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Being a Detroit Lion Fan: A True Test of Loyalty

Seattle Lion FanAnalyst IIAugust 14, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 25:  Detroit Lions fans wait for admission to Radio City Music Hall for the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo

Here we sit, waiting, anticipating, for the Detroit Lions 2009 season to begin.

Despite the fact these Lions made history last year by going 0-16, there still seems to be a shred of hope that underlines many articles written by the majority of writers on the Bleacher Report as well as other sites.

The supposed football "experts" on Fox Sports, ESPN and NFL.com, have the Lions improving but not making any headway to playoff aspiration in 2009.

I don't think the Lions will make the playoffs this year either.  But stranger things have occurred. Lions might catch some teams with injury issues or they just might have all the cylinders clicking on that particular Sunday.  As Chris Berman from ESPN would say "That's why they play the game."

It is tough to predict just how well or how poorly the Lions will do.  As a fan, you want your team to do well and Lions fans would just party till all hours of the night if they reach .500. 

Despite the many criticisms that William Clay Ford, Sr. received for promoting Martin Mayhew to GM instead of going after Floyd Reese or Scott Pioli, Mayhew has done a competent job so far.  But how well or how poorly the moves he made has yet to be determined. 

On paper, the moves have been good.  Once the season plays out will determine if we make him the savior of the Lions or refer to him as mini-Millen.

I will say this: Despite last years melt-down, this upcoming season, at least at the start, one of the most personally anticipated ones that has come down the pike in a very long time.

We all know the players they got last year both in free agency and the draft.  But I will state here the three players on the team that will have the most impact.

Matthew Stafford- He isn't going to be the starter at the beginning of the season.  Schwartz has remained non-committal in making any statements if it's going to be Culpepper or Stafford.  But unless Culpepper equals his play from 2002 to 2005, Stafford will take over the team four to six games into the season. 

Stafford will make mistakes but I do think he has the leadership capabilities to lead this team and to take control of the offense.  He's used Brandon Pettigrew as a safety valve, as well as Kevin Smith on screen passes.  Won't mean much in the win column, but it will set things up for 2010.

Brandon Pettigrew - I have to admit, when the Lions took Pettigrew with the 20th pick, I, along with the majority of Lions fans, went "What the F@#k?".  However, after my initial reaction, I began to look at this pick as a good one. 

Pettigrew is a monster at 6'5" and 263 lbs.  He is a good run blocker and has great hands.  He will be one of the main factors why the Lions will improve in the red zone where they have been less than stellar over the last four years.

Louis Delmas - This was a great pick.  Delmas was known, during his days at Western Michigan, as a big hitter and great at run stopping support.  A very instinctive player and always around the ball, Delmas will also bring a bit of "nastiness" to the Detroit defense that has been missing for a while. 

He, along with free agent additions Julian Peterson and Larry Foote, will be the reason why the Lions will rank somewhere 20's instead of dead last in 2009.

I will be a cautious optimistic this year, more so than any other time in recent years.  The new coaching staff of Schwartz, Cunningham and Linehan has to be one of the most talented the Lions have ever assembled.  At the very least, Lions fans have to be happy that none of the new coaches last name begins with the letter "M"!

While I anticipate the Lions to do better this year, I know that it's a relative term.  If they win only one game in 2009, they will have improved by 100 percent.  But if they do fall flat, what can we, as Lions fans do?  Pretty much what we have been doing, yelling and screaming at William Clay Ford, Sr. to sell the team.

But I do think we need to allow Schwartz, Cunningham and Linehan some time.  Millen created and perpetuated a disaster for over eight years.  It's going to take some time to fix what he did.

Here's to the start of the long, slow climb to respectability.

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