Such an interesting season it has been. As usual, the Detroit Lions are taking their fans for a ride on the most emotional roller coaster ever constructed. Nobody can say for sure just what awaits the Lions on the other side of January 1st.
But what has become quite clear on this side, is that this Lions team is different. I wrote about it a few weeks back when I said that the 2016 Lions were incomparable to any other Lions team in franchise history. I still very much feel the same. The Lions are a way different animal than we’re used to seeing.
A good way to look at this team is to consider them an office building. Stay with me here. Let's imagine a company. For kicks we’ll call it “Payton Industries.” PI needs a new office building. The old one has a leaky roof and was never as great as it should have been.
PI goes out and hires a great construction company that has a history of building great things, or at least has a history of working with a great crew. We say we need a sturdy foundation and all the latest upgrades. When can you finish?
Here’s where things get tricky. These builders have been drinking Red Bull for four days straight. They are working like crazy and making great progress. When it comes to what was supposed to be the halfway point, this crew is ahead of schedule and crashing from their Red Bull highs.
A lot has been done, and it looks like a building is in place. But this thing isn't done. Not even close. There isn't even a roof yet. If you take anything at all away from this piece, it’s that I know nothing about building codes and regulations. Or how to build anything at all.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, the Lions are the building. Bob Quinn is the new construction company. He has come in and begun to build his foundation. The foundation, of course, is depth and the Lions offensive line.
The key to a winning football team is the game inside the trenches. The offensive line has become more important to a team than probably ever before. That’s why it was important for Quinn to build this part up first. But he’s not done. The mortar hasn’t even begun to set yet. There’s more work to be done there.
Next, it was important to add in depth. The Lions have done that with guys like Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts. This is the deepest wide receiving group Matthew Stafford has ever had.
There’s still work to be done on offense. Right now, the run game is being held together by duct tape and old pieces of Bubbleicious. This is shoddy craftsmanship that OSHA is sure to flag. The Lions don’t even have a permit for this. This building analogy is getting out of hand.
As for the Lions defense, it’s just a group of beams lying around. Some of them are up and are quite sturdy. Others need to be reinforced. The Asa Jackson beam is defective. There’s a clear blueprint here though. That’s the important thing to remember. The Lions defense starts slow and creeps up because of its vets. But solid play for newcomers and depth in the coming years could make this an all-season thing.
The point here is that the Lions may be a building standing tall, but they’re far from done. They are just a team with many flaws that’s seeing its potential a bit ahead of schedule. Like most things that are uncompleted, the Lions will fall. That fall may be sooner than we think. It may be just around the bend.
You should still be very excited about this though, because, for once, there appears to be an actual blueprint in place. The Lions aren’t building with Fisher Price tools anymore. They’ve got hammers and stuff now. And once Quinn gets more supplies from the hardware store (draft and free agency) the Lions will be ready to put that roof on and open for business. The good news is everything is ahead of schedule.