Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kicking and Screaming Into the Future

Look at this soulless beast. His eyes, they are empty.

To say that I, along with every other Lions fan, am relieved that they finally won a game is a massive understatement, almost absurd in how little it actually gets across the sheer magnitude of the feeling. Most of this almost indescribable feeling comes from what you would expect it to, that finally, my favorite football team has won a game after 21 months of ineptitude and general duncery(dunceishness? dunceosity? Oh well, I am just making up a word here so who really cares?). But there is a part of me that feels a sense of relief because now that they won, the idiots might finally pipe down a little.

It seems that I vastly overestimated my fellow fans' ability to patiently wait while this new regime got it's shit together and started rolling towards honor and glory. I expected them to understand that Matthew Stafford is the second youngest quarterback to start the season in NFL history. I expected them to understand that the rebuilding effort was not so much a rebuild as it was a total razing. These shitbirds were so terrible that there was no other alternative. They had to tear the whole fucking thing down and start from scratch. That takes some time, no matter how impatient your idiot fans are. I understood this and I was on board with it. Sure, I would have loved it if they started winning and stomping all over people like they were a bunch of werewolves from hell, but I understood that if this thing was finally going to be done right that it would take some time.

Look, we have seen the Lions try to start over many times in the last billion years of terrible failure, but they always make the same dumbfuck mistakes, and try to build upon a foundation of quicksand and tears. It never works. So, it was nice to see some new people show up who knew that the whole damn thing pretty much had to be blown up. Sure, we could salvage some nice pieces that hadn't rotted yet, a Calvin Johnson here, a Kevin Smith there, and we could use those as building materials. But it still needed to be a whole new building. This season was all about laying the foundation and I was cool with that, and I assumed that most fans would be smart enough to understand that and be cool with it too.

It turns out, however, that most fans are obscenely dumb. That is what I get for being an optimist. It only took two games(and let's be honest, for a lot of people, it only took one, and if we're being really honest, a lot of fans didn't even give them that much time, bitching and moaning about them being the same old Lions from the moment the new regime was hired, and while I suppose I understand that defensiveness to an extent, there comes a time when you need to stop being such a gigantic pussy and start believing in at least the faintest idea of hope, and so fuck those people. And yes, I recognize that this parenthetical digression completely blows up the flow of the sentence that it is interrupting, but fuck it, we are champions in our hearts and we can handle these things.) before fans were decrying the new regime, bitching about Matthew Stafford and claiming that we needed to make changes already. I mean, what the fuck? This was, uh, disheartening and it made my desire to see the Lions finally win a game that much more acute. Thankfully, Jim Zorn and the Redskins rode into town on a river of blood and tears and we got that win.

So now, at least for a week, people are willing to concede that this team appears to be making progress and that Matthew Stafford might not be so bad after all. It's a fickle wave, and it's kind of pathetic, but it is one that we must all understand and work within if we are to avoid going mad. It was a mistake on my part to think that most fans would be cool with all this, and perhaps this is because I bit too fucking hard on the lure of Jim Schwartz. Hopefully, finally getting a win placates them for a while. I think even they understand that the Lions are still going to be pretty damn shitty this season, and perhaps all they wanted was that one win. I don't know. We will find out.

We'll start by seeing how the fans react to the inevitable loss to the Bears this weekend. It seems like the Lions always get pantsed whenever they head over to Soldier Field. Hell, I was fairly certain that Kyle Orton earned himself a national endorsement deal with King Cobra after the way he tore apart the Lions. And no one really thought he was any good, so it terrifies me to think what an actual quarterback with actual talent still entering the prime of his career might do. The Lions have faced three quarterbacks this season. Drew Brees is awesome and he destroyed the Lions like he was flying the Enola Gay. Bret Favre is 168 years old, his bones are made of dust and he was almost perfect against the Lions. Even Jason Campbell threw for almost 350 yards last week, and while much of that came in the second half while the Redskins were forced to throw, it certainly didn't make me think that our pass defense was about to storm the beaches of Hawaii come early February.

How does Jay Cutler stack up against those guys? I would put him below Brees but above the other two, and given what Kyle Orton in the same offense was able to do against the Lions, I think there's a good chance that Cutler goes wild, even if all his wide receivers are mostly ass and white guys.

Meanwhile, the Lions have actually done a fairly decent job stopping the run. I think there's a good chance this continues against Matt Forte, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see Forte grind out just enough to frustrate the Lions and their fans all day long.

The Bears defense is missing Brian Urlacher and so there is a chance that they won't be as good as we have seen them be in the past, but then again, they beat the Steelers already and took care of the Seahawks last week, so I'm not exactly seeing a freefall here. Plus, the Lions might not have Kevin Smith and even if they do he probably won't be 100% and I'm not exactly comfortable expecting the fearsome duo of Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown to authoritatively push the pile down the field all day long.

And then there's Stafford. He finally had a decent game against Washington, and his numbers would have been even better had St. Calvin not been called for offensive pass interference on a deep bomb. Also not reflected in the numbers was the great throw while Stafford was scrambling in the fourth quarter that drew a pass interference call near the goal line, setting the Lions up for the winning score. Stafford looked good, making the right reads and displaying the rocket arm that made all the scouts have to go change their panties. He still needs to learn to throw it with a little more touch every once in a while, but I believe that will come with experience.

Now the question becomes can he do it again? I don't know. I think what we're going to get from Stafford this season are flashes of the future, like last week, mixed up with a whole lot of frustrating performances where he makes a couple of bad reads or tries to make something happen only to throw an interception. I'm willing to put up with that. I'm pretty sure, much to my dismay, that the idiot contingent in our fanbase isn't, but hopefully the Lions won't cater to their insipid bullshit and Stafford will get the time and room that he needs to grow into a real force, which I am confident he will. This dude isn't Joey Harrington. I watched after every big play he made on Sunday and saw him cockily run down the field, tongue out, eyes screaming fuck you I'm awesome at everyone. I like that shit in a quarterback. Joey always looked like a puppy dog that was just beaten with a wet newspaper. I know many fans see a new quarterback and just see old Jazz Hands over there, and I'm sure there are some that see Andre Ware or Chuck Long, but man, I think that Stafford is the real deal, both in terms of talent and makeup. None of those three failures had both of those things and that's why those comparisons are just defensive posturing from scared ass fans who don't want to get hurt again.

I wouldn't be surprised if Stafford struggles this week against the Bears. They're on the road, playing against a pretty good team and I could see Stafford make a couple of dumb throws with the confidence that comes from having had a good game last week. It will be another learning experience for him, and hey, that's cool. I just hope that the coaches don't freak out and act like he is Craig Krenzel or some fool and have him do as little as possible.

The Lions will probably lose this weekend and their record will likely fall to 1-3, but to hell with it, that is already better than last year. You can't even say that it is one percent better or a million percent better because everything multiplied by zero is still zero. I mean, you can't polish a turd as I believe Socrates said. But what that 1 in the victory column means is that it is already something new, something quantifiable, a base to work from. It is no longer a turd but a piece of soil. I just hope that the fans - and let's face it, their mania here is at least somewhat understandable given the trauma of the last fifty years - understand this and give that soil time to produce something beautiful.


1. Kevin Smith plays and manages over 100 yards rushing. He doesn't score but he toughs it out and impresses everyone. After the game we find out he had his shoulder replaced with one grown in a lab by Ernie Sims using DNA from lizards and his monkey. It ignites a scandal which ends with The Ford Family donating Mike Furrey to a zoo. When it is brought to Old Man Ford's attention that Furrey is no longer with the Lions, he throws a cup of applesauce at the messenger and calls Al Davis. They go on a road trip to Vegas which is made into a feature film by Miramax. It bombs at the box office but is a critical hit and becomes a sensation in France, winning the Palm D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The emotional highpoint of the film is the scene where they bond over their mutual ties to Matt Millen who to the French becomes a film villain on par with Darth Vader.

2. Matthew Stafford goes 18-34 for 168 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. After the game, Lions fans descend viciously on one another once again and someone wishes we still had Charlie Batch. I weep.

3. Calvin Johnson catches 5 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. He has a 95 yard touchdown called back because his feet catch on fire during the run and the refs decide it is a penalty of some sort.

4. Jay Cutler throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. After the game, Gunther Cunningham wrestles an alligator in order to demonstrate toughness to his players.

5. Matt Forte is held somewhat in check, rushing for 90 yards. He catches 5 passes for another 50 yards and picks up a touchdown or two along the way. Gunther Cunningham finishes off the alligator and strangles a box full of puppies, enraging Lennie Small who senses their pain from afar. It ignites a controversy which only ends when another erupts when Mike Furrey escapes from the captivity of the zoo and is later captured by Ernie Sims, who uses Furrey's DNA as a sort of missing link, which when combined with his earlier formula of lizard and monkey DNA allows him to create a bionic shoulder which shoots lasers. He sells the patent which raises enough money for Ford the Elder and Al Davis to make a sequel to their first film. I write a post in which I ponder the oddities of such a string of events. I am then beaten and put in a mental hospital where I spend my days shouting at fellow patients and drawing pictures of cartoon lions fighting vampire apes.



Andrew TSKS said...

Those predictions were the funniest thing you've posted in months, and that's saying something considering how funny your posts usually are anyway. Keep up the good work.

Neil said...

Thanks, my good man.