The Detroit Lions have gotten off to an inconsistent start to the season, but now with the year half over, it’s finally time to take a closer look at some of the performances the squad has turned in.
Where do all the players stack up in terms of an award list? Recently, we handed out our best of the best for 2019 thus far at the midway point. Here’s a look at how some of the top names in Detroit stack up so far, and a look at who’s taking home some hardware.
Lions MVP – Matthew Stafford, QB
It’s not a stretch to say that Stafford is having an MVP season, even if the team around him is letting him down and he is failing to garner any national hype for the award. Stafford leads the NFL in passing yardage and continues to pile up the touchdowns while avoiding the critical mistakes. His play has been a breath of fresh air for the offense, especially given some of the inconsistencies he’s seen thus far in his career. The Lions needed this type of season out of Stafford, and they should probably feel horrible that their defense is dropping the ball in a major way in terms of supporting his efforts. With an average group, Detroit could be in contention for the NFC North given the season their quarterback is having. He’s the obvious choice for MVP of the team at this point of the year, and it’s not likely to be close the rest of the way.
Lions Rookie of the Year – T.J. Hockenson, TE
There’s a long way to go before this award is officially decided and Detroit’s rookies are playing a ton of snaps thus far, but Hockenson has given the Lions and their offense an element they have lacked in a major way in previous seasons. Hockenson has been impressive as a receiver with 296 yards and 2 touchdowns even in spite of a few notable drops. More than that, he’s been a willing blocker for the run game and has set the tone with his physicality up front. There’s no question he’s going to be a special player if he can stay healthy. Every team’s top draft pick should be their own personal Rookie of the Year, but Hockenson has immediately translated to the NFL when many questioned if he was the right pick last spring. That’s no small feat, especially in Detroit.
Lions Comeback Player – Marvin Jones, WR
Late last season, Jones was lost to a knee issue and it’s easy to see how badly the Detroit offense suffered without him. This year, Jones is off to a major tear, with 6 touchdowns on the season and a gaudy 535 yards receiving. He sounds comfortable in the new offense. If it hasn’t been Kenny Golladay doing the major damage for Detroit’s offense, it has been Jones, who has gotten loose for deep balls and big catches in the end zone alike. Give Jones credit for rehabbing and coming back motivated in a big season for Detroit. He’s shown up in a big way, and for that the Lions can be thankful.
Lions Coach of the Year – Darrell Bevell, OC
While Bevell has made his share of mistakes with the team through half a season, the Lions simply can’t argue with what they’ve gotten out of the coordinator at this point. Bevell is a professional, and has a knack for calling a good game, which is something the team has sorely lacked. Stafford and the passing game has become electric, and while the ground game has left a ton to be desired, they have suffered from injuries stunting their progress mostly. There is no question Bevell can be the one to get the Detroit offense over the top in the future, and it should be downright exciting to Lions fans to see how far he might take this group in due time.
Lions Biggest Disappointment – Kerryon Johnson, RB
The Lions needed Johnson to have a healthy year in 2019, and instead, he landed back on IR with yet another knee injury. That’s two knee injuries in back to back seasons for Johnson, which certainly gives fans pause about the hope that Johnson can be the team’s star runner of the future. Johnson is talented, there is simply no doubting that. The major question is does he have the body and the durability to take an NFL pounding. Making it through 2019 healthy could have answered plenty of these questions, but as of now, it’s fair to wonder about Johnson and his health moving forward.
Lions LVP (Least Valuable Player) – Christian Jones, LB
The Lions just signed Jones to a two year extension, which seems curious given his up and down play. This season, he’s been lost in coverage, and with the bevy of injuries the Lions have sustained on their defense, there’s nowhere to hide Jones right now. At the very least, the Lions need to hope for health around Jones so that his skills might be maximized better. Right now, he’s one half of a struggling linebacking group, with Jarrad Davis also struggling to make a big impact. Jones beats him out for these honors right now, but there is plenty of time left.
Lions Best Surprise – Marvin Hall, WR and J.D. McKissic, RB
This dynamic duo has helped deliver some massive plays to the Lions cause, and the team deserves credit for finding them. McKissic has become a find as a pass catching running back, and Hall has been good for multiple big plays and deep balls this season at wideout. This duo has been hard working and humble, and gives credence to the notion that teams can still score big on the waiver wire from time to time if they do their homework. This twosome gives the Lions offense some added punch away from the big three, which has been something the team has needed to find in recent years. Finally, they seem to have it.
Lions Top Signing – Justin Coleman, CB
When Detroit shelled out top money for a slot cornerback, several around the league raised their eyebrows. Through the first half of 2019, though, Coleman is earning his money that the Lions are paying him in a major way. It’s not a stretch to say the cornerback is a big play machine given the work he has done at creating some of Detroit’s biggest defensive takeaways thus far. Coleman hasn’t been nearly as good when moved from the slot, but the Lions are paying him to do that one thing, and he’s doing it exceptionally well thus far. With defensive end Trey Flowers inconsistent and tight end Jesse James an afterthought thus far, it’s easy to see that Coleman is the cream of the free agent haul so far in Detroit.
READ NEXT: How Lions Can Save Their Defense in 2019