Detroit Lions: A New Hope


We are just over a week away for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I would be remiss if I didn’t find a way to bring my Detroit Lions world into a galaxy far far away.

So with that in mind. For the next week and a half leading up to show time, I will be doing a six piece Lions series with a Star Wars twist. I will not be starting from the beginning. Sorry Star Wars fans who saw Phantom Menace before anything else, we are starting right smack dab in the middle of the story where George Lucas intended you to start. We are starting with A New Hope.

A New Hope came out in 1977 and shocked your father to his very core with amazing special effects and an engaging story that had everybody begging for more. The tale of A New Hope is well known enough that I shouldn’t have to get into it. I will say if you’ve never seen any of these movies and your planning on seeing The Force Awakens, meet us out in front of Comerica. We’ll be the guys making millennials tap out to

figure four leg locks

in less than six parsecs.

The basis of A New Hope is to introduce the audience to the future stars of the rebellion. You get to meet Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3Po and even Greedo. Actually, scratch Greedo from that list. Han shot first by the way.

The Lions can say the same about the basis of their 2015 season. Despite the season looking like Alderaan, post Grand Moff Tarkin, the Lions youth movement appears to be in full effect. 2015 has shown the progression and ascension of some of the Lions youngest players. If there was only one positive to take from this season, its this. There are three that stick out more than any others. They are your Han Solo, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker if you will. These are going to be the guys that you hitch your fan wagon to for immediate future.

Darius Slay

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The third year corner has been playing like a man possessed as of late. We knew Slay would build of a stellar 2014, but 35 total yards allowed in his last four games? That’s a lot better than anyone could have expected.

Slay’s recent play has entered the former Mississippi State Bulldog into the conversation with the likes of Richard Sherman and Darelle Revis. Obviously that’s still a ways off. But don’t be surprised to see 23 wagging is finger in the Pro Bowl this January. If you tune into anything the Lions do for the rest of the season, tune in to see Slay make some plays before you have to wait another summer to see it again.

Ezekiel Ansah

Speaking of tuning in and making plays. The force is strong with Ziggy Ansah. It’s both crazy and scary to think that this kid is still a padawon. What’s it going to be like when he reaches Jedi status? His midi-chloriam’s are already off the scale. I’m getting a little ahead of myself with that last reference.

Like Slay, Ansah is also near lock to get his first career Pro Bowl nod in 2015. In fact if he doesn’t make it, it will be a gigantic snub of DeAndre Levy like proportions. Moving forward into 2016, it’s clear to see that this is Ziggy’s defense now. How will his progress change the Lions outcome from here on out?

Theo Riddick

Nov 26, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) smiles after a play against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter of a NFL game on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

If you asked me to name my favorite player to watch in 2015. Hands down it’s Theo Riddick. To quote the great Ronnie James Dio, the man is a “rainbow in the dark.” Currently the NFL’s leading receiving running back, Riddick has taken his game to a level that nobody thought he could reach.

It wasn’t long ago when the thought of potentially parting ways with Riddick to make room for Zach Zenner was a real conversation had by people. Now he’s looking like he’s going to be a major piece in the Lions offense moving forward. If Riddick can improve upon his weakness of running in between the tackles, he and Abdullah could wind up being one heck of  duo.

Obviously other names to think about here are Ameer Abdullah, who seems to be getting it as of late. Eric Ebron, who is a drop away from being compared to C3PO, but has improve this season nonetheless, and of course there’s Isa Abdul-Quddus, Zach Zenner, Nevin Lawson and Tahir Whitehead. By all appearances, the Lions certainly seem to have their fair share of up and coming talent.

That’s going to do it for the New Hope section of our Lions Star Wars Series. Be sure to stay tuned for Empire Strikes Back this coming Thursay. May the force be with you until then.