Lions 2013 Season Preview

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Lions 2013 Season Preview

Gabe Kardia

 

The Detroit Lions are a team famous for losing, and have never seen a Super Bowl. However, in 2011 Matt Stafford led the team to the playoffs, and their first winning season in 11 years. Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh also played an integral role in turning around the feel of the Detroit team.

 

Calvin Johnson has been a playmaker since he was playing high school football, and has proved that he is a hall-of-fame-caliber receiver in the NFL. Despite the Lions’ 4-12 record last season, Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record and was the talk of the football world. Despite Ndamukong Suh’s anger issues and run-ins with the law, he was a necessity on the team, as the Lions struggled defensively. Matt Stafford is one of the best active quarterbacks in the league, and the team was second overall in passing yards.

 

So how can a team with such an elite offense be the fifth worst team in the league? The Lions have a few downfalls. The most evident to hardcore fans is their inability to finish the game on either side of the ball. Numerous times Detroit has led the game, or at least been in it, until the end, when they choke and either fail to score, or the defense allows the game winning score. Another fault lies in the defense as a whole, especially the defensive backs. Detroit didn’t have a solid starter all season, and no reliability in the second level. The only bright side of the defense was the line, and Suh. However, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch was released this offseason. The Lions’ first round pick in the NFL draft was Ezekiel Ansah, a defensive end out of Brigham Young.

The defensive problems are being addressed. Cornerback has been a position of great trouble for Detroit, and Darius Slay may be able to help change that. Slay was a track and basketball star in high school, in addition to excelling at running back. At Mississippi State he played corner and made a name for himself. The Lions selected him with their second round pick, and have high hopes that he can play a part in transforming their defense. Slay is an all-around athlete and will hopefully become a leader in the secondary. Ezekiel Ansah will have all eyes on him as the fifth overall pick in the draft. Ansah will help to refuel the defensive line after losing Vanden Bosch. Suh will need to pilot the d-line, and pull himself together in order for the defense to regain credibility

 

The running game in Detroit has been spotty at best in the past few years, but with the acquisition of Reggie Bush, and the evolution of last year’s pair, Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell, the running back position looks to be well staffed. Last season, Bell and Leshoure were both new to Ford Field, and switched off effectively throughout the season, Bell being the speed back and Leshoure being used between the tackles. With a veteran running back like Bush, the trio should show great improvement, but Bush will start most games, taking minutes from Bell and Leshoure. Hopefully, this coming season will be a big improvement from the previous one. With the changes that Head Coach Jim Schwartz is making, it’s looking like a winning season is in reach.

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