Lions: Still a dull roar
Aug. 1, 2008
Try as one might, there's no getting around the cloud hanging over the Lions this preseason. Or, should I say, the cloud that is not hanging over the Lions this preseason.
Of course, I'm talking about the departure of offensive coordinator Mike Martz. He ruled the Lions' offense with an iron fist for the past two years, but his reign came to an abrupt end after the Lions finished last season on a 1-7 slide.
Now that Martz is gone, the Lions have said they are committed to becoming a run-first team. They backed up that claim by drafting offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus in the first round and trading up to select RB Kevin Smith in the third round. The Lions are hoping that with those two players on board, as well as a switch to a zone-blocking scheme, Detroit's running game will catch up with its prolific passing attack.
When it comes to the rest of the offense, the cast of characters is largely the same. QB Jon Kitna, fresh off consecutive 4,000-yard seasons, is back. He's joined by wideouts Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey. Newly acquired TE Michael Gaines joins this group of pass catchers, and he will likely get more looks than any Detroit tight end has in the past two years (though still not enough to make him fantasy relevant early in the season).
Detroit's other big changes came on the defensive side of the ball. Rod Marinelli continued his tradition of bringing in ex-Buccaneers by going out and getting Brian Kelly, Dwight Smith and Chuck Darby. Detroit also added CB Leigh Bodden and LB Jordon Dizon. Despite the losses of talented DL Shaun Rogers and LB Boss Bailey, among others, the Lions feel their defense as a whole is stronger. After giving up the most points per game (27.8) and total yards per game (377.6), it can't be any worse, right?