And with the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select …
It’s the sentence most Lions fans are hoping to avoid hearing next April, but as the team remains winless and already set the low water mark of 0-16 back in 2008, which led to the team drafting Matthew Stafford out of Georgia, it looks like there is plenty to fix before the franchise can be considered a contender.
Weren’t the Lions a playoff team just one season ago? Didn’t it look like Jim Caldwell being hired to run the show was one of the better moves for this franchise? Now, there is talk about cleaning house, starting from scratch and maybe looking to replace a few of the “stars” on the roster. If you thought the situation in Miami was bad (and it is), then Detroit is a close second.
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If the season ended right now, Joey Bosa could be the name the team calls with the first overall pick in the Draft – a rush end who would certainly help Teryl Austin and his defense. That’s if Austin is still there. That’s if Caldwell doesn’t get the boot as well as other management. That’s if Martin Mayhew, the team’s general manager doesn’t join all of them after the season.
The once-proud Detroit Lions have cowered to mere kittens in the NFL. And everyone appears to be pointing the finger at each other.
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Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press wrote a column outlining just how bad things have gotten for Stafford, who is on pace to have his worst season of his career. Caldwell benched Stafford in Sunday’s 42-17 blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals after Stafford threw three interceptions in less than three quarters.
Caldwell said after the game and reiterated Monday that Stafford is still his starter, but in the quarterback-driven NFL it’s rare that teams bench signal-callers they truly believe are franchise types.
That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement if you ask me. Could another signal caller be on the team’s Christmas wish list? Could a trade for a quality starter or backup be the ticket to rejuvenation and revival in the Motor City?
Birkett also explained that Stafford has thrown an NFL-worst eight interceptions in the Lions’ 0-5 start and has 21 picks in the 22 games since Caldwell, the man who was touted as a quarterback guru when he was hired, replaced Jim Schwartz in January 2014.
“It’s one game,” Caldwell said. “One game. And I think he’s certainly more than capable of straightening those things out.”
It looks like it is going to get worse.
Having a weak offensive line does not help. The ability to keep Stafford upright will help determine where this season ends. Hopefully, the benching from Sunday lights a fuse under the team’s collective backside and there can be a salvage to a season already lost.
If the slide continues, look for management and the Ford Family to make wholesale changes across the board from top to bottom. It may start with Mayhew, it may start with Caldwell. But with all three figureheads (including Stafford) linked together, it could be all three are made scapegoats and the rebuild begins, regardless of how the remainder of the season shakes out.