Comparing the 2015 Detroit Lions to 2008

2 of 3

The Roster

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) makes a catch and gets away from Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Above you’ll see one of only two players that remain from the 2008 Detroit Lions. Calvin Johnson wasn’t quite Megatron at the time and Dan Orlovsky was, well….he was Dan Orlovsky. not much has changed on that end. Let’s dig a little deeper though, I want to take a look at the current 2015 depth chart and the 2008 depth chart side by side and see what we find.

Position 2015 2008
Quarterback Matthew Stafford Dan Orlovsky
Running Back Ameer Abdullah Kevin Smith
Full Back Michael Burton Moran Norris
WR 1 Calvin Johnson Calvin Johnson
WR 2 Golden Tate Shaun McDonald
WR 3 Lance Moore Mike Furrey
TE Eric Ebron Michael Gaines
LT Riley Reiff Jeff Backus
LG Larry Warford Edwin Mulitalo
Center Travis Swanson Dominic Raiola
RG Manny Ramierez Stephen Peterman
RT LaAdrian Waddle Gosder Cherilus
LE Jason Jones Jared Devries
DT Haloti Ngata Chatric Darby
DT Caraun Reid Cory Redding
RE Ezkiel Ansah Dewayne White
OLB Josh Bynes Ryan Nece
MLB Stephen Tulloch Paris Lenon
OLB Tahir Whitehead Ernie Sims
CB Darius Slay Brian Kelly
CB Reshean Mathis Leigh Bodden
NCB Josh Wilson Travis Fisher
SS James Ihedigbo Daniel Bullocks
FS Glover Quin Kalvin Pearson

What I see is a bunch of names on the right that I’ve either forgotten, or tried to melt out of brain through strenuous therapy sessions. There are 24 players listed on both sides. Of the 2015 side, there are five Pro Bowlers, six first round selections, and five Super Bowl Champions. When I look at the 2008 side, all I see is Calvin Johnson and 20 guys that are no longer in the NFL. A good portion of this team had their final season in the NFL in 2008.

You have to see when looking at this 2008 team, that this is a really bad group of guys outside of Calvin Johnson. I know that Dan Orlovsky is listed as the starter here, but that’s only because he had the most starts out of a total of five quarterbacks to play for the Lions in 2008. There was Daunte Culpepper who was signed near the end of the year and started five games, Jon Kitna who started out the year and got hurt after four games. Drew Stanton came in for a few series and former New York Yankee Drew Henson stopped by to throw two balls.

The Lions second highest receiver in 2008 was Shaun McDonald, who captivated the nation with 35 receptions for 332 yards and a touchdown. You thought Mike Thomas was bad? You haven’t seen Mike Furrey in his thirties. To be fair, Furrey had one really good year as a receiver when he went for 1,086 yards and seven touchdowns. By 2008, the former defensive back turned wide receiver had fallen off recorded exactly 181 yards.

The Lions currently have the 26th ranked offense and the 22nd ranked defense. While that’s pretty bad, it’s not nearly as bad as the 2008 Lions who ranked 30th offense and 32nd ranked defense that allowed 32 points per game. The 2015 Lions are bad, but not that bad.

Next: The Moments