Detroit Lions fans know 2008 was a bad year. Technically speaking, 2008 was the worst year in history for any NFL team, and it set a mark for futility throughout the entire sports world.
Since 2008: Matt Millen was fired, Rod Marinelli is gone, Martin Mayhew was promoted, Shack Harris was brought on as a personnel man and Jim Schwartz was hired as head coach. On the field, exit Daunte Culpepper, Ernie Sims and Paris Lenon; enter Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best.
Things have changed!
But, have they?
2010 isn't exactly a golden year in Detroit football history either. The Lions are only 2-10 and can't win division games or road games to save their life. They continue to make bad quarterbacks look good and good quarterbacks look like Joe Montana.
Jim Schwartz has been put "on the hotseat" by members of the media and certainly the fans.
Martin Mayhew has made plenty of good moves but hasn't rid Lions fans of Dominic Raiola, Jeff Backus, or Bryant Johnson and many are still not sure he's the man for the job.
Yet, the state of football in the state of Michigan isn't quite as bad as pessimists and naysayers want you to believe. Yes, the Lions are bad, but this isn't 2009, and it certainly isn't 2008!
For instance: in 2008, the Lions were 30th in total offense and only able to score 16.8 points per game. Two years later, the Lions are middle of the pack and scoring an extra 7 points per game.
In 2008, the Lions had a historically bad defense at every level. This year, the Lions have a defensive line that is the envy of almost every other team in the league; a bright shining star in Louis Delmas, and building block players like DeAndre Levy, and Chris Houston in the back seven.
On special teams, Stan Kwan is gone and Danny Crossman has done a phenominal job of both returning kicks and covering them. Stefan Logan is second in the league in total KR yardage and first (by a comfortable margin) in average.
Certainly an upgrade from Aveion Cason!
Think of what the Lions have accomplished this season. Yes, only two wins. Yes, wins are the one stat that matters the most. Yes, moral victories are useless. But, the Lions aren't getting blown out every game. They are a young team whose starting QB has been injured most of the season and still have been in games late.
Don't be complacent, don't be happy the Lions are 2-10, but be patient.
How many once said, "it'll take a long time to get rid of all Matt Millen did wrong," but two years later thing Schwartz and/or Mayhew needs to go?
The Lions are a better football team than 2008, 2009, or even the beginning of 2010. Soon, we'll discuss what could be done to shake up the team leadership or the coaching staff to improve that much more.