Being a Lions fan just might start to pay dividends for our irrational loyalty. The last time they won a championship, I was a couple of months old, so my memory of it is a little foggy. Has it really been 20 years since their ONLY Super Bowl-era playoff win (grabbing a kleenex) in franchise history? Hi my name is Marty Medvedik and I’m tired of hearing “you’re kidding, right?” when I tell people I’m a Lions fan.
I’m a photographer by trade, and actually shot for the Lions in the 90’s, the last time they were fun to watch. Watching Barry Sanders up close from the sidelines was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life; television just didn’t do him justice. If my sports friends thought I was “drinking the kool aid” before I got this gig, they ain’t seen nothing yet!
Has there ever been a more exciting time to be a Lions fan than RIGHT NOW? Sure, we’re staring in the eyes of a monster lockout that could last until September. But there will be a 2011 season, as I can’t believe the owners will be that stupid.
I saw something from the Lions last fall that I’m not sure I’ve seen since 1991–a football team that went toe to toe, slugging it out with every opponent they faced. It took them most of the season to learn how to win football games in the NFL, but learn they did. When was the last time you had a good feeling about this team? Not since forever. Of their 10 losses, six were by four points or less.
The Lions appear to be loaded with future stars. I have every confidence that Matt Stafford will rebound and become one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Ndamukong Suh (whose nickname should be King Kong Suh) was so badass, he got fines for hitting too hard. Brandon Pettigrew is a future Pro Bowler. Who knows how far the ceiling is for players like Louis Delmas, DeAndre Levy and Javid Best? Calvin Johnson is so good He should be wearing a cape. These guys are all under 25 years old; I need sunglasses to look at the Lions future, it’s so bright.
How on Earth did Martin Mayhew learn how to be a good president when he served under THE WORST GENERAL MANAGER IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS.? He did a good job in hiring Jim Schwartz and his free agent signings and trades have been brilliant. I don’t think the Dallas Cowboys are accepting any phone calls from the Lions anymore. His drafts have some holes, (passing on Mike Wallace of the Steelers for Derek Williams is one. and not drafting LeGarret Blount in the seventh round is another) but compared to what we’re used to, he’s a freaking genius. I never had any confidence in the Lions front office before, (Russ Thomas and Chuck Schmidt were penny pinchers) but Mayhew and Schwartz have a plan and they’re sticking to it.
In previous years, Lions fans regarded the draft as their Christmas because we sucked so much during the season. Say goodbye to those top ten, hell, those top five draft picks that were the norm around here. I get a feeling we had better get used to drafting in the bottom third for awhile.
Most of the mock drafts have the Lions taking an offensive lineman. Tyron Smith of USC and Anthony Castonzo of Boston College are the two that pop up the most in these mocks. If that’s the route they choose, I’m fine with that. I keep hearing that Dallas is going to take Smith at the 9th slot, which leaves Castonzo for us at the 13th slot. Is he that much better a prospect than Jason Fox, who we picked up in the fourth round last year? Not much. Fox was a team captain. IF the Lions stay at 13, I think even if The Prince from Nebraska is available we should go after one of those stud defensive ends. The Lions are carving out an identity as a tough. punch-you-in-the-mouth kind of team, and that starts at the line of scrimmage. Kyle Vanden Bosch is getting up there in age, and we need someone to learn from the master and take over in a couple of years. You know the old saying, “You can’t have enough good defensive lineman”.
Cameron Jordan of Cal seems to fit the bill for the kind of player Mayhew and Schwartz like; big, fast and intense. In reality, there are a bunch of names that would make me smile. My personal favorite is Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue. He led the entire college ranks in tackles behind the line of scrimmage with 26. His coaches and teammates nicknamed him SUPERMAN. He seems like a KVB clone. After that, the brain trust of the Lions should take a corner or a line backer with the second pick. They might have a chance to trade down. The key is if Julio Jones is still there at 13; everyone knows the St. Louis Rams will take him at 14. With New England at 17 and in need of a top flight receiver and seemingly a quarter of all of the draft picks, they might want to trade with the Leo’s. If that happens, I would love them to take a chance on Jimmy Smith of Colorado or Mike Pouncey of Florida.
After the draft is over, I want to take a nap until the season starts and skip all this crap about a strike, lockout, whatever you call it. I have never been this excited for the season to start. GO LIONS.