The win-less season.
Just saying it makes Lions' fans everywhere cringe. Matt Millen, Rod Marinelli, Jim Colletto, Joe Barry, five different quarterbacks, 21-0 deficits, last minute heartaches, crushing defeats are just a few of the people and thoughts that entail the win-less season.
Although a few wins were within reach, it isn't a huge coincidence that this team went without a win. They just really weren't that good.
Of the Lions' 16 losses, only four of them were decided by seven points or less. The Lions averaged 32.3 points against throughout the season (worst in the NFL), and only managed half of that on offense (16.8 points; 27th in the NFL).
So how do you take a team that was this bad, and turn them into contenders again? It's simple: Gym Shorts.
Surprised? Say it with me...
That's right. The man who was named after physical education is now at the helm of the Lions' organization, and the Detroit-faithful have a lot to look forward to from him. He's bringing over a defense that was ranked near the top of the league for every season he was involved at Tennessee, an offensive coordinator who orchestrated one of the most prolific offenses in the history of the sport, and a defensive coordinator who ran a squad that allowed less than 17 points per game and had a +30 turnover margin.
Paired with new GM Martin Mayhew, could this be the biggest turn-around in sports history? Or more importantly, could this be the stability this franchise has lacked since the Millen era began?
Maybe it's too early to jump to such conclusions, but it sure has been a great start for Schwartz and company.
The 2009 NFL Draft brought in plenty of talent, with (arguably) the best quarterback, tight end, and safety all landing in Detroit, and the Lions also have the talk of day two in defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill. Combined with thumpers DeAndre Levy and Zack Follett at linebacker, running back Aaron Brown and wide receiver Derrick Williams to help in the return game as well as situational roles, offensive tackle Lydon Murtha to get some reps and potentially develop into a starting offensive lineman, and tight end Dan Gronkowski who is another versatile player that can run block and catch the ball equally well, the Lions came away very pleased with their crop of guys in this year's class.
Off-season moves and free agency brought in some fresh athletes as well. Notables include linebackers Julian Peterson and Larry Foote, running back Maurice Morris, cornerbacks Anthony Henry, Eric King and Phillip Buchanon, wide receivers Bryant Johnson and Ronald Curry, offensive linemen Jon Jansen and Daniel Loper, defensive tackle Grady Jackson, and fullback Terrelle Smith.
With almost an entirely new roster, a new coaching staff, a new general manager and even a new logo, this is definitely not last year's Lions.
At least for the sake of Lions' fans across the country, let's hope not.
DSpydr84 - VSN Writers
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