Last week we gave you the five reason why Lions fans should have some hope in 2021, now we have to do the opposite. Today we’re talking about the five reasons why Lions fans shouldn’t have hope. Let’s just rip it off like a band aid and get right into it.
You knew what you were getting into
Let’s just start right here. This is a rebuild. We all knew what to expect when the Lions went scorched Earth on the front office, coaching staff and roster when the offseason started. It’s okay to have hope for the franchise, but the hope isn’t for 2021. It’s for 2023 and beyond.
If your first instinct about the 2021 season was that this team wasn’t going to be very good but that’s okay, stick with that instinct.
The defense didn’t really improve
The Lions had their worst defense in franchise history in 2020. Now that the defensive genius isn't here anymore, it could only get worse right? Joking, but the reality is that this defense, as bad as it was, didn’t really do much to improve their standing right away.
The Lions did some work to improve their defensive line and that should help, but their linebacking corps still has a ton of questions and their secondary does too. Ultimately, the question is how much of Detroit’s poor defense was due to bad coaching? There’s some thought that the right coaching could change these guys into a better defense. There may be some validity to that, but the truth of the matter is that their personnel on this defense is nowhere near where it needs to be.
Tons of unproven talent on offense
When I talked last week about players having something to prove, I was mostly referring to the Lions receiving corps. Breshad Perriman, Tyrel Williams and company are all guys that have been trying to show that they’ve belonged for the last half a decade to no avail.
Yes this is their prime chance to show what they have due to the amount of targets they’ll get, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to flip those targets into success. The only evidence we currently have tells us they probably won’t. With that in mind, the Lions offense could wind up struggling quite a bit in 2021 with no receiving game.
On top of that, if the receiving corps struggles, that will certainly impact Jared Goff. If the receiving game is really bad and Jared Goff looks bad because of it, does that suddenly change the course of the Lions rebuild?
The NFC is stacked and this schedule is rough
We’re in Year 2 of the extra wild card spot, but the Lions are still in a very tough conference that just keeps getting tougher. The Buccaneers are going to be really good again, the Rams might be a team that can go all the way, the Seahawks are always good, and you know all this Aaron Rodgers hubbub will just end up with him quarterbacking the Packers to the NFC North title again. Don’t sleep on the up-and-comers like the Cardinals and Giants.
Not only will the Lions have to contend for the postseason against some good teams, they will have to directly play some of the best projected teams for 2021. No matter how you slice it, the Lions’ schedule is among the toughest in the NFL. In all, the Lions have nine games against teams that went to the playoffs last year. Things could get bad in a hurry for this team.
The coaching staff is green
I love this coaching staff. I know you do, too. Speaking personally, I think this group is something special and the Lions are on their way. But to quote the great Stone Cold Steve Austin, these guys are “greener than goose shit.”
These guys are all pretty much new to the job outside of Anthony Lynn. This is Dan Campbell’s first full-time head coaching job, Mark Brunell was a high school coach last year, Aaron Glenn has only coached defensive backs and so on. There are going to be some hiccups and growing pains, and those will probably be most apparent in 2021.
The good news on this front is that the Lions do have guys like Dom Capers, Hank Fraley and the already mentioned Anthony Lynn on staff. Their knowledge and experience is going to really come in handy when it comes to the future of this team. Just don’t expect top-tier results out of the gate.