Detroit Lions 2009 Preview

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Detroit Lions 2009 Preview
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
2008 Summary

Lets first go over the Lions victories a season ago.

Okay now that that's out of the way...

In all seriousness, if you look up "ineptness" in the dictionary, it's likely you will find a blurb about the Detroit Lions historically bad season a year ago. If you are new to the game of football, the Lions finished the season 0-16 and are currently riding high on a 17-game losing streak dating all the way back to December 30, 2007.

Or if you would like to take a really positive look at things, the Lions have lost 23 of their last 24 regular season games.

Last season saw the winds of change for the Lions franchise, as the Matt Millen era finally came to a close. However, in much of the same manner as picking up pieces after a tornado destroys a trailer park, the Lions still have a lot of work ahead of them if they are to crawl back into the realm of respectability.

2009 Free Agency Additions

T Jon Jansen (Washington)
LB Larry Foote (Pittsburgh)
WR Ronald Curry (Oakland)
FB Terrelle Smith (Arizona)
TE Will Heller (Seattle)
LB Cody Spencer (New York Jets)
T Daniel Loper (Tennessee)
CB Phillip Buchanon (Tampa Bay)
DT Grady Jackson (Atlanta)
WR Bryant Johnson (San Francisco)
CB Eric King (Tennessee)
RB Maurice Morris (Seattle)

2009 Trade Acquisitions

LB Julian Peterson (Seattle)
CB Anthony Henry (Dallas)

2009 Offseason Departures

DE/DT Cory Redding (Seattle)
CB Leigh Bodden (New England)
DT Shaun Cody (Houston)
WR Mike Furrey (Cleveland)
LB Paris Lenon (New England)
FB Moran Norris (San Francisco)
QB Dan Orlovsky (Houston)
TE John Owens (Seattle)
QB Jon Kitna (Dallas)

2009 NFL Draft

1-1 QB Matthew Stafford - Georgia
1-20 TE Brandon Pettigrew - Oklahoma State
2-33 CB/S Louie Delmas - Western Michigan
3-76 LB DeAndre Levy - Wisconsin
3-82 WR Derrick Williams - Penn State
4-115 DT Sammie Lee Hill - Stillman
6-192 RB Aaron Brown - TCU
7-228 OT Lydon Murtha - Nebraska
7-235 LB Zach Follett - California
7-255 TE Dan Gronkowski - Maryland

2009 Outlook

If you're a Lions fan and you're looking for optimism, at least you can say 2009 cannot be any worse than 2008.

New head coach Jim Schwartz comes over to the Motor City fresh off of coaching the Titans' defense for the past seven seasons, He will immediately try to repair a Lions defense that was absolutely miserable a year ago (32nd overall).
The Lions made some moves they hope can immediately begin this process by acquiring Pro-Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson from the Seahawks and signing cornerback Phillip Buchanon to shore up the Lions paltry secondary. They also added Grady Jacksonto anchor the Lions defensive line and fill the void left behind by Cory Redding.

Offensively, no question all eyes will be on No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford. Whether or not Stafford can beat out late 2008 addition Daunte Culpepper remains to be seen, but when you are making the kind of coin Stafford is making, the question is not "if", it's "when".

New offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will oversee the offense, and more importantly Stafford's development. Linehan, while having a truly horrible stint as head coach in St. Louis, is very respected amongst his peers for his coordinating abilities and should help turn around an offense that was almost as putrid to watch a year ago (30th overall) as its defense.

The Lions offense is not without its budding stars however, as WR Calvin Johnson has quietly become one of the leagues best young talents. RB Kevin Smith also showed flashes during the forgetful season a year ago and should continue to build on that in his sophomore campaign. Draft picks Brandon Pettigrew and Derrick Williams also figure to have major roles for Linehan's offense.

2009 Schedule
Sunday, September 13 at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, September 20 MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Sunday, September 27 WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Sunday, October 4 at Chicago Bears
Sunday, October 18 at Green Bay Packers
Sunday, October 25 ** BYE **
Sunday, November 1 ST. LOUIS RAMS
Sunday, November 8 at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, November 15 at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, November 22 CLEVELAND BROWNS
Thursday, November 26 GREEN BAY PACKERS
Sunday, December 6 at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, December 13 at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, December 20 ARIZONA CARDINALS
Sunday, December 27 at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, January 3 CHICAGO BEARS

2009 Prediction

If you're looking for another Miami or Atlanta "worst to first" story in the making, it's not going to happen here. The Lions will show signs of progress, but will otherwise continue to struggle in a division that greatly improved from a year ago. The best case scenario for the 2009 Lions figures to be 4-5 wins, but they will not duplicate their 0-16 march from a year ago.

Predicted Finish: 3-13, 4th NFC North
Hassellbeck - VSN Writer
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