Detroit Lions much worse than record shows in 2020

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) /

To end the 2020 season, the Detroit Lions are worse than their record.

A season that started with so much promise and high expectations has crashed to into the realm of “Same Old Lions” for this Detroit Lions team. It’s unfortunate that the capabilities of this offense and defense were never completed and shown on the field. 2020 has been a complete mess both on and off the field.

In 2019, an injury to quarterback Matthew Stafford veiled the reality of this team’s potential. While notching a few wins, there was much expectation that they were better than their record showed. The first five games of the 2019 season seemed to point in the direction of improvement. Then Stafford went down with a back injury and the rest is history.

So, what happened in 2020? Did the players give up on their head coach and general manager? Did injuries and COVID-19 concerns throw things out of orbit? In the end, it doesn’t matter. After being completely obliterated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, this team is much worse than their record suggests … and their record doesn’t suggest anything great to begin with.

Without receiver Kenny Golladay for the majority of the season, the offense started to sputter. Then, without Stafford on Saturday, it completely went off the rails. The only bright spots include rookie running back D’Andre Swift and tight end T.J. Hockenson. Those are the pieces to build around in the future.

And on defense … yikes. The Lions starting cornerbacks were injured and gone. It couldn’t have been more obvious as the Bucs threw all over them in the first half on Saturday. It was really a perfect storm of a playoff offense trying to play to their strength versus the Detroit Lions weakness. I’m sure it made the Bucs feel good, but they should play more than a bunch of backups before they know what they’ll be like in the playoffs.

The Lions, on the other hand, found out how far they need to come with roster depth and getting starters healthy. They can only hope they find a head coach and general manager team that wants to struggle for a couple of years without getting any leeway from outsiders at now winning instantly. They could be looking at a minimum of two years before bringing this team up to speed to compete for a winning record.

It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s being realistic with the roster, talent and path needed to compete in 2021 and beyond. Fans will need to be patient and understanding, something that is rarely afforded to a professional football team in the “win now” NFL era. Anything better than five wins in 2021 is a bonus as the Detroit Lions are in full rebuild mode whether or not they keep Stafford around or not.

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The upcoming game against the Minnesota Vikings is meaningless as both teams are out of playoff contention. It’s time to treat this like a preseason game in terms of health and player safety. Let’s get through this week unscathed and look forward to an offseason of recovery and installing a new direction for the crew in Honolulu Blue.