Old Mother Hubbard: Detroit Lions Offseason 2010

>> 1.12.2010

Michael Aanji Crowley

Last offseason, after the hubbub of the front office turmoil and coaching search had settled down, I took a long, hard look at the Lions’ roster, position by position.  I titled the series “Old Mother Hubbard”, with obvious implications—Matt Millen and Rod Marinelli had left the cupboard bare for Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz.

In the ensuing calendar year, the Lions went shopping time and time again.  They drove from store to store looking for sales, clipped coupons, brought in their cans--everything they could to try and fill those shelves.  They’d turned over half the roster before training camp, and the bottom ten spots on the roster churned like crazy throughout the season itself.

I haven’t counted yet, but I’d be willing to bet that over 80 players spent time on the Lions’ 2009 53-man roster.  Further, I’d be willing to bet that whatever the number is, it’s the highest in the NFL for last season.  Taking it even further yet, I’d be willing to bet that the NFLPA has a database that could be queried in such a way as to verify those numbers.  If anyone out there has access to such information, I would be extremely interested in seeing it.

For this season, I’ll be taking a look back at the old entries, reposting some of the highlights, and illustrating A) just how far the Lions’ roster has come, and B) how far yet it has to go to become competitive.  Also, we have a lot more information now about the kind of schemes the Lions employ, the types of players they’ve sought out, and the types of players they’d like to acquire.

Last season, due to all the coaching-search stuff, I didn’t get started until after the Senior Bowl—and it took me so long, I didn’t finish all the positions before the start of free agency.  This season, I have a head start—but what I have in mind for these things is going to take me a little longer.  So, if you folks will grant me your usual patience, I promise you’ll be at least partially rewarded.  First stop, defensive tackles . . .


David M,  January 12, 2010 at 12:47 PM  

Looking forward to this series, Ty.
As you know, I'm always pumped to read draft-related posts :)

David M,  January 12, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

Oh, by the way,

i love the picture you chose, it goes perfectly with the name of "old mother hubbard."

A Lion in ViQueen Territory,  January 12, 2010 at 4:18 PM  


I feel like I just got home from work, kicked back, and opened a cold one.

TimT,  January 12, 2010 at 5:24 PM  

53 + 26 = 79

There were 26 players cut or placed on IR this season. This does NOT include players placed on IR before the season started or from the practice squad.

Ty,  January 12, 2010 at 5:42 PM  

David M--

Thank you sir! I am thinking you're going to like these very much.


Ty,  January 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM  


That puts a big old grin on my face. Really, I spent about six weeks struggling with how I was going to adapt my exploratory, long-form stuff to the inseason grind . . . this feels exactly like your description to me, too.


Ty,  January 12, 2010 at 5:46 PM  


Very quick, as always. I was kind of thinking from day one of the 2009 League Year (when all the contract years expire) to now . . . that number might well be more like 90 or 100, once you figure in practice squad promotions, et. al.


TimT,  January 14, 2010 at 7:25 AM  

Ty, the number is actually pretty stunning.

Aside from the 53 that were on the team at seasons end 09, there were 123 different players that rolled through Detroit in one way or another during the contract year. (Total of 176 players on the payroll at some point '09)
Some were cut at the 2009 year's start.
Some never made the final 53.
Some had been on the practice squad.
Some were simply cut during the season, and, of course, many ended up on I/R.

I'll have the roster posted at http://www.gateserv.com/roster09 some time today.

popeww,  January 14, 2010 at 2:54 PM  

a lions fans' three favorite days of the year, in order:

1. the draft - usually the few months before the draft up until just before the draft, before the GM of the day has ruined our lives yet again. highlights include watching youtube highlight videos of incoming rookies and reviewing selective game footage of lions players making plays, then forcing ourselves to forget the 95% of the time they dropped easy passes and whiffed on arm tackles.

2. opening day - usually just before kickoff, as we're all convincing ourselves that grady jackson can still stuff the run and anthony henry might just be a top flight D-back. or that our 3 1st round wide receivers are going to have us scoring 30 points per game. or that all of that preseason success would actually translate into something. or that we were simply due for some good luck. the list goes on....

3. the final game - as we are grateful for another depressing season to come to an end, we watch the scoreboard hoping for the rams, the raiders, and the browns to pull a win out and move us up in the draft order.... which brings me back to item #1.


Isphet,  January 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM  

My random thought of the day today.

If ONE disastrous draft can adversely affect a team for a decade, how long will EIGHT disastrous drafts in a row affect a team?

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