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Some Thoughts on the Lions

Some fans believe the Detroit Lions will be great this year. They believe Stafford is a superstar quarterback even though he has not played a full season yet. Other fans continue to believe the Lions will be horrible again, for no other reason than they have been bad for so long. As if that can never change. I decided to toss a few more realistic thoughts on the grill and see how they cook.

Matthew Stafford - Look at how he played in his few chances last year. There is no denying that he has come a long way from his rookie season. He has a powerful cannon that can fire the ball down field and into tight places. He is learning to put some touch on passes rather than always fire them on ropes. Make no bones about it, Stafford absolutely has the potential to become a superstar in the NFL. But let's make things clear. He is not that superstar yet. He has yet to play a full seasons worth of games in his career, so in one way of looking at it, he has less experience than Sam Bradford does now. Essentially, Stafford is still somewhat of a rookie. He will have some growing pains yet. He will make some mistakes (and hopefully learn from those mistakes). Matthew Stafford absolutely must show he can make it through a full season without getting injured.

Jahvid Best - While many fans are ready to hit the panic button after Mikel LeShoure was lost for the season so soon, I am not too worried. I think fans may be in for a pleasant surprise. Remember last year, before Best injured his toes. He had five touchdowns in the first two games. Those were not long sprints on break-aways. They were not all runs to the outside. In fact, at least two of those TDs came in goal line situations when he had to fight and push his way for inches to cross the goal-line. When healthy, Best is not only speed. He has the strength to run between the tackles as well. If Best stays healthy, and Stafford can keep the defense honest with a down field threat, Best can absolutely be the every down RB that we have been dreaming of since Barry retired.

Speaking of injuries.... I am seeing a lot of fans worry about how the Lions are being hit so hard with them. With LeShoure out for the season, and Fairley and Titus Young both sidelined, the Lions first three rounds in the NFL draft are hurt. Gosder Cherilus is dealing with Micro-fracture knee surgery rehab and Backus has a tear in his pectoral muscles. Fans are seeing these injuries and beginning to sweat. Again, it is not time to hit the panic button.

Both Fairley and Young are expected to be healthy early on in the season if not by the first game. Yet even if they are not, does it make the Lions worse than they were last year? Not at all. None of them are replacing players who made any difference last year, so losing them only limits our improvements. It does not set us backwards. The Lions are still much better at Linebacker and may still be much better at defensive back as well. As a whole, the Lions defense is vastly improved. With a healthy Stafford and Best, their offense is automatically a lot better than last year. The only real worry is the offensive line.

Cherilus was hurting last year. Peterman was playing on an injured foot. This year Peterman is healthy and going to be much better than last year. But now Backus is hurting. So in a sense, from last year to this year, the only real difference is that rather than Peterman being hurt, now Backus is. Practically an even trade-off. So with the addition of a healthy Stafford and Best, the Lions offense should be much, much more improved over last year.

So yes, the Lions have already taken a lot of injuries, but rather than panic, just step back and look at the whole picture. Even with these injuries, the Detroit Lions will be better on both sides of the ball. That is reason to be excited. Not worried!

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