Raiola encouraged by what he’s seen of Lions

We’ve found the one member of the Detriot Lions able to talk about the team’s outlook for 2010 without making a prediction: longtime starting center Dominic Raiola.

While Louis Delmas and rookie first-round pick Ndamukong Suh fell into the trap of making the prediction the Lions would make the playoffs in 2010, Raiola is more on the “cautiously optimistic” side, according to The Detroit News.

Keep in mind Raiola, 31, has been a part of 33 wins during his nine seasons with the Lions.

“You never know, you still don’t know. You aren’t going to know until, really, those first few games,” Raiola said.

“But it’s a lot more encouraging. One, everyone has the same record right now. Two, Calvin (Johnson) is going into his fourth year, (Matthew) Stafford is now going into his second year, the defensive line is a huge upgrade and when you watch the cornerbacks, they are running their (butts) off. On offense there’s a home run hitter in the backfield.

“This is all what you can see on tape right now. Obviously, we haven’t done anything in a game yet, but I’m encouraged with what I’ve seen. Probably the most I’ve been in my 10 years.”

Raiola makes a good point that at the very least he’s encouraged by what he’s seen. Along with the growth of Stafford, Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, the Lions added offensive firepower in Jhavid Best and free agents Nate Burleson and Tony Scheffler. Defensively, the additions include Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams and a host of defensive backs, including rookie Amari Spievey and veterans Dre’ Bly and C.C. Brown.

You can’t blame Raiola for being cautiously optimistic, or for not wanting to talk about it. A veteran move.

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