"Have at it” – ESPN.com Fields Suggestions on How to Fix the Lions

Friday, October 23, 2009

ESPN.com’s NFC North blogger, Kevin Seifert, threw up a post asking his readership to lay out their blueprint for the Lions’ future.  He received just about every conceivable suggestion, from pumping up the offense, to ignoring the offense and fixing up the defense, and everything in between.  This morning, Kevin collected some of the best answers and supplied his own.

He generally supported the no-job-is-safe approach that Schwartz has taken, though cautioned that sometimes, consistency is a virtue in and of itself.  He also advocated a long-term strategy of addressing both the offensive and defensive lines—something almost every Lions fan can get behind.

Frankly, the most dire situation isn’t the OL, whose play has been somewhere between “okay” and “pretty good”.  Nor is it the DL, where injuries have either felled or limited Jared DeVries, DeWayne White, Cliff Avril, Jason Hunter, and Sammie Hill.  That’s the top two DEs at each position, and three of the four projected starters on the defensive line.  Once the DL gets healthy, the front seven should be moderately stout.

However, the secondary remains a completely unfettered disaster.  Theoretical #1 cornerback Anthony Henry started off solid, but is starting to show why the Lions have wanted to switch him to safety.  Phillip Buchanon has the talent to be a #1 corner, but his play has been wildly inconsistent.  Will James, would be an excellent nickel corner, and an okay complement opposite a true #1.  However, he’s currently the Lions’ best corner, and that is not good.  Ko Simpson has played very well next to Louis Delmas, but Simpson’s been dinged up, and Delmas is playing like the very talented rookie that he is: talented . . . but a rookie.

Don’t forget, Gunther Cunningham’s aggressive blitzes can’t work, and won’t be called, if the secondary can’t hold it down behind them.  As long as the defensive backfield is in such disarray, the Lions won’t be able to run their defense like they want to.  Minimally, the Lions will need to either acquire a veteran starting corner, or spend a weekday draft pick on one.  After that, they’ll have to either settle on Ko Simpson or scout out his replacement.  Finally, they’ll have to rebuild the depth at corner with a mid- and/or late-round pick or two.

Discuss it here, in The Den!