It's been hard to be a Lions fan ever since I started watching them way back in 91'. I've seen good seasons, terrible seasons, and everything in between. After watching the horrendous Millen era and every game during the stomach turning 08' season, I finally thought that after drafting Stafford, Suh, and a number of others with a young and bright head coach in Jim Schwartz, I believed the changes were the beginning of the turnaround.
Fast forward to 2012, we are coming off a playoff berth and a double digit win season, the first we've seen in a decade. Offseason arrests weren't going to distract us, the team said. A slow start don't faze us is what Lions brass says to us. Well, they were wrong. The offseason arrests did indeed become a distraction. The weaknesses we had in 11' and never decided to completely upgrade? Yeah, they were exposed quite often last season. The Lions totally underachieved when all of us thought it was going to be our year.
Now it's 2013, we are proud owners of the 5th overall pick in a draft where defensive and offensive lineman are deep, which is great for us. We have a huge roster turnover so we can get rid of a lot of guys who may not be good enough to make an impact on the team. We will have some cap space this season after we purge the roster maybe we can sign free agents that actually make a difference on the team. The Lions have a talented foundation and smart coaches in place, just have been a victim of the old CBA and Millen's poor drafting so their cap situation has been bleak ever since Mayhew has been the GM. It will take time before we totally rid ourselves of the old CBA's stranglehold, but there is light at the end of the tunnel this season.
I believe the Lions will become a playoff team again for a few reasons. First, the roster turnover approaching with the 5th overall pick in the draft could be the main difference for success. We need playmakers on defense and this draft is filled with them. Our offense is crippled by a lack of run blocking lineman and this draft has some good lineman in it. Secondly, I think that Schwartz and his staff will learn from the last couple of years' mistakes. Schwartz may have made some mistakes, but he is heralded by guys like the almighty Bill Belichik and Jeff Fisher as one of the smartest coaches they know, which says a lot about him. Linny has made this offense a top 5 offense (in 11' anyway) despite the lack of a true running game and Gunny has had a lot of scrubs to work with and has done a good job at times the last couple seasons considering the lack of talent he's had to work with. The Lions also have a talented foundation to build around as well.
The lack of talent on the roster was apparent more in 12' than 11'. We overcame these deficiencies in 11', but once injuries piled up and teams began to figure out how to exploit our weaknesses we couldn't get out of our own way making it extremely hard to overcome any type of adversity. The Lions now have another chance to turn this roster over and inject this team with young talented players. We are in a great position right now and even though last year was very disappointing for everybody, but it could turn out to be necessary for the future of the team. Could you imagine if Mayhew took Aaron Curry in 09' instead of Stafford? We probably would've ended up with Sam Bradford in 2010 and we never would've gotten our best defensive player and cornerstone player in Ndamukong Suh.
2013 will be what 2012 was supposed to be.