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Lions turn attention to a postseason return

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

After missing the playoffs for 11 straight seasons, the Lions finally made it in 2011. And they don’t plan to wait a decade or more to return.

It’s a reminder of the progress the Lions are making as a franchise that the Detroit News can publish a story about how the Lions need to maintain the level of play they achieved last year. During their string of 10 straight losing seasons from 2001 to 2010, the offseason stories were about how the Lions desperately needed to turn things around.

Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew noted that the Lions think they’re improving this offseason, and that they think they can be a team that makes the playoffs regularly, not once a decade.

“We want to be one of those teams that are in the playoffs every year. But we have a lot of work to do,” Mayhew said.

Whether the Lions have actually done anything this offseason to improve is a big question, as the Lions have focused mostly on trying to keep their own free agents. But Lions coach Jim Schwartz says that is how the team is improving.

“One of the biggest things is what we just went through the last couple of weeks of free agency,” Schwartz said. “Teams that are trying to sign their own free agents aren’t going to have the money to go out and get other free agents because you are paying your own good players. If you are drafting well, you already have good players and you are paying them. You are able to focus on your own team.”

Drafting poorly was the primary reason the Lions were the worst team in the NFL for a decade, and drafting well is the primary reason they finally got to the playoffs last season. Another good draft may be all the Lions need to finally become a team that wins playoff games.

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26 Responses to “Lions turn attention to a postseason return”
  1. illwillthemick says: Apr 7, 2012 8:58 PM

    well they better get two corners then, they should be begging the eagles for asante samual.

  2. botchedextrapoint says: Apr 7, 2012 8:59 PM

    Even though I’m a pack fan I hope the lions Dan experience some success. Detroit needs it. Their fans deserve it.

  3. butkus54 says: Apr 7, 2012 9:07 PM

    Mahew has done a nice job with this team and they are legitimate contenders in the NFC North …but Lions fans need to temper their expectations this year … still see them making the playoffs as a wild card team but not going deep yet…a couple drafts away still.

  4. nolahxc says: Apr 7, 2012 9:10 PM

    As great as Calvin Johnson is (and he IS the best right now), Matthew Stafford’s health is probably what will make this team playoff bound or not. Last year I think he proved that he’s on his way to being one of the best QB’s in the league if he keeps going!

  5. lolb23 says: Apr 7, 2012 9:30 PM

    The Lions are a RB, CB and LT away from being the Dallas Cowboys of the 90′s

  6. jacobslatter says: Apr 7, 2012 9:32 PM

    and Nick Fairley is smoking something good right now.

  7. itwasafumble says: Apr 7, 2012 9:34 PM

    Detroit has a fan base that definitely deserves to finally enjoy at least some measure of success. Of course, several other teams and their fans deserve it too, but it would certainly be nice for the long suffering, hardcore followers of the Lions.

  8. chawk12thman says: Apr 7, 2012 9:36 PM

    Don’t get to good….Heck, the SeaHawks have to come up and play in Detroit this year….. Week #3 in the unofficially, “leaked” schedule.

  9. nflfollower says: Apr 7, 2012 9:40 PM

    People aren’t factoring in that stafford may take the step next year where he literally dictates with his arm the play of the opposing defense. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable assumption based off his play last year, and if he does, they will be in the playoffs for the next decade

  10. historicfacepalm says: Apr 7, 2012 9:54 PM

    They have as much of a chance as being the 11 Bucs as they do making a deep postseason team. Young team that by no means is guaranteed success. If they get complacent and assume they’ll win games they’ll get a rude awakening. After all, they needed a little luck to get to the postseason in the first place. Had not Jay Cutler gotten injured it’s likely the Bears would of gotten the necessary wins that would of bumped the Lions for qualifying for the postseason.

  11. tfbuckfutter says: Apr 7, 2012 9:58 PM

    The Lions were a great feel-good story last season…..until Jim Schwartz was exposed as a raging jerk.

    Now it’s really hard to root for them.

  12. funktron2x says: Apr 7, 2012 10:15 PM

    Credit where due, Mr. Smith. Your take is even and unbiased – and it addresses the facts. I have been hard on you in comments because you seem to often roll negative even when facts might say otherwise. But I would be a hypocrite not to commend you when I think you’re doing good journalism. The Lions are guaranteed nothing, but so far, they have managed to build a core of talent that can become great if they put their noses to the grindstone and mature. Aside: It’s a shame that people only see Schwartz in his passionate moments. Guy is intelligent, cares deeply about his players as human beings and works in lockstep with front office. Yes, he’s fiery – but no, he’s really not even close to a raging maniac.

  13. duanethomas says: Apr 7, 2012 10:21 PM

    Try to keep half the team out of jail should also be a priority this off-season.

  14. lks311 says: Apr 7, 2012 10:24 PM

    The difference between the Lions and ’11 Bucs is that Detroit has multiple playmakers on both sides of the ball. The Bucs had Josh Freeman on offense and then just a bunch of guys…that includes Michael Williams.

    Schwartz is no more of a jerk than 2/3 of the rest of the coaches in the league—and last time I looked most of those guys were in the post season. The nice guys got fired.

    Most importantly, they need to nip this drug thing in the “Bud” (so intended) and find a CB and upgrades at SS and maybe LB and then they’re good to go—or as good to go as any other team barring major injuries.

  15. drew990 says: Apr 7, 2012 10:39 PM

    Their definitely not a lock for rhe playoffs. Nobody thinks they will win their division over the packers, and the bears have gotten better too. Hopefully for them a full time cutler, a healthy forte, and they got bush and marshal. It will be a fun season.

  16. m2karateman says: Apr 7, 2012 11:00 PM

    Every team goes into the season with an eye on the playoffs. The difference with the Lions is that the view is realistic. While they haven’t seemed to have upgraded their roster in free agency, few of the really good teams have. Green Bay rarely signs big name free agents. Same for Pittsburgh. Who has the Giants signed?

    Good teams understand that success can be had simply through continuity of the roster, and the players getting to know and trust each other more, than to add “talent” that doesn’t truly fit in.

  17. vmannj says: Apr 7, 2012 11:14 PM

    Suh has been questioned twice for allegedly driving under the influence. They’ve had three players arrested a total of four times since the season ended for drug possession. Yep, sounds just like the ’90s Cowboys. Jimmy Johnson could handle that. We’re about to find out what kind of coach Schwartz really is. If they start sluggish, and his temper boils over, things could get ugly in a hurry.

  18. nucealius says: Apr 7, 2012 11:24 PM

    I assume their attention hasn’t strayed from success.

  19. stevenfbrackett says: Apr 7, 2012 11:25 PM

    Let’s hope they also start looking at character when drafting guys. The team needs a few good character guys. Who knows, maybe they could positively influence a couple of borderline guys and keep them out of jail/off suspension.

  20. jtmartinez34 says: Apr 7, 2012 11:44 PM

    Again, what’s the euphoria here?? After a 5-0 start, that included some very lucky wins, they were 5-6. A losing record, and 2 of those 5 wins were close, lucky games – against terrible teams. Then they got smushed into the ground against the Saints. I can guarantee that they won’t win all those luck games again. Won’t happen. They’re are bringing back the same team virtually, including the weed heads. I love it when these fans get jacked up. It makes it all the sweeter when the fall.

  21. funktron2x says: Apr 8, 2012 12:13 AM

    Suh has not been questioned for DUI. That is false.

  22. khmer379 says: Apr 8, 2012 1:54 AM

    Dat be funny if da lions win da SB before da vikes haha and am a Viking fan we and da lion have one thing in common no SB ring so it good seeing dem have sucess as long it not against us

  23. Soulman45 says: Apr 8, 2012 4:17 AM

    THE GREAT DETROIT LIONS need to handle this jail time driving while smoking got to go.
    The addition on the field is just fine stay health and the team should be 12-4.

  24. truthhurtstoo says: Apr 8, 2012 8:25 AM

    NO tradition of winning… was last year a fluke?

  25. durno99 says: Apr 8, 2012 8:36 AM

    Baby Saints……hard to root for a team that is dirty and led by a jerk!

  26. hatesycophants says: Apr 8, 2012 12:13 PM

    We’ll be fine.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

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