It’s been awhile. It’s been almost 15 years since the Detroit Lions had a special player on both offense and defense. What defines a special player? A player who is pro bowler caliber and defines ways to win games. The Lions have not had those special players since 1995 season with Barry Sanders on offense and Chris Speilman on defense. They were the heart and soul of the Lions and both were drafted by the Lions. On Sunday against Washington, the Lions saw the future of the Lions as QB Matthew Stafford threw for four touchdowns and DT Ndamukong Suh sacked the quarterback twice (on the same drive) and recovered a fumble to score a touchdown. The Lions have been lifeless since Barry retired after the 1998 season. When you think of the Indianapolis Colts, the first thing to come to your mind is Peyton Manning. When you think of the Chicago Bears, you think of Brian Urlacher. For New England Patriots, you think of Tom Brady. For the Lions prior to this season, you think of a poor excuse of a franchise run to the ground by an inept NFL broadcaster (Matt Millen for you neophytes). Now they might finally found some identity. Sure, there have been promise ones in the past decade – Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers, Kevin Jones, & Mike Williams. But none of them lived up to the bill of goods which was sold to the Lions fans. Finally, the Lions may have gotten it right with Stafford, Suh, and WR Calvin Johnson.
The Lions played well in their win Sunday against the Redskins. For this franchise to turn the corner, they need to start a winning streak. They play next the New York Jets who are coming off an embarrassing lost at home while being shutout. The Lions need to correct special team play on kickoff returns as the Redskins accumulated 235 yards and scored a touchdown. Talking about killing momentum when the Lions scored, they are giving the opposing team good field position. Otherwise, the Lions played a solid game against the Skins especially with a patchwork secondary.
Now what about Randy Moss? I doubt the Lions put a claim on him. Sure, he did have good years with current Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan when both were at Minnesota. Sure, it would be nice to have Moss on one side and Calvin on the other putting more fear in opposing defenses. Sure, current WR Nate Burleson played with Moss in Minnesota and are good friends. But it’s hard to imagine the Lions taking on the risk. The Lions are one of the youngest teams in the league and it’s hard to imagine how Moss would be a positive influence. But again, Moss on one side and Calvin on the other….
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Written by Bob Ballard