Well, that was a rough one.
Fans waited all week for one of the biggest games of the season for the Lions as they could go over the .500 mark against a division foe, but the team failed to deliver in any aspect in the 34-24 loss to the Vikings.
The offense was slow to get going once again, the defense failed to stop the only playmaker on the Vikings offense, and the special teams gave away valuable yardage that forced the Lions to lose the field position battle all game long.
After a 10-6 season in 2011, and the team’s first playoff run in what seemed like ages, the Lions are on the verge of taking a significant step back if things do not get straightened out in this upcoming three-game home stand in which they face opponents with a combined record of 20-7. It is imperative that the Lions win at least two of three if they want even a shot at making the playoffs in 2012 with them already staring at three divisional foes who sit above them in the standings.
While it is extremely difficult as passionate Lions fans right now to sit back and watch this team struggle with the same issues, week in week out, it is not time to feel like the world is crashing down on this organization once again. The franchise quarterback is still in place, possibly the best player in the entire league resides on your team, and the defense (while playing poorly) still has some young playmakers that are a significant part of the young nucleus this team continues to build.
So why should this fan base continue to be patient after so many years of futility?
While things are beginning to look bleak now, just remember the philosophy that Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew have brought to this organization. They continue to build for the future of this team. The duo look to build this roster primarily through the draft with young, talented players that will help lead this team down the line.
Would fans like to make it to the Super Bowl? Of course, dumb question right? Look at the Arizona Cardinals during the 2008 season. The team made it to the championship following 10 straight seasons of not making the playoffs.
Since then? A single playoff appearance, and have not finished above .500 in what looks to be three-straight seasons if they continue their downfall in the upcoming weeks.
Mayhew and Schwartz consistently tell the media, mainly during NFL Draft time when they question why the team didn’t select a cornerback in the first round, that they are building this team for long-term success. They don’t specifically mention it, but a model such as the Steelers is what the two are going for. They want success in 2012, but also going forward into the future with consistent trips to the playoffs and hopefully, a Super Bowl.
Does the team need to make some changes? Absolutely.
Could we potentially see some changes to the coaching staff outside of Schwartz? Potentially.
But are the Detroit Lions still trending in the right direction? With the talent on this team, it’s hard to argue anything but a resounding, yes.