Today I wanted to do something different. We're at that point of the offseason that's after the draft and right before OTAs. So for the next week, there isn't a whole lot going on in the Detroit Lions world at the moment. So I asked the readers what they wanted me to write about this week. After some interesting topics were presented, like the price of beer at Ford Field, one Lions fan came through with a great topic.
@POD_Payton we are conditioned to look at what's wrong with this organization, which is quite easy, but what are we progressing at?— Dave Barringer (@pdbarringer) May 16, 2016
This is a good question and a good point made by Dave. Detroit Lions fans are a special breed that are so used to heartbreak that they can't help but focus on the bad or be weary about feeling safe about anything good. So naturally with the loss of Calvin Johnson and the national media telling you to give up on this season before it starts, it's hard to think about what's positive. But there are definitely some aspects of the offseason that should warrant some positivity. Here are four.
The first and probably the most obvious is the work the Lions have done in their front office this year. Excusing Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand was improvement enough. Bringing in Ernie Accorsi to assist Martha Ford and Rod Wood in their search for a general manager was possibly the best move the Lions could have made. Can we say that Bob Quinn is a success already? No we can't. But we can say that on paper and in theory, he's said all the right things and has made all the right moves so far. Specifically, creating a connect between the scouting department and the front office that wasn't there during the previous regime.
Special teams is a unit that rarely gets looked at as a major part of the game. The fact of the matter is your game plan on both offense and defense can live or die based on the performance of your special teams. A great return gets you that much closer to putting points on the board. Give up a great return and you're that much closer to getting scored on. It's no secret that the Lions have had one of the league's worst special teams units for some time now. Bringing in players like Johnson Bademosi and drafting Antwione Williams gives the Lions the depth they've been looking for on special teams. Now Joe Marciano must put it all together in camp and show that this is a much improved unit.
Here's the thing. It's too early to tell if this is an improvement that will show immediate dividends in 2016. But then again, I never said that was the point. The Lions knew they needed to bulk up in the trenches after Matthew Stafford got sacked 89 times in 32 games and the Lions finished dead-last in rushing. 10 draft picks later and Bob Quinn walked away with three future starters at three very important positions. It's clear to me that Decker will be the Lions new left tackle and Joe Dahl can take over the right side once Riley Reiff skips town next spring. Graham Glasgow represents an immediate upgrade over Travis Swanson. It may take a few years, but this offensive line should show a lot of progress.
This is not to say that everything is rainbows and cookie dough ice cream. There are still questions about the defensive end and safety positions despite the Lions drafting players at both. But the goal was to improve upon depth and the Lions did that at multiple positions. Most notably the defensive tackle position where the Lions may have to cut or trade a guy to avoid having too many. What's better is that the Lions also get DeAndre Levy and Tyrunn Walker back after losing both to injury in 2015. The Lions also have a strong secondary with great depth at corner and Glover Quinn at safety. If Killebrew can pay off right away, the Lions could be a hard team to pass on. I sort of feel bad for Andre Fluellen.
What do you think Lions fans? What did I forget? What shouldn't be here? Be sure to leave your comments below or come chat with me on Twitter @POD_Payton.