The unis have a sleeker look.The logo looks a little more menacing.That's all I got.After a historically dismal season in 2008 in which they went winless (in case you haven't heard), the Detroit Lions look to bounce back with baby steps this year and win a few games. There are new faces galore and some promise at certain positions, but depth issues and a daunting schedule likely may be Detroit's demise again this season.The Lions selected Matthew Stafford with the number one overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. Although his long, St. Louis Rams jersey
shaggy hair and huge rookie contract (over 40 million in guaranteed money) may both look ridiculous, his talent and upside is not. Stafford is strong, athletic, mobile and possesses a cannon for an arm. Recently un-retired veteran Daunte Culpepper should get the starting nod over Stafford, but after an extended slide, expect Lions fans to start chanting "We Want Stafford!" faster than they did chant "Fire Millen!" Look for the rook to get sporadic playing time in 4th quarter blowouts, with his first start coming after the bye week.Outside of proven talents Kevin Smith and Calvin Johnson, the depth at running back and wide receiver is a cause for concern. Veterans Avieon Cason, Maurice Morris, Keary Colbert and Bryant Johnson have all logged NFL games and stats, but none of them necessarily jump off the charts. Dennis Northcutt, picked up from Jacksonville, will be slated as the number two receiver. Rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew will get his share of footballs thrown his way and instant production should follow.The Linebacking corps of the Lions looks on paper to be the team's biggest strength. Larry Foote was picked up from the World Champion Steelers and Julian Peterson was acquired in a trade for Cory Redding. Throw in Ernie Sims into that mix, and the linebackers look formidable. Expect that unit to record more sacks than the D-Line, with former Falcon Grady Jackson signed as the only marquee name.The Lions also addressed their secondary. After giving up a ton of big plays last season, the signings of Anthony Henry, Tennessee Titans jersey
Marquand Manuel, Philip Buchanon and Stuart Schweigert can provide optimism and can limit those big plays. Three of those four are likely to start with Schweigert battling Daniel Bullocks for one of the two safety spots.After the defense, the most noticeable change to the Lions is their coaching staff. After 10 years in with the Tennessee Titans organization, Jim Schwartz has been brought in and immeadiately wants to preach defense. Scott Linehan and Gunther Cunningham have also been brought in at offensive and defensive coordinator spots, respectively.The smartest move this organization has made in recent memory is getting rid of former GM Matt Millen. Lions fans can attest that Millen sounds more credible on TV analyzing, than actually running a franchise; into the ground, that is, during his tenure. What's up with all the receiver draft picks? (Thanks for coming, Mike Williams and Charlie Rogers) Now, former defensive back Martin Mayhew takes the GM reigns, and although they're unproven, Stafford and Pettigrew look like solid choices.Let's be real Lions fans. You won't go to the Super Bowl, contend for the playoffs or the division and you will not get to .500 this season. Once the team gets that first W, the monkey is off your back. Then talk of a winning streak or even a road playoff win can begin to bubble up, but in a revamped division with a tough schedule, 4 wins is acceptable for a rebuilding team, but 6 wins or more would be considered a very good season.It's better than that bagel in the win column that Lions fans had to Washington Redskins jersey
endure last season, but when watching the games this season, whether it's on your couch or at the bar, if you're looking for loyalty towards your team, look no farther than placekicker Jason Hanson (18 seasons with the Lions). His longevity alone will give the team at least a couple game-winners this upcoming season.Hey, take what you can get.