Backus: I'm optimistic, but this time it's real!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A lot fans of Detroit Lions can tell you in about three sentences, how easy it would be to fix the Lions and get them competing again. The majority of those fans will tell you that the defense needs to be upgraded and the offensive line needs to be completely overhauled. Most are quick to criticize either Domenic Raiola or Jeff Backus as the main culprit behind the lethargic play of the O-Line. An article written today by Mark Snyder on talks about Jeff Backus, and his football career with the Lions as well as with the Wolverines. Often criticized by both fans and the media, Backus has finally learned how to handle himself and stay out of 'hot-water' when questioned by the press. When he's approached, he gives the same simple statement, just in a new rendition: "I'm always optimistic". Well wouldn't you know it that when Backus was asked about the recent Lions' changes he responded by saying "I'm always optimistic". The reason I found this interesting is because of what the eight year Lions vet added to that statement. He followed that by saying "... I'm being realistic this time around. It's early, we've got a new staff, and we've made a lot of roster changes. Who knows what the season has in store for us?". Regardless of its length I think this speaks volumes as to how players are reacting to the new coaching staff. Lets face it, there really isn't any reason for this guy to be optimistic; his entire career has been spent with a team that has assembled the NFL's worst record for eight year period (his entire career)! For him to further elaborate by mentioning that he's being realistic this time really lends credence as to how veteran Lions feel about the new staff and the changes they're making. For a player who has been what he's been through, and as tough as his pro career has been, for him to have faith in any staff that hasn't really proven anything yet, really shows the type of positive impact that Schwartz and company have made thus far. A lot of writers like to write about the changes going on in Allen Park, both on and off the field; but for a player like Backus to make a statement like this (making sure that people know that he's not trying to keep the franchise happy, rather he's making an honest statement), should tells us exactly how the players feel about this staff and how they're changing this franchise both off the field and in the locker room. They have to make progress in those two area's before they can begin making progress on the field and they still have some time before that begins. Let's hope that Backus' "gut feeling" or inclination to be honest translates to this club finally finding that elusive 'corner' and turning it!!