ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Luther Elliss is like the vast majority of talented Detroit Lions players throughout the years. As long as he played with the Lions, all of the individual accolades he had meant little when it came to team successes.
This is why it was a little stunning to hear Elliss, standing off to the side as this incarnation of the Lions practiced Monday morning, making some fairly bold predictions for this season’s team.
“For surely, double digits. Wins,” Elliss said. “And we’ll go, at least, for surely, second round. You guys all [have to] remember, even when I was here, I was always very optimistic. Even in the old days.”
To clarify, there was a follow-up to make sure he meant what he initially said – that the Lions, with one playoff win in the Super Bowl era, would be playing at least until the middle of January. Was he really predicting this?
“I am, I am,” Ellis said. “This year I am predicting they are going to win their first playoff game in how many years. It’s before I got here.”
Elliss was with the Lions from 1995 to 2003 after being a first-round draft pick from Utah. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and made three playoff appearances with Detroit – all losses on the road.
So what makes this team different from those in the past? Elliss has looked at the talent and the coaching change and is pleased with what he has seen.
“You look at what we have, caliber-wise, and look at [coach Jim] Caldwell and what he’s doing and just the response that these guys have and the love they have for him and the staff here,” Elliss said. “That’s a good mixture for success and that’s something that you want and that’s kind of what you’re trying to strive for. Just to get that, right.
“The chemistry correct, right, mixing that little petri dish and all that kind of stuff, mixing it right. I think they have everything here to be successful. The question is whether they are going to continue to believe that they are who they are.”