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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


How many wins for the Lions in '07?

Just got back from Lions mini-camp where I got that old Naughty-By-Nature feeling after three days in Allen Park - everything's gonna be all right.

First a disclaimer, covering college football for the last four years I wasn't able to keep up with the NFL like most red-blooded Americans. Sundays were work and travel days, so I watched the occasional NFL game, covered one or two more, attended most Thanksgiving Day games as a fan and kept up with the exploits of an old high school buddy (who played with the Browns, Bills and Saints) as best I could. I knew next to nothing about the inner-workings of the Lions, and admittedly began covering them earlier this spring with a clean slate. Whether that's good or bad only time will tell, but half an offseason later I feel comfortable enough to say this team will be surprisingly competitive this year.

A couple things jump out. First, the offense has fantastic potential. Calvin Johnson will be a Pro Bowler in three years, and Mike Martz has enough other weapons to make things purr. Defensively, the Lions are blessed with compartmentalized coaching. Rod Marinelli spent the first 40 minutes or so of every practice working with defensive linemen (his speciality), and defensive coordinator Joe Barry spent plenty of time drilling the linebackers (the position he coached in Tampa). There's some good young talent in the front seven (Dewayne White, Ikaika Alama-Francis), and I'd buy futures on Keith Smith and Stanley Wilson.

I'm not calling the Lions a Super Bowl team (as Dan Orlovsky half did today) or even saying they'll win 10 games (as Jon Kitna did two months ago), but I'd bet milk money they make serious strides in on-field performance and have a handful more wins as evidence. Check back in September for an official prediction, but I'm house hunting in the six- to eight-win neighborhood now. Am I crazy? Let me hear your thoughts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your crazy. The Lions suck. Millen is the GM.

7:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8 wins? I don't see it. Oakland, Minnesota, TB, GB on turkey day. Who else do they beat? Maybe Arizona? It's time to fire Millen and get someone in who can win.

11:54 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, you're crazy...but you gotta believe...

7:25 PM 
Anonymous Ryan Cavanaugh said...

Well written Mr. Birkett. Having a Naughty By Nature reference only helps show how hip and cutting edge you are.

On to your question. I think the Lions will win 4-6 games. Most likely 5. The secret to wins in the NFL is controlling the line of scrimmage. The Lions have taken some strides to improve their lines, especially the OL, but it will take awhile for those guys to gel. Also, it's almost a given that one of two OL will go down with injury. Who is our first back-up? Barry Stokes? The guy was washed up when he played in Cleveland 2 years ago.

IMO, the key is the offensive line. Check on the cohesiveness of the unit in September before you put your hard-earned reputation on the line with a overly optimistic 8-win pick.

Of course, if you do pick 8 or 9 wins and the Lions hit that mark by Jan. 1, you will surely look like a (formerly) Kosmic Genius.
You may even want to dust off the old Ice Cube tape and sing along to "Today Was a Good Day".

Ryan Cavanaugh
Cleveland, Ohio

10:16 AM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Thanks for your input one and all. We had some trouble with posting others comments, but those problems have been worked out and should not be an issue in the future.

I realize 6-8 is on the optimistic side and that's open for change, but it'll be interesting to see what happens in the final few weeks of OTAs upcoming. Just a sense I have says the Lions will be better than in recent years.

As for you Mr. Cavanaugh, thanks for your readership from afar and since I can appreciate a good Ice Cube jam, I'll keep my eye on the o-line play as we go forward. You know how we do it.

2:24 PM 

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