The season was one of the biggest disappointments I have witnessed in my lifetime. I don't ever wish an injury on any human being but I have to say I was just as excited as anyone when we were 6-3 and both Rodgers and Cutler were hurt. The way we just tossed away games in the garbage was nothing short of something that makes you want to redecorate your man cave with fist sized holes in the wall. Having said that there were a few things that I saw that give me much optimism in the future.
Warford and Waddle Connection - Congratulations gentleman, as rookies you did something Lions fans have been wishing for since ever. You solidified a solid passing and running attack which allowed the first duo in NFL history to have over 500 yards rushing and passing. You were a reason why we your RB's were able to get over 1,600 yards on the ground... that hasn't happened since a guy wearing #20 was in town.
DeAndre Levy - You are without a doubt the unsung hero of this defense sir. You recorded over 100 tackles and tied the league in interceptions...as a linebacker. Yes you did get snubbed for the Pro Bowl but you also earned the respect of each and every Lions fan who tunes in every week. Your entire LB crew is probably the most underrated but I can tell you that you came along way from being the injury prone LB that we drafted years ago and if you have another season like that, the NFL can't deny you of your rightful spot in the ProBowl.
Reggie Bush - Yes you fumbled the ball this year... but you also gave the fans hope. You came as advertised this year and added that other dimension that we needed on offense. You ran your heart out this year and you did two things that caught me eye (and ear). You accepted your accolades graciously... and you took responsibility for your mistakes. As a Lions fan I look for you to have the best season of your career in 2014.
Suh - This was probably the best year you have ever had. Not just because of the stats but because you are growing into a professional football player. I think your first few seasons you played like you had something to to prove... this year you just caused your usual havoc and destruction in the middle but also walked away from the chirping over other teams. I think the moment is was most apparent is when you refrained from putting Flynn into the ground on Thanksgiving day (fitting that it happened against Green Bay on Thanksgiving) You are worthy of the "C" you have on your shirt my friend.
Slay - You started the season slow and yet continued to embrace your opportunities. Since Thanksgiving you have started to turn into an excellent corner... what I saw on TV was my own evidence. I think as the game constantly evolves, we expect more and more out of players straight out of school and forget that rookies need to learn and make mistakes. It seems like as the season wore on you were in on more and more pass break ups. This league has an unforgiving learning curve and its baptism by fire. I like how you progressively got better as the season went on and with some good off season training and coaching, you will soon be our best corner.
Joique Bell - It's always a nice thing to see an unknown player and embrace opportunity. It seemed like every time you had the ball in your hand, you ran like it was the last play you would ever run. We have a 2nd round draft pick who dressed for 3 games this year and it was the right decision. You and Reggie delivered the best 1-2 punch statistically in NFL history and it was an amazing show to watch.
The Entire Roster - While many of you may have had your own personal opinion, you did the classy thing and stood up for your coach. Jim deserves credit for a lot things in Detroit. He was definitely a step in the right direction however it's apparent that we needed an upgrade and he just isn't the guy to get us over the hump. While the fans and the front office clearly wanted him out, you all stepped in and advocated for him which is something that teams don't tend to do. It shows class and good commodore.
I think that despite the disappointing start, there are things that we can look forward to as fans and with the right coach and a few upgrades in the off season (OLB, WR, CB) we can finally reach our Zenith we are capable of getting.