Are the Detroit Lions only treading water in the NFC North?
With a quiet offseason so far, the Detroit Lions are finding it hard to keep up with division foes and build a team to finally contend for championships.
The common analogies for NFL teams on the rise often relate to walking or climbing in some way. “Moving up the ladder”, “scaling the mountain”, and “taking the next step” are only a few.
The problem with these analogies is the inconvenient fact that everyone else is using the same ladder, maneuvering along the same slim path, and cramming onto the same rickety staircase. It’s just as easy to get stuck where you are or bumped backwards as it is to go up.
After two consecutive winning seasons and second place finishes in the division, the Detroit Lions entered the 2018 off-season with hopes to take that proverbial next step into a championship caliber team. However, they’re currently finding their ladder to be crowded, particularly by other climbers within their own division.
Free agency wasn’t necessarily a huge success for the team, with only a few notable additions and numerous key losses. They also have to contend with two blockbuster signings from the reigning division champs and the return of an old nemesis in Green Bay.
This leaves a general perception from analysts that Detroit really hasn’t improved their status in the NFC North so far during this off-season. In fact, they may even be losing ground.
Key Addition: LeGarrette Blount
LeGarrette Blount is unquestionably the biggest new free agent pickup for the Lions. The good news on Blount is that he’s a power running back and has been a key contributor on three of the last four Super Bowl champions (2 in New England, 1 in Philly).
At his best, the 245-pound battering ram could potentially turn a constant source of frustration in recent years into a true strength for the offense. He’ll be expected to add much-needed toughness to the run game during short yardage situations.
Used properly, Blount could be a perfect change of pace to the offense. He could potentially free up Matthew Stafford to be even more effective through the air. The downside is that at 31, it’s questionable whether Blount has enough left to be an every down back.