The Lions played really well for three quarters of last Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving game. Then during the fourth quarter, the Lions lack of depth, talent-shortage, and bad luck all conspired together to lead to a multiple touchdown loss to the Patriots.
As if Matthew Stafford’s injury, along with the Lions now three game losing streak, wasn’t bad enough, the news that the Lions will likely be without Shaun Hill for the remaining duration of the season, makes the Lions once promising season resemble that of so many during recent seasons–a devout failure.
The Lions will start QB Drew Stanton against the Bears Sunday. They are clearly not confident in Stanton, nor his backup Zac Robinson, since they also worked out both J.T. O’Sullivan and Josh McCown on Tuesday. Yuck!
The Lions are likely to be compelled to rush Matthew Stafford back later in the season, as their season continues to run off of the rails. Nothing about Stafford’s imminent return makes any sense. The Lions absolutely need to make sure that Stafford is preserved for future use, and can devote an entire healthy off-season to strength and conditioning, as well as preparation to lead the team in 2011.
As if nothing can make it any more abundantly obvious, the Lions absolutely need to address their offensive line during the off-season. The Lions have no running game to be spoken of, and now have had their starting and backup QB each injured (and re-injured) in the space of half of a season.
The injuries are not entirely a result of poor offensive line play, but that, combined with a poor rushing attack, placing the Lions into a high number of third and long yardage situations, has jeopardized them for sure. The more frequently this situation occurs, the more likely the QB is to be exposed as a vulnerable target.
Furthermore, the Lions have often played from behind, even if the games are close. Again, this another symptom which might lead to a QB being overexposed to heavy hits.
The Lions front office has neglected to upgrade it’s offensive line for nearly ten seasons now, and the players that they have selected have been mostly mediocre and undependable, rather than providing the consistency that the Lions so desperately need (No, Jeff Backus’s consecutive starts streak doesn’t count for consistency).
An upgraded offensive line is inextricably linked with the future success of the Lions organization, regardless of who is the team’s starting QB.
The back story for Sunday’s game will be that the Lions decision to select Stanton was made while Rod Marinelli and Mike Martz were each coaching in Detroit. They are both now acting as the “Odd Couple” coordinators for a surprisingly improved Bears team.
Martz quickly turned on Stanton as a raw project and likely stunted or completely ruined any chance that Stanton may have had for future NFL success.
After the Lions disappointing, arguably stolen loss to the Bears in week one, they would like nothing more than to exact some revenge upon the Bears. The same goes for Stanton, as he attempts to make his case as a potential starter in the NFL. He would likely be interested in showing up his former coaches, too.
Ultimately, as much as I would like to remain positive, this situation does not appear to bode well for the hapless Lions.