Dec 2, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions offensive line coach George Yarno (center) coaches players during the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the real football season is over, lets get to what Lions fans do best: hope that the Lions get the offseason right so that maybe they’ll get to the playoffs again. It’s draft season, baby, and the next three months we’re going to get to know the prospects for the upcoming draft – everything from their underwear sizes and what hand they eat with.
There is no getting around it. Martin Mayhew has to have the offseason of his life, or his run as General Manager of the Lions is going to be a short one. Things change fast in the Not-For-Long league. It was only a year ago that Mayhew was one of the rising stars of the NFL. He had just brought the eternally hapless Detroit Lions from an unprecedented winless season in 2008, to the playoffs just three years later. For some reason, Mayhew thought the Lions had arrived, and didn’t do a damn thing last off-season, thinking he had an automatic playoff team in his building. Wrong.
The Lions were exposed as a one-dimensional team that could only do one thing right (sometimes), and that’s throw the ball. This team is going nowhere until they have a complete team. Their defense lacks playmakers in the worst way, but with draft season upon us, I’m thinking the Leos have to at least get one side of the ball working correctly. They will never get anywhere until they can effectively run the ball. They have the quarterback they need to win in Matthew Stafford, and the All-Universe receiver in Calvin Johnson, so they can skip drafting skill players until the late rounds. Stafford is a big boy now, and has enough help catching the ball, what he can’t do is block the other team.
I really think there is an inherent belief that the Fords think a high-flying offense is the only way to go. It’s like they’re designing cars with the thought that style is everything. What they need to do is look under the hood and make sure that baby is singing like Beyonce at halftime. How many years have we said this about the Lions? They can’t run the ball. Modifying a line from Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, “It’s the engine, Stupid.”
I’m going out on a limb here, but when I do my mock draft shortly, I’m going to have the Lions selecting Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. I know the Lions can’t tackle anyone’s grandmother, but they need some quality offensive linemen who can move guys off the ball. If they take Fisher with the first pick, and get Bill Nagy into the center position, AND make Riley Rieff the right tackle and get a guard in the draft or Free agency to go along with Rob Sims, the Lions would be set for the next decade. I’m so tired of watching this team play with one hand behind it’s back.
The Lions have an opportunity to finally right a wrong that’s been going on for decades. Let’s once and for all get that offensive line fixed while we can. Finally, the only proof that you need that the Lions don’t have even a semblance of a running game is the fact that Stafford just set an NFL record with 727 passes completed in 2012. That’s a record that stood up during this vaunted passing era for 18 years. The offensive line is the engine to a football team. The Lions need to look under the hood more often.