The 06 Lions answered the question that has plagued man since the dawn of time. That question was, "What would you get if you had a pro football team who was pretty good at throwing the ball, but absolutely sucked at everything else?". The answer was a team that finished 3-13 despite playing in what may have been the weakest division the NFL has seen this decade.
Led by new QB Jon Kitna, stud receiver Roy Williams, and unknown revelation Mark Furrey, the Lions were the proverbial aerial circus last year. They ranked 7th in the league in passing offense, and both Williams and Furrey had 1000 yard seasons.
The problem was, the Lions were the worst team in the league at running the ball. Worse than the Cardinals. Worse than the Raiders. Really, really bad. Perennial disappointment Kevin Jones crapped all over himself with a 689 yard season. Don't even ask about his backups. With no running game to fear, opposing defenses pinned their ears back and unleashed hell against the pass. The result was Kitna was sacked more than any QB in the league last year, and only the Raiders gave up more sacks than the Lions did.
The inability to run meant an inability to control the ball, and a strain on the defense. The Lions ranked 30th in the league in points allowed, and in the bottom third of the league against both the run and pass.
Basically, the only thing the Lions will want to remember about 2006 was the season finale, in which they went into Dallas and depantsed the Cowboys 39-31, sending America's Team on the road for it's first playoff game, and possibly costing them a lengthy playoff run.
First the good news, the Lions did make a couple of nice upgrades to the O-line by signing tackle George Foster from the Broncos, and former Ravens guard Edwin Mulitalo.
However, like the idiots that they are, the Lions front office did nothing to shore up the team's many, many weaknesses, and instead decided to use its top 2 draft picks on a wide receiver, and a backup quarterback.
True, Calvin Johnson, the wideout from Georgia Tech the Lions took with the second overall pick in the draft, may very well turn out to be an excellent player and a great compliment to Williams. Last I checked though, this ain't Quidditch, and they only play football with one ball at a time. Why you would take a wide receiver with your 2nd overall pick when you already have 2 1000 yard receivers and you ranked 31st in sacks allowed, 32nd in rushing offense, and 30th in points allowed is beyond me.
The rest of the offseason comings and goings leaves a 3-13 in worse shape than they were last year. They swapped out DE James Hall, who was second on the team with 5 sacks last year, for former Bucs DE Dewayne White, who also had 5 sacks. That seems like a wash. They also traded corner Dre Bly to Denver for running back Tatum Bell, and that's not a wash. That's a horrible trade. Matt Millen has a fetish for former Denver running backs, and I'm guessing Bell will be as successful in Detroit as Olandis Gary was.
On paper, this looks like a bad team that made all the wrong moves this offseason. People seem to like Rod Marinelli as a head coach though, although what they're basing that on I'm not sure. Maybe they're right, and he's good enough to squeeze out a couple more wins than last year. Maybe not. Now you're up to speed on the Lions.