It was mid-February when I wrote that the lockout could be an opportunity to reveal who, if anyone, are the real team leaders for the Detroit Lions. The lockout was a possibility (some would say probability) rather than a firm reality but Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel were already talking about getting guys together if a lockout interrupted normal off-season activities.
Think back to the weeks following the Super Bowl. The Lions had a lot more questions than answers, particularly considering Matthew Stafford was coming off shoulder surgery and the extent to which he could participate in any player organized activities, let alone organize them himself, was unknown. It turns out that while Kyle Vanden Bosch was the driving force behind making the workouts a reality, Stafford was the linchpin that made them worth while.
In general, I view the workouts as more of a team reunion than a critical step to put the Lions in position for a playoff spot. That being said, the leadership qualities that Matthew Stafford showed are impressive and significant for the organization’s future. I’ll direct you to the Lions in Winter for more thoughts on Stafford stepping up since I agree word-for-word with what Ty wrote there:
I’ll add this: Kyle Vanden Bosch should be proud of the qualities that Stafford displayed last week. KVB didn’t have to join the Lions last season; he chose to reunite with a coach he respects and embraced a leadership role and set an example for his younger teammates. It paid immediate dividends along the defensive line and I have to think that Vanden Bosch’s leadership has rubbed off on Stafford despite the fact that the young quarterback has always displayed the traits of a leader.
While Kyle Vanden Bosch may not be the directly attributed as the player that got the lowly Lions over the hump, the perpetuation of strong leadership in the Lions locker room may very well be part of his legacy.