"We need a 3rd baseman that can hit above .220."
"We need a QB that can throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield."
I have lived in Michigan my whole life. I am a Detroit sports fan. I have bought the t-shirt, the hoodie, the tickets, burned dozens of Sunday afternoons in front of the t.v., and called the local sports radio talk shows. I am, and will always be a Detroit fan. I feel like I am a part of the team. Lions coach Jim Schwartz even went so far as to say the Lions fans at the game were "participating" in the game when they cheer loudly on 3rd downs.
I won't rehash the entire Millen decade of woe. That story has been written. What needs to be mentioned though, is the importance of the NFL Draft. The Lions were hamstrung with a limp armed softie at QB for a few years, Joey Harrington. Missing on a QB high in the draft has dire consequences, mostly because a team has committed cap money to a vital position that isn't producing. The Lions picked their franchise QB with the first overall selection in 2009. Although he has had injury problems for the past two years, he has remained healthy this year, and has had a Pro-Bowl season. His performance yesterday was almost flawless; 29/36, 350yds, 3td's, no picks.
With the 20th selection in that same 2009 draft, the Lions passed on a tackle (coulda had Michael Oher) and took a TE. We fans were outraged. In today's NFL, the tight end is vital. Look at the elite teams, Finley, Graham, Gronkowski, a top notch TE is a must. Yesterday, Pettigrew had 9 catches for 80 yards and a TD. Many of his catches were chain moving grabs.
Last year, the Lions took a nasty DT with their first round selection. Yes, he's dirty, but he's young and I hope he matures to become a well respected player. He makes everyone on the defensive line better. Ask Cliff Averil the DE on his side (11 sacks and 6 forced fumbles).
If you watch any Lions game, one player stands out. He is an imposing presence on the field. At 6'5" and 240 lbs with 4.4 40 speed Calvin Johnson is a game changer. The Lions have made the playoffs with no rushing attack (28th in the league) because Calvin is so awesome. One of Millen's only solid draft picks.
I have wished for meaningful games in December for a long long time. Finally this year, we had them. With three wins in a row, we are in the playoffs.
Now, let's go to green Bay next week and get that losing streak over with.