What to Expect from the 2022 Detroit Lions. Close Games

What does the Lions 2022 season need to look like to show they have the right people in charge?

What to Expect from the 2022 Detroit Lions
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Lions 2022 Expectations

Paul Rochon: We have to close games. What do we expect from the team itself this season? What are the earmarks of good progress in a baseline of this is okay, we’re going in the right direction, without win total?

A.J. Reilly: Man. Yeah. And that’s where I’m getting hung up, is because you want to measure success by wins, but success in a rebuild specifically, is not always going to be measured by wins. 

One of the things that I loved most about this team is the fact that they were in nearly every game that they played last year. So one of my expectations for them is to not lose that never say die attitude. 

Paul Rochon: Stole it out of my mouth.  

A.J. Reilly: Oh, perfect. See, great minds think alike. I don’t want to see them lose that never say die attitude, but on the flip side of that, I do want them to turn some of their close games into wins. 

Paul Rochon: Close the games. And that’s where I thought you were going with that. That’s what you were stealing out of my mouth. 

A.J. Reilly: I apologize, but that’s it right? Don’t lose the never say die attitude and then close out games. If you’re close, find a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And if you’re winning, find a way to put a team away, step on their throat on put them away.

Paul Rochon: So closing games is the number one. You cannot lose games like the Baltimore game last year. It’s an inexcusable loss. It’s absolutely Baltimore, specifically Marquise Brown, Hollywood Brown did everything they could to hand the Lions that game, they did. And we had the game, we had taken it and we were like, all right, we’re going to win.

And then we didn’t, in inexplicable fashion. We cannot have every week, a field goal kicker, kicking a record field goal against us to win football games, or for us to lose football games. 

No more Inexcusable Loses

We have got to close these close games. So that’s mark number one of progress. And part of that comes from the coaching staff evolving and doing a better job. Maybe Dan Campbell makes better head coaching decisions.

We have to close games. The Steelers game, you have to close that game. These are games we’ve got to win. We are in year two. If the culture is here, if they’re trying that hard, you can’t lose a bunch of games the way we lost them last year. You’ve got to turn these into wins. 

The Chicago White Sox put the Detroit Tigers in their place

Now, obviously, we would all agree, they competed for the most part, pretty well, most of the season. There were some blips, even at the end of the year, like the Seattle game. Seattle is not even a good team, that was rough. That was an embarrassing game. We didn’t really show up for that one, but for the most part, we competed all season. I want to see a little bit more steadiness.

So you look at the Rams. This team clearly treated the Rams game like it was their Superbowl. A lot of things went in our favor. We talked about the possessions early, right? I think we faked the punt, we had the onside kick and we faked either our field goal or punt for sure. 

We had an onside kick and stole possessions. And the Rams. were down double digits before their offense ever got to play football. Those things made the game look a little closer than it probably was, but we played so hard that game. I was hard as a rock when Penei Sewell was going to Aaron Donald, he looked like he was about to just throw him on the ground and whoop him.

We Have To Close Games

You’re talking about the most feared defensive lineman in the entire NFL. And you have a rookie just going at him, giving him the business, not backing down at all. That’s the kind of stuff that is the future. That’s the culture of the team. Those are the players that we need for this rebuild.

Like that just gets you jazzed up and excited. I need to see that every week I can’t have games like the Rams game and then games like Seattle. And I understand that it’s a long season and there’s going to be up and downs. There absolutely is, but we have to play at a more consistent level. And if you do that and you’re closing games in your head, coaches making better decisions, and you’re putting your guys in a position to succeed, even though you don’t have this elite talent level, you shouldn’t be picking in the top 10 next.

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