2009 Detroit Lions Season Preview
2009 Detroit Lions preview from MadduxSports.com. The NFC North is a division filled with question marks. Expect the NFL odds makers to have trouble setting lines on these teams, using a proven winners NFL picks will provide dividends early and often for the 2009 campaign.
2009 Detroit Lions Predictions
By Adam Barone
It’s easy to improve on last season when you didn’t win a single game. The Lions do have a, new head coach, and a new quarterback, and a new logo. The new coach, Jim Schwartz, was the Titans’ defensive coordinator, and has coached under Jeff Fisher and Bill Belichick. The new coordinators, Gunther Cunningham and Scott Linehan each have plenty of coaching experience, and should help Schwartz adjust. The new logo isn’t really new, it’s just the old one in disguise. Management is hoping that maybe the fans will think that this is a different team.
The Lions took Matthew Stafford with the first pick in the draft. Stafford won’t start this season, and probably won’t play much either. Daunte Culpepper has lost weight and has been reunited with Linehan, who was his offensive coordinator with the Vikings. It won’t hurt that they have wide receiver Calvin Johnson, possibly the best pure talent at any position in the entire league, at their disposal. Johnson caught 78 passes for 1331 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and should have no trouble improving on that in 2009.
Other offensive weapons include receivers Bryant Johnson, Keary Colbert and Ronald Curry, running back Kevin Smith, and rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Expect Pettigrew to be very involved in the offense as a rookie. Smith, who was 24 rushing yards short of 1000 in 2008, will carry almost the entire load, as he’s all but alone on the running back depth chart. There are other guys, but…well, you don’t want to know.
The offensive line struggled last season, and virtually nothing was done to improve it. They allowed 52 sacks, the second most in the league. Don’t expect much from this offense overall until more talent is added up front.
The defensive line gained a lot of weight when 350 lb. Grady Jackson was signed to help out with the running game. Schwartz’s goal in the offseason was to bulk up the defense, so on top of Jackson he added guys like 330 lb. Sammie Lee Harris through the draft. He’s not really “on top” of Jackson, that would be gross. There’s little talent in this group overall, though the coaching staff does like Cliff Avril’s versatility.
Linebackers Julian Peterson and Larry Foote were huge additions to Detroit’s defense, and will team with Ernie Sims to form an impressive trio. That’s right, “Detroit” and “impressive” in the same sentence, and it wasn’t “Detroit’s impressive losing streak,” or “Detroit’s impressive hockey team.”
The secondary had only one interception last season, and it’s a wonder that they got that. Cornerbacks Phillip Buchanon, Anthony Henry, and Eric King have been added along with second round pick, Louis Delmas, a safety. Schwartz is expected to be capable of more than simply praying that this unit isn’t pathetic in 2009. They have a reasonable chance of “success.” They still have safeties Daniel Bullocks and Gerald Alexander, second round picks in ’06 and ’07 respectively, who have missed considerable time with serious injuries. Both could contribute this season.
Kicker Jason Hanson has somehow weathered the storm of the Lions terrible play, and remains on the roster. The new coaching staff will look for return men, as no one on the team stands out.
The Lions are still the Lions. Big changes couldn’t hurt, as it’s impossible to win less than zero games. With a talent like Calvin Johnson, there’s at least some reason for optimism. It wouldn’t be completely impossible, if they play their cards right and have a little luck, for the Lions to at least compete for a wild card spot this season. It’s quite unlikely, but in today’s NFL anything can happen.