Posted by: dvolpe | December 16, 2009

Have the Lions Lost by Winning?

Suh terrorized opposing offenses this season in the NCAA. Now he's terrorizing NFL GMs. Especially those that had the bad luck to win at once, too little, and too many games.

When the 2009 season started, after the worst season in NFL history in 2008, most Lions fans would have given just about anything for a win. And after that 1st win against the Redskins it seemed like a great weight was lifted off the organization. It would not be until week 11 that they won again, but even that felt good.  At least it took the Lions out of the conversation of worst team in the NFL with a few teams in the NFL still looking for their 2nd win.  But now I’m beginning to wonder if the second win was a victory, or a different kind of loss. You see this time of year, perennially, Lions fans begin to turn away from the inevitable end of the playoff-less season and turn towards that distant glimmer of hope on the horizon… draft day. Is this the year they will draft a player that will turn their fortunes around? Is this the year they will draft the next Barry Sanders, or Herman Moore, the next franchise player? That second win may be the one thing that robs them of getting what they need more desperately than anything else; a defensive game changer. One Ndamukong Suh. I haven’t seen a kid look this strong, this dominant, coming out of college in a long time. Double-teamed on just about every play he still finds a way to wreak havoc among the ranks of college’s elite teams, with 12 sacks in 2009 and 82 tackles. The powerful and disruptive Nebraska defensive tackle looks like the perfect piece to replace the gap left by Shaun Rogers, which has never really been adequately filled since his exit in 2007.  Suh could anchor a struggling Lions defense, help put a stop to their run defense woes, and take pressure off the beleaguered cornerbacks who are often forced to chase opposing wideouts ad infinitum, because no one on the current D-line is able to pressure the quarterback. But that 1 win over Cleveland, may well cost the Lions of their chance at Suh.

If the draft began today, the Lions would pick 4th, the 3 other 1-win teams picking ahead of them. According to most analysts Suh will be long gone by the 4th pick. Most have him going number 1 in this year’s draft class. And so the Lions get the worst of both worlds. Another losing season, but not quite losing enough. There are other players to draft of course, and sometimes a lower pick will outperform every player drafted above him, and leave a team wishing they’d had the 3rd or 4th pick instead of the 1st. But Suh looks like a sure-fire winner. Something I can’t say about any other defensive player in the draft. And defense is what the Lions need. And so, as the season winds down, and some teams jockey for playoff position, others are jockeying for draft picks. It seems only the teams in the middle of the pack have nothing left to fight for, or lie down for as the case may be. And those of us, with losing teams, are placed in the awkward, uncomfortable position of not knowing whether to root for our teams for the final 3 games, or against them.

Quick Bits:

Unbeaten teams: Both the Colts and the Saints remain undefeated deep into NFL regular season and now the talk has really started to heat up. Will they win it all, or won’t they? Will they be the greatest team ever if they do? Etc. The one question, that really gets to me is should they try to win every game, or should they rest players for the playoffs? Of course they should try to win the games. In the immortal words of Herm Edwards “You play to win the game!” There are no guarantees of winning or losing any given game. There are no guarantees that players will or won’t be injured. There are no guarantees that a team will or won’t get rusty if they rest their starters. But there is one guarantee, and that is that you will go down in history as one of, if not the, greatest team that ever played the game if you run the table, regular season and playoffs. You owe it to yourself and your team to go for that. More than anything else you owe it to your fans. And you owe it to the game as well, because the best teams, should give their best week in and week out.

Ron Artest Stands up for Tiger? It seems that Ron Artest has taken a break from being an attention whore in L.A. to come out in defense of his friend Tiger Woods… Or maybe he’s doing double duty on this one, now that I think of it. Anyway, I could go look up the quote  and post it but eh… I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to give Artest any more publicity than he already gets which is already about 300% what he deserves. But if Ron really wanted to help Tiger Woods out, the last thing he would do is stand up for the guy. When guys like  Michael Jordan, and Charles Barkley are conspicuously absent, and haven’t come forward to say anything in Tiger’s defense, but career knucklehead Ron Artest has his back, doesn’t that just make things look even worse?


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