Lions Enduring Inconsistent Preseason
The Detroit Lions had a banner year in 2011 with 10 wins and a postseason appearance. Even so, this surely feels like a crossroads season for Jim Schwartz’ club. After a slew of off-field transgressions, nobody would be surprised if this young Lions team regressed. Even so, management has done an excellent effort to continue to improve the talent on the roster, so nobody would be surprised if this team performed even better in 2012.
The preseason tends to be the first scraps of evidence we get and so far, the Lions look like they are going to be very similar to the team that finished the 2011 campaign. In some respects, that’s good because the offense will still be able to air it out with Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson leading the way, and the defense will be able to generate plenty of pressure on opponents thanks to a stellar defensive line, but the team still has weaknesses.
The secondary is still a big question mark, as evidenced by the 318 yards and two touchdowns (and 65% completion percentage) the Lions gave up to the Oakland Raiders quarterbacks in Week 3. Even the paltry Cleveland Browns had success as their feeble quarterbacks combined for 21-of-38 for 326 yards. The Lions secondary needs to improve if this team is to take that next step.
Meanwhile, one of the reasons NFL odds makers are still skeptical of this Detroit Lions team, is because of their inability to run the football. That hasn’t changed much in the preseason as the Lions have failed to find a bell-cow tailback, even though the team has averaged more than five yards per carry in the preseason. Jahvid Best is out for at least the first six games of the season, Mikel LeShoure is suspended for the first two and totaled just one yards on five carries through the first three preseason games. Other than that, Kevin Smith might be the guy but he’s not explosive; he’s as blue collar as they come.
The Lions have a solid team heading into the 2012 season but the preseason has done little to convince bettors, fans and pundits that they are going to take the step from playoff team to Super Bowl contender. However, a few early regular season wins could change that.