It happens every year around this time. The NFL heads back to OTAs or camp and the narratives of the mainstream media fly rampant around the league. It's all good entertainment, and after all, it elicits a response. The issue with way-too-early predictions is that they often tend to be half-cocked ideas based off the same three or four assessments.
I understand that such a thing comes with the territory. When you're responsible for covering 32 teams with 53-men each, teams that don't move the needle nationally tend to get glossed over. The Detroit Lions are without a doubt one of these teams. So when you have to talk about a team like the Lions, it's hard not to take the easy layup and say what the other guy is saying. While I understand why they do it, it's sort of a credibility killer in the eyes of the fans and the guys and gals that cover the glossed-over teams.
With this is mind, I'd like to go ahead and get things out of the way for Lions fans. Today I put together all of the expected narratives about the Lions in one handy narrative guide. First with the most obvious and most used.
No Calvin Johnson equals no passing game
If there were ever a super mega gigantic layup, this is clearly the one. As we all know by now, all-world receiver Calvin Johnson has decided to retire. At this point it's hard for anyone to not know because it's been regurgitated in every way-too-early power ranking or season prediction since February. You won't hear the last of this narrative for at least three to four years. Before every game in 2016. After any loss in 2016. Every time Matthew Stafford throws an interception or every time a receiver drops a pass. Joe Buck has this on deck for both Lions vs. Packers games. Trust me, he can't wait to talk about it.
Obviously losing Calvin will hurt the Lions to an extent. What won't get talked about is the number of receiving threats the Lions actually do have. As well as the catching and YAC ability of each and every one of them. They will fly under the radar all summer. Except for one of them.
Eric Ebron the draft bust?
Only in the football world can a player that improves drastically from year one to year two be called a bust. A certain publication made this claim this past weekend and the Lions Internet exploded to the point where certain Lions fans were actually defending Ebron as opposed to criticizing him per the usual.
While Ebron is definitely a polarizing player, he's not a draft bust. At least not at this moment. That's not say he will be eventually or anything. Get ready to see the usual when it comes to Ebron this summer. Questions about drops and his ability to improve will be the norm all summer long.
Lions corner questions
There's some logic here. The Lions have a pretty young group of corners, and I can't blame anyone for questioning whether these guys will be able to succeed or not. What I do know is that this is the position that the Lions are probably the highest on with the exception of quarterback and receiver. I think that confidence is both warranted and unwarranted. Yes they performed well down the stretch last year, but they are still in need of a veteran presence to help both Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs learn the game. Is it potentially a problem? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No.
Lack of superstars
Of all the arguments in the world, this is the one I personally hate the most. It may seem like a bad assumption, but it seems as though there are analysts out there that will take a look at the Lions roster and think "I don't recognize these names. The Lions have nothing." To me this is the epitome of bad analysis. But nevertheless, this will be a reason given by multiple analysts as to why the Lions won't make the playoffs in 2016.
It's also a major tie-in to the rest of these narratives. Lack of superstars can connect to each one of the aforementioned theories above. The Lions secondary is bad because they don't have a superstar. The Lions lost their biggest superstar. Eric Ebron is not a superstar. Everyone knows that only superstars produce and the rest of the league is just practice squad guys.
That guy is not as good as you think
Ezekiel Ansah's play recently came under fire. A certain publication neglected to put the NFC's sack leader in their top 101 players of 2015. Then they proceeded to put out a piece about the players that didn't make the list and explained in their own new way why sacks are bad, while also explaining why one of the best defensive ends in the NFL is bad. This sort of thing also tends to happen to Darius Slay, Stafford, DeAndre Levy and Golden Tate on a recurring basis.
It goes back to the 32 teams with 53 players thing. It's impossible to know about every single player. But it's also foolish to act like you do and refuse to admit you're wrong.
All aboard the hype train
Hey it's not all bad in narrative land. The Lions will have analysts on their bandwagon this year just as they did last year. Somebody will pick them to win the Super Bowl again. Even it's a crazy prediction. There is some bad that comes with the good narratives. Just like the negative, it tends to build up an expectation in the mind. When that expectation is not met, it sucks.
Ameer Abdullah has been a recent recipient of tons of hype by fantasy writers and analysts alike in the past month. I don't doubt that Abdullah is primed for a better year in 2016. You should have that confidence, too. But I urge you to temper that confidence. In fact temper your confidence about everything. This way if you get hurt, it won't be that bad.
What do you think Lions fans? Did I leave any narratives off? Should some of these not be on here? Be sure to leave your comments below.