Detroit Lions – Hopefully A Few More Wins This Season

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It is no secret that Detroit, Michigan has been one of the hardest-hit areas in terms of the economy, over the last few years. The auto industry bailouts and the dismal real estate market, accompanied by a high crime rate and failing schools have devastated Detroit. It would be so wonderful for the people of Michigan if the Lions could field a competitive team. It has been tough sledding for them, though. The Detroit Lions set an amazing NFL record in 2008, going 0-16 – yes, winless. In 2009, they improved only slightly, winning 2 games and losing 14. Unfortunately, the April NFL draft may have been the bright spot for Detroit this year.

With the second pick in the NFL draft…: The Detroit Lions selected Ndamukong Suh from Nebaska. This dominant defensive end didn’t just wreak havoc in the nation’s heartland, but he was a legitimate Heisman trophy candidate. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a giant defensive end with the Heisman? At any rate, this is a strong pick for the Lions. Of course, that is the point of the draft; the poorest performing teams get the best talent, in an effort to improve. Suh will have his work cut out for him, because he has very little help on defense.

The Best of the rest: The Lions traded up to pick Jahvid Best late in the first round. The running back from California has already demonstrated in rookie camp that he has speed, quickness, and good football instincts. He will need to learn the plays and be ready to go right out of the gate, since last year’s first-team running back for Detroit was Kevin Smith, who is currently recovering from a torn ACL. Expect to see Best in the lineup early on.

Clearing out the secondary: If Best can be successful behind the existing offensive line (such as it is), that will take some of the heat off wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who has previously been the only legitimate offensive threat. The addition of veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson (acquired from Seattle), who will play opposite Johnson, should result in a higher output from the offense.

That said, Matthew Stafford has got to stay healthy. Last year, he suffered a knee injury and a banged-up shoulder. He looked good in OTA (optional team activities) workouts, so hope springs eternal.

Who’s in and who’s out: Key pick-ups include Burleson on the offense and Kyle VandenBosch, an experienced defensive end acquired from the Tennessee Titans. Key departures include cornerback Phillip Buchanan and defensive tackle Grady Jackson.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Lions will not improve significantly this year, even with the addition of Suh and Best. Truly, the mountain is just too high to climb. It is likely that they will win 2 games again this year (versus the Rams at home on October 10 and versus the New York Jets at home on November 7). This will ensure that in 2011, we will again hear, “With the first pick of the NFL draft, the Detroit Lions select…”

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