By: Eric Thomas
I have to be honest, that one hurt. Being a Lions fan is tough business at times, but few losses sting like that one did. The Lions had a sizable lead going into the 4th quarter, and the defensive line was having one of their better games of the season.
If you blame Matt Stafford, like many of you did on Facebook and Twitter after the game, I can’t help you. Just hang a sign that says “The reason why Detroit loses: Stafford, Jimmy Howard and Jim Leyland (in lieu of closer to be named later).” The Lions’ star offensive players were one of the few players on Sunday who didn’t deserve to be pelted with garbage. The Lions have Stafford and Johnson but the cupboard is bare beyond that.
This is an important year for the Lions. Their window is closing and they need to make huge improvements this off season in targeted areas. This year has been a total waste and it has nothing to do with any of the coordinators coaches or players. The problem this season was the poor personnel choices made in the last two years. It’s the allocation of gathered resources, their famine in targeted areas.
The 2011 draft now looks like a bust. Nick Fairley has improved in recent weeks, but he hasn’t been and likely will never be worthy of his draft position. Titus Young was a fan favorite last year but has shown his true colors this season. Mikel Leshoure isn’t a number one back, and on many teams wouldn’t be a number three. There have been numerous instances where the Lions’ offensive line has opened sizable holes and there is no one with NFL speed to run at them. The Lions are in desperate need of a number one running back and please don’t waste any more time on Jahvid Best. If I hear another report out of Allen Park that they are optimistic to see him play again, I’m going to scream. At this point, the best thing to come out of the 2011 off season was Steven Tulloch and Justin Durant.
The 2012 off season was the worst since 1992, between near constant arrests and baffling decisions. Ryan Broyles appears hurt again, Riley Reiff might be something someday (but no tangible contribution this year), and Bill Bentley was over his head before he was injured.
Martin Mayhew deserved the lavish praise he got for his early success as a Lions GM. Granted, it’s a bit like being the guy who sang after William Hung, but he got a lot of deserved credit for fleecing Jerry Jones and turning those picks into productive players. The goodwill from the good decisions have now been run dry. Mayhew needs to re-evaluate how he does things because it hasn’t been working recently. Fans who have been giving Mayhew the benefit of the doubt in recent years can now point their full ire at a team starved of talent.
Mayhew can start by placing Ndamukong Suh on the trading block. The Lions can’t afford to keep him anyway. If Mayhew can fill a couple of defensive holes, we will all feel a lot better. Lions fans hate me for suggesting this, the last blog I wrote about trading Suh was called “vitriol.” I can’t fathom why that would be, considering that Suh is going to be gone anyway. There is no way that the Lions can afford to resign him, and in all candor they can’t afford to keep him. Suh has a great deal of upside, but the Lions gigantic holes can all be tied to the tremendous amount of money tied up in three players.
Sunday hurt, but I have to see the forest through the trees. If the Lions had traded Suh last off season, I probably would have run to Home Depot for pitchforks and torches. Now I see what the problem is, and it’s a math problem. The Lions have far too much resources tied up into very few. Suh is an amazing player, but teams can just throw over him. Suh can be the final piece of a Super Bowl team, but the Lions have too many areas of need.
The decisions of the past two years have been dreadful, but I am not ready to march Martin Mayhew to the city line yet. This off season we need to see some progress. I have absolutely no problem with people who make mistakes, and I think that failure can lead to great things. This year has been a failure. After it mercifully comes to a close, we can see if Mayhew can learn from it. Fingers crossed, because Sunday hurt a lot.