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Team needs: Detroit Lions

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We continue our look at the specific areas in which the teams of the NFC North need to focus their efforts to improve.  Today, we look at a team that has improved considerably since the franchise finally parted ways with Matt Millen.

The next step?  To get back to the postseason for the first time since 1999.

RB:  With the Lions not tendering a restricted free agency contract to Kevin Smith and Maurice Morris 31 years old and not getting younger, they’ll need a quality complement for Jahvid Best.  Ideally, they’ll find a bruising, between-the-tackles powerhouse who’ll complement Best’s quickness and speed.

QB:  Though Matthew Stafford continues to show promise when healthy, they need a solid option for when Stafford isn’t healthy.  It probably makes more sense to consider upgrading the depth chart via veteran free agency, and not through the draft.

OL:  Former NFL head coach Jim Mora once said that he needs some “dirtbags” on the offensive line.  And that’s precisely what the Lions could use — some guys with a scrappy attitude who will do whatever needs to be done to open holes for the backs and keep defenders off the back (and shoulders) of Stafford.  Though many expect the Lions to look for a tackle in round one, Florida center Mike Pouncey could become an Olin Kreutz-style anchor of the middle of the line for years to come.  Colorado tackle Nate Solder is a solid option on the outside.

LB:  Julian Peterson and Ernie Sims are gone.  The Lions need some larger linebackers to fit the Jim Schwartz defense.

CB:  Given the presence of Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler in the division, the Lions need to be able to slow down potent passing games.  With plenty of young corners already on the roster, a veteran presence could be ideal, via free agency.  For now, the draft will be the only way to beef up the position.

Overview:  The Lions won six games in 2010 and are poised to take it up a notch, thanks to a nucleus that includes players like Stafford, Best, Ndamukong Suh, and Calvin JohnsonKyle Vanden Bosch brought much-needed leadership in 2010, and he’s prepared to help keep everyone in shape and on the same page during the lockout.

They’ve got a long way to go to get to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history, but they’re moving in the right direction.  For the first time in a very long time.

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37 Responses to “Team needs: Detroit Lions”
  1. sakatak says: Apr 9, 2011 3:52 PM

    I like the new Lions.

  2. berniemadoffsides says: Apr 9, 2011 3:54 PM

    They need Prince Amukamara…. I have a feeling Suh would be a big fan of that decision.

    OL in 2nd, LB in 3rd/4th.

  3. JimmySmith says: Apr 9, 2011 3:56 PM

    Lucky for the Lions that they are the same division as the Vikings, that way they won’t finish in last place.

  4. canadianvikingfaniii says: Apr 9, 2011 4:00 PM

    Honestly, I thought Detroit’s depth at QB was pretty solid last year. Without Matthew Stafford the two backups actually played decently to win them some games, and were probably cheated out of another one or two by their defence or something else.

  5. kowboydmac says: Apr 9, 2011 4:14 PM

    They won 7.

    Calvin’s game winning TD was a catch in 999/1000 peoples’ view.

    And this is coming from a Vikings fan.

  6. dewalt2990 says: Apr 9, 2011 4:56 PM

    What’s up with Millens picture up there? He’s not affiliated with us anymore. What the crap.

  7. vahawker says: Apr 9, 2011 5:14 PM

    Jim mora coached the Lions?

  8. godmoney91 says: Apr 9, 2011 5:18 PM

    WR is a far greater need than QB.

  9. imjinbrdgr says: Apr 9, 2011 5:44 PM

    What’s up with Millens picture up there? He’s not affiliated with us anymore. What the crap.

    I guess they know how much you all miss him.

  10. egls7 says: Apr 9, 2011 6:01 PM

    But they have Shaun hill….

  11. polegojim says: Apr 9, 2011 6:23 PM

    Coach Schwartz deserves to have his picture on a post like this, not a Lions cheap shot

    Flo – that’s low.

    This team is putting it together.

    I agree with the OL ‘dirtbags’ for sure.

    You’re over thinking the others though Mike.

    We’d be better off with one more vicious pass rusher on the opposite side of Suh.

    That means – 1) We don’t give them time to throw? 2) We don’t to fret about more CBs, LBs, etc – everyone just made everyone better with only one more person.

  12. shieldsisland37 says: Apr 9, 2011 6:44 PM

    If Bowers somehow falls to them, their D-Line will be certified NASTY.

  13. Deb says: Apr 9, 2011 6:52 PM

    I don’t see the same old Lions when watching this team. They have a solid QB if they can keep him healthy, some superstars on D, and a coach who seems to have brought in a winning attitude. Most football fans feel they were one screwed-up call away from being 7-9 last season. All teams need “dirtbags” in the trenches ;) But a vet QB to step in if Stafford goes down, and a power runner would be good additions.

  14. honolulublue says: Apr 9, 2011 7:39 PM

    If I were Mayhew I would trade all the way up for Peterson. The Lions lack a shutdown CB. In FA make a run at some good LB’s They get that watch out!

  15. egreen4590 says: Apr 9, 2011 8:26 PM

    I could have wrote this easily.
    Why do we have to be reminded of Millen everytime the Lions are mentioned though?? o.O

    Also, receiver is a bigger need than you’d think. Burleson is a slot guy and Bryant Johnson is a bum! Derrick Williams won’t live up to his 3rd round draft status. If Julio Jones is available at 13..i don’t see why not!

  16. thefiesty1 says: Apr 9, 2011 8:29 PM

    They can have Kitna back to step in when Stafford gets injured (again). He might be able to get 6 or 7 wins which is all the Lions usually get. They’ll still be fighting the Vikes for last in the central, as usual.

  17. swive says: Apr 9, 2011 9:46 PM

    Need a QB? Kitna?

    They have Shaun Hill under contract for next year. He won several games for them this season. Y’all are obviously not paying attention…

  18. egreen4590 says: Apr 9, 2011 10:09 PM

    @thefiesty1
    If Kitna couldn’t even do that for the COWBOYS this past year then how would he do it for the Lions??

  19. ramsfanjoe says: Apr 9, 2011 10:21 PM

    Give the Lions about three more years without Matt “Can I pick another reciever” Millen and they will be good again.

  20. Kave Krew says: Apr 9, 2011 10:37 PM

    #1 – I think the Lions will be a playoff team in 2011 – i’ve been saying that all along. i think the coaches and players are tough, resislent, and hungry to win.

    #2 – Matt Millen’s pix need not be there – this group has sanitized themselves of Matt Millen……put devil horns, a dunce cap on the pix and use it, or place an X over the pix to indicate the exorcism is complete, but leave Matt out of the equation from now on.

  21. rabidbillsfan says: Apr 9, 2011 11:42 PM

    @ Deb

    …And in Night club rest rooms too. Right? ;) Sorry couldn’t resist.

  22. rabidbillsfan says: Apr 9, 2011 11:54 PM

    On a more serious note. This is another team that needs to find it’s identity. This is their year to do it. Draft skill position to say your going to be a finesse team, or go O-line or D to say you want to be a more smash mouth team. Id say go with the latter, it will win you more games. If Stafford can stay healthy, and they pick up a bruising back, this Offense will be dangerous. I really don’t see a need for another WR in the first round, you have one of the premier WO in the NFL, solid TE play, and a RB that can role-play better then D&D. Add another high priced toy, and the touches go away from the proven diffrence makers. I agree with the D-line pick. Look at Pitt, their secondary isn’t the best, but they have constant QB pressure to cover up the deficencies. You also have a playmaking saftey in Delmas as well. I do see Solder or Pouncey going to Detroit though, unless one of the high-end pass rushers slip through.

  23. bigtrav425 says: Apr 10, 2011 12:00 AM

    im no Lions fan but id say OL,LB and CB are far more important in this draft then RB or backup QB

  24. polegojim says: Apr 10, 2011 12:33 AM

    @fiesty – no thanks on Kitna. Decent guy, but we’ve had enough of the entirety of the former regime and thinking.

    @Deb – I like your thought about a power runner. They need a work horse who can tire out an opponents D-Line and keep them off balance. This also keeps some heat off Stafford, and gives them a true ‘blocking’ back as well.

    @honolulublue – true, a shut down CB would be nice, but a nasty pass rush makes even average quality CB’s and LB’s better. The Lions already have average to better than average in those areas. The odds of improving ALL areas and our wish lists are low-to-nil. The success rate and impact of working the system to get that second nightmare D-Lineman is much better.

  25. rashardmendenballs says: Apr 10, 2011 12:42 AM

    The lions can pick up an OL or LB in the 2nd or 3rd round.

    Option 1: Julio Jones-The Megatron is not a for sure lock to resign. Plus, having him line up opposite of Calvin would just be nasty.

    Option 2: The kid out of Grand Blanc Michigan…Mark Ingrim JR. Thunder and Lighting.

    Option 3: Prince Amukamara.

  26. polegojim says: Apr 10, 2011 12:51 AM

    Lions RD 1: mock draft
    Anthony Castonzo is a top mock draft choice for Lions – OL – 6-7 / 311. Gotta love the size, as long has he can get push or low enough in stance.

    Corey Liuget could be available though- 6-2 /298, but may not be quick enough to cause the kind of chaos we need.

    Ranked lower, but I really like J.J. Watt from Wisconsin, 6-5/ 290, tall enough to cause trouble for QB’s too. He will cause double teams and chaos due to strength, speed, size. This kids also got LOTS more room to filled-out too.

    Bowers might be available, but the success of his knee surgery is not known.

  27. mystereo says: Apr 10, 2011 5:38 AM

    The Lions need a lot of O linemen, CBs, LBs and maybe another DL to go with Suh. A more durable, punishing RB would be nice too.

    They have some good weapons now but protecting Stafford has to be the #1 priority.

  28. dabears2485 says: Apr 10, 2011 8:42 AM

    I have to disagree about the need at QB. They should make the effort to retain Shaun Hill, even if they have to overpay him for one year. The guy did a respectable job moving the ball, and is better than most backups around the league. Sadly, I think next year we’ll be talking about their need to draft a QB of the Future. Matthew Stafford’s shoulder seems to be going the way of Chad Pennington’s.

    And their CB’s aren’t just a need…they’re a gaping hole.

  29. MichaelEdits says: Apr 10, 2011 11:36 AM

    I love the Jim Mora quote. Dirtbags.

  30. dewalt2990 says: Apr 10, 2011 11:52 AM

    The Lion’s will never have an identity…they’ll be good at everything.

  31. Deb says: Apr 10, 2011 2:01 PM

    @polegojim …

    No point mentioning it, but you can’t help wondering what this Lions team could do if they had Sanders in the backfield. I’ve been really impressed with Stafford–but I’m the kind who’s impressed with a QB that comes back to throw a TD after separating a shoulder. Hope he proves more durable for them in the long run. NFC North is a great division–would love to see the Lions really contend.

  32. detroitfootsketball says: Apr 10, 2011 2:10 PM

    i think you should have to watch a game or atleast look at a depth chart before you can comment on a teams needs or to be able to comment on those comments. the lions need a back up qb? ( they have hill). they should try to retain hill? (they did that before the start of last season). opinions are one thing but we can all get the facts right……..right?

  33. mattmillenstinks says: Apr 10, 2011 9:55 PM

    Matthew Stafford needs to put this team on his shoulders and take them to the post season. No wait not his shoulders.

  34. polegojim says: Apr 10, 2011 11:15 PM

    @ Deb – funny – I thought of that too… he probably wouldn’t have retired so soon. He was worked to death with nothing to hope for regarding a post-season. Let’s bring on that power runner!!!

    I’ve taken some good poundings and still come up fighting, but throwing anything with a separated shoulder? OUCH!!! Tough kid, but gotta protect him! Thanks for your Lions spirit.
    Roll Tide…er, I mean. Let’s Go LIONS!

    @detroitfootsketball – Yes – I watch many Lions games, and agree that QB position is fine, including the backup.

    But–depth chart isn’t the same as impact positions. Just cause we have 2 or 3 deep @fair quality doesn’t mean we have a #1 w/ impact. Are you feeling me on that?

    We need LOTS more impact on the OL and one more on DL… plus Debs going to recruit us a Power Runner……just say AMEN.

    I’m going to keep screaming my mantra until the Lions listen and execute this during the draft and included/ensuing trades.

    Hey…look what I got done for the Wolverines. Call it Hokey, but my mantra and relentless badgering worked. ; )

  35. Deb says: Apr 10, 2011 11:38 PM

    @polegojim …

    Anytime … I think you guys may have the sanest fans in the NFC North ;) Just lost my patience over there with edge … he made me say fudgcicles LOL

  36. detroitfootsketball says: Apr 11, 2011 11:05 AM

    @polegojim
    i agree

  37. nilspack says: Apr 20, 2011 10:09 AM

    The lions were pretty surprising this year. With Cutler, Rodgers, and Stafford in the NFC north I’m looking forward to really contentious and exciting games, if only the vikings could start pulling it together we’d have a really powerful division in the next few years. Packer fan but if they don’t win I’d rather have NFC north pull it through than a new england or dallas any damn day.

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