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Old 07-25-2008, 10:06 PM    (permalink
TacticaLion
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Default The 2008 Detroit Lions: The Truth

Intro

It's easy to hate the Lions. They didn't make a huge splash in the offseason, targeted need (and not BPA) during the draft and finished the 2007 season losing 7 of their last 8 games. Most preseason predictions have the Lions finishing with a losing record and last in the NFC North, but there's another side to the coin. Could the Lions finish the 2008 season with a winning record? It's possible. Here are 4 reasons why:

4 Reasons For Success

1. The Losing Streak

Yes, the Lions lost 7 of their last 8 games, but they played one of, if not the hardest, schedule during the second half of the 2007 season: the Packers (twice), the Chargers, the Giants, the Cowboys, the Vikings, the Cardinals and the Chiefs. They beat the Chiefs (barely), lost to the Cowboys by 1 point (missed field goal and muffed fumble recovery led to the loss) and lost on the final drive to the Giants, a game the Champs won by 6 points. Looking a bit closer, those 7 losses are a bit deceiving.

2. "Marinelli's Team"

For the first time in his 3 year coaching career, Rod Marinelli finally has "his" team. The players have bought into the "Marinelli way", and it shows... from the effort on the field to the chemistry in the locker room. Every Detroit Lion is signed and participating in training camp (no hold outs or lingering contract situations) and Rod has players that fit the offensive and defensive schemes fighting for starting roles. The team is focused, determined and working harder than ever, and that mindset shouldn't be overlooked. It seems that the Detroit Lions are finally a team... made in Rod's image.

3. Offseason Changes

The 7-9 Detroit Lions of 2007 have lost little, but gained much, throughout the offseason. Yes, Shaun Rogers is a Cleveland Brown, Kevin Jones is a Chicago Bear and Damien Woody is a New York Jet, but each of those players had serious concerns and each hole was, for the most part, filled adequately. Chuck Darby, a hard-working veteran, will take over for Rogers at the NT position. Darby may not be the dominant force that Rogers was, but he's a harder worker who understands his responsibilities and wont wear down nearly as quickly as Rogers did. The oft-injured Kevin Jones was cut and replaced by Kevin Smith, an extremely talented back with great vision and a desire to succeed. Damien Woody, an OG/C with weight control issues, was replaced at RT by Gosder Cherilus, who should give the running game a punch and be a staple on the OLine for many years to come. The secondary was given a complete overhaul and should now be a strength, not a weakness, of the Detroit Lions' defense.

4. The Schedule

Detroit's 2008 schedule actually plays to their strengths. Throughout the 2007 season, Detroit played very well at home, outscoring their opponents 212-168, but seemed to lose their focus on the road, being outscored 276-134. Their hardest opponents (Washington, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Tennessee and New Orleans) come at home, while their "easier" games (Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, Carolina) are played away. If Detroit can continue their 2007 trend and play well in Michigan, they might be able to steal a few on the road and end the season with a reasonable record.

The Offense

Instead of playing to the strengths of the roster, Mike Martz decided to leave average OLinemen in constant pass-protection and focused more on the slot receivers than on the "dynamic duo" of Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson (140 receptions by Furrey/McDonald and only 112 receptions by Roy/CJ). The running game was abandoned early and often, and the team struggled as a result.

New Offensive Coordinator Jim Colletto is keeping the same basic offense, but vows to run the ball on a regular basis in 2008. He changed the blocking scheme to a zone blocking scheme, the same scheme that led to Tatum Bell's success in Denver. Jon Kitna also now has the opportunity to change the play at the line, something not allowed in a Mike Martz offense. Drafting Gosder Cherilus (Rd 1) and Kevin Smith (Rd 3) shows a commitment to the changes, as each is a great fit for the direction of the offense.

The Problem: the running game. Tatum Bell is an average back, and understands the ZBS, but can't be relied on to carry the team throughout the season. Kevin Jones was cut, leaving room for rookie Kevin Smith to have a OROY-type impact. If he can't, the running game will struggle. If it does, expect Kitna to spend quite a bit of time on the ground and the offense to stall, drive after drive, like it did in 2007.

The Solution: the twin towers. There will be more emphasis on getting the ball (quickly) to Roy and CJ, which, if successful, will open up the running game and spread opposing defenses. If the changes to the offense can help the passing game click, expect the Lions to have surprising success on the ground, and, in turn, through the air, in 2008.

The Defense

The Detroit Lions' had the worst secondary in the NFL in 2007... and, as some of that was injuries, most of it was simply a lack of talent. That changed during the offseason. Leigh Bodden was acquired from Cleveland, Brian Kelly was signed, Dwight Smith was added and Daniel Bullocks should be healthy for the start of the 2008 season. That's potentially 4 new starters, each an upgrade over the player who held the position before him. It's easy to say that their largest defensive weakness was improved greatly.

Detroit's "biggest" loss, Shaun Rogers, wont have as much of an impact as many believe. When fit and motivated, Shaun Rogers is one of the best DTs in the NFL... but those situations were few and far between in Detroit. After a great start in 2007, Shaun disappeared down the stretch and the team struggled as a result. His replacement, Chuck Darby, is a high energy, experienced Cover 2 NT with a great motor. The position loses some of the "flash" with the departure of Rogers, but becomes more consistent overall with the addition of Darby.

The Problem: the pass-rush. Jared DeVries? Corey Smith? IAF? Cliff Avril? Someone has to step-up at LDE, and in a big way, for the Lions' defense to be a force in 2008. DeVries is opportunistic and a hard worker, but isn't flashy or explosive. Corey Smith has great speed off the edge, but lacks moves and gets pushed out of the play easily. IAF has a ton of potential, but is a work in progress and most likely wont be ready to break out in 2008. Cliff Avril, a 3rd round pick, might just be the answer. He combines a variety of moves with his incredible explosiveness and underestimated strength off the edge. If he can thrive as a situation pass-rusher, the unit might surprise in '08.

The Solution: role players. If the role players on Detroit's defense can have a big year, the defense could break out. Redding has to be a force, Darby has to be "good enough", the safety across from Dwight Smith has to step up, Dizon needs to emerge and have a solid rookie year and Dewayne White needs to show he's a solid RDE. It may sound like a lot, but Marinelli's pieces on defense are finally on the roster. If they can step up, so will the Lions.

Conclusion

All things considered, I think the Lions will finish the 2008 season with a 8-8 record. They've improved their defense, have play makers on offense and a schedule that plays to their strengths/weaknesses. If the Bears continue to fall and the Packers struggle to click without Favre, the Lions could find themselves sitting 2nd in the NFC North and fighting for a playoff berth through week 17.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:09 PM    (permalink
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Uhh, team forum.

Edit: and yeah, no the Lions aren't going to be fighting for a playoff spot.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:13 PM    (permalink
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Yeah, Team Forum

But overall a good write-up

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Old 07-25-2008, 11:26 PM    (permalink
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Yeah, Team Forum

But overall a good write-up and you've convinced me that the Lions will not finish last in the NFC north........ The Bears will.

Wrong. The Lions will. The Bears have a better chance of winning the NFC North than finishing last.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:31 AM    (permalink
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i dont think that kevin smith is the offense force that you make him out to be. while rb is a decently easy position to translate too, the Lions have a crap history with draft picks and at least every team passed on him twice.

Plus i think the loss of Rogers isnt a addition by subtraction equation. He was a force in the middle on rushing and passing plays and teams ran all over the Lions when he was out. I dont see that changing this year.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:17 AM    (permalink
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Wrong. The Lions will. The Bears have a better chance of winning the NFC North than finishing last.
Actually no. While the bears will do better than last year... With the vikes and packers right there, they won't win the NFC North.
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Old 07-26-2008, 09:23 AM    (permalink
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If the Lions are the truth I'd rather hear a lie.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:03 AM    (permalink
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If the Lions are the truth I'd rather hear a lie.
Yeah... I think you missed the point of the title. It's the truth about the Detroit Lions, not that the Detroit Lions are the truth.

In every preseason prediction, the Lions are a bottom 3 team and finishing with only 2-4 wins. That's ridiculous. "But they lost 7 of their last 8!" Yeah, they did, but that's a bit misleading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GB12
Uhh, team forum.

Edit: and yeah, no the Lions aren't going to be fighting for a playoff spot.
Uhh... fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC isn't really a great accomplishment. There are usually 4-5 teams fighting for the last 1-2 spots. It's not that unlikely.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:26 AM    (permalink
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In every preseason prediction, the Lions are a bottom 3 team and finishing with only 2-4 wins. That's ridiculous. "But they lost 7 of their last 8!" Yeah, they did, but that's a bit misleading.
Winning 6 of their first 8 is also a bit misleading.

Quote:
Uhh... fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC isn't really a great accomplishment. There are usually 4-5 teams fighting for the last 1-2 spots. It's not that unlikely.
And the Lions won't be one of them. Packers/Vikings, Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys/Giants, Saints/Bucs; Detroit really doesn't come close to any of those teams who are serious wildcard contenders. The Lions are a long way off from competing. Now I don't want to bash the Lions this much in the Detroit forum, in fact I would have stayed out of this if it wasn't in the NFL section when I saw it, but the Lions aren't a playoff team and I think even most Lions fans agree with that.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:32 AM    (permalink
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If the Lions are the truth I'd rather hear a lie.
Amen to that sir.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:33 AM    (permalink
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It's really not ridiculous if you consider almost everyone thinks the Lions will be bad. This includes the entire national media, the Detroit media, and most Lions fans. Obviously some of that is a general pessimism about the Lions, but pessimism makes a lot more logical sense as it relates to the Lions.

I think most people would agree that the Lions aren't making as many mind-blowingly stupid decisions. But as Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press stated: "The Lions are doing things right, but that doesn't mean they are doing things well." Simply not making ******** decisions does not a good team make.

And it's not easy to hate the Lions. It's easy to laugh at them. It's actually pretty hard to hate them.
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:32 PM    (permalink
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Actually no. While the bears will do better than last year... With the vikes and packers right there, they won't win the NFC North.


They probably won't. But there is about a 98% chance that the Lions finish last. And about a 10% chance the Bears win the North.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:00 PM    (permalink
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They probably won't. But there is about a 98% chance that the Lions finish last. And about a 10% chance the Bears win the North.
if all you come to do on the Lions' team board is ***** about them, then just go back to the vikings forum and beat off to your own team. I honestly fail to see how this is fun for you, and if you really need to put another team down in order to feel good about your own, then you've got a problem.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:27 PM    (permalink
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the lions are bad at all the things that a team needs to be good at in order to be successful in the nfl. it all starts in the trenches and the lions have one of worst offensive and defensive lines in the league. their starting quarterback is a journeyman who is closer to forty than he is to thirty. the lions also lack an established running game and will be overly reliant on the play of kevin smith.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:43 PM    (permalink
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if all you come to do on the Lions' team board is ***** about them, then just go back to the bears forum and beat off to your own team. I honestly fail to see how this is fun for you, and if you really need to put another team down in order to feel good about your own, then you've got a problem.
He is a vikingsfan not a bearsfan ;)
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:10 PM    (permalink
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He is a vikingsfan not a bearsfan ;)
ah crap. I'll edit.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:24 PM    (permalink
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lions are going 7-9 this year. the vikings and bears fans have no idea what they are talking about with the lions. this is a different team than last year, different players, attitude, coordinator, etc. martz screwed us last year and the secondary let us down, those problems are fixed. now we have a high scoring offense and a chance in hell of stopping opposing teams every now and then which is better than last year. now we're unproven but potentially explosive. who are the bears and vikings passing attacks? its not like they put up 30 a game. ad is awesome but if the lions get an early lead then its over. as for the packers, well their icon doesn't care who he plays with this year and has no concern for them. that's gotta be bad karma with them this year, especially if the fans start chanting his name the first time they lose this season.

this division is way more competitive then people are saying.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:56 PM    (permalink
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Lions will be worse than last year. Jon Kitna will be one year worse. We have no Play makers on defense. We have the 6th toughest schedule in the NFL. We have Jeff Backus.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:06 PM    (permalink
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if all you come to do on the Lions' team board is ***** about them, then just go back to the vikings forum and beat off to your own team. I honestly fail to see how this is fun for you, and if you really need to put another team down in order to feel good about your own, then you've got a problem.


Haha, settle man. it's just funny to watch Lions fans get their hopes up every year. You won't compete for a playoff spot.

If I told you the Vikings were going undefeated this year you don't think Lions fans would jump all over me? Of course they would, because there is no way in hell it happens. Just like the Lions making the playoffs. They just aren't good enough right now.

And this thread started in the NFL forum.

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Old 07-26-2008, 11:01 PM    (permalink
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lions are going 7-9 this year. the vikings and bears fans have no idea what they are talking about with the lions. this is a different team than last year, different players, attitude, coordinator, etc. martz screwed us last year and the secondary let us down, those problems are fixed. now we have a high scoring offense and a chance in hell of stopping opposing teams every now and then which is better than last year. now we're unproven but potentially explosive. who are the bears and vikings passing attacks? its not like they put up 30 a game. ad is awesome but if the lions get an early lead then its over. as for the packers, well their icon doesn't care who he plays with this year and has no concern for them. that's gotta be bad karma with them this year, especially if the fans start chanting his name the first time they lose this season.

this division is way more competitive then people are saying.
who's your quarterback and how many offensive linemen do you have that are worth a damn? it doesn't matter what kind of receivers you got when john kitna is at qb and the offensive line consists of backus, foster, ect....
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:36 PM    (permalink
familyguy555
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familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.familyguy555 wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.
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bearsfan54- Dan Orlovsky is his name not Orlavsky. Ha i just noticed that.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:57 PM    (permalink
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The Lions have the superfreak CJ. Yeah, other than that not much so no need to get your hopes up AGAIN. :)
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:59 PM    (permalink
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We have no Play makers on defense.
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:07 AM    (permalink
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Tatica put some effort into his posts, to bad the trolls don't.
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:12 AM    (permalink
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Tatica put some effort into his posts, to bad the trolls don't.
It's easy to hate on the Lions. In all seriousness though the Lions must be given credit for actually drafting relatively well the past few seasons. Sims, CJ, Cherilus, Smith and maybe even Stanton are a good start. No reason to at least follow up on another 7-9 campaign if not any better this time around.
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