Yesterday's game featured a lot of highs and lows. The running game and screen passing were brilliant, The O-line was winning up front, especially on the designed run plays, Special Teams were "special", and we were forcing turnovers left and right. But of course, that was for only one half. You see, the Lions exposed us for what we are; we are a flawed team with a severe case of the injury bug. I made a comment last night in the post-game thread summarizing this very point, but I felt that my analysis needed to be expanded upon.
Some are screaming for the heads of the coaching staff. To that I say...really? The same coaching staff that had a very short offseason to come in and implement anything? The same one that we all praised for HAVING an offense? Much, much too early to do that.
Others claim we need to draft an "impact player" in the draft. Someone who will lead this team to a winning record right away (Mr. Newton, anybody)? This claim really piqued my...ire. To be an elite team, you do not need superstars at every position (*cough* Eagles *cough*). That is what I want to focus on.
Let's look at how our team is set up at each position. I am sure you will see my point pretty quickly...after the jump...
QB: Newton, Anderson, Clausen - We are set for the future at QB. Cam is going to be a star, Anderson is a fantastic backup, and Jimmy...well, he's comic relief.
RB:Williams, Stewart, Vaughan - Again, set for a good few years. D-Will and J-Stew are scary on their own; together they are lethal. Lots of depth at the RB spot.
WR:Smith, Naanee, LaFell, et alter - We are a bit young here, a bit inexperienced, but I think we are good enough at WR to win and win a lot. LaFell is coming around, Ghettis will return and hopefully show promise next season...I like where we are at. Could we improve at WR? Definitely...but is it our biggest need? No.
TE:Olsen, Shockey - Ah, the shiny TEs. Olsen is young and a tough assignment for any defense and Shockey is mean, physical, and just fun to watch. We have one of the best TE tandems in the league.
OL:Gross, Wharton, Kalil, Hangartner, Bell - We are getting a bit old on the line. It is not nearly the problem it would be at, say WR, but you lose athleticism as you age. The biggest problem with the line is just a lack of depth. If one of these guys gets hurt, where will we be?
When you break it down, the offense is pretty much set. Yes, we have some minor holes, but we are overall sound on offense and able to compete with anyone in the league. Now, get ready to cringe...
DE: Johnson, Hardy, Applewhite, Norwood - Not too bad, huh? Kraken and CJ are scary as a tandem. Applewhite has been impressive in my mind and Norwood is a good backup. We are good at DE.
DT: Fua, McClain, Neblett - Aaaand here we go. Weak, young, no depth at all. We need to get better here and fast. I'm not even asking for a Fairley and Suh tandem, I just want consistently good play. Make it tough to run...slow them down. Please?
LB: Anderson, Conner, Gaither - To be fair, they should not be starting, but they simply are not good enough to play as a unit every Sunday. Combined with the vaccuum at DT, it really makes watching our defense play painful. I would say we lack depth here. Davis...I love how he plays, but with 3 ACL tears...how much will he be able to do? It is yet to be determined, but it is huge question mark for the time being.
Secondary: Gamble, Godfrey, Martin, Munnerlyn - Gamble is very good, but what about the rest? They can hold their own, but they seem to have trouble tackling at times, Martin was atrocious yesterday. I think they look bad as a group because of all of the deficiencies we have on this side of the ball, but they ARE a bit undersized.
So what is the point of all of this drabble? To let you see for yourself where our team is at and where we need to improve. We need some depth for OL and WR, but we really need UPGRADES at DT, LB, Safety, CB. This really brings up the final point I have. In football, teams will attack your weak points. Our offense can fend for itself just fine how it is; the defense is spread thin, lacking depth, and is getting shredded on a weekly basis. We are reaching a crossroads on how this team can be set up. We are going to be good (we have too much talent NOT to be), but how is it going to happen? We must not rush it; a WR will not make a team elite. Good WRs will be double-teamed. A good running back will draw 7-8 in the box. Does that not put WRs into perspective? Yes, you need them to be competent and have the ability to beat a defender, but there are much more valuable positions. Hell, Fantasy Football will teach you that...no, we need linemen, depth, guys who can hold their own and do something well. I do not have all the answers; this is my opinion. Feel free to take the time to state yours. This is my first fan post (aspiring sports journalist and freshman in college) so tell me what you think, but I want to leave you with one last thing. We are reaching a crossroads. We have the opportunity to be very good and for a long time. So how are we going to do this?