The Heat is On in Detroit.
I was recently listening to a Detroit radio station the other day and you would have thought that the Lions of 2009 had advanced to the playoffs last year and were considered favorites for a Super Bowl appearance in 2010: "Fire the Coach" - "Trade Calvin Johnson" - "Matt Stafford is made of Glass" - "Trade Stafford and find a new franchise quarterback" - "Get rid of Linehan" and so on, and so on, and so on...
Same Old Lions? More Like Same Old Lions Fans
While I can certainly understand the frustration of Detroit fans (especially after witnessing what was an almost unbearable morale crushing defeat literally laid at the feet of the New York Jets), let's all be real here! Detroit was expected to pull out two or possibly three of these first seven games at the start of the season and today, that is exactly where we stand.
Am I disappointed? Undeniably.
Am I frustrated? Unquestionably.
Do I think these are "The Same Old Detroit Lions?" NO WAY!
Anyone who watched the contest last week knows that the Lions, together in large part with the fan-base of the City of Detroit, poured its collective heart and soul into this game.
Those who continue to complain about the outcome of what was actually one of the Lions more competitive matchups against what is undeniably a playoff bound opponent; well, they are looking at a glass half empty instead of the glass that I see which is definitively half full and rising.
Sure, I can place blame on some of the coaching decisions, some of the lack of continuity and timing in the offense, some of the outright bad luck and frankly some of the officiating just as quickly as anyone else.
But to be perfectly honest, after watching this game and listening to the crowd and seeing the emotion on the field; this is a much improved team that has suffered through an inordinate amount of bad luck and injuries, yet they continue to forge ahead. Anyone who is truly watching can see that they are finally taking some giant steps forward and the entire team, (management, players and coaches), are learning in the process.
I continue to stand behind a Detroit Lions management team that is DOING THIS THE RIGHT WAY!
What exactly are we to expect this week? Despite how crushing this loss appeared to be, this is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The unbelievably low bottom that the Detroit Lions unearthed this past week can either serve as a final knock-out blow that sends them reeling into the abyss of a dismal and dysfunctional Lions team like that of the Millen era, or it can serve as a reminder: A reminder of a place that each and every team member of the Lions organization can use as a motivational basis—a reminder of a hell hole that is never ever ever going to be revisited again.
My perspective of the class and the character of these NEW LIONS is such that I believe they will choose door No. 2. I think that Jim Schwartz, (despite the learning curve he is coming to grips with), is a character individual who has the heart, drive, desire and determination necessary to lead.
I also think that the personnel he (along with Martin Mayhew), is bringing to this Lions organization also have the heart, drive, desire and determination to will their way past a recurrence. I continue to see new light at the end of the tunnel.
The injuries are real. Matt Stafford will be missed. But that is exactly why the Lions signed Shaun Hill. Remember, Hill has shown us what he can do and he has already proven to be a capable leader in this offensive scheme. The Bills have given up an average of 175 yards per game rushing and are ranked 32nd in the league in rushing defense.
Expect Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith to have big days because the Bills are one team that the Lions can run against. For you doubters, even if the Bills are up to stopping the Lions rushing attack, remember that they play a 3-4 which means a linebacker is going to have to cover Jahvid Best, a mismatch I like (Best has had some of this better runs and receptions against the 3-4).
This will work to Shaun Hill's advantage as well as deep drops and deep throws will be limited. Expect a max protect scheme, short drops and quick passes to the backs and the slots. (Remember Shaun Hill against the St. Louis Rams???)
I expect the Lions to step up and take this game in a big way. This is NOT THE SAME OLD LIONS - Just wait and See!
Detroit 31 - Buffalo 9