The 2009 version is an emphasis on a power running game, with a defensive built to catered to the current talent.
Gone are the Tampa Two defense and the so called West Coast offense. Two systems that never caught on in Detroit one because they did not have the personnel to use these systems and two by the time the Lions got around to using them they were yesterday’s news.
This is the problem with a franchise that keeps changing their coaching staff. Each new staff has to implement their system with players acquired by a different staff for a different system.
For 2009, enter Head Coach Jim Schwartz and Defense Coordinator Gunther Cunningham. These are the two men charged with fixing the Lions on the field performance, and these are the reasons Lions fans have no faith in what they are doing.
Schwartz has never been a head coach in the NFL before. In the last 10 seasons the Lions have hired two other rookie NFL coaches (Marty Mornhinweg and Rob Marinelli). Both of these men failed miserably and Lions fans remember it well.
Mr. Cunningham comes to Detroit via the Kansas City Chiefs. There he was the defense coordinator for a defense almost as inept as the Lions. Cunningham’s defense in 2008 gave up 393 yards per game, which was less than a first down better than the 2008 Lions defense. This is not a man the Lions fans care to respect.
More than playbooks, schemes, and systems the Lions fans want to win. The unfortunate part of that is it is going to take some patience on their part before this team is ready to win.
Lions fans do not want to hear this and the terrible economy of Detroit is going to make them think twice before spending top dollar to see the same old Lions once again.
For 2009 to be successful the Lions as an organization must work not for wins, loses or a playoff berth, but to earn back the respect of their own fans.
In a very real sense, the coaches can throw out the playbook and simply put on a good show that will get the fan base engaged again. If they fail to do so, and suffer another embarrassing season the future of this franchise could be in doubt.