Lions should be a 'seven- to nine-win team,' according to John Clayton

USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's John Clayton sees the Detroit Lions as a team that should win seven to nine games in 2013.

A lot of things went right for the Detroit Lions in 2011 en route to a 10-6 record and a trip to the playoffs. Last year, it was just the opposite. A lot of things went wrong for the Lions en route to a 4-12 record and yet another top-five draft pick.

As we get ready for the 2013 season, my feeling has been that we'll see something in between the 2011 and 2012 Lions. In other words, the Lions won't be nearly as bad as 4-12 this year, but I don't expect them to be quite as good as 10-6. ESPN's John Clayton seems to concur with this assessment, as he sees the Lions as a "seven- to nine-win team." From his recent mailbag column (via MLive):

This should be a seven- to nine-win team, but if an injury happens in the secondary, there may not be enough depth to handle things. That's where the pass rush has to help. The Lions have to pressure the quarterback so the corners aren't exposed as much in coverage. I'm not sold that the Lions will be as good as they were last year in rushing the quarterback.

It'd be pretty disappointing if the pass rush isn't as good as it was last year on account of the fact that it wasn't even that good last year. The Lions finished tied for 20th in the NFL with 34.0 sacks in 2012. Of those 34.0 sacks, only 15.5 came from defensive ends. Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Corey Williams alone had 15.5 sacks last season, so I'd hardly call the Lions' pass rush good simply because the defensive ends didn't seem to do a whole lot. (Hence the addition of Jason Jones, Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor this offseason.)

Clayton's comments were in response to a bizarre question about if adding Reggie Bush will "offset the lack of secondary improvement enough to perhaps produce a winning season or a wild-card berth" for the Lions. The person who wrote in must not realize that the Lions went out and signed safety Glover Quin and drafted cornerback Darius Slay, because they hardly ignored the secondary this offseason. It's true that depth could be a concern if injuries pile up, but the secondary is much more talented now than it was coming into the offseason.

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