By: David Hull
The NFC and AFC championship games are now set. And after this weekends game, Dallas Cowboys fans should understand the gripes that came from all those Detroit Lions fans. But with that, it’s safe to say that Lions fans have now completely moved past the Lions controversial call. It’s now time for Detroit Lions fans to begin looking forward to the 2015 season. The team doesn’t need to stay complacent; they need to build upon this first season under Jim Caldwell. Lions GM Martin Mayhew laid out a few parameters in his end of year presser last week but I have 3 main goals the Lions must accomplish this offseason.READ MORE: The Detroit Zoo To Host Its Final Weekend Of Family-Friendly Halloween Event 'Zoo Boo' Oct. 22-24
NUMBER 3: Upgrade at Running Back
The Lions ranked 28th in the league in rushing, scoring just 11 touchdowns. It’s pretty clear an upgrade is needed at the running back position. When Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew addressed the media last week, he expressed that he would love a more balanced offense. He’d preferred the team to be 50-50 at seasons end.
The first step to becoming a more balanced offense is by releasing Reggie Bush. Lions can get better production from a young running back in the draft. Bush was less than stellar in 2014, rushing for just 297 yards with 2 touchdowns. You could save money by cutting Bush and use that money upgrade in other spots. This leads me to my second main point.READ MORE: Tillson Street's Halloween Displays Draws Thousands
NUMBER 2: Improve on the Offensive Line
Point number 2 goes hand and hand with point one. The Lions ranked so low in the rushing game because this offensive line doesn’t run block well. To be honest, they don’t do many things well. Matthew Stafford was sacked 45 times in 2014 compared to just 23 in 2013 with many of the same pieces. Not good enough. Besides the defensive line, this might be the group with the most question marks going into the offseason. Starting center Dominic Raiola and starting guard Rob Sims are both free agents. Tackle LaAdrian Waddle was injured most of the season. And Travis Swanson went down with an injury against Dallas, but news from the team is that he’ll be ready for OTAs.
I would move on from Raiola and re-sign Sims. Swanson is ready to start. They can do with Sims what they did with Raiola in 2014. You don’t have to be Martin Mayhew to understand that a definite upgrade is needed on the offensive line.
NUMBER 1: Bring back Ndamukong Suh (at all cost)MORE NEWS: Kalamazoo Tests For Lead Exposure Following High-Lead Level Reports In Other Michigan Cities
Listen I understand the possible cap numbers for Ndamukong Suh for 2015. The best option is to resign Suh to a long term deal. Spreading his cap number across multiple years is much better than a $26.7 million dollar franchise tag (plus the $9.7 million already owed). I also understand Suh’s importance to this Detroit Lions team. The Detroit Lions ranked 2nd in scoring defense in 2014 and ranked 6th in rushing yards allowed. This was mainly due to the attention he garners in the middle of that line. He’s a dominant force, being named to the all-pro team 4 out of his 5 years in the league. The defense was the Lions strength