The Detroit Lions Have Improved; Even After A Huge Loss There's Hope

Matt JCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2009

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 28:  Tight end Brandon Pettigrew #84 of the Detroit Lions runs a pass pattern against the Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field on August 28, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Lions defeated the Colts 18-17. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Lions fans I know you and I are probably sick of hearing this, but keep your heads up. There's still loads of hope for this young Lions team, much more than the other teams from this decade. 

Here's some key reasons why you shouldn't give up hope on this team.

1) Brandon Pettigrew is still learning

It seems like we've all forgotten about our other first round draft choice. Brandon Pettigrew missed the bulk of training camp and pre-season with an injury. That's why he didn't stay in for any pass plays in the game. 

Give him a few more weeks to learn the plays and get comfortable with them and with Stafford and then watch what happens. A tight end like him is a rookie quarterbacks best friend and right now that friend, Pettigrew, is leaving Stafford hanging. 

Expect Pettigrew to put up some good numbers later on in the year when he's really getting comfortable. Also his blocking skills are going to play a huge part in the running game. Patience will be the key for Pettigrew. 

2) Calvin Johnson will put up numbers

Calvin Johnson is a human freak of nature, and yes I mean that in a good way. He has size, speed, and nearly unmatched athleticism. If you expect him to only make 3 catches per game this year you don't know much about the game of football.

Calvin will start producing more as well as Stafford settles in and they begin to work together. It takes some time, but in the end the payoff will be great. Remember both of these players are very young and still have lots of years left in this league most likely. 

Calvin soon won't be letting us down and that should open up the running game more, plus with Pettigrew when he gets settled in, he'll take some attention off of Johnson.

3) Most offenses are not as good as the Saints

The Saints were easily a top 3 offense last year, and this year again they'll probably end up top 5. You can't expect a rebuilding defense to do much more than they did against such a great offense in the first game. 

Teams like the Bears, who they will have to play soon, come to mind when I think of offenses who won't be this good. I mean Cutler just threw 4 ints. in there last game and this is a team in Detroit's conference. 

4) The defense was missing one of it's most important, if not most important, key additions from the off-season.

Phillip Buchanon missed the game due to an injury. So first off it hurts that the Lions already lacked depth, or had absolutely none to be honest, and then they get the news that Buchanon can't go this week. 

That must have been devastating for them, knowing the skill level of the offense they were going against. He was there number one guy and that hurt a lot losing him. I assume he will be back soon and that one person will make the secondary loads better. 

5) Stafford will get better

It was Stafford's first game as a rookie, you can't expect him to do that great. Not to mention he was missing, as I pointed out before, one of his favorite targets to be, Pettigrew. Plus he's still learning to be in sync with Johnson, once those two start clicking on the field they could do some damage.

Stafford will steadily improve as the season goes on and when they're playing not as quality teams as the Saints.


The Lions started with a very tough season opener, and it hurt that they were missing two majorly key players in Buchanon and Pettigrew on most occasions. Expect them to get better and gel more as a team as the year goes by.

Plus don't forget they are under a new coach, so that's complicating it more.

They shouldn't be expected to win more than 4 or 5 games but that's not too bad for a rebuilding 0-16 team from last year. If this squad can mainly stick together for the next few years, they could be a tough match for opponents.


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