The 2014 season is about to commence; the Detroit Lions are hungry for change, having owned a lowly 7-9 record for the 2013 season.
The Lions have talent; nobody disputes that. However, if they cease to correct their mistakes, fail with fundamentals, and play with sloppiness, they can expect to hear the infamous “Same Old Lions” chant.
Here are five keys for the Lions to have a successful 2014 season:
1. Matthew Stafford‘s Play: If Stafford continues his erratic decision-making and sloppy mechanics, the Lions are down the gutter. Stafford is the leader of the wolf pack; without his success, the Lions will be starving for victory. Stafford has tremendous talent, with an arm that’s second to none; he can easily lead Detroit to victory. Expect better play from him, as Detroit equipped him with some gifted offensive minds. If Stafford’s ability continues to digress, the Lions are in deep water with no floats.
2. Discipline, Discipline, and More Discipline: Lions fans will cringe if they have to see another beautiful play taken away by a penalty. Detroit has been notorious for slitting their own wrists, failing to stop the excessive bleeding. It’s hard enough to win games in the NFL; no need for Detroit to make it harder by being their own enemy. Ndamukong Suh can’t illegally block an offensive lineman after a DeAndre Levy interception. Nick Fairley can’t rough the passer, giving teams free yardage. Receivers can’t drop passes. Stafford can’t throw into triple-coverage. Discipline is a recipe for success.
3. Turnovers: When the Lions were playing consistently, and obtaining turnovers, they were 6-3. Once the defense began to crumble, as the offense started slumping, Detroit fell off the margin. Defense is important, but the team who scores the most points reigns supreme. Turnovers will prevent a team from scoring, while giving Detroit’s explosive offense a chance to score. The Lions have an ailing defense, so turnovers building up leads will assist them tremendously.
4. Veteran Leadership: It’s a blessing for Detroit to have signed receiver Golden Tate, and safety James Ihedigbo, as both are from championship organizations. It’s time for them to inject winning philosophies into this rambunctious young team. Detroit had tailback Reggie Bush trying to lead the way last year, but was shunned by silent leaders like Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Big-time players need to have big-time ways and plays, otherwise a team is dysfunctional. Veterans need to haul in the younger players, teaching them winning habits. For Detroit, leadership is a gem; if instilled properly, they will have a considerable amount of success.
5. Creative Play-Calling: This worthy element cannot be undermined. The Lions have talent; it needs to flourish in various ways. Thank the football gods that Scott Linehan is gone, that way Detroit can escape their anemic offensive plays. The NFL is too advanced with extensive studies and filming, therefore the same old acts will perish. Detroit needs to line up their defensive line differently, along with using their offensive firepower in different formations. Keeping a team on their heels is never a bad thing.
The Lions control their own fate, having much talent to round up a winning season. If Detroit can follow through with these five keys, they’ll have a massive amount of success. If not, a similar article like this will be written around the same time next year.