By: Evan Jankens
I admit I’m a guy who didn’t even believe the Lions were going to make the playoffs last year when they just about had it locked up. I’m 28, so in my lifetime I have seen the Lions in the playoffs a hand full of times, and the one appearance that weighs the most on me is when Scott Mitchell was lighting up the NFL and the Lions were the hottest team in football. I sat in my parent’s basement about as excited as I could be for anything — and the Lions were out in what seemed like the first 10 minutes of the game. Did that one loss ruin my confidence in the Lions?
This year there is going to be so much hype surrounding this team, after making the playoffs in 2011 and having some unbelievable new additions to the team. Even though the Lions should be just fine on offense this year as long as they have a healthy running back, Matthew Stafford can’t do it on all on his own. The RB is going to be key for the Lions this year; Kevin Smith just signed a one-year deal with the team today, Jahvid Best is coming off of a season ending concussion and Mikel LeShoure is returning from a season ending Achilles injury. Will one of the backs be able to stay healthy for the season? Who knows, but in my opinion it’s so important they do.
The defense is going to have to step up their game this year. Yes, the Lions do have a very good front line with Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Nick Fairly, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril. I have news for the people who say they change the game so much who cares about the secondary, the D-Line doesn’t defend against the league’s top receivers. If they could then yes the Lions would be all set and you can fit them for Superbowl rings right here right now. The Lions secondary really needs a big improvement this year. They lost Eric Wright in free agency and no he wasn’t the answer and defiantly not worth the money he got. Jacob Lacey who is a CB with experience did sign with the Lions but he isn’t the answer. He played in 15 games last year while starting 10, he had 72 tackles with 48 of them being solo. The Lions must get a corner with their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. If they don’t they set themselves back again.
On the Lions roster right now in the secondary are (including LBs) Don Carey, Erik Coleman, Louis Delmas, Justin Durant, Doug Hogue, Chris Houston, Slade Norris, Ashlee Palmer, Ricardo Silva, Alphonso Smith, Amari Spievey, Stephen Tulloch, Ross Weaver and John Wendling. Out of those 16 players how many can really make a difference on the football field? 4 maybe? You need depth in the defense just as much as you do offensively. The NFC North is going to be more difficult this year. The Packers are, well, the Packers and as long as they have Aaron Rogers on the team they are gonna win at least 9 games. The Bears have stepped up their offense this year with a healthy Jay Cutler and now they have acquired Brandon Marshall. Do the Lions have the secondary to stop either of these teams? You would have to think that the Lions will have to split with the Bears and Packers in the regular season to compete for a playoff spot this year. I am not confident the defense can stop anyone this year. I know Matthew Stafford will lead the team to 4 victories on his own — but where will the other six come from? If you were to ask me right here and now if I have the Detroit Lions in the NFL playoffs for this upcoming season, I would say NO.