Detroit Lions 2009 NFL Projection:
Finally Millen is out, replaced by Mayhew... And Schwartz replaces Marinelli.
However, the way Detroit's schedule opens in 2009, there's a real chance they could start (0-6) out of the gate,
conjuring up fears of a repeat (0-16) performance.
While we projected the Lions to go (2-14) last season, it's obvious they're fielding a stronger team
heading into 2009.
That's not to say the Lions don't have weak areas remaining. They do. But they also have some bright spots.
Linebacker! Yes, the acquisition of Julian Peterson from Seattle, and Larry Foote from Pittsburgh
add instant credibility and ability to the middle of Detroit's defense.
Coming off a season in which the Lions allowed 517 points overall, these upgrades should serve as a barrier
between a questionable defensive line which added DT Grady Jackson to help defend the run,
and a secondary lacking a star-- patched together this off-season to include castoffs
Phillip Buchanon of Tampa Bay, and Anthony Henry of Dallas.
Promising safety Louis Delmas was drafted in the second round. But
Daniel Bullocks has been lost for the season.
On the other side of the ball, new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has scrapped
Detroit's zone blocking scheme in favor of a straight ahead approach. Already in preseason it looks to be paying dividends.
Meanwhile, first round draft pick TE Brandon Pettigrew (Detroit's 2nd of two first round selections)
adds beef to the running game.
Kevin Smith is running well. And WR machine Calvin Johnson is joined by newcomer Bryant Johnson of the 49ers.
Of course all eyes are on first round draft pick, strong armed quarterback Matthew Stafford
of Georgia. Could he step right in and start?
If Detroit's offensive line keeps blocking like they have in preseason, then perhaps so. Otherwise,
Daunte Culpepper appears to have some game left in the tank... Although he's got to avoid releasing the ball too early
when passing from the pocket... While mobile he appears to follow through better.
As mentioned above, Detroit's first six games are no picnic before hitting their
bye in week 7;
Detroit upgraded their GMing, coaching, linebacking, future quarterbacking,
But we've got to make comparisons in relation to their competition.
While the Lions' defense looks better on paper, so do the offenses
of their three division rivals;
Minnesota having added Brett Favre, Chicago having added Jay Cutler,
Green Bay having Ryan Grant healthy to name a few.
Meanwhile, the Vikings and Bears are strong against the run.
And the Packers defense looks much improved year over year.
It remains to be seen if the Lions' offensive line can keep their
defense off the field with so many
tough games on their schedule; due to a competitive division and strong NFC conference overall.
If the Lions can show a four game improvement over last
season, that would be a welcome step in the right direction. Overall, we forecast a (4-12) season for the 2009
version of the Detroit Lions.
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