2010 Detroit Lions Season Preview

Looking ahead at the season to come, the 2010 Detroit Lions Team Preview predicts the Lions to continue improving as they work their way back into contending for playoff spots, and beating division rivals.

The Detroit Lions could only improve from a year in which they were the first team in NFL history to no record a victory since the league went to a 16-game format.  That was 2008, and when comparing that to 2009, last year can be considered a success.  The Lions won two games behind rookie quarterback and No.1 selection in the 2009 NFL Draft Matthew Stafford.

Still, the Lions were at the bottom of the NFC North division, finishing a full 10 games behind champion Minnesota. Detroit once again held a high draft pick in 2010, selecting No.2 overall behind only St. Louis. With their pick, the Lions may have drafted the most dynamic play maker in the entire class in defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska.  

Suh is as much-needed addition to the team, as the Lions ranked last in the NFL in total defense, surrendering 392 yards per game. They ranked last against the pass giving up 265 yards per game and 25th against the run.

On offense, Detroit was not much better and endured the struggles of a rookie quarterback starting in the NFL, even though Stafford was the No.1 overall draft pick. Detroit ranked 26th in the NFL in total offense, averaging 299 yards per game. Through the air, the Lions were 21st, at 198 yards.  On the ground the team was not much more productive, gaining just 101 yards on the ground, good enough for 24th in the league.

Head coach Jim Schwartz will have his work cut out for him in his second year looking ahead at the 2010 Detroit Lions Season Preview on both sides of the ball, as Detroit has won just two games over the course of the last two seasons. In fact, the Lions have won just 17 games in the last five seasons, not making the playoffs once in that stretch. However, Stafford has a year under his belt in the new NFL system and the organization will count on him to make strides during his sophomore campaign after investing a record rookie contract in the former Georgia Bulldog quarterback.
2010 Detroit Lions Coaching Staff & ChangesSchwartz enters his second season in Detroit, and considering the way the Lions won zero games in 2008, Schwartz will likely continue to get room to work without the pressure of having to make the playoffs immediately.  Despite the fact that the Lions won only two games, they at least won.  

Both coordinators are coming back as well for the Lions 2010 NFL Season which will provide for some stability in the systems on both sides of the ball without having to worry about bringing in new staff members.  Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has already said that he plans to be on the sidelines rather than up high in the box come game days to have more immediate coaching rather than simply play calling.
2010 Detroit Lions Key Free Agency Acquisitions & LossesAcquistions
WR - Nate Burelson from Seattle Seahawks
QB - Shaun Hill traded from San Fransisco 49ers
DE - Kyle Vanden Bosch from Tennessee Titans
CB - Chris Houston traded from Atlanta Falcons
DT - Corey Williams traded from Cleveland Browns

LB - Ernie Sims traded to Philadelphia Eagles
QB - Daunte Culpepper to Free Agency
DT- Grady Jackson to Free Agency
CB - Phillip Buchanan to Washington Redskins
DE - Dewayne White to Free Agency 2010 Detroit Lions NFL DraftRound 1: Pick 2 - DT, Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)
Round 1: Pick 30 - RB, Jahvid Best (California)
Round 3: Pick 66 - CB, Amari Spievey (Iowa)
Round 4: Pick 128 - OT, Jason Fox (Miami)
Round 7: Pick 213 - DE, Willie Young (North Carolina State)
Round 7: Pick 255 - WR, Tim Toone (Weber State)
2010 Detroit Lions QuarterbacksIt was a difficult year for Stafford in 2009 as a rookie.  He threw 20 interceptions in his 10 games and suffered a shoulder injury to his non-throwing arm that caused him to miss some time. Still, Stafford will insist that he would not trade the experience of his first NFL season for anything, and looks forward to the chance at continuing to improve and develop in his second year at the helm of the Lion offense.  Stafford possesses everything in a quarterback that teams want with his size, arm strength, intelligence and ability to learn.  2010 should be a more productive year for him.  He will have to try and stay healthy however.  Shaun Hill has moved up on the depth chart as the No.2 quarterback, beating out Daunte Culpepper.

2010 Detroit Lions Quarterback Depth Chart
QB - Matthew Stafford
QB - Shaun Hill
QB - Drew Stanton2010 Detroit Lions Running BacksThe Lions were hurt by the loss of Kevin Smith late in the year, who tore his ACL in December. Still, prior to the injury the Lions were not very productive rushing the ball.  The Lions lacked explosiveness in the background, as they tabbed just five rushes of more than 20 yards, which was second-to-last in the NFL.  

As a result, the organization traded up in the 2010 NFL Draft with the Vikings to take Jahvid Best as the 30th overall pick in the first round out of California.  Best is exactly what is needed for the Lions. Best is an explosive play-maker capable of busting the big play at anytime and should fit in well with Stafford and the rest of the 2010 Detroit Lions offense.

Projected 2010 Detroit Lions Running Back Depth Chart
RB - Jahvid Best
RB - Kevin Smith
RB - Maurice Morris2010 Detroit Lions Wide ReceiversThe Lions have one of the best young receiver in the NFL in Calvin Johnson, who is entering his third full season.  However, Johnson was consistently double-teamed by opposing defenses in 2009 because of the lack of play-making ability from the rest of the receiving corps.  The Lions made a move to acquire Nate Burleson from Seattle which will provide both Stafford and Johnson with a much-needed weapon at the receiver position and hopefully take the pressure off of Johnson.  Tight End Brandon Pettigrew should have a bigger role in the offense this season, after being selected in the first round a year ago along with Stafford.

Projected 2010 Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Depth Chart
WR - Calvin Johnson
WR - Nate Burleson
- Derrick Williams
WR - Bryant Johnson

Projected 2010 Detroit Lions Tight End Depth Chart
TE - Brandon Pettigrew
TE - Tony Scheffler2010 Detroit Lions Offensive LineThere is plenty of room for improvement along the Detroit offensive line, which paved the way for the last-ranked pass offense.  They will need to provide their young quarterback with enough time to make the right reads and correct decisions to avoid the mistakes of 2009.  Left tackle Jeff Backus and cent Dominic Raiola lead the way for this unit, as they have been in Detroit for nine seasons. Raiola is the unquestioned leader of the group and the best lineman in the corps.  The Lions traded for Left guard Robs Sims to fill a big hole that has been a problem at that position for the Lions.

Projected 2010 Detroit Lions Starting Offensive Line
LT - Jeff Backus
LG - Ron Sims
C - Dominic Raiola
RG - Stephen Peterman
RT - Gosder Cherilus2010 Detroit Lions Defensive LineThe Lions struggled mightily on defense in 2009, but believe they have made steps to help correct the problems beginning with first-round draft selection Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska. Suh was a dominant force in college and was rated as the best available player in the draft. Detroit has reason to be excited about this player, who should come in and have an immediate impact on the 2010 Detroit Lions. Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosh is a bright spot as well as the Lions look to turn a weakness into a strength in just one season and may have the tools in place to do just that. The defense is transitioning from a Tampa two back into a 4-3 base set up front.

Projected 2010 Detroit Lions Starting Defensive Line
DE - Jared DeVries
DT - Ndamukong Suh
- Corey Williams
DE - Kyle Vanden Bosh2010 Detroit Lions LinebackersThe Lions are hurt by the departure of Ernie Sims, who had spent his entire career in Detroit’s but left for Philadelphia.  Julian Peterson will anchor this corps heading into 2010.  DeAndre Levy will also look to make an impact in the 4-3 base set as the Lions will ask a lot from there linebackers to help curve the poor performances from last season.

Projected 2010 Detroit Lions Starting Linebackers
OLB - Julian Peterson
- DeAndre Levy
OLB - Zack Follett
2010 Detroit Lions SecondaryThe Lions ranked 32nd in the NFL against the pass, good enough for last place.  Not much more needs to be said.  The Lions made some moves to help move thins around to look for improvement, with Chris Houston and Amari Spievey likely starting.  SS Ko Simpson is a solid player an Louis Delmas will likely play the Free safety position.

Projected 2010 Detroit Lions Starting Seconday
CB - Chris Houston
CB - Amari Spievey
SS - Ko Simpson
FS - Louis Delmas

2010 Detroit Lions Preview