For the last decade, the most exciting time of the year for Detroit Lions fans was the offseason. Sure, there was hope and optimism entering the regular season, but it typically faded away after a slow start or a second-half collapse. By November, all eyes were usually on getting to the offseason, when free agency, trades and the draft rolled around and provided new optimism for the next season.
This year, things are much different. The Lions enter the offseason fresh off of their best year of football in more than a decade. They returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, and getting to the offseason wasn't something fans were excited about. The hope was the offseason would be another month away, but a loss to the New Orleans Saints on Saturday means that it is now here.
Although the NFL Draft is no longer considered the Lions' Super Bowl and I'm not excited that the season is over for a change, you can bet the offseason will be an interesting time for the Lions. No, there aren't as many holes to fill as usual, but that's a good thing. It'll be exciting to discuss all of the possibilities for the offseason as the Lions look to tweak a few things here or there in order to take the franchise to the next level -- a championship caliber level.
Already talk about who the Lions should draft and sign and who they shouldn't bring back has begun. Personally, I'm not ready to completely shift into offseason mode just yet. You can bet there will be plenty of discussion about all of those things on here in the coming months like always, but I'm going to take a week or two to wrap up the 2011 season before turning all focus to the offseason and beyond. I'm just not ready to switch gears yet, as I want to savor this great season a little bit longer.
Once we do start to shift into offseason mode, here are some of the things you can expect on Pride of Detroit in the coming months: a position-by-position look at the roster, discussion about contracts, extensive coverage of free agency, coverage of the combine and other pre-draft events, mock drafts, a community mock draft and, finally, extensive coverage of the 2012 NFL Draft in late April. The offseason has always been a very active time for Pride of Detroit, and even with the success the Lions had in 2011, I don't anticipate that being any different this year.