O.k. here we go. A new month and in turn a new article; why not.
All this talk and different articles has got me thinking, playoffs? 8-8? is it possible? But then the same old feeling of hope arises in my gut that happens every off-season. And just like every other year my hopes were smashed and yet again had to wach my beloved Lions sink to the bottom of the NFC North.
But, now it is a new day arising in the North and with returning coaches, 2cnd year starters, some very nice aquisitions and let's not forget the GREAT JOB the coaching staff(Mayhew and Shwartz) has done by putting together back to back draft classes, there is a sweet smell of pre-eminate victory lurking just aroung the corner.
So, I thought a little more about the buzz of playoffs in the air and thought i'd throw this little piece together for you and let you decide for yourself. Is it false hope or is there a real possibility of reaching the post-season this year.
As any Lion fan knows the last playoff appearance was in 1999. So I figured let's compare rosters with the last team we had that went to the playoffs and see where that gets us.
1999 DETROIT LIONS STARTERS
QB Charlie Batch Age: 25 151 for 270, 1,957 yards, 13 td, 7 int
QB Gus Frerotte Age: 28 175 for 288, 2,117 yards, 9 td, 7 int
RB Greg Hill Age: 27 144 rushes for 542 yards, 2 td
RB Ron Rivers Age:28 82 rushes for 295 yards, 1 rec. td
FB Cory Schlesinger Age: 27 43 rushes for 124 yards, 1 rec. td
WR Germane Crowell Age: 23 81 catches for 1,338 yards, 7 td
WR Johnnie Morton Age: 28 80 catches for 1,129 yards, 5 td
TE David Sloan Age: 27 47 catches for 591 yards, 4 td
TE Walter Rasby Age: 27 3 catches for 19 yards, 1 td
LT Ray Roberts Age: 30
LG Tony Semple Age: 29
C Mike Compton Age: 29
RG Jeff Hartings Age: 27
RT Barrett Brooks Age: 27
LDE Robert Porcher Age: 30 15.0 sacks
LDT James A. Jones Age: 30 7.0 sacks
RDT Luther Elliss Age: 26 3.5 sacks
RDE Tracy Scroggins Age: 30 8.5 sacks
RDE Travis Kirschke Age: 25 2.0 sacks
LLB Allen Aldridge Age: 27 3.0 sacks
MLB Stephen Boyd Age: 27 0.0 sacks, 1 interception
RLB Chris Claiborne Age: 21 1.5 sacks
LCB Robert Bailey Age: 31 2.0 sacks, 2 interceptions
RCB Terry Fair Age: 23 0.0 sacks, 3 interceptions
RCB Bryant Westbrook Age: 25 0.0 sacks
SS Ron Rice Age: 27 1.0 sacks, 5 interceptions
FS Mark A. Carrier Age: 31 0.0 sacks, 3 interceptions
Let's take a look at the combined stats of the 99' team:
Passing yards: 4,074 TD's: 22 Int: 14
Rushing yards: 961 yards TD's 2
QB - Charlie Batch 151 for 270, 1,957 yards, 13 td, 7 int
RB - Greg Hill 144 rushes for 542 yards, 2 td
WR - Germane Crowell 81 catches for 1,338 yards, 7 td
TE - David Sloan 47 catches for 591 yards, 4 td
Top Defensive Players
LDE - Robert Porcher 15.0 sacks
SS - Ron Rice 1.0 sacks, 5 interceptions
RCB - Terry Fair 3 interceptions
FS - Mark A. Carrier 3 interceptions
So after looking at the stats, the 99' Lions looked very impressive. But lets not forget that they were 8-8 and lost in the wild card game to the redskins. The key to the Lions success then seems to have rested on the defense. With 43 sacks and 14 team interceptions their defense appears to have dominated their opponents.
Where does our team fit in? you tell me.
2010 Lion Team Totals:
Passing yards: 3,471 16 TD, 32 INT
Rushing yards: 1,616 9 TD
Let's look at the 2009 Lions leading scorers:
Matthew Stafford: 2,276 yards, 13 TD, 20 INT
Kevin Smith: 747 yards rushing, 4 TD
Calvin Johnson: 984 yards, 5 TD
Top defensive Players:
Louis Delmas: 2 INT, 1 sack, 1 safety
Cliff Avril: 5.5 sacks, 3 FF
Julian Peterson: 4.5 sacks, 5 FF
After a quick comparison I personally don't feel that it should be to hard to accomplish in 2010. You also have to remember that Stafford was out for 6 games and partially injured for the rest.
Johnson missed a few games and also played injured as well as Kevin Smith.
With the additions of Vanden Bosh, Williams, and SUHper-man. I think from a statistics stand-point Avril will be the starter opposite Vanden Bosch, and they should be able to put the damper on opponents OL and get to the QB, as well as stop the run.
Dre Bly was signed earlier today. That should secure up the 1 Cb spot and I'm praying Spievey secures the other side. The defense will be a whole lot better, and might just suprise the rest of the non-beleivers.
As for the offense; other than Kevin smith and maybe Pettigrew, the rest of the team should be 100% healthy and ready to start come training camp. With Burleson coming in that should at least break CJ's coverage down to 2 instead of 3. And we all know that "Megatron" can handle that.
With Jahvid Best I think Detroit has finally got a pro-bowl caliber RB. Whether K. Smith is healthy or not Best will take the starting job by the end of pre-season. I can see the Lions having a 1,000 yards rushing again FINALLY! and just maybe give a little more.
And then you got Shwartz's double TE plan unfolding all over the defensive coordinator's laps as Stafford will shred defenses apart with the mis-matches.
With all that beings said,(believe me I could go on and on for days with everything that is happening with the Lions this year) I will let you judge for yourself;
Is 8-8 to hard of a reach? even if it doesn't get us to the wild-card a .500 season would be a long-awaited dream come true.
Thanks for reading.