All wins count the same in the NFL (I stole that one from Lions head coach Jim Schwartz), but winning the division is the easiest route to postseason success.
Former Lions coach Steve Mariucci, who’s now an analyst for the NFL Network, thinks the NFC North will be a two-team race between the Lions and the Packers over the next few seasons.
“I don’t see the Vikings being a factor for a while,” he said. “I don’t see the Bears really being a factor. I believe it’s a two-horse race over there with the Packers and the Lions.
“You have to build your team around winning your division. When you have a team like the Packers, that likes to spread you out with all of those weapons, you have to be able to match-up with the Packers. That means more cover guys. More corners. And I think that’s where (the Lions) will go in the draft – (offensive) tackle, corners and maybe another linebacker.”
Mariucci, who had Joey Harrington at quarterback when he coached the team, said the Lions have their most important piece in place to compete for a long time in quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“Matthew Stafford is exactly what that organization needs,” he said. “The players rally around him because he’s a tough guy. He’s a confident kid.
“He’s got the baseball hat on backwards and he doesn’t care about all the other stuff. He just wants to play football and he has a very, very bright future. They are surrounding him now with talent and a pretty darn good defense and they’ll be right in it.”
Mariucci likes some of the current pieces the Lions have in place, but insists that some holes have to be filled before they’re on the same playing field as the Packers.
“I think Ndamukong Suh is pretty darn good,” he said. “They added some linebackers and I like their safety (Louis) Delmas, he’s a pretty good player. I like (Kyle) Vanden Bosch and (Cliff) Avril and Corey Williams isn’t bad.
“If they are going to need help, to me, their front seven isn’t the priority that needs help. I think it’s their secondary. They also have to decide what to do with (left tackle) Jeff Backus, he’s getting a little older. He’s been good over the years, but they have to secure a left tackle for the future and a couple corners.”
Tags: Cliff Avril, Corey Williams, Jeff Backus, Jim Schwartz, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 4 Comments »