By: Eric Thomas
The media cauldron of oil is heating up. This team is starting to crack, and those fissures might give way.
If Lions fans are good at anything, it’s spotting a bad team. I have been a Lions fan since I was 6 years old, so I can tell you; this looks like a bad team. They have some decent players in spots, but their holes are glaring. What’s more is that they seem completely incapable of fixing what’s wrong.
That last line is where this seems the worst. Since Jim Schwartz started here, the defensive secondary has been among the leagues’ worst. In his rookie season as a head coach, he jettisoned CBs weekly for poor performances. Lions coaches and management have recognized this, but stressed that they wouldn’t get themselves into bad contracts and aversely hurt the team. How has that worked so far? The Lions made a run at Jonathan Joseph two years ago in the offseason, but passed because the Texans made a $48 million offer. How’s that looking now? The Lions are 1-3 and the Texans have arguably the best team in football.
The Lions have wagged their finger at media and fans, saying that they know better. They aren’t going to hurt the team by overpaying for players, and they aren’t going to draft for need. They passed on Courtland Finnegan, letting the Rams outbid them. They drafted Ryan Broyles and Riley Reiff to sit the bench while the guy they took in the 3rd round starts. Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson look to be doing well for the Minnesota Vikings, while Reiff and Broyles bring a book to read.
I have been through enough losing seasons to see the writing on the wall. This thing could get bad. Already there are the quotes from the nameless and spineless “rival GMs” as quoted by Pro Football Weekly. I can assure PFW, plenty of on the record criticism to be found. Take a notepad to the Eastern Market before the next home game. You might need an extra pen as Lions fans will be ready to nail their list of Martin Luther-esque grievances to the door in Allen Park.
A few: HOW did they not know that Jahvid Best wouldn’t be back to start the season? Did they not ask anyone? When is this team going to get committed to fixing the problems? Why was Cliff Avril the priority in the offseason when maybe it should have been Eric Wright, in retrospect? Were you afraid that Avril could go do nothing on another team? When are you going to find a Safety that can play in games rather than talk about playing in games? The media asks these questions, or a variation of them, every week and the questions are waved off.
Yes, I predicted that the Lions would have a rough season this year. I said in several blogs that I hoped Lions fans could endure this stretch. To be honest, I hadn’t envisioned this. I thought the Lions were past the point where they didn’t even seem competitive. This feels like Lions teams of old. Against the Minnesota Vikings, at home, they looked feckless toothless and lost. It looks like the last two years never happened. Schwartz and Mayhew can collect credit if the team treads water, but they should get soundly screamed at for going backwards.
There are still a lot of games left to play but consider my faith shaken. I thought that the Lions finally had the team of coaches and personnel to take them to the Promised Land. I’m not so sure anymore. The team has a stubbornness problem. They refuse to address the problems they have. They continue to dump money into places where they don’t need any help. They scolded fans for screeching at the Broyles pick while the guy rides the bench.
They can turn it around. I am not calling for heads to roll, but I have been through this before. This is how it starts.