NFL Preview: Detroit Lions
The NFL Previews are back on Technorati! Due to the Lockout, we are going to go with 32 teams in the next 32 days. We go into Day 2 and continue our tour in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions.
The Detroit Lions have had a long history of futility. No playoff appearances since 1999, and only nine appearances since 1957 (the last time they won the NFL Championship). They have set records for longest losing streak on the road, and hold the second longest losing streak in NFL history. But as bad as the Lions have been in recent years, the optimism in Detroit has been at levels not seen in a very long time. With a dynamic receiver, a quarterback for the future, and a defensive front that has fans and football experts buzzing, Detroit has become one of the most interesting teams in the NFL.
Can the Lions remain interesting throughout the course of the season? Or will they remain in the depths of futility? Let's take a look.
2010 Record: 6-10 (missed playoffs)
Additions: S Erik Coleman (Falcons), WR Rashied Davis (Bears), LB Justin Durant (Jaguars), DE Taylor Hilee (Panthers), CB Maurice Leggett (Chiefs), DT Quinn Pitcock, WR Maurice Stovall(Buccaneers), LB Stephen Tulloch (Titans), CB Eric Wright (Browns)
Subtractions: LB Jordon Dizon (released), DE Jared DeVries (UFA; retired), LB Zack Follett (released), WR Bryant Johnson (released), CB Eric King (released), DE Turk McBride (Saints), LB Julian Peterson, DT Quinn Pitcock
Offense: If he can stay healthy, expect Matthew Stafford to make strides in the passing game. He has made it his personal goal to stay healthy and play a full season, and with all the money invested in him, the determination is there. While the belief that Stafford is finally healthy after AC joint surgery on the right shoulder. With two shoulder injuries in two years, it is also a concern that if Stafford can actually throw the long ball down the field to Calvin Johnson. But Stafford has stated he's 100 percent and ready to go. The feature back in the Lions' offense is Jahvid Best, who got off to a great start in showing the Lions' fans what he is made of in terms of providing a great highlight with his speed and reliable hands. Best, however, needs to stay healthy in order to be effective throughout the whole season. The consistent threat on the offense is Calvin Johnson, coming off a 77 reception, 1,120 yard and 12 touchdown season and his first Pro Bowl appearance. Hopefully the Lions will have someone else step up to relieve Johnson of opposing teams focusing solely on him. Nate Burleson is back listed as the #2 receiver on Jim Schwartz's depth chart, along with 2011 draft pick Titus Young from Boise State, and free agent pick up Rashied Davis from the Chicago Bears. Do not forget a reliable set of hands in Brandon Pettigrew from the tight end position.Continued on the next page