After an absolutely devastating overtime loss to the New York Jets 23-20, in which the lions lead 20-10 with 4 minutes to play, all is not lost for making some progress this year. Losing Matt Stafford to yet another Shoulder injury is just the cherry on top of my full belief that the Lions are STILL cursed.
I mean, what team, other than the Detroit Lions, would see their kicker get injured and then be forced to trot out a rookie defensive tackle to attempt a PAT and missing, which ended up being the difference in the game. Why the Lions decided upon SUH for the extra point and not the punter, is another baffling matter. After the Jets game, all I can say is this team is cursed.
Martin Mayhew is doing all he can to breakthrough the barren cupboard of talent he inherited, and now that he has done the best job in the NFL at adding talent, he must finally make a few more moves to break through the Detroit Lions curse. Mayhew has added so much talent this off-season and season that pretty soon, your Detroit Lions will be a playoff team, it is just inevitable.
Lets discuss the moves Mayhew has made to the secondary alone this season, and their impacts on this team:
Alphonso Smith – CB – 25 – 2nd year out of Wake Forest
acquired via trade from the Denver Broncos on Roster cut day for TE Dan Gronkowski.
Wow, this move more than any other I think, has been his best. Anyone who knows the NFL and about building teams, understands that you just don’t get rid of good CBs. Good CBs do more to improve a defense’s performance overall than you know. Smith is 2nd! SECOND in the NFL in interceptions with 5! It seems like he gets 1 per game, he has been amazing! Yes he did get burned by Braylon Edwards, but if you look he had decent coverage, and it took an absolute PERFECT bomb from Mark Sanchez to beat him. If Smith does not make it to the Pro-Bowl the voters are worthless.
What a huge find Smith was, Denver trade their 2010 1st Round pick to grab Alphonso Smith in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft. The Lions all had very high grades on Smith heading in to the 2009 Draft, and when the hint of him possibly being available leaked, Mayhew went in for the kill. Going into the year, the secondary was the biggest question mark and supposed weakest link on this team. In one year martin Mayhew has found 3 very young and very good starters to go along with Louis Delmas, to form in my opinion the best young secondary in the NFL.
Chris Houston – CB – 26 – 4th Year out of Arkansas
Acquired via trade with the Atlanta Falcons for a 6th Round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Chris Houston has a lot of doubters before the 2010 season began, and boy has he proven them wrong. Houston has shown a strong ability to play man-on-man coverage, and with his impressive skill set, can really blanket receivers. Houston has had 2 nice interceptions wiped out by pretty bad penalties, and has been a great addition to the secondary.
Amari Spievey – S – 22 – 1st year out of Iowa
Acquired via 3rd round draft selection in 2010 NFL draft by Lions.
The Lions initially drafted Spievey as a CB out of Iowa, where he had several attributes that the Lions front office and coaching staff figured would translate well to this teams defensive philosophy. Just before the season started, the Lions made the decision, based upon what they had seen in training camp and some preseason games, to switch Spievey to Safety. It does appear to me the Spievey has the attributes to be a good safety, and with the recent injury to C.C. Brown the starter opposite Louis Delmas, Spievey has been thrust into the starting role.
The redskins picked on Spievey when he entered the game to some success, and Spievey made some rookie mistakes. With a full week of prep with the first team, Spievey started against the NY Jets and had a nice game. In fact Gunther Cunningham, the Lions Defensive Coordinator, graded Spievey the best out of the secondary for the game. It looks like the Lions have found a young safety to develop opposite of Louis Delmas, and it should pay dividends down the road. Spievey has the skills to be a very good player, I feel he needs to add some additional weight to his frame to be a little more punishing, which he will.
What Martin Mayhew has been able to do with the Lions secondary is brilliant. It is very hard to find great young secondary pieces, and it looks as though the Lions have a young corp of players that will only improve, and are already playing at a high level. The way the defense has played this year as well as the passing game, gives me hope for next year. The defensive line has been DOMINANT for large portions of this year, and now that the secondary is actually very solid and improving every week as they all work together, I am very excited for the potential to field a very good defense, that will win some of these close games instead of relying on the offense. As I’ve mentioned before, the lions are 2 good OLBs away from having in my opinion a top 5 defense. I am very confident the Martin Mayhew sees that as well.