19 consecutive losses. No wins in over a year and a half. Ranked in the bottom of the league in rushing stopping the run, turnover ratio, and third down conversions. Those are just some of the abysmal stats that the Lions organization and the team have been know for. That is what everyone has expected them to be…lowly, untalented, underachievers.
Well on this, one of the brightest and sunniest mornings after a Lions game in quite a long time, this team is beginning to show and prove that things are about to change. Maybe not immediately but change is on the way.
The proof began when Millen was fired and the new regime started to go about their business in a much more effective, methodical, and planned way. The proof was solidified with yesterdays win over the Washington Redskins…not just because they won, but how they won.
The team may look different in many visual ways….new front office staff, new uniforms, new website design, new head coach, new coordinators and coaches, a significant amount of new players but it is what this organization has done and how the team got it done on Sunday that shows the change is already on it’s way.
We saw glints of it in preseason. We witnessed moments of it in the first two games. We saw it in bunches in the Lions first victory since just before Christmas in 2007.
It came in the form of contributors all over the depth chart and on every part of the field. Their performance showed that they had been well prepared by the coaches and staff.
We saw this team do things it has struggled to do for several seasons…run the ball effectively, stop the run, minimize mistakes and penalties, force and create turnovers, get to the quarterback, score after stopping the opposition from doing so…aspects of a team that wins football games.
It was evidenced by veteran play makers making not only plays but impact, just look at game tape of Larry Foote, Alex Henry, Julian Petersen, Will James, and Marquand Manuel…not just from Sunday’s win but from each game this season.
It was exuded by rookies like Deandre Levy and Louis Delmas, and young vets like Jason Hunter, Kevin Hobbs, Calvin Johnson, and Bryant Johnson.
One man…a rookie himself…was probably the most likely source for not only being an example of change but that the change will continue to come….that rookie probably went to sleep last night still grinning ear to ear after showing his poise, control, confidence, leadership, talent, and football intelligence. Most importantly, he is showing everyone that he has an ability to learn from his mistakes, make adjustments, get better, and mature from game to game. I would bet that he is waking up this morning more excited than he ever has been on a Monday after a game and perhaps more excited then even after he signed a multimillion dollar contract before becoming the first selection of the draft.
Keep smiling Mathew Stafford, or better yet…keep doing what your doing and continue to grow into your role and you as well as your teammates, the organization, and the fans will be able to smile right along with you and truly get that monkey off all of our backs for good!