Detroit Lions’ Offseason Finally Less Intriguing Than Regular Season
Generally speaking, the most exciting part of the NFL season for Detroit Lions fans is the offseason.
The NFL Draft is like Christmas, and free agency a shopping spree. Both supply us with opportunities to forget what happened in the previous season, and focus on the reasons why next year will be better.
Thirteen weeks into the 2010 NFL season, I figured it would be more of the same. The Lions were 2-10, Drew Stanton was in, and the Lions didn’t appear to be going anywhere.
Then they won a divisional game. The next week, they went on the road and won two straight. Then they came back home and closed out another divisional game.
The Lions were on their first four-game winning streak in over a decade, and just like that, it was over. Not the winning streak, the season.
Any other time, the end of the season would have been a reprieve. A time to pick up the disappointing pieces of another shattered season, discuss what coaching and personnel changes are needed, and move forward with a blind eye to the past.
But this season… I don’t want to. The regular season was actually turning out to be lots of fun. The playoffs were out of reach from the mid-point of the season, so it’s not a matter of being upset about missing the playoffs. Lions fans are used to missing the playoffs, but they’re certainly not used to having extended winning streaks cut short by something other than a loss.
For that matter, they’re not used to winning streaks in the first place.
So now we head into the offseason, but I’m not excited about it at all. During the playoff games last weekend, I wanted nothing more than to flip over to watch the Lions play.
Last season I distinctly remember watching the playoffs and thinking to myself, “Huh. So this is what a real football team looks like.” This season I watched and thought, “The Lions could take them.”
So while offseason speculation is fun, and I will get into it eventually (probably in a few days), I would have much rather seen what the Lions could do with another four games, rather than pack it in and talk about the draft.
That’s how you know this team has made serious progress. When it’s more pleasant to watch the team in its current form than it is to tear it apart in the offseason, that’s progress.
This isn’t to say that the Lions don’t still need improvements. For starters, linebacker Julian Peterson has all but officially been cut loose from the team, thinning an already thin group of starting linebackers, starting cornerback Chris Houston is a UFA after this season, thinning the secondary, and Drew Stanton is a big question mark, as well.
The linebacker and secondary units were surprisingly manageable last year, but still need vast improvements in talent and depth. The running game came on late in the season, but still needs more consistency. The receiving corps after Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson is weak, and was bailed out numerous times by the strong play of Brandon Pettigrew. Do the Lions keep Bryant Johnson after this season?
See, there are questions about the offseason, and I look forward to finding out the answers.
But I would have much rather answered the question, “Would the Lions win if they played this week?”| Detroit Lions 2011 draft, Detroit Lions offseason, Detroit Lions playoffs