Resolutions needed in Detroit
With a new year approaching, it’s time for everyone to come up with resolutions for 2019.
The same is true in Detroit, where all four of the city’s pro franchises are more or less muddling around.
Red Wings: The Red Wings, tabbed by most experts to be in the basement this season, are holding up well after a miserable start.
Coach Jeff Blashill has the team playing consistent —if not spectacular — hockey. Indeed, the team is hovering around .500 so far and could qualify for the playoffs this spring.
There are solid veterans like Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader around. Newcomers like Tyler Bertuzzi and Gustav Nyquist bring scoring punch.
But what the Wings really need is better goaltending. Veteran netminder Jimmy Howard has been steady so far, but you know he’s not the answer over the long haul.
Pistons: This is a team that has some components to be a winning team, but is lacking something to join the ranks of the big boys.
New coach Dwane Casey guided the team to a promising start with stars Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond playing well.
But as the better teams began to appear on the schedule, the Pistons fell on losing ways.
As good as Griffin and Drummond are, they can’t beat good teams by themselves.
The solution is to get better play in the backcourt, which is a problem, both on offense and defense. Unless they find an answer, the Pistons are doomed for a .500 season at best.
Lions: There is not much you can say about this perennially underachieving team.
New coach Matt Patricia has shored up the defense and he has some emerging stars in linebacker Jarrad Davis and lineman A’Shawn Robinson.
But the Lions offense deteriorated badly as this season went on. The loss of rookie tailback Kerryon Johnson at midseason was a blow but the inconsistent play of quarterback Matt Stafford was even a big factor.
The solution may be to unload Stafford (and broom offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter) and gamble on a rookie QB. There are going to be a few out there in the upcoming draft …. and you cannot do any worse than 5-11.
Tigers: This is one of the few times I cannot even think of anything that might improve a team that has slumped badly in just two seasons.
General manager Alex Avila’s inept work has taken away most of the real talent, most notably J.D. Martinez.
With the exception of starter Matthew Boyd and outfielder Nick Castellanos, the roster is filled with prospects and never-weres.
Getting a career .256 hitter in shortstop Jordy Mercer recently typified the desperation of the team.
And it appears that aging Curtis Granderson might even be signed. Granderson was once a very good player, but his best days came in New York.
It is going to be a very long year for Tigers fans.