The season is over, finally some may say personally I think the season ran for 7 games to many this year but hey nothing you can do about it now, but anyway until the season ended the air around POD was despondent it has perked up since the clear out has started but I am going to try and get you all to drink the Kool-Aid again, go sit down, grab a drink or whatever you do to relax and read on.
Positives from 2013 season.
1 So the biggest non speculative reason first our new and improved and younger O-line. Pretty obvious right? Warford was a rock and was PFF top RG and one of the top Rookies. Useful in pass protection and a Mauler in the run game just what you want in a guard. Waddle played far beyond his status as a UDFA and looks like we have a solid monster of a RT tackle for a while (No more hoping Jason Fox stays healthy) Reiff played well out in the lines premier spot of LT. That is 3 of the 5 spots on the line filled for the next decade. It is a situation 31 teams in the league would want. As a bonus point Raiola was PFF highest rated Center this year so yeah take that Pro Bowl fans.
2 We have a working special teams unit (almost). For the last few years 2 special teams position have been good, two not so good. Well we now have a 3 to 1 ratio. I am one of the weirdo’s who thinks that Sam Martin was responsible for this teams successes this year more so than any other rookie on the team. Our punter is going to be flipping the fields for us for a decade and that is a skill that will never lose importance. Ross looks like a keeper as a returner also and Don Muhlbach is a premier long snapper and management would be stupid to let him walk plus he is a long standing Lion a good person to have around. Bonus Point Akers is gone! It is sad to be so happy about it but Akers was never a long term answer and with a new coach to be given time he will know doubt give Harvard another look as the HC won’t have to win to keep the job so perhaps we can replace Hanson with another faithful decade long servant.
3 The curious case of the Lions Corners. Houston was okay this year serviceable but not awesome however as the year wore on our young corners improved and improved some more. Corner back is a tricky place to get used to at the NFL level but Slay looks like he will Houston level minimum, Bentley has the slot corner thing working considering how tricky it is. Bonus point don’t forget about Jonte and Greenwood progressing both have had injuries both are young a promise.
4 Fearsome Foursome I was one the Ziggy bandwagon from the start and he played very well leading the rookies in sacks in spite of missing games injured and also playing injured. Suh was his usual self dominant terrifying and denounced as a dirty demon child of a player though that stigma waned as the season wore on so who knows next year maybe he can play without caring a yellow flag in his pocket for convince sake, Fairley season was reminiscent of Suh’s second season flash plays mixed with bone headed plays the following season Suh settled down same thing this year? Bonus Point Our 4th d line man our 4th round rookie Taylor produced more flash plays per snap than anyone else I can think of and he was RAW so with more polish and more time on the field. Did someone say 85 Bears? (I didn’t but if someone else does good for them)
So I bet by now folk are tired of reading this so Quick Fire Round!!!
5 Tulloch the tackling machine
6 Levy the tackling/ interception magnet
7 Megatron Played injured and was still crazy good
8 Bell He will be back. A thumping closer of a runner, him and Warford combo haunted DT’s dreams on a Saturday Night
9 Fauria our touchdown/ dancing magnet will only improve with practice may never be more than red zone/chain moving threat but those are two important roles
10 We have players who love being here. Raiola Nate and I think Rob Sims have all came out to say they’d take a pay cut to stay here. We always have people here to fight and scrap no matter down distance score or record.
Now a look ahead at the 2014 season get your second glass of blue Kool-Aid out.
So first and foremost I know its way way too early to look ahead there is numerous variables in the air at the moment so this is all hope and day dreams but something’s I think are likely to happen and some I faith will happen
1 The big one Schwartz is gone now I know this won’t be a popular view but I don’t look back on his hiring as a mistake. He put a chip on this teams shoulder and we felled a few Goliaths particular in 2011. However he couldn’t transform that chip when we became a Goliath ourselves. And that feeling of David being in charge didn’t work well when we had control of our destiny and we couldn’t get out of our heads and that lead to the mental breakdowns the choking and the blowing off chances. Bonus Point Mayhew, Lewand and the Fords all recognise this and have said they want to change the culture of the locker room.
2 My favourite piece of new this offseason so far has been that we finally have let go of Scott Linehan, too long as the offense stagnated racked up the yards yes but not the big touchdowns we have had one of the least creative OC’s to go with one of the most talented offenses. Under his stewardship Bell hasn’t got the touches he deserved, we don’t scheme to get players the ball on rely on Megatron’s crazy ability to do anything and if Ken Whisenhunt gets it you can be sure that will change. Bonus Point We also let go Tim Lappano you know the guy that turned Grew into a drop machine till he was promoted to WR coach and then oddly enough our WR’s suddenly developed dropiseitis.
3 Stafford I don’t want to sound either overboard or like I am sugar coating here but Stafford was been failed by the staff since he overcame is injury bug. No QB tutoring, no mentoring he has regressed behind where is his talent should be towards the end of this season and that is all down to his footwork and the mental stuff. And it seems like no matter who is hired to Lions Hierocracy is aware that they have to fix Stafford we will go as far as Stafford does. Bonus Point A good O line and a good WR core will always help. Our Oline is already good and we have a high draft pick in a Class Loaded with good Wideouts and the teams above is will be clambering over each other to get a QB and Clowney. So Two numbers Ones is a possibility when 2014 is out.
Now onto my more preposterous stuff. So get out you Extra strength Motor City Kool Aid pour it into your Honolulu blue shot glass and follow me.
1 Ken Whisenhunt becomes our new HC keeps Gunny as the DC and brings Frank Reich (QB coach) across with him to work under him as the OC.
2 Gunny gets told to he has total say of the defence and goes crazy freed from Schwartz and coaching for his future (only a season to go on his contract). It starts with playing more press sure we get burned a few times particular with our young corners coming through.
3 This leads to more sacks without blitzing (we were just a few steps away usually this year); Levy Tulloch Delmas and Bentley all start run blitzing to keep people honest. We rack up huge numbers with Ziggy and Devin Taylor coming on really well next year. Fairley though doesn’t and hits the free agent market.
4 Stafford struggles at first in a new system particularly since Grew is allowed to walk in order to get Suh under contract. About 4 games in it starts to click and we improve from that point on.
5 We draft A WR round 1 then spend the next picks as on a TE, DT, S, LOLB and then Later on a QB and a Kicker who goes against Harvard in camp.
6 Calvin does even more Megatron things, Burleson schools up our young rookie Wr before giving him the number 2 spot and he slides inside.
7 Slay becomes our top corner and our safety spot becomes our weak spot on defence while Bush gets over his fumble problems and does the inside routes the TE place should be doing.
8 We start slow but pick up as the season goes on and crucially the changes in culture in the locker room become visible.
So if you bothered reading through all 1573 words of that thank you. I hope we have a great season on the horizon. Let me know what you think and of course GO LIONS.