Alex's 32 Teams in 32 Days: Team 32—Detroit Lions
This is the first installment of my new series in which I will be counting down my 2009 NFL Power Rankings over the next seven weeks leading up to opening kickoff. Be sure to check in every week day up to Sept. 10 to see the next team. There will certainly be some controversial rankings. As T.O. would say, getcha' popcorn ready. Enjoy!
2008 Record: 0-16
2008 Season Review:
One season after the NFL saw its first 16-0 team, the Detroit Lions made history by being the first ever team to finish 0-16.
After quarterback Jon Kitna went down early on, Dan Orlovsky and Daunte Culpepper struggled to replace him.
The offense struggled, ranking 27th in points scored and 30th in yards gained.
The defense was even worse as they ranked last in points allowed and yards allowed.
Team President and GM Matt Millen was finally fired while head coach Rod Marinelli also lost his job.
QB, Matthew Stafford (draft), TE Brandon Pettigrew (draft), LB Julian Peterson, LB Larry Foote, CB Phillip Buchanon, CB Anthony Henry, DT Grady Jackson, OT Jon Jansen, WR Bryant Johnson, RB Maurice Morris, CB Eric King, Louis Delmas (draft), WR Dennis Northcutt
CB Leigh Bodden, DT Shaun Cody, DT Cory Redding, DE Corey Smith, QB Jon Kitna, QB Dan Orlovsky, WR Shaun McDonald, FB Moran Norris, G Edwin Mulitalo, S Dwight Smith, WR Travis Taylor
I have the Lions ranked as the 32nd best team (a.k.a. worst team) in the NFL.
Rookie head coach Jim Schwartz brings over great defensive knowledge and a plan to win. However, it’s going to take more than just one season to fix the many problems they have in Detroit.
Who will start at quarterback?
They used the first overall pick on Matthew Stafford who has great expectations for his career, but will he get a chance to at the starting job in ’09? Former Pro Bowler Daunte Culpepper is the favorite to win the job to at least start the season.
Adding linebackers Julian Peterson and Larry Foote will certainly help the defense. They bring much needed discipline, and experience to the Lions’ front seven.
The Lions' new defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham will add new life to the defense.
Cunningham loves to blitz and perhaps has the tools to do so successfully in '09. With the additions of Peterson and Foote, as well as the return of Ernie Sims, the Lions have quite the linebacking corps.
Veteran wideouts Bryant Johnson and Dennis Northcutt will certainly add some much needed depth behind superstar Calvin Johnson.
Second year running back Kevin Smith will need to make a major impact in '09. With the possibility of a rookie quarterback under center, the run game will be essential to Detriot's offensive success.
Bottom line: I don’t see the Lions winning any more than two or three games in 2009 and they will once again have the first pick in the draft.
Be sure to watch for tomorrow's unveiling of team No. 31. This ranking could be a surprise to many people. Who will it be? Stay tuned.
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