Hire Steve Spagnuolo. Don’t draft Matthew Stafford, wait for Sam Bradford next season. Pick up Jason Smith instead, and make sure your franchise quarterback will be protected his whole career. Fix the middle linebacker spot by taking James Laurinaitis in the second. Next year, after Bradford, take a physical tackle (who could play a little guard) in the second to complete your offensive line. Pick up a big, physical corner in the third. Sign O.J. Atogwe to a long-term deal.
At some point over the past two years, most (or many loud) Lions fans were screaming for the Lions to do all of the above. Incredibly, the Rams took their advice. At every step of the way in the two franchises’ mutual rebuilding, the Rams have done what the majority (or extremely vocal minority) of Lions fans wanted the Lions to do. The Rams did all of the above—they hired Spags, took Jason Smith and Little Animal, picked up Rodger Saffold and Jerome Murphy, and re-signed Windsor native FS O.J. Atogwe. If the Lions had done those things, I bet Mayhew and Schwartz would be even more popular with the fanbase than they are today.
On Sunday, the Rams visited Ford Field, and the Lions kicked their ass.
The sixty-minute woodshedding the Lions put on the Rams was a thing of beauty; a joyous celebration of victory in progress. Not only did they get a lead in spectacular fashion, they built it—through consistently excellent play in all three phases of the game, the Lions not only failed to lose the lead, they kept pulling farther away until the final gun scored! Despite visibly changing mood from “desperately hungry” to “having a good time out there,” the Lions managed to take their foot off the gas without allowing the Rams to catch up.
It’s been said elsewhere that the Lions need to “learn how to win,” need to learn how to play as a team to preserve a victory once it’s been gained. To use the scoreboard to their advantage, to take control of the game and put it away. To, once an opponent has been knocked to the ground, put their boot on its throat, and claim victory. Today, we saw “Learn How to Win” class in session. I’m not sure the Lions have graduated yet—but they passed their this test with flying colors.
Yesterday was an incredible release; the Lions took their (and our) pent-up frustration out on an unsuspecting opponent. They brought everything they had to bear on the Rams--and, as is often the case with superior talent and effort--caught a few breaks. Everything went right for the Lions yesterday; now everything IS right in the world today. Tomorrow is another story, of course, but let's not think about that now. On this day, in this moment, the Lions reign victorious--and we rest comfortably in the knowledge that the Lions' leadership has been making excellent choices, with or without our help.