Detroit Free Press Columnist Drew Sharp has a reputation for taking the pessimistic view on most topics so today’s article should come as no surprise.
Sharp’s thesis is most easily summarized by two sentences that appear in the middle of his column:
The lockout doesn’t hit every team evenly. It hurts the Lions far worse.
While I fully accept the first sentence as true, the second sentence is borne of Drew Sharp’s propensity to search for and grasp hold of the negative.
Far worse, huh? As far as Stafford is concerned, Sharp points to the team’s inability to directly monitor Stafford’s rehab and subsequent work with offensive teammates as one of his supporting arguements and offers the following explanation:
There are no disposable off-seasons for quarterbacks, regardless of their level of experience. They’re constantly learning, constantly fine-tuning, constantly striving for improvement. Have Peyton Manning and Tom Brady ever reached a point in their long, Hall of Fame careers when they didn’t require frequent analysis and feedback from their coaches?
Brushing aside the insinuation that Manning and Brady are so reliant on their coaching staffs, Sharp fails to acknowledge that quarterbacks league wide are going to be without feedback from their coaches, not just Matthew Stafford. If there was ever a perfect off-season to rehab from shoulder surgery, wouldn’t it be the off-season in which the rest of the league’s quarterbacks are unable to gain an advantage in their progression?
The Chicago Bears just completed their first season in Mike Martz’s offense. While they had a successful season they shouldn’t be considered a final product on offense and could surely used a normal off-season to their advantage. Are the Lions really being hurt far worse than the Bears?
The Minnesota Vikings, like the Lions, started three different quarterbacks last year. Unlike the Lions, not one of them is viewed as their franchise quarterback. The Vikings may use their first round draft pick on a quarterback next month and will have to wait until the labor situation is settled to begin working him into the picture. Are the Lions really being hurt far worse than the Vikings or any other team that has questions at quarterback? Apparently, Drew Sharp thinks so.
The Lions look to be a team on the rise and the lockout will be a bump along that road. The truth is that the lockout will be a bump along every team’s road. When a new CBA is in place the Lions will still have a gap between them and teams like the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers but they should be one of those teams that can hit the ground running. The Lions won’t be breaking in a host of free agent acquisitions, they wont be adjusting to a new coaching staff and there will be no new offensive or defensive schemes to install. Of course, Drew Sharp disagrees with this line of thinking:
They’re not a veteran team with entrenched leadership accustomed to winning. Those teams are better capable of existing on autopilot during this bizarre work stoppage. But the Lions are still figuring out an identity. Deviation from the norm doesn’t help.
No, the Lions aren’t a veteran team accustomed to winning but they did end the year by showing that they were learning how to win. That will only grow by winning more games and unless Drew Sharp knows something I don’t, that doesn’t happen during the off-season locked out or not. As for their identity, that began to take shape the moment Martin Mayhew teamed up with Jim Schwartz. The players already know the vision and will be ready to get to work the second the labor dispute is settled.
Enough from me, what do you say?