The Detroit Lions followed up their first playoff appearance in more than a decade by reverting back to their old ways and going 4-12 in 2012. Now one has to wonder if last year was an aberration or if 2011 was really a fluke. Sure, the Lions appeared to complete the rebuilding process by making it to the playoffs, but they erased all of the optimism surrounding the franchise with what happened last season.
If you ask Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, 2012 was a fluke, not 2011. He thinks talent is there for the Lions, which couldn't really be said when he took over the team back in 2009. That's why he doesn't think it's accurate to say the Lions are now rebuilding. He believes they have a core group of players in place, meaning they are reloading rather than blowing things up and starting over. From the Free Press:
"I wouldn’t call it rebuilding," Schwartz said Thursday. "There’s been a lot of other words used for it: 'reloading,' whatever you want to call it. But when you say 'rebuilding,' it sounds like you’re starting from the ground up."
It's true that the Lions do have some solid pieces in place on both sides of the ball. However, the lack of depth and overall talent at positions like defensive end, cornerback and safety is alarming. In that sense, they do need to rebuild certain parts of the team this offseason. It wouldn't be accurate to say they are reloading when it's clear they were lacking talent to begin with.
No matter what you want to call it, it's clear the Lions have a lot of work to do this offseason to get back to the playoffs. I don't think they were actually as bad as their 4-12 record last season, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say they weren't as good as their 10-6 record in 2011, either. Given the current state of the roster, this is a crucial offseason when it comes to the Lions' future. They not only have to fill their needs to be in a position to make a playoff run in 2013, but they need to plan for the future to ensure that rebuilding isn't a constant topic of conversation for years to come.