I’m not real big on moral victories, because they exist in place of actual victories, but I see a team that is finally heading in the right direction. The Lions are 1-4, but they have lost to two undefeated teams (Saints and Vikings,) a 3-1 team (Bears) and the 3-2 defending Super Bowl champs. The combined record of their first five opponents is 17-6 and despite a couple of lopsided scores, they have been in every game.
I noticed myself slipping back into the hopelessness of 2008 yesterday while watching the Steelers go up 28-13. I said to myself, “Ok, this game’s over, I should switch over to the Red Zone Channel to see how my fantasy football team is doing.” Before I knew it, I was on the edge of my seat watching the Lions march down the field and come up with several defensive stands. These are not the same old Lions.
The Lions made several huge mistakes that prevented them from winning yesterday, but they still had a shot to win at the end. That is a mark of a good team. Last season when the Lions made one mistake, they couldn’t overcome it, let alone overcome several mistakes.
The Lions are a more talented team than they were last year, but the difference is in the coaching staff. These coaches know how to put their players in position to be successful and so far, the early returns on the 2009 Draft are positive.
DeAndre Levy and Louis Delmas look like future Pro Bowlers five games into the season. Stafford and Pettigrew look to be the real deal and Derrick Williams showed flashes during crunch time on that final drive. Aaron Brown is a decent change of pace back and Sammie Hill should be a solid rotational defensive tackle at the very least.
As a fellow Lions fan that has suffered for too long, I know how difficult it is to be patient. However, this team is on the right path and we will start seeing some results on the field soon. The schedule gets easier in the coming weeks and the young players like Stafford and Delmas keep getting better.
I still think the Lions are capable of winning six games this year and with another solid offseason, a winning record may be a strong possibility next season. After almost a decade of mindlessly wandering through oblivion, the Detroit Lions are on the right path.