I want to grab a megahorn and preach to the fans and show them how the Lions' blueprints work when applied correctly. I want to point to the 2011 season and recall when all the parts are working together, the team can play with the best of them. I want to relive the Seattle Seahawks game and claim that Scott Linehan's job should not only be safe, but should be protected from other teams.
But I also want to scream. I want to punch a wall. I want to grab my pitchfork and join the mob, if, for no other reason, then to get my own frustrations out. I want the Lions to grow the f*ck up. I'm sick of the drops. I'm sick of the penalites. I'm sick of the miscommunications. And I'm sick of using the "they're still young" excuse.
But the Lions are young. Matthew Stafford has played just 13 more games than Cam Newton. Young is in his second season, Ryan Bryoles is in his first. The Lions defensive line has three, main contributors between the ages of 24-26. The Lions have their quarterback, left tackle and number one receiver for the future. They have developmental projects at cornerback, defensive end and a couple at linebacker.
But developmental projects have failed in the past. I couldn't tell you what number Jason Fox is nor what he even looks like. Sammie Lee Hill will likely never grow beyond a rotational player. Players like Doug Hogue, Tahir Whitehead and Ricardo Silva don't have much value beyond special teams.
And the young players that are playing have high upsides, but tend to be showing their risky sides as of late. Nick Fairley's a beast, but his offseason antics embarrassed this franchise. Same with Ndamukong Suh. Players like Young, Pettigrew and even Stafford show signs of brilliance, only to regress with consistent mental errors.
But then we go back to the youth argument, and around and around she goes. I don't know what to think, I don't know where I stand, and I don't know where the Lions are headed. I want to believe when the Lions play consistent football, they'll be back in the playoffs. But I don't know if these Lions could ever play consistently.
I want to believe in the coaching staff, knowing how far this team has already come in 3.5 years. But then I see things like THIS and have to wonder.
I don't know if I'm pissed that the season is basically over or relieved that I don't have to continue to fool myself that playoffs are still a possibility. I don't know if Stafford is a franchise quarterback, or if his mechanical issues and poor pocket presence are things I'll just have to get used to. I don't know if the Lions will ever mature, or if the character risks we've been warned about are permanent.
But here's what I do know: the Lions are 4-5 and, for all intents and purposes, OUT of the playoff race. There are seven games on the schedule left. The Lions will be facing the best of the best in the NFL. And what the Lions choose to do with the next two months will go a long way in deciding whether I'm on board or waving the white flag in 2013.
- My biggest pet peeve of the game: Stafford, again, being too quick to leave the pocket. He ran himself into sacks on more than one occasion.
- The offensive line had their worst game of the year. Couldn't get the run game early, making play-action completely ineffective later in the game.
- Here's a fun series of events on twitter:
At opening kickoff:
The Vikings probably won't go downfield much today, but a key for Detroit is to not let the 2-3 shots they try turn into big plays.Exactly 14-minutes later:
— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) November 11, 2012
#Vikings with a 54-yard pass on third-and-long. Down to the one-yard line. Awful. #Lions
— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) November 11, 2012
- That Calvin Johnson sure is cursed, huh?
- If Chris Houston's injury is serious, this team is in big, big trouble down the stretch. The Lions have struggled against poor passing teams so far. Ahead they have the Packers twice, the Texans, Falcons and Colts. Weeeeeeeeeeeee!
- Defense: good job at holding Minnesota to two field goals after two turnovers by the offense.
- Defense: anti-good job at allowing two plays of 50+ yards, three drives of 60+ yards, and 18 points in the fourth quarter to a team that was averaging just 19.3 points in the past three games.