Stop it. Stop it right now. The Detroit Lions are not horrible, but they also aren’t elite. The fan base and media needs to act accordingly.
The Detroit Lions Slow Start
The Lions started out the season 1-6. Obviously, not the desired start to Head Coach Dan Campbell’s 2nd season. When the Lions were 1-6 there were cries of “Fire Dan Campbell”, “This guy can’t coach”, “The Lions need to start a whole new rebuild.” I can go on and on.
We got to a point where our very own Adham took it upon himself to write and article on how Campbell should be working at McDonald’s. I laughed at the time. I thought it was a little much. But, I could also see the frustration boiling over for Adham and many Lions fans.
Dan was going for it on 4th down way too much. He was making clock management blunders Madden players would never make. The Lions Defense was historically bad. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg on how bad the team was playing.
There were some bright spots early on. The offense was ranked #1 in the league at one point. Jamaal Williams was a TD machine. Putting him in the same conversation as Barry Sanders, when it comes to TD production.
The offense was the bright spot even though the team was losing tough games.
The Lions Turn the Corner
Then came November 6th. The Lions took care of Aaron Rodgers and company at Ford Field. Hutchinson had a crucial interception on the goal line. It looked as if the Detroit Lions had finally turned the corner. They got the Packers “Monkey” of their back and went on to win 6 of their next 7 games.
During that run the tone of the fans and media changed. Dan Campbell became a darling. Vegas had him as the #2 odd favorite to win NFL Coach of the Year.
The Lions defense started to show signs of life. Going from letting up 170 yards per game on the ground to just 70 yards!
Jeff Okudah started playing like a #3 overall pick. The defensive line was getting sacks and pressure. James Houston came out of nowhere. Hutchinson started to play like a pro bowl caliber DE. The offense continued to be productive and all was right in Honolulu Blue.
There was a buzz around the team that Detroit hasn’t felt in a long time. I mean we were talking Lions and Playoffs in December! When is the last time you can say that?!
It all felt like it was almost destiny how the turnaround came. Everyone in Detroit was feeling pretty damn good. They even started getting rebranded the “Brand New Lions”.
Going into the Christmas Eve games vs Carolina the Lions had to have been feeling good. They were road favorites for the first time since Obama was in office, Jameson Williams was being inserted into the lineup, the Rams were playing awful football. It was all working out.
That all came to a screeching halt. Carolina absolutely backhanded the Detroit Lions. The Lions did what we have seen so many times over the history of the team. They let another franchise set a record against them. This time it was over 300 rushing yards for the Panthers. SOL reared its ugly head.
With the SOL game came the SOL fans and media.
Panic in Detroit
Now the narrative is all over the map. Some people are back to their thoughts on when this team was 1-6. Some people still believe that this years team can make the playoffs. And some have no idea what to believe with this Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde team.
I’m hearing from fans and media now that “Jameson Williams is a bust”, “Jeff Okudah is a waste of a #3 pick”, “Dan Campbell cant get his team ready for the big game”, “The Lions will lose out”.
Fans are absolute flip flopping on this team. This is the problem with expectations. Sometimes it leads to disappointment. Which then leads to over reactions and panic.
I’m sitting here with Jay-Z’s voice in my head saying “It was all good just a week ago”.
Are the Lions as bad as 1-6. Nope. Are they as good as 6-1? Nope.
The answer is somewhere in between. the Lions are good, not great. They haven’t been able to move to that élite status. But they are far from the dog house either.
Lions fans and media, this is a rollercoaster of exercising the demons of Detroit past. Just stay calm and enjoy the ride. At worst we are talking playoffs at the end of December. That should be good enough for this season.
Photo: © Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports