Zilch, zip, zero, none, nada, nil. These are the words that describe our beloved Detroit Lions.
How did they manage to fall from, well I would like to say grace, but it was far from that. Early last season they seemed to be a competitive team with a chance at the playoffs. This soon dwindled due to the fact that they were unable to hold on, and finished the season by losing the last seven of eight games.
What happens next? The NFL combine and draft. Many people thought, "As long as Matt Millen doesn't draft a receiver we will be on our way to rebuilding our franchise." Lo and behold, Mr. Millen doesn't disappoint.
The Lions do the safe thing and draft a tackle from Boston College named Ghosder Cherilus. Moreover, in the third round, they draft a running back named Kevin Smith from UCF and many were excited about his big play ability.
Some fans moaned, some fans cheered, most stayed indifferent.
But the thing that I felt most was that everyone still had that optimism, that "this is our year," or even "we were so close last year, I have a good feeling about this one" way of thinking.
Fast forward to now.
The Detroit Lions are 0-9. Daunte Culpepper is our starting quarterback, Matt Millen is fired, and many people are just begging for the season to be over so they can start with a clean slate.
So where do we point the finger of blame? Do we point it at Matt Millen and say that now that he's gone we can actually save our franchise? Do we blame William Ford for hiring him? Do we blame Rod Marinelli for coaching the team and not making the necessary moves to put a good product on the field? Do we blame the players for not playing to the standard we want?
One could argue that there are too many things going wrong with this team for you to point the finger in any single direction. I think the blame goes to the fact that the team has lost its identity. Due to this, it can't and will not be solved by pointing fingers in the direction of one person.
This team needs a lot of help finding its identity. Once it is able to do that, I feel that we can make the turn towards the playoffs and a positive direction.
Whether it will come from drafting a stud player in the upcoming draft, hiring a new coach, or signing a big free agent, it is identity that we are searching for and until we find that there will be no hope.
Maybe instead of the finger of blame there should be thumbs pointing back at ourselves as fans. The fact that we have fallen into the trap and may buy into the false hope of signing a new quarterback or not playing a different one, leads me to believe that we aren't looking at the big picture. We are lacking something bigger and we need to start striving for it.
I believe that missing piece is identity. Because without it, who are we anyway?