Lions final grades: A failure to measure up

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

With a 7-9 record, the Lions failed to meet expectations in 2015.

As impressive as their 6-2 second half was, the Lions still finished with the 20th-ranked offense and 18th-ranked defense.

The Lions finished 7-9 while ranking 20th in offense and 18th in defense.

While some people might blame coaching or a few officiating errors for the team falling short of the postseason, the players were ultimately responsible for the failings this season.

This year’s grades reflect those of a team that was average in nearly every sense. Some players obviously had consistently strong performances, but others were too often inadequate.

The grades for the first half featured several Fs as the Lions started 1-7 and were poor offensively and defensively. Many of those grades improved, obviously, but it was hard to have a catastrophic leap because all the games count. Even coach Jim Caldwell said he didn’t take much pride in the strong second half because it’s the job of players and coaches to win games.

“I think the record is the record,” Caldwell said. “No matter how you shake it up, it is what it is.”

The grades consider opportunities and expectations because it’d be unfair to grade wide receivers Calvin Johnson and TJ Jones on the same scale.

Browse a gallery of Josh Katzenstein's final grades above. Mobile users can click here.

Players who were cut during the season, like offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle, were not included. Players who appeared in fewer than seven games — like linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker — were given incompletes.

“These guys hung in there,” Caldwell said. “They battled through a lot of adversity. I certainly have to give them a lot of credit. I’m proud of them.”