What Should Santa Bring the Detroit Lions?


When Santa shimmies down the chimney at 222 Republic Drive in Allen Park, what should he leave under the Detroit Lions’ Christmas tree?

After a 2014 season in which the Detroit Lions looked to finally be putting it together for a bright future and beyond, they took a major step back this season. No team is ever without needs but the list of needs grew longer in 2015 than it was, or at least was perceived to be, in 2014.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell handed out gifts to all 32 NFL teams. Here is what he selected to give the Lions:

"Stickum for Ameer Abdullah, whose fumble woes may pin the dynamic rookie to the bench in years to come. Scouts already were worried about Abdullah’s propensity to let go of the football after he fumbled 13 times in four seasons at Nebraska, and that has continued to be a major problem this year. Abdullah has fumbled five times on 176 touches as a rookie this season. That’s one fumble every 35.2 touches. The only rookies since 1990 with higher fumble rates over 150 touches or more don’t exactly augur much hope: It’s a list that includes Dexter Carter, Reggie Cobb, Steve Broussard, Roosevelt Potts, Rashaan Salaam and fellow 2015 rookie Matt Jones."

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Ameer Abdullah needs to be a big part of the Lions’ offense both now and in the future and ball security has certainly been an issue. Whether Stickum or some other solution for that problem, there are bigger issues facing the Lions.

If Martha Ford had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and ask for one thing for her football team, what would it be?

I suppose Santa could bring a Vince Lombardi trophy but he couldn’t deliver the championship behind it – that’s up to the front office, coaches and player. Hey, even Santa has his limits so we’ll rule that out.

There is an obvious hole in the organization right now with Sheldon White in place as the interim general manager. It would be reasonable to ask Santa for a competent general manager capable of leading the team to many years of stable success but I’ll answer by going in another direction.

Please, Santa, bring the Lions an elite left tackle.

Jeff Backus received more criticism than he deserved for his play but even the most ardent supporter couldn’t call him among the game’s best at any point in his career. In the years following Backus, Riley Reiff has shown himself to be capable to play the position but, like Backus, doesn’t have an elite ceiling. The Lions could do worse, but they could also do much better, thus the need.

But supplanting Reiff with an elite left tackle goes beyond improving that one position. The right tackle spot has been a mess all year and upgrading over Reiff on the left side means he’s free to move to the right side.

Plug someone like Tyron Smith or Joe Thomas at left tackle with Reiff playing right tackle and the Lions’ offense looks a whole lot better. The running game improves and Matthew Stafford has more time to throw more consistently.

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If you could have Santa bring one thing for the Lions, what would it be?