They drafted a No. 1 overall quarterback who has watched the game from the sidelines much more than from under center. I feel like they are primed for a big year though in 2011 and here are five reasons why.
He could be getting some more hardware this year if he has a repeat performance
Go on nfl.com or listen to a NFL talk show and at one point they will most likely mention players getting fined for excessive hits on opposing players. The most recent of these was Ndamukong Suh of the Lions, getting fined $20K for hitting Andy Dalton.
Many people are against these hits and I normally am also against them, however for a team that has been as down the past decade as the Lions, I love it. With the line being anchored by Suh, have seasoned veterans like Vanden Bosch and new addition of Nick Fairley from Auburn.
The attitude these players could give to the defense this year is what I believe will make this defensive line go from cakewalk to game changer.
Remember this guy pre injury?
The best friend for a quarterback is a strong running game. The Detroit Lions have lacked this facet in their offense since Barry Sanders left.
Last year, there were glimpses of a breakthrough in the running game by first-round pick Jahvid Best. If you watched the Eagles game last year, you know exactly what I am talking about, in the second game, he goes and gets 200+ yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns with plenty of explosion throughout the game.
While Best was slowed down throughout year because of injuries, he is still a future game changer. Whether he ends of being three-down running back or just a change of pace, I am sure he will make this offense better.
The Lions secondary has been a major weakness the past few years and in the division they are in, if you want to compete, you have to have a secondary that can cover well. Going into camp, this was a piece of the team I was very interested in seeing the outlook.
With one preseason game done I can say that the outlook is much more optimistic than I expected. With the continued development of Louis Delmas, pickup of Eric Wright in the offseason and re-signing Chris Houston, the secondary was set for a major improvement.
Now after reading some camp reports and watching the game against the Bengals, these players have only been exceeding expectations. Chris Houston has been a consistent playmaker in practice and should be ready to get turnovers for his team.
I am by no means saying this is going to be the best secondary in the NFL, the NFC or even the North, but it should be better than many expect.
This guy is a force at wide receiver. He can take over games from working his way down the sidelines.
We already saw him score once in the first preseason game and with his pedigree the past few years, we can expect to see many more.
This guy is a legitimate top 5 NFL receiver any way you put it and he is still a young guy. He has the physical build to grab a ball out of the air away from a receiver and the speed to get behind guys.
He is a lock for 1,000 yards and 7-9 TDs a year, and not every team has that luxury.
Matthew Stafford has played 13 games in his professional career. Injuries have plagued the beginning of the franchise quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and the team are hoping to avoid a repeat in 2011.
Many people think that after missing that many games they should be pegged as an injury-prone bust, but I don't see that as the case since he wasn't injury-prone in college and that isn't something that usually happens all of a sudden.
Skill wise, he has the abilities to be a franchise quarterback; he showed major improvement in the games he did play during his second season and completely picked apart Washington his first game back from his first injury.