By: Eric Thomas
How’s the Lions off-season going for you? Did you like when they signed Golden Tate? How about when Shaun Hill went to St Louis? How about when they signed a person named James Ihedigbo, whose name we all have to learn, and pronounce, because you’ve probably never heard of him—it’s okay, I had to Google him. How about now? The Lions signed Dan Orlovsky to back up Matt Stafford. Why not?
This feels like the Christmas when everyone gives you a tie because you got a new job in sales. You need these, you guess, but it’s not the new XBOX you really wanted. Golden Tate is a wide receiver who can catch the ball, a skill that’s been foreign out among Lions WRs lately. The Lions needed another quarterback after Hill left, so they went and got a former member of that historic 2008 team. At least he knows where to park.
Is Ihedigbo—whose name I just programmed into my spellcheck—a diamond in the rough? He looks like a lottery ticket. The Ravens had him last year and they weren’t clamoring to get him back. Same thing as Golden Tate, who went on Seattle radio after he signed with the Lions and explained that he was insulted by how much money the Seahawks offered him, and THAT’S why he signed with Detroit. Apparently the lure of doing charity work wasn’t as strong as he may have indicated while in Allen Park. If it feels like the Lions are picking through the pile of players who’ve been left out by the curb, you’d be right. Is that a good thing?
Not that lottery tickets are bad in the NFL. Sometimes they hit. Maybe Tate is a game changer alongside Megatron and Ihedigbo will be the ball hawking safety he’s never been before. Many sure-bet free agents don’t pan out. Plenty of defensive players have found themselves in the wrong scheme, and their careers collapse into a rancid sludge, and their names join the ranks of Dana Stubblefield, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Albert Haynesworth. Free agency can go both ways, but so far, this Lions off-season hasn’t done much to make the team better.
This off-season hasn’t been as bad as 2012, but the Lions are still just treading water. They’ve gotten a bit better at WR, but the list ends there. Ihedigbo is the wild card. He’s played for some good teams, but just because he was a member of a team doesn’t mean he’s good. Remember Damian Woody?
We’re down to the draft to improve the team, and that’s also filled with question marks. The Lions are either courting Sammie Watkins or they’re putting up an elaborate smoke screen, they’ve visited with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, they even had a moment with Taylor Lewand. It’s hard to figure out what the Lions are going to do, which is the point, because now that The Draft has become a capital-letter-worthy primetime event, notched up there with the series finale of a long running sitcom, teams have to keep our lips closed to sell the drama. They did that before, too, but it’s so much more annoying now that it’s all done in prime time.
I’m not impressed. The Lions desperately needed defensive secondary help, and they’ve come back with a guy that the Ravens were throwing out anyway. They probably overpaid for the WR that Seattle didn’t want. Pardon me if I’m not floating air like Snuffles the dog in the Quickdraw McGraw cartoons (kids: Google it). There just isn’t a whole lot worth getting excited about.