Monday, October 31, 2011

These Lions Are Not Your 2007 Version

This time, the other guys are disillusioned about their supposed franchise quarterback.

This time, the other team has its falsely-hoped, tenuously-raucous crowd taken out of the game in the very first quarter.

This time, the other guys are mocked and made fun of.

This time, the serious questions about the health of the franchise are for the other guys to answer.

This time, the playoff talk isn't for the other guys.

The Lions are 6-2. But this isn't 2007's 6-2, which was a papier-mache 6-2.

The 2007 6-2 was also attained at the expense of the Denver Broncos, also in a blowout victory. The Lions beat them, 44-7 at Ford Field and the lingering image of that game was Shaun "Big Baby" Rogers rumbling for a touchdown after an interception.

How appropriate that it would be Rogers who took it to the house, because he partly symbolizes the false hope Lions. The Lions of unfulfilled promise.

The 2007 Lions were 6-2 by record only. Their true value would play out over the next 24 games, of which they lost 23.

There's no such feeling of foreboding about this version of the Lions, who got off their mini-schneide in a big way Sunday in Denver, thumping the Broncos, 45-10.

These aren't the Bucking Broncos---more like the Buckling Broncos.

The Broncos are a mess. They have a quarterback, Tim Tebow, who is less an NFL quarterback and more a suggestion thereof. They can't pass protect. Their receivers are mediocre. Their running game makes the Lions look like the Lombardi Packers of the 1960s.

There seems to be separation within the ranks in Denver about Tebow, and it's never a good thing when not everyone in an organization backs the guy under center.

Tebow was left in for every minute of Sunday's shellacking, which was just plain mean on the part of Broncos coach John Fox. If part of developing a young quarterback in the NFL is to handle his confidence like eggs, then Fox just made Tebow into an omelet.

Who knows how long it will take Tebow to recover, mentally, from Sunday's awful performance. The kid doesn't have it, didn't have it Sunday, and may never have it. But when it was painfully obvious that Tebow was little more than the Lions' pinata, why didn't Fox get him out of there?

Maybe because Fox is among those not sold on TebowMania?

Still, even if Fox isn't convinced that Tebow is his guy, the coach should be ashamed for not lifting the young man as early as midway through the third quarter. A day that began with hope ended with a bloodletting.

As for the Lions, they are 6-2 but as lovely of a win as Sunday's was, it's tempered by the fact that it came against the Broncos, one of the NFL's dregs and losing relevance by the week.

Denver's days of a playoff contender are so far in the rear view mirror, they are borderline in the category of "remember when?"

The 2011 Lions are not the 2007 Lions, by any stretch. A quick comparison of the rosters of the two squads should make that obvious.

I've written it before; any team can get lucky and fool folks for eight weeks. That happens almost every year. The contenders separate themselves from the pretenders in the next eight games---the ones they play in November and December.

The Lions are 6-2 and should contend in the season's second half, which begins after next week's bye.

The Broncos are 2-5 and you just have to wonder how bad the other teams were in Denver's two wins.

That's OK. Let the other team have to answer those kinds of questions. For a change.

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