A look back at some of the defining players and moments of the Detroit Lions season so far. A breakout rookie dominates the midseason awards section.
2018 is already halfway over for the Detroit Lions. Following the opening night debacle against the Jets, I was thinking, “this is going to be a loonnnnngg season”. Two months later, it still has the potential to turn out that way, but it’s actually gone by pretty fast all things considered.
At 3-5, the Lions are last in the NFC North but are still just barely close enough in the division race to keep things interesting. Bob Quinn’s expectation of at least ten wins looks just as silly as a similar prediction by John Kitna a decade ago, but you can’t say there haven’t been some bright spots to go along with the growing pains of the new regime.
At the end of last week’s loss at Minnesota, Chris Spielman was saying that “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.” Let’s hope for a few more omelets and a few less broken egg shells to step on during the second half of the season.
Here is my midseason review.
Detroit Lions Midseason Awards
MVP: Kerryon Johnson
I almost got really cynical with this one and said that the team MVP from the first half of the season plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. You all can decide whether it’s better or worse that my true pick is a rookie with a grand total of one career touchdown so far.
Kerryon leads the team in yards from scrimmage (668) and with 503 rushing yards, has a legitimate shot to reach 1,000 for the season. After the franchise went five years without a 100-yard rusher in a game, Kerryon has two already in his brief time in Detroit, both of which sparked Lions wins.
Beyond Johnson and the always-reliable but now-traded Golden Tate, it’s hard to pinpoint many other Lions even in consideration for midseason MVP. Kenny Golladay started off on a tear but has fallen off recently. Darius Slay has been solid in the defensive backfield, but likely won’t be getting All-Pro honors again; the run game has been so bad, there’s only so much of an impact the guy can have.
Jarrad Davis again leads the team in tackles, but that’s due more to the position he plays than any sort of dominating presence. Marvin Jones has played 4th fiddle as a playmaker, with only one standout game so far. And Matthew Stafford…where to even begin.
Stafford’s stretch of four really good games (Lions were one play away from going 4-0 during this period) has been sandwiched between some bad losses that were punctuated by some awful decision-making on his part. Stafford’s carelessness with the ball during these times is inexcusable for a ten year NFL veteran.
Top Rookie: Like it would be anyone besides Kerryon Johnson.
*Honorable Mention: Lomas Brown, broadcaster
Through the first month of the new season, I gave Lomas a bit of a hard time as he adjusted to his new job. He stumbled through a lot of his analysis, added a strong tint of homerism to most penalty calls against Detroit. And he did that annoying thing where all you do is repeat your previous comment but say it louder and with added emphasis (ex. “they gotta get a stop here, Dan. They GOTTA get a STOP here, DAN!) far too often. Plus, it seemed (and still seems) like Jim Brandstatter got a raw deal, randomly getting fired in the summer after 30+ years with the station.
I can’t fault Lomas for that last part, and as an announcer, he’s definitely grown into his role, sounds more comfortable, and is actually good for some strong insights a lot of the time.
Specifically as it relates to line play and nuances to playcalling (ex. chastising Jim Bob Cooter’s repeated run fakes in obvious passing situations, which fooled no one and only put Stafford under more duress), Lomas knows the game. As his rookie season in the booth progresses, he’s also getting better at passing that knowledge along.
Breakout Star: Well, this would also have to be Kerryon Johnson. This is getting redundant. Enough for the individual awards.