It is looking more and more like the Detroit Lions of 2011-12 may not return for a long time. Amidst last seasons playoff run, Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions took the NFL by storm as a young team with promise. With the best wide receiver in the NFL and a young quarterback with a cannon, it’s a wonder what caused a 4-10 record through 15 weeks in 2012. Of course, placing Wide Receivers Ryan Broyles, Nate Burleson and now Titus Young all on injured reserve don’t help, but the issues lie deeper than that.
The Lions are one of just three teams to not have a divisional win the entire season. After a 10-6 record last year, the success against divisional opponents and the ability to win close games was prevalent. Now, the Lions sputter in a division where the likes of Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and Brandon Marshall are opposition twice a year. Furthermore, the Lions are no longer the media darlings that they were to begin 2011. After QB Matthew Stafford showed much promise in his second pro season, fans gleamed at the Calvin Johnson factor in Detroit.
Add in a front four in Detroit that was compared to the Pittsburgh Steelers “Steel Cutrain” and expectations skyrocketed. Since 2010 Ndamaukong Suh has 20.5 sacks a defense tackle, along with 97 tackles.
After a 2011 of only 4 sacks and 26 tackles, many expected Suh to return to his rookie seasons form where he had 10 sacks and an impressive 48 tackles. However, Suh has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons and remains par for the course at DT. The Lions now rank 19th overall in sacks a game, and are 27th in the NFL in points allowed.
Given a top ten pick this April, the Lions will more than likely address a depleted linebacking core to take advantage of a still talented front four. A home game versus the Atlanta Falcons is next Matthew Stafford hopes to atone his three interception and zero touchdown game facing the lowly Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.