Our last five questions segment of 2010 features Zac Snyder of SideLion Report. We begin the Q&A with one about the Lions’ success in 2010 and where they need to go from here:
TVA: The Lions definitely took a step in the right direction this year. What do they have to do now to take the next step and actually become playoff contenders?
SLR: The Lions can be playoff contenders next year if they can stay healthy, particularly at quarterback, and put together another solid draft class. The Lions have suffered from a talent gap in the wake of the Matt Millen debacle but one more draft probably closes the door on that excuse. Lions fans are happy with what Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz have done now that we see it resulting in wins so next year will be key for them since taking a zero win team to a five win team is a lot easier than taking a five win team to a ten win team. They have earned our trust so far but need to show that the Lions are on their way to becoming consistent contenders rather occasional pretenders like the Bengals and the Lions of the 90s. That being said, I expect the Lions to be a chic playoff pick in a lot of 2011 season previews.
TVA: Who’s your 2010 Lions MVP?
SLR: I will select Ndamukong Suh for not only his play on the field but also what he represents. Lions fans aren’t used to seeing hyped up newcomers live up to expectations, much less exceed them but Ndamukong Suh has done just that. All this while proving to be an all around good guy. Calvin Johnson might qualify as a superstar but he still needs someone to get him the ball whereas Suh can go out and dominate every play. He has the skill-set and the attitude that perfectly suits him for this franchise at this time in history. If there is a defensive tackle that can be the face of a franchise then it is Ndamukong Suh. Perhaps some Vikings fans felt the same way about John Randle.
TVA: The Lions won’t be drafting #1 overall this year, for once, but they will have a fairly high pick. What position would you like to see them target?
SLR: I would love to see them come away with a starter at outside linebacker or cornerback since those are the two biggest needs. The offense is mostly set except for depth, especially at wide receiver, but they aren’t in a position to draft the best player available regardless or position. The best case scenario matches the Lions draft slot with an OLB or CB of equal value.
TVA: How did you feel watching the Vikings play a “home” game on your field?
SLR: There were a lot of Lions fans that thought it was downright disgusting that Ford Field turned into Metrodome (ahem, Mall of America Field) East for a day but I had no problem with it. I was probably less resistant to the idea because I have family that lives in Minneapolis and are Vikings fans. I got some hook-ups through them and was able to sit in the Vikings section during the game and had a great time. It was definitely odd to see two out of town teams play at Ford Field but I was glad to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
TVA: Of the Lions five victories (so far) this year, which one do you think was the biggest and why?
SLR: Every win is big for an organization that has had so few over the last decade but the biggest this year is the road win against the Buccaneers in week 15 for two reasons: it proved the previous week’s victory over the Packers wasn’t a fluke and it broke their NFL record road losing streak. The theme for most of the season was the Lions’ inability to get over the hump but their victory in Tampa got them over a couple humps in one afternoon.
Thanks to Zac Snyder for giving us his insights on the Lions. My nonsensical statements on the Vikings can be found on Side Lion Report right about here. Happy New Year to all. And let’s hope 2011 sucks less for the Purple.
Site5 and Fansided Holiday Season Charity Drive: Give to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.