By Danny Cox
When the Detroit Lions got to the midway point of the season, they were sitting at 1-7 and many thought they were heading toward the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Many of those losses were ones where the Lions had complete control and then lost it or started their comeback the slightest bit too late.READ MORE: Governor Whitmer Announces Proposal To Invest In Affordable, High-Quality Child Care For Michigan Families
Simple enough, the Lions are about 75 percent of a complete team that just couldn’t get things going early enough. Yes, there are some glaring problems, but the biggest thing to fix is having a team that will play a full 60 minutes for every single game.
Running game, running game…wherefore art thou, running game?
There was a lot of hope for the running game this season with Joique Bell improving in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, and a couple of rookies with a lot of potential. Bell was limited to 13 games in 2015 due to injuries, but he still had just 311 yards on a mere 90 carries with four touchdowns. It was his worst season in the league by far.
Rookie Ameer Abdullah got consistent work all season, but had a bit of trouble holding onto the ball early on. He did correct it though and got it under control. Still, his best game of the season saw him gain 77 yards and he never had over 67 in any other games.
Another rookie, Zach Zenner, showed a lot of potential and promise, but ended up on injured reserve after just one game. Keep an eye on him next season.
The defense picked up where other aspects of the Lions’ game lackedREAD MORE: Child Tax Credit: How Much Will Your Monthly Check Be?
With the lack of a running game and the passing game even struggling some, the defense stepped it up in big ways, especially in the second half of the season. The loss of DeAndre Levy for pretty much the whole season hurt a lot, but others stepped up in big ways.
Stephen Tulloch led the team in total tackles and Josh Bynes proved he is a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. Overall though, it was third-year defensive end Ezekiel Ansah who showed he is going to be a star in this league and already is. With 14.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, he has already become a leader for the Detroit Lions.
Has the last of Megatron been seen in Detroit?
It’s not really known what will happen with Pro Bowl wide receiver after the season is over. He’s still under contract with the Detroit Lions, but his production has diminished and he’s due an incredible amount of money in 2016. The Lions may not be willing to pay him what’s coming to him as he ages, but they have to be prepared for another team (possibly in the NFC North) to pick him up immediately.
Keep the momentum going into 2016
The Detroit Lions will have a lot of choices that need to be made before the beginning of 2016, and one of them is whether head coach Jim Caldwell will be sticking around. With that decision looming and the up in the air status of Calvin Johnson among others, the Lions have to be focused on the year to come.
With that, they have to keep the momentum from the second half of 2015 alive and in them so they realize they’re a very talented team that can win games, but simply got started too late.MORE NEWS: Michigan Reports 338 New COVID-19 Cases, 8 Deaths
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.