Lions Fans Insulted Again

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Lions Fans Insulted Again

By Max DeMara

For those who want to believe the Detroit Lions have turned over a new leaf for 2008, Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons resembled the past six years more than anything else, and began dissolve hope earlier than most seasons.

The Falcons scored early, scored often and then scored again. And again, and then again for good measure. The Lions defense showed no signs that it could stop anybody, much less a career backup running back and a rookie quarterback who was playing in front of a young offensive line with a new coaching staff calling plays. Instead of proving the critics of a 4-0 pre-season record wrong, the Lions proved each and every one of them right by failing to offer any resistance when punched in the mouth by the Falcons.

Instead of pounding the rock, the Lions sat back and let themselves be pounded. Shockingly, the Lions were actually favored in this game, with many figuring that Matt Ryan would be rattled by the Lions defensive front pressuring a new Falcons offensive line. Ryan hardly needed to throw the ball as he instead relied on Michael Turner to walk through would be tacklers on his way to the end zone and the Falcons single game rushing record. If this game were played in the mud, Turner’s jersey would hardly be dirty because the Lions never had him on the ground.

This effort was despicable for a defense that many had lauded as "faster" and "flying to the ball" during the pre-season. The pre-season ended a week ago, and with it ended the days of Lions starters pushing around better teams third string players. The secondary looked horrid, with the supposed "quicker" new additions failing to ever really factor in on defense. The front seven rarely had pressure on the quarterback and looked slow in constantly being blown off the line by the young Falcons offensive linemen. The linebackers were constantly out of position. Finally, as if all of that wasn’t enough of a recipe for disaster, it appeared that tackling was of no concern during team meetings.

Ironically, it was veteran Jon Kitna and not rookie Matt Ryan who appeared flustered and lost his head. Kitna screamed at members of the coaching staff while down 21-0 with nothing going right offensively. That kind of juvenile behavior shows just how long of a season this could become for the Lions. Couple that with the boneheaded plays Kitna made by not running the ball into the end zone for a sure touchdown near the goal line, sliding for a nine yard gain on third and ten and throwing a critical interception and its him that looks like the fool this Monday. Not the kind of leadership you expect from a team captain.

Granted, this is the first game of a long season. There is a ways to go until the playoff picture takes shape and the page is turned on 2008. Maybe it’s better to get a loss like this out of the way early. But did Lions fans deserve this kind of lame effort so soon? There were probably people who casually tuned early in expecting a 0-0 score and instead found it to be 14-0 Atlanta. Why should they tune in the rest of this season, or even go so far as to purchase tickets realizing that a similar effort could be in store for them? With the meat of the schedule awaiting the Lions later in the season, the defense gave fans no hope that they will be able to stop anyone else if not the young Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay comes to town this Sunday. Might we see an encore?

Meanwhile, most Lions fans probably did not react as angrily as Jon Kitna did during the game. Apathy has replaced anger, care and frustration as the buzzword for Lions related activities.

If the Lions are ever to reverse that trend in 2008, there is a long way to go.

Maybe they should start with simple fundamentals. Lets say, tackling.

 

 

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