Is 2009 the Season of Hope for the Detroit Lions?

Seattle Lion FanAnalyst IIJune 15, 2009

ALLEN PARK, MI - MAY 01: Head coach Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions looks on during rookie orientation camp at the Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility on May 1, 2009 in Allen Park, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The draft is over and free agency has slowed to a crawl.  The result is the Lions have turned over 40 percent of their players.

In my estimation, at least on paper, the Lions have improved.  So much so, the have they capability to win eight games in 2009.  More than likely, it will be in the five to seven win range.  I haven't really looked at the schedule and I am sure there will be those that will ask just which games the Lions will win.

If I knew that, don't you think I'd be on the first plane to Vegas and betting my life savings?

What will be key?  How the players will buy into Jim Schwartz's coaching strategies, something that never occurred under Rod Marinelli.

Also, Schwartz, Cunningham and Linehan all have a "go get em" philosophy when it comes to defense and offense.  I am thankful the Cover-2 defense is a thing of the past since all it was a prevent style of defense...and we all know that type a defense prevents you from winning.

Brandon Pettigrew will be the key to this year's offense.  Yes, Calvin Johnson will be the star and Kevin Smith will be the workhorse, but as the year progresses, you'll hear Pettigrew's name on key blocks, critical third down pass receptions and touchdowns when the Lions are in the red zone.  At 6-5 with both great blocking ability and great hands, he will be like money in the bank.

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Defense surprise of they year?  The focus of the defense will be the linebackers.  Sims, Peterson and Foote will be formidable.  However, the one player that will make the biggest impact is going to be safety Louis Delmas.  Granted, at 5-11 and 203 pounds he may be undersized but he has great closing speed, excellent coverage skills and a big hitter.

Lions have a great opportunity this season to begin rising from the ashes and become a contender in three to five years.

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