Thursday, October 9, 2014

5 Burning Questions After Week 5

After serving a league-mandated five week suspension, first for calling Roger Goodell a liar, and then for viciously beating myself with a switch rather than watch the Lions attempt a field goal, Bromothymol is back!

To shake off the rust, I'm going to handle this post in the style of the first verse of Craig David's "7 Days",  in which the moderately underrated singer asks himself a bunch of questions, then answers them and expresses contempt for himself for having the audacity to ask them in the first place.

In the first verse of "7 Days", when listening to his own story about successfully asking somebody out, Craig David not only assumes the worst (Did she decline?…No), second guesses his own tact and forwardness (Didn't she mind?…I don't think so), questions the story's authenticity (Was it for real?…Damn sure), and needs more details before taking the boast at face value (What was the deal? A pretty girl, age twenty-four). 

That's pretty much how I feel five games into the Jim Caldwell era. I've seen plenty of reasons to start getting optimistic again, but then there's always that nagging Craig David in the back of my head that's going to need to hear a bit more of this story to see if if all checks out.

With that said, here are the 5 burning questions that I'm asking myself about Lions football, with 5 answers that are equally burning.

1. Is the new offense any better than the last one?
I tried typing this one into Multivac, but all it spit out was: INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.

Maybe it's just the injuries, but it doesn't really look like. Stafford's decision making has mostly been better, he's spreading the ball around more, and Golden Tate has been awesome…so why aren't they moving the ball better? 7 points against the Panthers, 19 against the Pack, and they didn't come anywhere close to scoring in the second half last Sunday against the Bills (seeing as field goal range equates to 'not anywhere close' these days).  Calvin Johnson's injury and the fact that they're now down to the 4th string running back hopeful have something to do with that, but even at full strength, or as close to full strength as any NFL team can hope to be, the output has still been inconsistent. One minute, you've got Golden Tate stepping up in the slot for a huge catch and run, the next you're trying to throw 40 yard bombs to Jed Collins. Don't tell me that's part of the new 'system', and that it's just a matter of time before Jed starts reeling those in on a regular basis.

2. Can the Lions win the NFC North, or is another collapse during the second half of the season inevitable?

We know what we're dealing with here; being who they are, a second half collapse is always a distinct possibility. However, I really do think this time around, the train wreck is at least evitable. One thing I've noticed since Caldwell took over is that the team as a whole at least gives off the aura of being even-keeled, whereas even in the best of times with Schwartz the atmosphere was as volatile as can be. With Caldwell, there have still been a lot of penalties, but none of the insanely stupid variety yet. There are still some turnovers at bad times, but not the constant tension and panic yet. The fans are still booing, but at least it's just at the kicker and not at everyone else yet (the opposite of what we saw in the days of 'The Best in the Business').

Just like in 2013, the NFC North seems to be there for taking for Bromo. But honestly, if they couldn't do it last year, with literally every single variable falling in the Lions' favor (Easiest schedule I've ever seen them have, plenty of home games down the stretch, lengthy injuries to the QBs of other contenders, division rivals having terrible seasons, 4th quarter leads in every single game), it's really hard for me to sit here and say that they have a good chance this year, even after another decent start. 

I still haven't gotten over last year. I mean, if they couldn't win it last year…it's like a line that Pops once asked me, when I chastised him for suggesting that the only job opportunities for midgets are either as actors or circus performers.

"Well what else is there??"

3. Is this finally the year that the Lions win more games than Michigan football?

Now the sad part about this question is that they might have already done so. Lions up 3 to 2 right now, and after watching Michigan play the first half of their season, what game left on the schedule looks winnable? I mean, if you struggle with Miami of Ohio, can't beat Rutgers, and can't even compete with Utah or Minnesota…(see: Pops, Midgets)

The last time Bromo has won more games than Michigan was back in 1995 (Lions 10-6, Michigan 8-4), and the late season free-fall by both teams last year ended in a 7-7 tie. When people are without irony recalling the glory days of Rich Rodriguez (if you hear my friend H tell it, you would think they won at least 3 Rose Bowls w/ RichRod), it can't possibly bode well for the current regime. I wrote a post a few months ago semi-defending athletic director Dave Brandon, and fully defending the decision to wear blue pants for the Penn State night game. That blue pants game is finally coming up this weekend and those pants are literally the least of anyone connected to Michigan football's worries, but Dave Brandon and everyone he's ever hired are looking more and more indefensible with each passing day. 

The Lions might not have a great season, but they will definitely win more games than Michigan this year. 

4. Hey, could some of you guys carry me off the field if we win on Sunday?

Any lingering doubt as to whether the Lions made the right move in firing Jim Schwartz was put to bed immediately following the Bills game. Is it even worth it to stick it to your old employers if you can't help but make a complete ass of yourself gloating about it afterwards?

Who gets carried off the field following an early regular season game? Who ASKS their players to carry them off the field? Since when is it the defensive coordinator rather than the head coach that gets carried off the field? Actually, I don't know how I even remember this, but Jerry Sandusky did, and that's worked out pretty well for him.

I see your Schwartz is as big as mine.

5. Why isn't H-Bromo on Twitter yet?

Oh wait, it is! I don't exactly know how to use Twitter yet, but follow @HBromo1 starting NOW for live commentary on game days, as well as any other rants that I can keep to 140 characters or less.