By Imperical Evidence
Well, Tom Kowalski of Mlive has his season prediction in print. He thinks the Lions win 4 games this season with little chance of a 'worst to first' scenario and goes on to back that up with reasons why he thinks that. Solid opinion piece, and much better than the garbage that was posted earlier on Mlive by Brad Flory. A picture of Drew Stanton? Are you kidding me? The only reason for his opinion of the Lions winning one game is that he has been disappointed in the past. Mr. Flory does go on to add the fact that the Lions have only won two games in two years.
Mr. Flory, pay attention.
The 2008 roster is almost completly overhauled, not many players remain from that 0 - 16 season.
Matthew Stafford showed flashes in 2009, now he should continue to improve this season. I do not expect Stafford to carry the Lions to the playoffs, and one can look at his second season at Georgia and see why.
Ndamukong Suh, the #2 overall pick this year, will not be a bust. How can I write that?
Simple, Suh was ready for the next level, he was a man among boys at the college level. If Suh dosen't live up to fans expectations, I don't think it will be because of charector flaws. The Lions made the best pick possible at #2, no matter what transpires down the road.
The coaching staff is entirely different, but still the same as the ones that only won two games in 2009. That is the reason, the coaching staff is going into their second year in Detroit. The players that were here last season can continue to progress in the same style on offense and defense. Those same players can also help any new additions to the team learn the system faster. I'll just come out and say it. If the Lions win less than 5 games then some of that blame will be on the coaching staff.
5 wins with a horrible secondary?
Yep, Killer did say they that any team could put up points on the Lions offense. He blames this entirely on the secondary, saying the front four are solid, possibly great. I have a small problem with that, because I don't think the Lions defensive secondary will be the weak point on the Detroit Lions this season.
Lets take a look at the Lions defense by position.
The front four consists of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril at defensive end, and Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh at defensive tackle. Vanden Bosch looks to return to his once great pass rushing form, and dosen't stop until the whistle. Cliff Avril battled through injuries last season, but still recorded 5.5 sacks and played the run better. Williams and Suh should provide real pressure from the middle, something the front four just haven't done in recent years. No more sliding sideways and filling gaps to stop the run, just go get the QB.
The linebackers of the Lions have one proven veteran, Julian Peterson at OLB. DeAndre Levy will be playing MLB, after he recovers from a pulled groin. Zack Follett will be starting at OLB for the first time, after mostly special teams last season. This is a group that has not played together, and Levy and Follett are young. I expect a rocky start to the season, but can see this becoming a solid group. That front four will make them better, and Follett has the tools to become a terror.
The secondary will be lead by Louis Delmas at safety, with C.C. Brown at the other safety spot. The Corner backs will be Jonathon Wade and Chris Houston, both are young and will have growing pains. Aaron Berry, Amari Spivey, and Alphonso Smith give the Lions a lot of youth that has potential to develop, something the Lions have not had in the secondary. Corners do not develop in one game, this could take a few years. They also must learn how to play together. Again, that front four will help them at times by causing bad throws and decisions by opposing QBs. Overall, I think this group will be better than the secondary that was playing in Detroit last season, but that all hinges on Louis Delmas staying healthy all season.
How serious is that groin injury, Louis?
Now, why did I say 5 wins?
I don't think Stafford is ready to lead this team to the playoffs, and that defense will need to grow together. The real weak spot on this team, with only one starter of five being new, is the offensive line. I think as the season wears on the offensive line will become exposed. Jahvid Best in the backfield helps, and Stafford is getting the ball out faster. Still starting on this line are Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus at Left and Right Tackle, Dominic Raiola at Center and Stephan Peterman at Right Guard. The Left Guard spot will be played by Rob Sims, a solid veteran. There is hope here, too. The Lions have young depth on the offensive line with potential, something they have not had in years. Jason Fox was taken in the fourth round in the draft this year, and may see time at Right Tackle if Cherilus isn't consistent. Fox was a four year starter at Miami, and played very well there. Corey Hilliard provides depth at the Left Tackle spot, and showed flashes in the pre season.
I said it before, this defense will go through some growing pains. The Lions should go at least 5 and 11 this season. They start the season with a win on the road at Soldier Field, against the Bears.
Game one Preview:
Mike Martz is the new offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, and he likes passing the ball down the field. Will that be a problem for the Lions secondary? Not if that front four on the Lions defense have their way. Jay Cutler, the quarterback for the Bears, was sacked 10 times in just 5 quarters of pre season play. Martz is a proud man, I don't expect him to dink and dunk against the Lions, he wants to show us all how great his offense is. Believe it.
Jay Cutler is a QB that can make the throws, and has. He can also make you scratch your head, saying 'why did he throw that pass?' The Martz offense isn't one that any team masters before the start of the season, and Cutler will have to take some hits this year.
The Bears have been going in the wrong direction on defense for the past three years, and Rod Moronelli is now their defensive line coach. I hope their pad level is correct when Jahvid Best blows by them for his long runs.
Week 13, when the Bears come to Ford Field, I could see them winning that game, in a squeaker.
Lions beat the Bears by at least 14 points, win at least 5 games this season.
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