After going 10-6 last season and finally ending their playoff drought, the Detroit Lions carried a lot of hope and optimism into the offseason. Although the offseason wasn't exactly a great one with all of the off-field issues, there were plenty of reasons to believe that the Lions were finally back as a franchise and were ready to be contenders year in and year out.
So far this season, the Lions have looked like anything but contenders. They are 1-3 right now and have lost three consecutive games. As of late, the Lions have looked more like the awful teams from the 2000s than the one that went to the playoffs in 2011. Considering that in their last 16 games the Lions have a 6-10 record, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned.
Perhaps the scariest conclusion from all of this is that the Lions just aren't as good as we thought. After they got off to a 5-0 start last season, the thinking was that the Lions were back. In reality, could that have simply been a fluke? Is the 6-10 record since then more indicative of the Lions' true identity? One anonymous "rival" general manager thinks so, and he blasted the Lions in an article on ProFootballWeekly.com.
"The one thing that is clear – they are not as close as people have tried to make it seem," the GM told PFW. "They are a one-dimensional offensive team that if the quarterback (Matthew Stafford) is not on, people are figuring it out. If you take (WR Calvin) Johnson out of the game (one TD through four games, compared to eight TDs at the same stage last season), who else do they have that can beat you?
"They are not a team that I think is ready. If I am going there to take over the job, I am not thinking that is a quick fix."
Considering this general manager spoke anonymously, you have to take what he says with a grain of salt. However, he's not wrong when he says that the Lions are one-dimensional on offense. We saw them try to establish a running game against the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans, and although Mikel Leshoure did rush for 100 yards against the Titans, the Lions still ended up losing. In general, the Lions have had a very difficult time running the ball, and the fact that they are a one-dimensional team has made it tough to score this year.
The unnamed GM went on to talk about how the Lions have "targeted a lot of issue guys" and how the team's leaders aren't doing a good job of leading by example. He also went on to blast specific players by essentially calling them overrated.
"They don’t have enough good players, and the players they think are good are not that good," the GM said. "Suh belongs on the All-Hype team. (DE Cliff) Avril is not that good — put on any game and you can watch him get blocked time and time again. Corey Williams is solid, but nothing that wows you or makes you wonder how you are going to block him. The other guy (DE Kyle Vanden Bosch) is a try-hard guy getting up in years that does not really threaten you. For as much as people talk about that D-line and all its depth, where are all the players?"
There's an entire separate paragraph of this GM calling Ndamukong Suh overrated. This GM even discredited Suh's rookie season by saying he had a bunch of "garbage sacks" in 2010. He also said Suh "took a million plays off and got pushed around in the run game." This GM also said that he's never thought that Suh was a very good pro player.
The final part of the article focuses on Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew. This unnamed GM said that "they're both overrated," and he questioned what Mayhew has actually accomplished. This capped off a very harsh look at the Lions, not only from a personnel perspective but also from the perspective of who is running the team.
Personally, I found some of these comments to be a bit exaggerated. The comments on Suh especially came off as sounding like sour grapes more than anything else. There's certainly some truth to what this unnamed GM said, as I do think the Lions are a one-dimensional team on offense and the defensive line has proven to be quite overrated this season. However, I don't completely buy this unnamed GM's credibility, mainly because we don't know who he even is.
Is this how the Lions are really viewed around the league? Is this really a team of overrated players and coaches? Who knows? What we do know right now is that they are 1-3. If the Lions want to make sure that people don't view them as an overrated team, the best thing to do is use these comments as motivation and go out and win. At the end of the day, the Lions' record is all that matters, and until they change it by winning some games, it's going to be tough to argue with the notion that they are overrated.