2020 has been the year of unpredictability. Detroit, at one point this year, was a hot spot for every major hot button topic that existed in our country. With their backs against the wall it has brought out the good in Detroiters. One of the best qualities that I believe that this year has brought out in all of us is a sense of resiliency. Detroiters know that word too well. For the last two decades it seems like the people of this great city can’t catch a break, but they always rise up and fight when the world counts them out. The spirit of resiliency lives in the 2020 Detroit Lions.
Pulse Of The Pride:
There is a mixed feel of optimism and pessimism in the city regarding this team. Pessimism due to these fans having grown to expect nothing less of a team whose last playoff win came over 10,000 days ago. Their last division title came in the early 80’s! Coupled with decades of heart-breaking loss after loss, and the early retirement of the franchises greatest wide receiver it is easy to understand why the stench of negativity is hard to remove.
HOWEVER, not only is this a new year but we are in a new decade. A new chance for these Lions to correct the errors of their past and roar into the future. This is an opportunity for these Lions to be the face of Detroit sports as its major other teams have fallen from grace in the last decade. The once mighty Red Wings have missed the playoffs for the last 4 years after previously making it for the last quarter of the century.
The Tigers have been in a rebuilding mode since 2015. The Pistons have gone from the “Bad Boys Of The East” to well just being boys that are bad at basketball. The Lions have historically been the laughingstock of Detroit sports. However This is a young team coupled with a hungry and motivated Leader in Matthew Stafford whom is not only a candidate for comeback player of the year but is a Dark Horse MVP.
Prior to his injury last year Stafford was top 3 in every major statistical category at his position. Prior to his back injury the Lions only lost by more than one score once and hung tough in a thriller with the Super Bowl Champs. Now do I think they are going to unleash havoc on the rest of the league and bring a Lombardi to the Motor City?
The answer is no, this team is learning how to win, and they have the young talent to bring them closer to a realistic goal of a division title. They have a young nucleus of offensive skill players who are mostly still on their rookie deals. They also have a GM in Bob Quinn who has shown that he is not afraid to throw money around to bring in talent. The work will need to be done on the defensive end and in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Pre-Covid the Patricia and Quinn regime was on a seat so hot that there were grill marks on their rear ends each time they tried getting out of their chair. Does this seat remain this hot given the unprecedented conditions that we are in? Martha Ford has been unreasonably patient in the past and publicly stated that she expects more out of this team but only time will tell if that patience runs out this year.
With a shrunken salary cap next year, a political split amongst fans, and expected down year in revenue I believe anything short of a winning record and playoff appearance will result in the dismissal of the Patricia and Quinn era.
On paper this team has the talent to win, but on the field, I don’t know if they have the experience just yet. They face the 5th toughest schedule this year, a shortened camp, no preseason, and your star QB coming off a tough injury.
This deadly combination will result in an 8-8 record and a missed playoff appearance. As I noted at the top this city lives and breathes resiliency. This team will face and endure a lot of it this year, with their backs against the wall this season will be a measuring stick to their success over the next 5 years. Will they be lions or kittens? We will find out in just over a week.