In the background static of sports, there lurks an egregore—a kind of psychic entity born of the collective of thought. Once the term was used in reference to the ancient Watchers: the fallen angels who birthed the Nephilim, who could be called with Enochian spells and the crystal balls of Edward Kelley. By the late 20th century, the term became used in this other way, a collective psyche given power. This fit in better with postmodern chaos magic, where it was far more trendy to write spells about invoking thoughtforms and servitors than angels and demons. If you’re wondering why I’m starting with the occult, I have no real answer—yet did you ever wonder why there is both a football coach and a grand magician named Peter Carroll?
Anyway, the egregore in question is Lou Gehrig. It is also Wally Pipp, the man he replaced, for this is a being of transitions, a Janus. It is a belief in that crossing threshold, a replacement, that act so divine and liberating. It is Alex Smith giving way to Colin Kaepernick. It is the expulsion of the stagnant present, the release of the untapped potential of a hitherto unseen quantity.
It’s the new car smell. It’s the One Weird Tip; doctors hate this man who figured out you just replace the old players with the new ones! Do you understand now? The most popular player in town is the backup quarterback; things of that nature.
That flag, it bears the words of Father Richard, “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus”—you didn’t think that was coincidence, did you?
Which it is all to say that there is no more patience with the existing Detroit Lions defense. After giving up 35 points to the Green Bay Packers and tilling fresh loam to Aaron Rodgers’ narrative, Lions fans are rightly aggrieved and desire change, change anywhere.
The Lions have no solution that will satiate these desires. The common refrain concerns the linebacker corps, which hasn’t boasted an actual star since the presidency of Barrack Obama. This is expected as it is weary. It would be fantastic to give in to the fantasies to replace Jamie Collins, or perhaps Alex Anzalone, who spent much of the game jawing with Rodgers between plays. That egregore here is manifesting as Derrick Barnes, who has lit embers in the fan collective since preseason and training camp, all thanks to a beat writer collective that has gushed, gushed and gushed.
But Barnes is a rookie. Even if he is this great hope, he can’t replace—nor fix—the unit by himself.
Frustration comes for the linebackers in the case of coverage; again, this is hardly a new tale for the Lions. In the case of Collins, this seems a mismatch of priorities. Collins’ strength last year came in pass rush more than coverage. It would be wonderful if he could do both; the balance reality enforces just sucks.
In the case of Anzalone, it seems premature to give up on the man’s coverage skills—with a career coverage grade from PFF at 70.9—altogether, especially when he got marked a captain just two games prior and 15 to go. Ejecting a captain after two performances, and with a new team, seems ridiculously hasty.
For safeties, there’s not much here that can be fixed this year. For the corners, the One Weird Tip is to stop getting injured and get more experience. You can see how this is probably not helping.
Here’s the better reality: you got smoked out by Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and the ghosts of bounce-back games. Those beings know exactly where and how to beat the Lions; they’ve seen it year in and year out. Tagging mid-range coverage is bread and butter. The ass-kicking was inevitable.
All this speaks to the current once more being impatience—a strange emotion to evoke when, as we have previously discussed, the Lions are going to lose a lot of fucking football games. That’s what happens in a rebuild. Are you not aware of this...?
Good news: head coach Dan Campbell is giving fans exactly what they want in the press conferences. He’s playing it quite well, and expletives make for great graphics on Instagram fan accounts. “I don’t want to see that shit,” Campbell said when asked about being down 0-2 to start the year and “same old Lions” mentality.
Dan Campbell on what he told players about getting down after the 0-2 start: “I told them I don’t want to see that shit. ... I’m not a sulker.”— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) September 21, 2021
(This isn’t the same old Lions. They’re changed, by intrinsic nature of the matter. You’re the one that’s same old, and older still today.)
Everyone in Detroit wants to see the Lions defense fixed. It’s bad, and it’s been bad for an egregiously long period of time. But this was the worst defense in the league last year and they’ve had to start the season against two prolific offenses. Salvation isn’t going to come from a fourth round preseason phenom. And it shouldn’t! Ownership gave this coaching staff all the time in the world, and if you’re wondering why nobody’s reshuffled the linebackers by now then you’re getting out ahead of it all.
One Weird Tip is give it some damn time. Or don’t. Get mad all you want. That’s what makes watching these miserable games so fun. Emotional tempests, egregores, invoked wills. I don’t know if psychics watch football games, but I certainly don’t think they can stomach going to a stadium of one hundred thousand festering souls.
Filed under: Seethe, cope