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Reasons why the Detroit Lions can win in 2009

The average fan out there wants to say the Detroit Lions will win 4 games tops in 2009. There are a few who are posting in forums that the Lions will make the playoffs, but their only legitimate reasoning is looking at the Falcons and Dolphins feats. So what are some real reasons why the Lions can win?

Before I continue, I want to remind you that I myself believe they are in for a 4 to 6 win season. But trying this time to see the team through an optimistic view, I will explain how it is possible they could win 8 or 9 games this season.

Five times in 2008, the Lions actually held the lead at one point in the 4th quarter of games. Believe it or not, there were 8 different games in which the Lions were within one score of taking the lead during the 4th quarter. Eight games in which decent play in the fourth quarter could have given them the win. Anyone who knows football knows that one score between two teams is not the greatest of differences.

The Lions come into the 2009 season with a nearly complete overhaul of the defense. Adding Peterson and Foote gives them one of the best linebacker crews in the NFL. Two veteran cornerbacks will be an improvement over last years players. The addition of Grady Jackson will help them immensely, at least on running plays. In 2008 teams moved the ball on the Detroit Lions at will. It will be a different scenario in 2009.

Many fans would want me to list Matthew Stafford on offense but I wont. At this time, I do not see the Lions using him right away and maybe not for the season. I very well may be wrong but until he trots out on the field, I will stick with my belief. This point goes to, believe it or not, the offensive line. I have been hard on them and rightly so this off-season. Actually I have been hard on the )-line since 1992 but that is a different story. 150 sacks they have allowed in the last three seasons. Never have they given us confidence they could push the line of scrimmage on short yardage plays. So why do I lift them as a reason the Lions can win this season? First there is Gosder Cherilus. As the season suffered on in 2008, Gosder actually improved. With another off-season behind him, I am expecting him to be a good lineman. The other reason is the new coaching staff. They have emphasized training for strength in the off-season. Improved strength might actually give them the ability to move the line once in a while when they need it.

In aquiring WR- Northcutt and drafting WR- Williams the Lions have shown they are looking to improve the return game. The Detroit Lions punt and kick-off returners have been horrible in the past few years. If they can improve that they will put themselves in a much better place to win games.

The Lions have some star worthy veterans who signed on for less money than they could have gotten elsewhere. Why? Because they wanted to be a part of turning the Lions around. They have players who WANT to be there. This will create a much better locker room atmosphere.

Five reason the Detroit Lions can turn it around in 2009. There is not one particular reason that makes them a winning team, but if you add these five reasons together, it makes one believe that yes, it is possible for them to win this season. Time will tell.


NEWS - 06/28/2009 -- Detroit Lions trade a Safety for Another Receiver?

The Lions traded Safety Gerald Alexander to the Jacksonville Jaguars for veteran receiver Dennis Northcutt. Martin Mayhew has made a passel of good moves so far but at this time I cant say I feel this is one of them.

The Detroit Lions already had thirteen receivers on their roster. Northcutt is in the twilight of his career. Though he used to be a punt returner, he only returned a few punts for the Jaguars in 2008. This says to me that he is not as good as he once might have been, otherwise why wouldn't the Jags have still used him to return punts?

Trading Gerald Alexander away doesn't make any sense either. He has only played for two seasons. As a rookie he started most of the games and played admirably. In 2008 he was hampered by injuries. If he is healthy, it does not make sense why the Lions would trade a young safety, of which they only have five, for a fourteenth receiver.


NEWS - 06/26/2009 -- Center - Raiola signs 4 Year Contract Extension

The Detroit Lions signed center Dominic Raiola to a four-year contract extension Thursday, putting the 6-foot-1, 295-pound starter under contract through the 2013 season

“If you talk about the great centers, probably in the history of the National Football League,” Schwartz said, “I think they’d all have in common: leverage, feet, balance, quickness. Dom has all of those.”

Okay, now this got me to thinking, and anyone who knows me understands that is not always a good thing. I can understand giving Raiola a contract extension. He is a decent center.... but great? To refer him to one of the best in history? Going a little over board here if you ask me.

Along with handing the ball to the quarterback, the Center has two more major contributions he has to make to the team. He needs to protect that same QB he just handed the grenade to and he has to run block. In quarterback protection, I would say he is decent. Yes the Lions have been giving up over 50 sacks a season for the last three years now, but I can believe most of those came from the other linemen. QB protection I am okay with... its the who run blocking thing I have a problem with.

When was the last time the Lions had the ball in a short yardage situation when any of us felt confident they could push it forward for a couple yards? When was the last time the Lions were at the goal line and just dominated the point of attack to get the touchdown? When was the last time Raiola pancaked a guy opening up a huge hole for the running back to fly through?

Dominic Raiola has good balance, good feet, good leverage and good balance. He is missing the one factor which I for one believe is the most important of them all. Power!

Consider how much improved an offense becomes when they can get the push to gain a couple yards when they really need it. That ability at the goal line forces defenses to worry more about the middle and it opens up small passes and outside rushes. Gaining those first downs when needed sustains drives, giving offenses more chances to score. Sustained drives keep the defense on the bench and rested up. The Detroit Lions have consistently been one of the worst short yardage teams in football and Raiola is at the center of that fact.

Give him the extension if only because he is the best we have and you need to keep him. But to say he is listed with the great ones? If Schwartz keeps saying things like this I am going to start wondering if he is going to be a good coach or just another politician in charge of a football team.

Notice in the picture above, how Raiola #51 seems a bit smaller than all the other Detroit Lions offensive Linemen.... who are not known for their power.


Was it really Matt Millen's fault?

Matt Millen and Lions owner William Clay Ford
Did Matt Millen need to be fired? Absolutely! Under his watch, the Detroit Lions fell from being respectful to being a laughing stock. There is no doubt Millen needed to be fired. But was it really all his fault?

I know everyone wants to place the blame on Millen for drafting Joey Harrington and drafting a receiver with the Detroit Lions first round pick, three seasons in a row and four out of five years. But looking back, I dont know if I say it was Millen making the picks or if it was Ford senior making the picks.

While in office Matt Millen drafted seven seasons. Five of those were the flashy position player that everyone drools over. Matt Millen was a Linebacker when he played in the NFL. Millen was not the flashy player type. He was the type of person you would expect to draft the grimy hard hitting defensive players when he can. For him to draft a flashy offensive player five times out of seven years? Just doesn't sit right with me. Then Millen was finally fired and the Detroit Lions have a new front office, a new coach and a new scheme. Around 60% of the fans wanted the Lions to draft the Linebacker or the Offensive Lineman. What did the Lions draft in the first year post Millen? The flashy Quarterback. With the worst defense in the NFL for the second straight year and possibly the worst defense ever, and one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, the Lions drafted offense with their first 2 picks. Now I have to consider.... Maybe it wasn't Millen drafting but Ford senior making the picks!

In my opinion, Millen made only two mistakes, though disastrous mistakes they were. One was simply that he became a 'Yes Man' to Ford. The other was his inability to hire a good coach.

Millen's first move in the Lions front office was to fire Gary Moeller, the last good coach the Lions have had, and replace him with Morninwheg. Lets be honest, Marty had no idea what he was doing as a coach. When Millen fired Morninwheg, he replaced him with Steve Mariucci. Mariucci, or 'Smooch' as I call him, ran a day camp rather than a football camp. The man had no guts whatsoever. Smooch was afraid to discipline his players, allowing the flashy receivers he had to not practice hard. They ran bad routes, never got open and couldn't catch and let the blame fall on Joey Harrington. Smooch also called a pansy style of football games. Always looking for the high percentage receptions, he rarely called for a pass more than 5 or 6 yards down field and never called plays across the middle like slants and posts. Defenses knew they did not have to worry about those calls so they guarded against the high percentage plays. After Smooch was gone, Millen hired Marinelli. a coach who had no real experience and who had no give in him. Rod Marinelli would not adjust his game plan to what the defense gave him or to the talent on his team. In his refusal to adjust, he delivered the Lions the worst season in NFL history.

If we blame the draft picks on Millen, I would still say they were not all that bad. I wonder how good those receivers could have been if they had a good coach from the beginning who wouldn't let them grow spoiled and lazy. I wonder how good Joey could have been if he had a decent scheme with decent receivers or a decent offensive line. Remember, Millen drafted two gritty type of players in the first round. Ernie Simms and Gosder Cherilus. Ernie Simms was the only Linebacker on the team who looks like he could be good (before the additions of Peterson and Foote). Cherilus looked much better as the season went on last year and may be the Lions best lineman.

Sure Millen deserved to be fired, but I just cant help but to wonder. Was he the problem? Or did he take the fall for Mr. Ford? What kind of difference would it have made if Millen had kept Moeller as the Head Coach? How much better would the Lions have been if Millen made all the choices and Ford made none?


How Long before Detroit Lions Fans turn on Stafford?

Matthew Stafford seems to be my big topic right now. That is because there is so much controversy surrounding him as the Detroit Lions new quarterback of the future. For the most part, I understand, that Detroit fans like Matthew Stafford... for now. But let us take a look at history.

Detroit Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell - The year was 1994 when the Detroit Lions signed the left handed quarterback Scott Mitchell from Miami. For the most part the Lions fans loved the signing. In 1995 when Mitchell set the Lions single season record of 32 touchdown passes, the fans praised him. By 1998 Scott Mitchell lost his job to Charlie Batch and the fans hated Mitchell, complaining he was inaccurate and had no guts.

The fact that the fans never looked at was that the Lions offensive line grew worse with each year Mitchell was the quarterback. In 1997, Mitchell was sacked 41 times. I remember one game, in the play-offs when Scott Mitchell stood up from behind center and pointed at a linebacker who was set to blitz. He shouted to his line as he pointed at the defender. When the ball was snapped, the blitzing line backer came through untouched and drilled Mitchell. That to me, was the single most awful offensive line play I had ever seen.

Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington
Joey Harrington - When Harrington was drafted in 2002, the fans were excited. As a rookie, he started 12 games and showed flashes of ability and plenty of toughness as he jumped up after being sacked and patted the defender who had drilled him into the turf on the back of the helmet, congratulating the guy for a good hit. After the 2005 season, Joey opted not to return to the Lions and the fans were excited to see him go. Harrington left the Lions as arguably the most hated player in team history.

The truth was that yet again, Harrington was never given a chance to succeed in Detroit. Roy Williams was the best receiver he ever had to throw to. We all remember how bad Mike Williams was and how bad Charles Rogers was after his injuries. Along with the bad receivers, Joey had the usual horrible offensive line play in front of him and no running game to make defenses honest. The worst thing Joey had going for him though, was the coaching. Steve Marriucci was possibly the most conservative coach and the easiest going coach in Lions history. He never disciplined his players. Rarely did he call for plays deeper than 5 to 7 yards. Rarely did he call for plays where Joey would pass across the middle. If one looks back at Harrington's games, they will find that he had his best games when he used the middle of the field and wasn't hit constantly. Everyone hated Joey for the Chicago debacle where he threw five interceptions. Nobody remembers that he was often throwing the ball as he was being hit. That he never had any open receivers to throw to. Joey never had the luxury of just getting the ball to where the receiver could catch it. His receivers were always covered. He had to thread the needle almost every play. He left the Lions a shell of what he could have been.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna
Jon Kitna - When Kitna was signed in 2006, most of the fans liked him. When he threw for over 4000 yards, the fans loved him. Nobody cared that he threw 22 interceptions that year. When he threw for over 4000 yards in 2007, nobody cared that he threw another 20 picks. When Kitna was benched/injured after four games in 2008, the fans were glad to see him done.

Again the offensive line was horrible for Kitna. In 2006 he was sacked an amazing 63 times. He ate turf another 51 times in 2007. That is 114 sacks in two seasons. No quarterback is going to look good or get better when he is hit that often. Those hits took their toll on Kitna and in 2008 he was sacked 15 times in just four games.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford - The fact is, if Tom Brady is sacked 50 to 60 times a season, he does not become a star. If Payton Manning was to be sacked 60 times a season, he would not be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. When a QB is sacked that often, no matter who it is, they begin to look for it even when it is not coming. Now we expect Matthew Stafford to be a star while playing behind the same line that has allowed 169 sacks in the last three years.

Right now the fans love Stafford. As much as I am adamant about how he should sit this season so they can get him better protection next year, the fact is they will likely play him this year. He will show signs of promise in his first year as Harrington did. He will be hit a lot. If the Lions front office do not get him better protection, then within the next three years the fans will be calling for his head as they did with Harrington. The only thing Stafford has going for him that Harrington did not is Calvin Johnson and possibly a better coach, but that is yet to be seen.


Detroit Lions Pictures

Here I will add a new picture every so often that I find humorous. Some will be images I find on the internet and others will be pictures I make on photoshop. Whenever I update this post and add another picture, I will leave a quick message on the main page.

1) A picture I created....

Detroit Lions draft the Cowardly LionDid Matt Millen get to make one more pick?

The Detroit Lions Fans should use Common Sense.

A shamed Detroit Lions fan
I hear a lot of Detroit Lions fans saying the Lions will win three games at the most in 2009. I have heard others say they will make the play-offs. Among those are Lions running back, Kevin Smith. The truth likely lays somewhere in between.

Let's face one fact right now. The Lions front office did not draft for this year. They have repeatedly said this is a two part draft. They drafted with expectations of putting it all together after next seasons draft. That was why they drafted Quarterback - Matthew Stafford and not OT - Jason Smith. If the Lions were looking to win in 2009, they would have taken Jason Smith in hopes that Culpepper could lead them behind a stronger and improved offensive line. The drafting of Matthew Stafford while not improving the worst offensive line in the NFL, says they want to groom their young quarterback and have him ready for 2010.

The Detroit Lions offensive line has been in the worst three teams for allowing sacks for three straight years. It has been since Barry Sanders retired since the Lions had a running game and let's face it, that was because Barry was great, not because the line was any good. One of the most common cliches in the NFL is... "The game is won in the trenches". The reason that cliche is used so often is because it is true, and until the Lions build their offensive line up, they will not make the play-offs.

Yet it is important for fans not to be too pessimistic. Yes the Detroit Lions were the worst team in NFL history. Yes they still have a horrible offensive line. I understand that they have a choice of playing a rookie quarterback or a veteran who has fumbling issues and has not had a good season since 2005. But there are reasons to be optimistic as well. The Detroit Lions had several games in 2008 which they lost by one touchdown or less. Several times they had the lead only to see their defense lose it in the fourth quarter. As bad as the Lions might be expected to be, I have a hard time believing they are not vastly improved still.

Offensive lineman, Gosder Cherilus was beginning to look like a decent player in the second half of 2008. He will be more experienced and could still improve his game for 2009. The addition of Brandon Pettigrew should help the offense a little as well. Yet the biggest reason to be optimistic is the defense. Of the eleven starters in 2008, the Detroit Lions will go into 2009 with 6 of them replaced. The addition of Julian Peterson and Larry Foote should move the Lions linebacker crew from one of the worst to one of the best in the NFL. If the cornerbacks, both of whom were replaced, play better than last years players, the defense will be far improved. Enough to make a difference in those close games and maybe hold some leads.

There is every reason to believe the Lions will win more than three games in 2009. There is every reason to believe they will not make the play-offs. Very likely the truth lies somewhere in the range of 4 to 6 wins. Of course this is all depending on how much better or worse their opponents are from 2008 as well.


Barry Sanders: The Greatest Running Back of All Time?

Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders
In 1989 the Detroit Lions drafted Barry Sanders with the third pick overall. It was the greatest draft pick in the history of the Lions franchise. It was a horrible draft pick for the NFL.

How often do we see lists that rank Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith above Barry Sanders? First of all, and this will shock many, but I don't rank Jim Brown in the top five all time. Jim Brown dominated the sport in his day, there is no doubt about that, but that is because he was in an era when the talent was far less than it is now. The defenses are far bigger, stronger and faster than they were in Brown's day. As great as he was, if Jim Brown played in the modern era, he would be a very good, maybe great player, but he would not be all-time great. I would expect him to be more like Christian Okoye was.

There is always the ongoing debate about who was better, Barry or emmitt. If one looks only at the statistics, then they might take Emmitt. More career yards and more touchdowns. Not to mention the super bowl rings. In the years the two played in the league together, Barry Sanders had more yards in five of the nine seasons. This is including the last three seasons in a row before Barry retired early. Now considering how close in status these two played, when one brings who they played for into the format it changes everything. Emmitt Smith had a great team around him. He ran behind a great offensive line. Barry Sanders had an average team at best around him and his offensive line was one of the worst in the league. I have heard it argued before that the Lions offensive line was good because Barry's numbers prove it. However, I believe that Sanders got his yardage in spite of the line, not because of it. There were far too many times when he scrambled and spun and juked his way to a three yard gain. Too many times when he took a one yard loss ONLY because the offensive line could not stop a blitz and Sanders was hit as he took the hand-off. Those are not signs of a good line. Simply put, if Barry and Emmitt had been on each others teams, Emmitt would have never been close to his records and Sanders would have blown all records away.

As a Lions fan, I saw how great Barry Sanders was on a weekly basis. I saw the near superhuman feats he pulled off. The NFL has never before seen the likes of Barry Sanders talent and likely never will again. His hi-lite films are not running through gaping holes and not all just changes of directions to make players miss. His reels have scenes of him rolling head over heels, over top a would be tackler, only to land on his feet again and run away. It has clips of Barry stopping on a dime, surrounded by several defensive players, then taking off again as the defenders all dove to where he had been a moment before. No player has ever been able to stop, go, change directions, spin and bounce while keeping perfect balance like Barry could. No player in the history of the NFL has ever had fans holding their breath with each run like Barry did.

Barry Sanders was not another case of being a great player who happened to play in a bad era. Barry Sanders played in the best of eras and still left players, coaches and fans standing with their jaws dropped, wondering if they actually saw what they just saw. Other players have made jaw dropping plays, but none have done it near as often as Barry has. And he did it on a bad team, behind a bad line! And I cant help but to wonder, what if? What if Barry had played for Dallas instead of Detroit? What if Barry had gaping holes to run through and coaches that had enough guts to play him in goal line situations. What if Barry had actually played for a great team rather than the Lions? How much did the football world miss out on because it was the Lions who drafted him?

When the Detroit Lions drafted Barry Sanders, it was the greatest moment in Detroit History. It was the greatest loss in NFL history.


Detroit Lions: Offensive Line

Detroit Lions offensive line gives up another sack

How does that saying go? The game is won and lost from in the trenches? In other words, the offensive and defensive line is where the game of football is truly decided. In this article, I will look at the Detroit Lions offensive line.

Before we get started, I would like to give a moment of silence to the tragic loss of Stanley. ....... ......... ......... .......... ......... Oh Stanley we will bring you home again. You belong in Detroit and we will get you back.

Now back to the Detroit Lions Offensive Line. In 2008 the Lions went 0-16.... as if we all didn't already know that. Another tidbit that most of the fans already know is that a big part of that dismal season can be attributed to the offensive line. However, I will go over this simply on the one in a million chance that a Lions official might actually read this... since it is the Detroit Lions front office that seems to be the only group in America who does not know how bad the offensive line is.

The 2008 starters were for the most part (Center)-Dominic Raiola, (Guards)- Damian Cook & Stephen Peterson, and (Tackles)- Jeff Backus & Gosder Cherilus.

In 2008, the offensive line gave up a total of 52 sacks. Only San Fransisco allowed more. The Detroit Running game was fifth worse in yards per carry at a paltry 3.8 and 3rd worse in total yards rushing. Let us face the truth here. When a team is horrible in rushing and also is horrid in allowing sacks, you have to look at the play of the offensive line. These are telling statistics that the Detroit Lions offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL if not THE worst.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you the 2009 starters for the Offensive Line. (Center)-Dominic Raiola, (Guards)- Damian Cook & Stephen Peterson, and (Tackles)- Jeff Backus & Gosder Cherilus. ........ Yes that is right. All the same starters. The Lions have added a couple new faces to the offensive line but at this point they only add depth. The projected starters look to be the same five that formed the worst offensive line in 2008. My only question I would like to ask the Detroit Lions front office is...... "What the Hell were you thinking?"

Seriously! Why would a team draft a quarterback number one over all if they cant protect him? If the Detroit Lions play Mathew Stafford this coming season, they will show that it is still the same incompetence running the Lions yet again. To play Stafford behind the line that has allowed over 50 sacks for three seasons in a row, would only be looking to ruin him. The Lions ruined Scott Mitchell. They ruined Joey Harrington. If they play Stafford they will ruin him too. It is of paramount importance for the Detroit Lions to put together an offensive line with some real talent before playing Stafford. They should have put that line together before drafting a quarterback and they have already messed that up. Now we can only hope they don't play him yet.

Mr. Mayhew, throw Culpepper to the wolves. Let the savages feast on Statton. Please, whatever you do, please don't sacrifice the future of the Detroit Lions by placing him behind the worst offensive line in the NFL before you even attempt to fix it.

Since 1991 I have been whining, crying and ranting that the Lions needed to get a better offensive line. In 1997 I thought I saw signs of it happening when Juan Roque started picking up his game and blowing open holes for Barry Sanders. Barry ran for two 85-yard touchdown runs in that one game. Juan Roque hurt his knee soon after and was never the same. The Lions have not had a line that even resembled being good since.

Nothing personal against Stafford or his supporters. I think the Lions would have been much better off drafting Jason Smith first overall in the 2009 draft. You give even an average quarterback time to throw and he will win some games. The best QB in the NFL cannot win games if he is always throwing before the play develops or while he is peeling chunks of his rib cage from the turf.

I hope I haven't beat around the bush too much on this subject. :o)


Detroit Lions Receivers

Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson is possibly the only player on the Detroit Lions who is truly untouchable. As good as many fans believe Stafford will be, if another team offered 2 first round picks for him, I would take it. Until he has proven himself, he is still only worth a 1st round pick. Calvin Johnson has proven himself. He has shown he can play in the NFL and play extremely well. I do not know if there is any trade offer worth giving him up.

Not only is Calvin Johnson a proven star now, he could possibly become the best receiver in the NFL. What about Larry Fitzgerald you say? Fitzgerald has had Anquan Boldin playing opposite him, making it very difficult for opposing defenses to double team him. Randy Moss has had Welker. Who has Calvin Johnson had? The best receiver Johnson has had play opposite him is Roy Williams and his bad attitude.

In 2008, Calvin Johnson had a modest 78 catches. He also had the fifth most receiving yards in the NFL (only 100 yards behind Fitzgerald), and was tied with Fitzgerald for the most touchdowns by a receiver with 12.

In the 2009 draft, the Detroit Lions added TE Brandon Pettigrew who is known for his receiving skills. If Pettigrew proves to be a decent receiving threat, he will force the opposing defenses to worry about the middle a little more and not always double Calvin Johnson up.

Still, as great as Calvin Johnson could be, he is only one receiver. In the off season, the Lions brought in Bryant Johnson who has some upside and down side to him. The good is that he does have talent. Bryant was drafted 17th overall in 2003 so he is no slouch in talent. However he has never had more than 49 receptions or 740 yards. This could be attributed to the fact he played in Arizona and has had Fitzgerald and Boldin in front of him. But in 2008, Bryant Johnson played in San Fransisco and still only had 45 catches for 546 yards.

Bryant Johnson is a big receiver, standing 6'3" and 211 lbs, so if Calvin Johnson is doubled up, this will leave Bryant with one on one coverage where his size may be an advantage. Calvin Johnson's 6'5" 235-lbs frame is always an advantage.

Expect Calvin Johnson's numbers to repeat what he did in 2008 and if Bryant Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew prove themselves, Calvin's numbers will rise.


Detroit Lions Running Backs

Detroit Lions Running Back Kevin Smith
Let's face it. When it comes to the Detroit Lions Running Backs, their is only one name truly worth mentioning. The Lions acquired Maurice Morris in the off-season, but be clear about it. Morris is in no way shape or form considered a starting Running Back. That job will fall to Kevin Smith and Kevin Smith alone. The only place Morris has a chance to out play Smith is in short yardage. If he does that, he will get most of the goal line carries. I doubt that will happen though.

Kevin Smith is a good Running Back, but he is not great. In his rookie season, he showed flashes of vision and talent to make the first man miss him. Smith has enough speed to get to the outside, a trait the Lions running backs have lacked for some time. Where Kevin Smith falls short though, is his seeming to lack the extra gear.

All too often in 2008, Kevin Smith broke into the open field only to be chased down. His longest run of the season came in week 6 in Minnesota when he sprinted away for a 50 yard scamper. It was not a touchdown. Other than that, in his 238 carries, his longest run was 32 yards.

I like Kevin Smith. I really do. However, if I am to be honest with myself, I have to believe that so long as he is the Lions main running threat, opposing defenses will not respect the Lions running game. Defenses are not afraid of a running back who does not have break away speed that can add a quick score. Unless Kevin Smith develops that extra gear once he hits the open field, the Detroit Lions running game will continue to fall short.


Detroit Lions Quarterbacks

Who will be the Detroit Lions starting quarterback? Will it be Matthew Stafford, the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft? Might it be the veteran Daunte Culpepper who is finally healthy after the major reconstructive knee surgery in 2005? Could it be Drew Stanton, the 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft? Okay, we all know it wont be Stanton, but which of the other two will start the season under center?
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford was the first overall pick and is being paid an ungodly amount. If he could handle it, I am sure the Lions would want it to be him. However, what one wants is not always the best thing. Do not confuse Stafford with the 2008 rookies Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. Many fans seem to believe that since those two quarterbacks had big years as rookies, that Stafford can too. The difference is that both, Ryan and Flacco had good offensive lines to protect them and good running games for defenses to worry about. The Detroit Lions are not considered to have either of those to offer Stafford. Make no qualms about it, opposing defenses will not respect Detroit's running game. They will sell out, blitzing often to pressure a rookie quarterback into making mistakes.
Detroit Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Culpepper is the early favorite and has a resume of four seasons with 3400 plus yards passing. One of which he threw for 4717 yards and 39 TD's. Yet, one cannot get their hopes up too high with Culpepper as the Detroit Lions starting quarterback. He has not had a good season since 2005 when he went down with the knee injury and he has a reputation of fumbling the football for too often. In his career, he has fumbled the football 94 times, 38 which were covered by the other team. the rumors were always that for being such a big guy, Daunte Culpepper has very small hands.

My early opinion is, barring injury, to expect Daunte Culpepper as the starting quarterback when the season starts. The Lions have retooled their offensive line to a degree, but nobody believes they have really upgraded the line. The Lions will want to sit Stafford the first season if possible, add more strength to their line in the next off-season and draft then start their future star quarterback. I also expect that once Culpepper fumbles a few too many times, takes a few too many sacks and starts playing horrible, the fans will cry for Stafford. By mid-season, the Lions front office will give in and play Stafford. If I am right, then we can only pray that Stafford keeps his poise long enough to finish the season without becoming gun shy.

If the Detroit Lions offensive line is not any better than it was last year, and they play Stafford.... it will be the beginning of Joey Harrington all over again. A first round QB with only average accuracy who shows promise in his rookie season and ends up ruined by the Lions poor offensive line play.

Correction: I orignially had Joe Flacco's name as Joe Stacco. I have no idea where that came from and make no excuses. Sorry.


Matthew Stafford

Detroit Lions draft Matthew Stafford
I will come straight out and get it over with. In my opinion, Matthew Stafford was a horrible pick for the Detroit Lions. He very well may become a great Quarterback in the NFL, but for the Lions, in 2009, he was a horrible pick.

Many times I have heard Stafford supporters say that you need a great quarterback to be a Superbowl contender in the NFL. What they do not consider is the fact that every great quarterback has a decent offensive line in front of him. In 2008, if you were to take the Lions quarterbacks out and put Payton Manning in but keep everything else the same, how many games would they have won? Three? Maybe four tops? Does anyone actually believe Manning would be a star QB today if the Lions had drafted him? If you say yes, you are lying to yourself. The one thing every great QB has in common is that they are given the chance to succeed. That is something the Lions have not given to a quarterback in a long long time.

Go back and look at Manning and Tom Brady. They are two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and arguably two of the best the NFL has ever had. Yet even they have had some pretty bad games in their careers. If you go back and watch those games, you will find a common denominator. They had a lot of pressure on them in those games. If the offensive line breaks down and the quarterback is forced to pass to soon, his timing with his receivers is thrown off. If you hit a QB enough times in a game, they begin to feel the pressure and will make mistakes. No quarterback in the history of the NFL is immune to that!

Everyone knows it is possible to win a Superbowl with an average QB. Everyone remembers the Baltimore Ravens doing it with Trent Dilfer. I don't know anyone who is willing to say Dilfer was a great quarterback. I also don't know anyone who can point out a team that has won the Superbowl with a bad offensive line. If the offensive line is bad, the receivers do not have enough time to run their routes. The QB does not have enough time to go through his reads and find the open receiver. The Running Back has no openings to gain good yardage.

Matthew Stafford may have the talent to be a great quarterback, but can he pass from on his back? If the blitz comes through as often as it did in 2008, who will Stafford throw the ball to if the receivers have not had time to get open? How many times will he be hit before he catches an acute case of 'Happy Feet'? The Detroit Lions have done little to improve their offensive line from 2008. The worst offensive line in the NFL and it is not much improved if at all. Yes they signed OT-Jansen recently. If this was five years ago, I would be excited. Today? Jansen has bad knees and is at the end of his career.

As a Detroit Lions fan, I hope Matthew Stafford works out and becomes a great quarterback for them. For that to happen, the Lions will need to sit him and let him learn until they can show they can protect him.

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