Lions fans should be very excited about the future of this franchise. For most franchises, finishing the season with a record of 6-10 would not be a success, but in many ways, you could consider the 2010 Lions' season a success.
After winning a total of two games in as many seasons, six wins in one season is a huge jump up!
Furthermore, the Lions managed to break several streaks this season: Detroit broke the record for most consecutive road losses, finally won a division game and had their first three-game win streak since 2007. With a bit more of luck from the refs, the Lions could easily be 8-8, or even 9-7.
The future of the Detroit Lions is very bright, due to five primary reasons.
1) Martin Mayhew:
Lions GM Martin Mayhew has proven time and time again he has what it takes to improve this team. He has brought in successful players during both the offseason and season. Alphonso Smith, Chris Houston, Nathan Vasher, Lawrence Jackson and Turk McBride have all made huge differences on the defensive side of the ball.
On the other side, Rob Sims, Tony Scheffler, Shaun Hill and Stefan Logan were all acquisitions that vastly improved the offense.
And what did all these key aquisition cost the organization? A fourth-string tight end, LB Ernie Sims, a backup DE and a seventh-round pick.
Again, the organization should have the confidence to know Mayhew has what it takes to field a winning team.
2) The Offense:
The total offense for the Lions in 2010 was the 17th best in the NFL—one spot behind one of the best teams in the NFL, the Falcons. In terms of scoring, the Lions scored the same amount of points as the Ravens—good for 13th in the league.
Most of this was done without the young and blooming star, quarterback Matthew Stafford. This fearsome offense will only grow better.
Everyone has seen the explosiveness of Javhid Best has when he is healthy, but the Lions also have a stellar tight end, one of the best wide receivers in the league, a very capable No. 2 receiver and a vastly improved offensive line.
I believe that this success will continue on in 2011.
3) The Defense:
The defense ranked 22nd in total yards given up in 2010—way better than last season. Also, they are ranked much higher than the New England Patriots, arguably the best team in the NFL.
The scoring defense ranked 19th in the league at 23.7, not terrible compared to last year. All of these statistics are improving. That is not to mention the defensive line is becoming one of the best in the NFL.
Ndamukong Suh has lived up to all the hype and expection (and then some), a successful middle linebacker was found, S Luis Delmas is above average, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch had a stellar year and linemen Corey Williams and Cliff Avril were fantastic.
If Mayhew can fill up a few holes in the linebacking and secondary corps, this could be a fierce defense in 2011.
4) The 2010 Season:
This season was immensely better than the last, not only in terms of wins, but the kind of wins they had.
The Lions have finally started to pull off close wins (which is what good teams do), win in overtime and proved they can defeat division rivals. Despite some bad calls, the Lions fought through adversity and came back.
The Lions have covered almost every game because they never give up. And that brings me to reason No. 5 for why the Detroit Lions' future is bright.
5) Jim Schwartz:
Jim Schwartz could have gotten down on his team when they had a 2-10 record and the team could have gotten down on themselves as well. However, coach Jim Schwartz did not allow this to happen.
He inspired this team to stay focused and work hard throughout the entire season. Schwartz's players have improved and learned how to win close games. You can tell his team is far better now than it was.
I believe this was a great hiring by the Lions. Hopefully, he will lead our beloved Lions to the glory land.