By Nick Shook
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It’s a new day in Detroit.
There’s a new president, a new general manager, new members of the scouting department and new equipment in a modernized weight room. Ford Field has new LED lights. There are even new, Honolulu Blue end zones.
That has one returning Lion feeling optimistic about the future.
“They’ve brought in what it takes to be a winning organization consistently,” wide receiver Golden Tate said, via MLive.com. “We’re trying to get to where we expect to go in and win our division every year, and things like (this) matter. It shows us they care, and makes us want to play more for them. It drives guys in free agency here.
“We’re just tired of being the same old Lions. We’re tired of being that. We don’t want to be what the Lions have been the last 20-25 years, or however long it’s been. … And we feel like things like the end zones and what they’re doing around the facility, it helps, it matters. They’ve made a bunch of new additions in the weight room, the nutrition, the cafeteria. The meeting rooms are different. There’s so many different things, that I think they matter. They might be small, if you’re looking at them one by one, but they accumulate.”
To be fair to the Calvin Johnson era, the Lions have varied in annual record but have been respectable in the last half-decade, so it hasn’t been all that bad in the last 25 years. It may have only gotten them a pair of Wild Card losses, but it was much better than that miserable 2008 campaign about which folks don’t like to talk.
End zone color doesn’t determine success or failure, though. But the retirement of an all-time great, his replacement, and the first full season under a new offensive coordinator (Jim Bob Cooter) matter. After seeing a decline from an 11-5 season in Jim Caldwell’s first season to 7-9 in 2015, now is the time for the organization to push the idea of New Year, New Lions. Year Three is often when the changes truly begin to show. We’ll see how it plays out for Tate and Co.