Dear Lions fans,
I hope you’re not all having a tough time grasping the magnitude of these last two games of the year. I know, it’s tough to understand that they hold any value to the organization beyond which draft pick they’ll get. That’s what makes this so exciting. Even if the Lions were to fall short of a post-season, this has been the most memorable campaign for them in the last decade at least. Pro-Bowl players, unheard of double-digit comebacks, a brand new attitude and demeanor…this has been a season to be thankful for.
But I want more and hopefully the Lions can help check off some of those wants from my Christmas wish-list.
1. Keep it Rolling
In the last week, it sure has seemed like almost everything has been falling in favor of the Lions. Giants lost, Packers lost, Bears lost. In my opinion, those were all more important than the Cowboys, Seahawks and Cardinals winning (although a Falcons loss would have been nice). Now, they face the Chargers who have been notorious for their late-season collapses.
What I like most about their luck latelly is in addition to their loss, the Packers have had some injuries that should sway them to bench the majority of their starters in week 17 against Detroit.
Although Calvin Johnson has another full year under his contract, this season was imperative to his future in Detroit. I said at the beginning of the season it would take 8 wins to keep him aboard. Well, now it’s 9 wins and counting, but the expectations are different. Johnson’s going to the Pro-Bowl and knows he’s the best receiver in the league.
Having such a promising start to the season, I hope a sour end doesn’t cloud his vision of all this team has accomplished. Playoffs or not, I’m asking that Megatron will be convinced enough after this season to sign an extension and guarantee at least another few years in the Motor City.
3. Public Respect
Even as an ultra-biased Lions fan, I’ve found it hard at times to be proud of this team at times this year. The media has been going wild and raving about how good of a story the Lions are when they’re winning, but when on-the-field or off-the-field antics are on display, that trumps success 10 times out of 10.
Yes, a large portion of this comes down on Ndamukong Suh, who hasn’t lived up to the high expectations in his sophomore year, but rather found himself on the wrong end of fines and suspensions. From here on out, I am asking that the Lions will be clean winners and clean losers. I think that Calvin Johnson provides a spot-on example for how every NFL player should act. That being said, all of the nonsense is behind us, and it’s important to focus onwards.
4. Mikel Leshoure
I’m going to cash in next year’s Christmas wish early to make another point about next year’s team. Todd McShay released his 2012 NFL Mock Draft (ESPN Insiders only) today and projected the Lions as drafting 25th, which means he believes they’ll make the playoffs. What’s most interesting is that he believes that Detroit should spend another high pick on a running back…Virginia Tech’s David Wilson to be more precise. Now, please, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the exact same draft plan as the last two or three years? 2008 they selected Kevin Smith with the first pick in the 3rd round and obviously Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure were drafted high in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
I understand that there are questions about Best’s durability, I really do. But what’s the point of trading up for Leshoure if we’re not even going to give him a chance? I think there’s real talent at running back, and I’m not sold that Best’s head is made of glass. Even if either Best or Leshoure doesn’t pan out next year, Kevin Smith has proved that he can get the job done if needed (again, if he’s healthy). I want to see Leshoure on the field. I don’t want to see the Lions spend a first round pick on a running back.
5. Cliff Avril Jersey
…what, I can’t ask for personal items?
Last word, if Avril doesn’t get selected to the Pro-Bowl, I’ve lost all the respect that I acted like I had for humanity.