OT: Detroit Lions - Worst to First? Illusion or Delusion?

Submitted by boliver46 on May 28th, 2013 at 2:50 PM

I'm a die-hard Detroit Lions fan as I'm sure many of your are out there as well.  However, I hold no delusions that this is the year the Green Bay Packers are dethroned as champs - especially in light of the negatives in this article - and the ones they DON'T highlight, i.e. unsettled OL with new LT in Riley Reiff.


Thoughts?  Is this the year?  Or are we in for another year of mediocrity or worse?


Victor Hale II

May 28th, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

Sadly, I'm back to my Barry Sanders era style of fandom, in which I watch the Lions for one reason only.  However, this time it's Calvin Johnson who is the freak of nature whose talent is so great, he makes the Lions worth watching (sort of). 


May 28th, 2013 at 3:04 PM ^

Did not realize I was more of a Barry fan than a Lions fan until he retired. I basically watch now for CJ as he is the single most dominant PLAYER in the league. I'm just a CFB guy. I'd get nervous as a kid before a Lions game and hold my breathe every time Barry touched the ball but it was because he was my idol. His retirement made me see how little I care for the NFL. I'll watch but have very little emotional investment anymore.

swan flu

May 28th, 2013 at 3:48 PM ^

The Vikings without Peterson are probably at the same level as Detroit without Johnson. One of these two teams made the playoffs.

Taking age out of consideration, I'd take AD over Megatron any day. Or All Day, as it were.


May 28th, 2013 at 10:32 PM ^

I do not understand why we as a fanbase give him a pass for quitting on us... Fuck that guy.


put me on the believer side of the lions:

1.) last year not having Best killed them, Bush should do very well in this offense...

2.) defensively they will not only be better but I think the Dline will be the best in the league.   Mark my words Jones will be a huge get.

3.)  Green Bay is slowly getting old and losing pieces.  Chicago is middling at best.  Minny is actually on the upswing but  I don't fear them.

War lions 9-7 and a playoff birth.



I Bleed Maize N Blue

May 29th, 2013 at 1:53 AM ^

14 yrs - a long time to hold a grudge.  Why not remember the good things? One of the best RBs ever played here for 10 yrs and did amazing things on the field.

Disclaimer:  I'm not a Lions fan, just a longtime watcher, being a Michign resident.

When Barry retired, I didn't think he handled things very well, doing it just before training camp, and by fax to his local newspaper (WTF?), then going incommunicado (wasn't he out of the country?).  If he was thinking about it, maybe he could have mentioned it before the draft, so the Lions could have gone in thinking about drafting a RB.  OTOH, why didn't the Lions have any inkling about this?  Why did they just assume he'd be back?

But looking back, I think about it a little differently.  Barry put in 10 yrs, a fairly long career playing on concrete thinly covered with astroturf.  And he was one of the best RBs, but the Lions were doing the playoff hokey pokey, except for the three consecutive years they made it in the mid-90s, and with only one playoff win to show for it all.  That win came relatively early in his career, 1991, and was followed by much disappointment: playoff one-and-dones and not even being in the playoffs.  (Little did people realize that those would be the Lions' "glory days" of the Super Bowl era.)

If you're an elite player, putting your heart and soul into your team for 10 yrs, but your front office isn't improving the team, why keep playing?  When you could be a play away from wrecking your knee, or ripping your Achilles, or even getting paralyzed, why go on?  Maybe the game wasn't fun anymore.  He had his health, he got out.  (One might say he was under contract, but the flip side of that is the team could just cut you.  So a contract is a contract - until it's not.)

What I wonder is why William Clay Ford gets a pass.  Why do people keep buying tickets and merchandise, when the Lions have been worse than mediocre?  In a league built for parity, the Lions haven't been to consecutive playoff games since the friggin' mid-90s!


May 28th, 2013 at 3:00 PM ^

While it is pretty much guaranteed that they are going to be better than last year (they HAVE to be, right??) jumping on any Lions bandwagon before they prove themselves is just asking for pain.  The Lions haven't proven they can win jack in decades.  Yet every year is always going to be "their year".

Don't get me wrong, they have some nice pieces and seem to be, moving in the right direction in some ways.   But since something always goes wrong every year, you are just setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect greatness from them.  IMO you should assume they will be middle of the pack, and then be really happy if they do better.


May 28th, 2013 at 3:00 PM ^

I dunno.  I feel like the Lions overperformed two years ago, and underperformed last year.  Maybe they'll be more like 8-8 this year?  They really need Suh to start playing up to his potential.  It seems to me like he isn't improving at all.

Password is Taco

May 28th, 2013 at 3:04 PM ^

All the talent is there for Suh, and it's not like he isn't using it. He does routinely blow up blockers and work hard, that isn't his issue. I think he honestly hurts the team when he doesn't hold his blocks and clog the line on most run plays. When he blows up the center and slashes into the backfield, unless he gets the TFL he opens up huge holes for the RB.

He needs to understand the position better IMHO.

NOLA Wolverine

May 28th, 2013 at 3:29 PM ^

I'm convinced that Gunther Cunningham just gives zero f's about teams running the trap play all over the Lions. The whole D Line just books it up field every play if they can. Either that or he's terrible at getting players to listen to him. 


May 28th, 2013 at 4:54 PM ^

going 9-7 last year. It's a perfect storm of worst season because of injuries, fluky plays and inept special team plays.

This year, I expect them to go 8-8 or 9-7.  They still have a franchise QB in Stafford.  The offense looked absolutely lost without Jahvid Best presence at RB.  With Bush, I expect the offense to revert back to 2011 level where Stafford threw for 41 TDs.

The defense will be much improved thanks to an improved secondary with Houston, Delmas, Quin and winner of #2 CB spot covering WRs/TEs.


Suh has been playing really well and is a much better run defender than he was in his 1st two years. He had more pressure than his rookie year.  Nick Fairley arguably played like the top DT when he's on the field.  When healthy, Fairley has the ability to dominate in stretches of game.  Both would be the top DT duo in the league and I expect big things from both of them.

Lions were about a play or two from going 10-6 last year. They were in every game except a few games. The biggest key is Stafford and if he is consistent, I expect the Lions to go far in the NFL. Stafford has the ability to be the best QB in the league.


May 28th, 2013 at 4:03 PM ^

we also have our corners we drafted from last season coming back off injury, bently and greenwood. greenwood has the size and speed to compete and bently was the other starter before his injury early in the season. and green was playing pretty solid ball at the end of the season. secondary should be at least decent this season if people stay healthy (delmas...)


May 28th, 2013 at 4:09 PM ^

I dont think a rookie not being able to take a starting job away from a 5 year veteran who started almost every game and just signed a 4 or 5 year deal with the colts to be their starting right tackle is a bad thing. Gos graded out pretty highly on profootballfocus in pass protection (top 10 actually) and was the 5th best OT in free agency, https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2013/02/15/ranking-the-2013-free-… He was very good and if the lions had the cap space they would have kept him.


May 28th, 2013 at 4:22 PM ^

A tackle you take in the first round ahead of alot of other needs with the justification that he is the "long-term answer to our needs at LT", should be able to see the field at RT.  The Lions reached quite a bit with that pick, and now are forced to thrust him into the starting LT role with Backus' retirement.


May 28th, 2013 at 9:38 PM ^

Back to the 90s oscillation: Barely make the playoffs every other year.


2013 Strength of Schedule Breakdown

2012 Record

  • Non-Division
  • Division
  • Total


2013 Regular Season Schedule

2012 Record

(Division / Non Division)

1 Sun, Sep 8 10-6  
2 Sun, Sep 15 5-11  
3 Sun, Sep 22 10-6  
4 Sun, Sep 29 10-6  
5 Sun, Oct 6 11-5  
6 Sun, Oct 13 5-11  
7 Sun, Oct 20 10-6  
8 Sun, Oct 27 8-8  
10 Sun, Nov 10 10-6  
11 Sun, Nov 17 8-8  
12 Sun, Nov 24 7-9  
13 Thu, Nov 28 11-5  
14 Sun, Dec 8 4-12  
15 Mon, Dec 16 10-6  
16 Sun, Dec 22 9-7  
17 Sun, Dec 29 10-6  





May 28th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

Yet, they could make the playoffs. This team is not void of playoff level talent anymore especially given that Bush will essentially negate our OL deficiency with his quick passing out of the backfield game. Offensive coaches should be fired if this team doesn't light up the board all year. Defense is a concern but even that is at least Wild Card caliber. Just cut the bonehead plays, hope Delmas doesn't turn into a cheerleader like usual by week 3 and stop the "wide 9" shit against running teams like Minny, etc. Dumbest defensive formation ever.


May 28th, 2013 at 5:31 PM ^

I don't mean he'll make our trash OL look even average but seeing how this team is not ready to run the ball, Bush signed to essentially be a threat from the backfield/slot and the staff has already said he could easily get 70+ catches this year I think it's safe to assume that we'll still be passing 80% of the time. In that case, my point was that teams risk a lot more by blitzing now that we have Bush so that will help with getting our OL more one on one matchups and should inherently help the pressure. 

Last year teams would often send the house and basically remove CJ from the play by destroying our OL to get pressure before CJ was even done with his route. When teams do that this year, we now have Bush as a very quick dump off alternative and that is a scary thought for opposing defenses. Do you send 0-1 guys on the blitz, effectively play 5-5 in the trenches and hope you can get to Stafford before he finds dangerous targets like an almost uncoverable CJ?  Do you send the house and effectively leave CJ, Bush, Pettigrew, Nate, Broyles, etc in single/no coverage? 

You are right in that I shouldn't have used the word "negate" as I'm a big fan of using words in their literal sense (major pet peeve is when people use the word "literal" in a non literal sense as you cannot f up worse than that haha) and negate means, well, negate. lol. I should have said alleviate or something along the lines of what you said as our OL is just atrocious. I truly think our 3rd round pick (Warford, OG from Kentucky and a run blocking machine) was our best pick and one of the biggest steals in the draft. He may be our best OL from day 1 as Reiff is looking like he will be a poor man's Backus at best unless he gets stronger and has a huge mental leap from his rookie year when we learned to go two TEs, pass catching TEs, instead of him on power plays. Still mad we past on DeCastro, injury or not. Other than those two we don't have much else. So it's maybe worse than last year and "negate" was a very wrong word to use. More like alleviate or make them not look like a trash OL as much. ha

Thanks for the reply.


May 28th, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

I think the talent could be there to have a decent to pretty good season. However I have absolutely no faith or trust in any Lion's management, coaching, front office, (etc.) staff.


May 28th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

That's seriously a dumb idea, business-wise.  Taking a franchise whose fans are just stupid-loyal no matter how bad the team is and moving it is just poor business sense.  Lions fans are ideal fans as far as the league is concerned because we'll spend money regardless of what the team is up to.


May 28th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

It's serious from the perspective that a "respected" media outlet has speculated the Lions have a shot to accomplish the worst to first achievement...

Not serious from the perspective I don't feel they'll be close to first.  Thinking 3rd place in NFC North at 8-8 or 7-9.  Schedule isn't very pretty either - especially the beginning.


May 28th, 2013 at 3:08 PM ^

The SBN article understates the matter -- every year for like 14 years in a row now, some team has gone "worst to first" in its division.  So based on that alone, you KNOW one of the worst in 2012 is going to first in 2013.

And you also know, history being a strong predictor, that it won't be the Lions.


May 28th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

Green Bay isn't getting dethroned this year. They drafted very well and Rodgers has never needed great pass blocking to put up huge numbers. The one time he had a running game to help him, they won the Super Bowl. Now they have Lacy and Franklin.

Perkis-Size Me

May 28th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

The Lions have some nice pieces, and Megatron is Megatron, but they're also the frickin Lions, who haven't won anything in 50+ years. When you're this bad for this long, its just plain bad ownership. As long as the Fords run the show, the Lions aren't going anywhere. I can see a better record, but you're not beating out the Packers, and probably not the Vikings, either.

I think the only team that has a real chance to go worst-to-first is the Bucs. There's a lot of what-ifs with them right now, like if the revamped secondary with Revis and Goldson will live up to the hype. Can Doug Martin avoid the sophomore slump? And probably the biggest one, can Freeman put together a season where he doesn't go through peaks and valleys? Several big question marks, but each of these guys have shown that they have the talent to compete at the highest level in the league, Revis especially. I don't know if they'll be able to overtake the Falcons in that division, but they certainly have the talent to push them for the division crown.


May 28th, 2013 at 4:01 PM ^

Matt Millen gutted this team, and I mean every position.  It is going to take them another 5 years to have any semblance of a real team.  No good LBs, no decent secondary.  Offensive line is still offensive.  

If they make it to .500 this year, it will be a miracle.


May 28th, 2013 at 4:36 PM ^

As I recall, there was a Detroit News article back in the early half of this month in which Nick Fairley predicted that the Lions would be going to the Super Bowl this coming season.

I don't I would go quite that far, but I rather agree with SBNation's assessment - they'll need to at least make a decent showing in the first six weeks or so because of that road-heavy first half to the season. Coming into Week 7 against Cincinnati with at least a 3-3 record probably would be a good sign for the Lions, I would think. 

If they can do that, then I don't see where an 8-8 season is completely out of the question for the Lions. A healthy, even improved secondary and the beginnings of a legitimate pass rush plus the addition of Reggie Bush to the offense would go a long way towards that if everyone can stay healthy this time around. 

gustave ferbert

May 28th, 2013 at 7:31 PM ^

since they won their only playoff game in the super bowl era.  Mediocrity would be a grand success as it always is. . . I just hope they don't drive CJ out of the league like they did with Barry.


May 28th, 2013 at 8:30 PM ^

The offensive line just went from mediocre to bad, and the defensive line just went from loads of established pass rushers to two project draft picks. The secondary is still the secondary, the offense is basically spread-to-Calvin, and we just lost the best kicker of all time. 6-10--just bad enough to not zero shot of drafting Lewan.


May 28th, 2013 at 9:27 PM ^

I've been a Lions fan going back to the Gary Danielson/Billy SIms days.  I about lost it the year we had a bye in the first year of the playoffs and then lost to the Redskins. (91?)   I moved to L.A. right after their teams left and almost considered being a chargers fan.  I moved to Buffalo 10 years ago right before the Bills fell into obscurity and haven't really been able to fully adopt them.   Pro football is fun for fantasy leagues full of Michigan players, but is otherwise disappointing.   Restore the Roar!


May 28th, 2013 at 9:31 PM ^

Restore the Roar? You must be the same vintage as me. I bought into the "Another One Bites the Dust" frenzy in 1980, only to see that team fall apart to 7-9. Billy Sims was fun to watch until he blew out his knee.