If you are a regular reader of my posts, you’ll have seen that I’m really not excited about the prospects of the Lions this year. To be honest I wasn’t a massive fan of theirs last year either, but a roster that had Megatron one of the most dominant wide receivers ever to have played the game (if you missed my post about the career of Johnson then fell free to have a look here)
But now Johnson has gone, Stafford has looked shaky in the pocket, and Golden Tate will now be given more attention that he has in seasons past. What does this add up to? A roster that is devoid of NFL talent (outside of one or two players).
It hasn’t always been that way though- the Lions just in 2014 made the playoffs and were just short of beating a Cowboys team who nearly beat the Packers at Lambeau.
What has happened since then? They lost a huge piece on their offense (Johnson) and defense (Suh & Fairley) this really meant that they lost players that allowed the weaker players in the roster to contribute.
Maybe not seen last year in Miami but Suh would command two players to stop him rushing the passer or stopping the run, that meant that the other players in the DL could have one on one matchups, and also meant the QB would have to make a quicker pass than he may have liked. That meant that the players that were though to be “lesser” players were able to help out more than they may have if he was not there- which is showing now, with him lacking in the roster the other players have to step up, and they really haven’t been able to
Losing a legend is never easy, but I cannot express enough how much the rest of the roster relied on him. Tate is a good player, but he was better because teams had to double team Johnson on every snap, otherwise he would punish them. If you look at how Stafford plays after the snap, he looked at Johnson first that was his go to guy. He’s not there now, and that is going to make him more indecisive than he is.
What I’d be more concerned about as a fan, is the fact that Suh left because the Lions didn’t have the salary cap space, they haven’t made any splashes in the free agency market, because of salary cap space. Who is earning all the money!? I can only assume that they have overpaid a number of players by a bit and that has added up and bitten them.
They also haven’t really hit on a draft class like other teams, sure they have picked up one or two players that can challenge for a starting spot, but alot of the players they have selected just haven’t lived up to where they were drafted.
If I was a Lions fan, I would look at a few years of pain and hope my GM just resets the roster and look at making a challenge in the next 5 years, look at the Vikings and how they were able to pull themselves to contenders in the division- that’s what you need to aim to do.