Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand discussed the team's 2012 season on WWJ in Detroit last Sunday. The Detroit Free Press has a look at Lewand's comments, which revolve around two main things: disappointment with how 2012 went and optimism about the future. These comments in particular jumped out to me:
"We still have a lot of confidence in our young players -- Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson with a record year -- guys who can form the nucleus of a perennial championship contender. Obviously, we’re disappointed. We got off the rails a little bit, and it’s our challenge to get back on the rails and make sure that our fans know that we’re doing the right things and that we’re invested in the outcome on Sundays in 2013."
To me, the only way guys like Stafford and Johnson can truly "form the nucleus of a perennial championship contender" is if they're surrounded by lots of talent on both sides of the ball. The Lions showed in 2012 with their 4-12 record that they still have a lot of work to do to get anywhere near perennial championship contender status, and a big part of that is the fact that so many holes still exist on the roster. The Lions need more consistency (and fewer injuries) at virtually every position, but they also need more talent as well.
For the Lions to actually get to the point where they are competing for championships year in and year out, they first need to fill the holes that currently exist. Then they have to get to a point where they are able to reload through the draft each year. The Green Bay Packers, for example, have become a team that is able to sustain success by way of doing a very good job of drafting. My biggest concern is that salary cap issues will prevent the Lions from truly getting to that level, but I suppose that is just another part of the challenge of being a perennial championship contender.