a running game preventing them from being the undisputed topper most in the league. The ground game assault is clearly the top key for the Lions success next season. The horses are there, it’s just a matter of them keeping healthy, with rookie Stephfon Green, from Penn State being one to keep an eye on.
Judging from some of the players the Lions have added, it looks like we will be seeing more 3-4 defensive looks. Both Ronnie Lewis and Everette Brown have that DE/LB capability to make that a possibility. I am not referring to that 3-4 style we played in the late80s/early90s, but more like the one that the Ravens use, aka Organized Chaos.
In this hybrid version the defense can instantly shift between the 4-3 and the 3-4 depending on what the offense shows at pre snap. With Stephen Tulloch calling out the signals this can be a nasty defense for any opposition to contend with. I would expect to see the Lions bring this new wrinkle along slowly, by first using it on short yardage and red zone situations.
Lastly, I want to give a nod to Tom Lewand, who thru the years has worked his magic getting all of our players signed before/shortly after camp begins every summer. Each year it looks like he has a substantial challenge, but somehow he makes things happen. Well this year, he has our #1 pick Reiff and Cliff Avril our franchise tag as potential hold outs. I expect Tom will once again pull the necessary strings to get both done on or near the camp deadline.
So with this brief State of the Lions glance, and with a deaf ear to what the media has been whining about, it’s looking to me like we have a team we can all roar about. Last year I was hoping for the playoffs, but this year I am hoping for a division crown as well as some post season success. So fellow Lions fans are we ready for some football?