Detroit Lions 2008 NFL Season Outlook

  • Detroit Lions Look for Overall Improvement but National Press doesn’t agree

We are at the beginning of July and all the NFL off-season maneuvering has been completed. The player movement, trades, NFL Draft, the mini-camps and the Organized Team Activities have all been completed. Now comes the lull before NFL Training Camps open in late July. The Detroit Lions, as you would expect, believe all the off-season moves they made and the hard work since the 2007 NFL Season ended will lead to a good season and an NFL playoff spot come January. The National Media, as you would expect given the Lions long history, are not so optimistic regarding the Lions.

  • Detroit Lions Views

Your ‘Lion Eyes’ blogger has compiled some media quotes from the last month regarding what players and coaches from the Lions think of how the outlook for the Detroit Lions is for the team.

  • Jon Kitna says:

“Our expectation is we will be disappointed if we don’t win 10 games, because that will mean that we’re not in the playoffs and that (stinks),” Kitna says. “I can’t make it any simpler than that.”

“Obviously there’s going to be more pressure on my position in terms of getting us into the right things at the line of scrimmage, whereas before coach Martz watched all the film and broke it down,” Kitna says. “The pressure was on him to get us to the right play calls and to really be a step ahead of the defense.

“Now, it’s going to be on me to be able to do that stuff at the line of scrimmage, and that counts for preparation during the week.”

  • Calvin Johnson says:

“This year, I know exactly what’s happening with the offense,” Johnson says. “I know what’s going to go on in practice, and I know how to practice. We have a great locker-room situation. The chemistry’s there.”

  • Rod Marinelli praised the team for being lean and fast and what he wants:

“I want to shrink the width of this field. I want to narrow it with speed,” Marinelli says. “The thing about speed is, when you have it, you have to be tough enough to use it all the time. That’s the mental toughness.”

  • Brian Kelly on playing the Tampa Two defense:

“I’m excited,” Kelly says. “It’s a lot of familiarity for me here. I’ve been watching the guys play for the last couple of years. There’s a lot of similarities of what we do in Tampa and what they’re doing here. It’s a simple system … guys that believe in each other and know that this man is going to take care of his position and this guy is going to take care of his position.”

  • Cory Redding regarding players coming to the Lions that have played the Tampa Two defense:

“Now, they just have to get familiar with us. They’ve been around the scheme, and they know exactly what to do. The experience is the big part. Putting the Tampa 2 system in a couple of years ago, everybody was trying to figure out where they’re going to fit in, and it’s tough at times.

“Everybody’s moving quicker, because those guys are bringing their knowledge from playing in the system,” Redding said. “When they get out there and run it right and run it fast, the other guys behind them see how it’s supposed to be run.”

“But you have to buy into the system because the system works.”

  • Jeff Backus on the difference he sees going into Rod Marinellis 3rd year as head coach:

“The atmosphere is awesome,” Backus said. “I think Rod has done a tremendous job of doing it his way and getting what he wants out of us and making changes when changes need to be made. I’m excited to see what happens this season.”

  • Roy Williams on the change in Offense with Jim Colletto taking over for the fired Mike Martz and only have 30-40 plays instead of over 200:

“I’ll tell you what: With the plays that we’ve got in, we’re going to be real good at them,”

Source: Detroit Free Press

  • National Media Views of the Detroit Lions

The National Media does not share the optimism expressed by the Lions. Here are some examples.

  • Sporting News Not Impressed with Detroit Lions here are two examples:

 Dewayne White is Detroit’s only consistent pass-rush threat. On the other side, the team will rotate veteran Jared DeVries and second-year player Ikaika Alama-Francis, who remains too raw to be consistent.

Detroit Lions. Detroit replenished its secondary with the acquisitions of cornerbacks Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly and free safety Dwight Smith — all of whom are expected to start. But the Lions still lack a dominant pass rusher.

Source: Sporting News

  • Lions will miss the playoffs again says the Sporting News:

Like the Chiefs, the Lions have far more confidence than their talent level warrants. Quarterback Jon Kitna can’t keep quiet; he again has predicted 10 victories. It didn’t happen in 07, and it won’t happen in 08.

What have the Lions done to get better? The running back situation is a multi-headed crapshoot. The offensive line is average at best. And the defense is merely a collection of former Buccaneers who, if they were great players, would be current Buccaneers.

Picking the Lions to miss the playoffs hardly represents a full-body shimmy onto a rubbery tree limb. However, it’s important to nip in the bud the annual sense that the law of averages will come into play and that this year will be the year for the Lions.

Source: Sporting News

  • USA Today Writers Jeff Ziglett and Nate Davis have a better Outlook for the Lions:

If the defense improves to the middle of the pack and the offense adapts to its new approach, the Lions can certainly be in the playoff conversation amid a wide-open NFC. If nothing else, the retirement of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, long a Detroit nemesis, should help the Lions be more competitive in the NFC North.

Source: Detroit Free Press Story

  • Your ‘Lion Eyes’ Blogger Outlook

I am always hopeful for the Lions, especially this time of the year before training camp starts. That being said, all the things the Lions players and coaches are saying and doing seem positive. I just worry that if Detroit gets off to a slow start the players will fall into the ‘Same old Lions’ mode that we see so often. If that happens and the Lions have a 2 or 3 win record and get blown out on National Television on Thanksgiving day I suspect Rod Marinelli regime will end at the conclusion of the season. I hope my outlook is 100% wrong and Marinelli leads the Lions to not only the Playoffs but an actual Playoff win this year and is seen as the savior of the Franchise. But I am pessimistic that the Lions can improve as much as is needed for that to occur. Remember though,  nobody thought the New York Giants would win the Super Bowl last year before the season started. So, there is always hope for the Detroit Lions to succeed.