Monday, August 13, 2012

2012: The Year of..."Let's just wait and see."

This guy looked good.
The Detroit Lions opened their 2012 preseason with a 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns and there were some things to get excited about...and some things to get upset about.

But more than anything else...there was a lot of..."meh...OK..."

The Franchize, Matt Stafford,  did not look especially good.  He threw a pick on what was probably a miscommunication between he and tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

If high school kids dream of playing in college and college kids dream of playing in the pros...then Calvin Johnson still looks like he should be dreaming of playing with a level of football beyond even the NFL...like in Valhalla or something.  He's just awesome.

Defensive End Willie Young made me think it wouldn't have been that big of a loss to lose DE Cliff Avril in a contract dispute....and so did DE's Lawrence Jackson and Everette Brown....
And these guys were in midseason form....

The Lions running game, which was one of the worst in the NFL last season....looked a little bit better than adequate as they almost piled up 200 yards against the wayward Browns....which means the offensive line looked pretty good.

If the Lions miss anybody they lost from last year...they probably miss Drew Stanton the most...

Because this year's third string quarterback, Kellen Moore should not be in the NFL.  He simply doesn't have a strong enough, accurate enough arm to play in the big leagues.  Sorry, kid.
These guys came too.

But seriously, it's 2012 and my biggest complaint so far is....the third string quarterback...how things have changed here in Detroit.

Possibly the most promising story of the night was rookie cornerback Bill Bently.  A kid who actually looked like he belonged playing in a defensive backfield...unlike some of the jokes that have passed for defensive backs in the past few years.

Sure he got burned early, but this was his rookie debut.  It was his first time on the professional stage and he most assuredly had a few butterflies, but by the end of the night, he had one pick on a great read and react play and he almost had a second.  Not bad for a rookie third round pick!
But, sadly, no cheerleaders showed up...

So, all off season, the national opinion pendulum has swung back and forth in regards to the Lions.  At first they were "Super Bowl Contenders" and then seemingly every player on the team was arrested for something...anything from jay walking to high treason...(I think I heard a rumor that Ndamukong Suh took Airforce One for a joy ride sometime in May....) it seemed anyway...and then the Lions were just "undisciplined pretenders."

I don't know which they are yet either...usually I'm completely decided by this time of the year....usually I think they're just  a bunch of bums and I'm telling everybody about how "I hope I'm wrong, but..."  This year, I know they have talented players.  I know they can make the playoffs.  I just worry that injuries or expectations will hold them up.

Welcome to 2012!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Lions' Offseason in a nutshell

Five hours apart?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Are they really who we thought they were?

Hey everybody!  I'm back.

The Lions are 1-0.  It's been four years since they could say that.  And really, it's been more than ten years since I actually felt a little confidence about a Lions team...which I'm starting to do now.

The Bucs are a good team.  They finished 10-6 last year, barely missing the playoffs...and they haven't taken a step backward this offseason....and the Lions plunked'em good.  The final 27-20 score is in no way indicative of how close this game was.

The Lions went into the half up 20-13...and they gave away 10 of those 13 points.  Downright handed them over to the Bucs on a platter.

Furthermore, at the end of this game...there wasn't a line of players waiting for the cart...ie nobody suffered any season ending injuries or lost limbs or anything...

There's been a tradition in Lions football for as long as I can remember, week one means dashed and splattered hopes and at least one irreplaceable crucial player will be carted off the field...some taken out back behind the stadium and shot--like a lame horse.

No shots.  No cart.  No crushed and shattered dreams...the Lions won.

The front seven looked downright formidable.  The secondary did it's job...most of the day.  The only thing that stopped the offense all day...was a stupid penalty here or there or ultra conservative time running strategies.

So...wow!  Pretty cool.

3rd and 3 or less.

As I don't have a normal arm-length list of complaints about this week.  I can pull out my time-honored 3rd and 3 or less statistic.  The object of offense is to be able to make manageable third down plays.  Typically, "manageable" means 3rd and 3 or less.

I have always maintained that since the average NFL rush goes for 4 yards, the largest percentage of play calls in this situation should be runs...you can't do it all the time, you do have to keep the defenses honest...but for the most part...RUN THE BALL.

The Lions faced 3rd and 3 or less three times on Sunday....what did they do?  Passed, all three times.  How successful were they? 0-3. 

Um...let's see if this changes next week.

Fade stop.

The most ultimate goalline weapon in sports, so Herman Moore taught me in the 90's, is the fade stop.  On the snap, the tall WR sprints forward to the endzone line, forcing the CB to backpeddle..then he stops at the line, turns around and catches the high thrown ball that only his 6'4 or 6'5 body can get to...

Calvin Johnson is 6'5.  He can out jump anybody.  Did the Lions do it?  Nope.  They did run a fade...maybe they're setting something up for the future...but probably not.

Block that punt!

It has been a long...long....really long time since the Lions have even tried to block a punt.  I'd really like to see that change this year.

Wouldn't it be great if the Lions had cheerleaders?

Just a little something to help my readers as we continue to suffer under the tyranny of the Ford's and their incomprehensible aversion to professional dance teams.

Currently only six of the NFL's 32 franchises have chosen to go without the all important cheer brigades--Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, and the New York Giants.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fox 2 Reports Killer's passing

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sorry, found an even older one...


Mornhinweg's Coaching Staff Almost Complete

2/10/01

The big news this week was the hirings of several Lion's assistants and the beginning of Charlie Batch's indoctrination into the Marty Mornhinweg school of quarterbacking.

The Lion's new staff will consist of:

Jason Arapoff, who was with the Redskins since 1992 and had the title of conditioning director, is now in charge of the Lions' strength and conditioning. Arapoff, 35, played defensive back at Springfield College. He has a master's degree in exercise physiology from American University.

Carl Mauck, 53, was hired as the team's new offensive line coach. He has spent 31 seasons in the NFL as a player and coach. He played for Miami, San Diego and Houston and was line coach for New Orleans, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, San Diego, Arizona and Buffalo. He was with Buffalo the past three seasons.

Maurice Carthon, 39, was a running back for the Giants and Colts in eight NFL seasons. He played on the 1986 and 1990 Giants teams that won the Super Bowl. A protege of retired Giants and Patriots coach Bill Parcells, Carthon was an assistant under Parcells with the Patriots and Jets.

Last season, he was assistant head coach and coached running backs under Al Groh. This year he will be in charge of the Detroit ball carriers and there has been speculation that he will serve as the team's offensive coordinator, although Mornhinweg has stated that he will call his own plays.

Kevin Higgins, whose Lehigh University teams had a 32-1 regular-season record the last three years, was hired Wednesday as the Lions' quarterbacks coach.

Higgins has been Lehigh's coach and quarterbacks coach for seven years. Lehigh won four Patriot League titles and made the NCAA I-AA playoffs the last three years. In the first round of the playoffs, Lehigh beat third-seeded Richmond in 1998 and seventh-seeded Western Illinois in 2000.

Higgins was Lehigh's defensive coordinator for six years before becoming its head coach. Previously, he was an assistant at Richmond and Gettysburg.

Three of Mornhinweg's assistants are holdovers from last year's staff -- Chuck Priefer (special teams), Dick Selcer (defensive backs) and Don Clemons (defense).

Glenn Pires rejoined Lions defensive coordinator Vince Tobin when he was hired Friday as the team's linebackers coach. Pires was an assistant the past five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, where Tobin was head coach until he was fired in October.

Charles Haley, who terrorized NFL quarterbacks for 12 seasons, has been hired by Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg as a coaching specialist to work with the team's pass rushers.

He won five Super Bowl championship rings and -- as a volunteer instructor with the 49ers last summer -- convinced Mornhinweg he could be an effective teacher.

"I've always liked Charles, both as a player and as a person," Mornhinweg said Thursday. "And I had the opportunity to watch him closely -- and I did that on purpose this past fall camp -- and I thought he did a tremendous job."

Mornhinweg has stated that he is still looking to hire four more coaches before the beginning of the season. Two offensive and two defensive.

And lastly, the Lions have hired Larry Kirksey to coach the wide recievers. Kirksey, the assistant head coach and recievers coach of Texas A&M, worked previously with Mornhinweg in San Francisco in the same capacity.



Email of the Week
The year was 1957, the Detroit Lions featured several "un-coachable" players. Their head coach, George Wilson, was in his first year after former Coach Buddy Parker resigned half-way through PRE-SEASON. Parker stated that the Lions were "the worst I've ever seen in training."

The Detroit Lions in 1957, lost their quarterback Bobby Layne to a broken leg. Their best defensive player was hampered with a bad ankle. They were in dire straights.

But that Detroit Lions team remains the last Detroit Lions team to win an NFL Championship.

They headed into the game against the Cleveland Browns with alot of things against them, but they triumphed 59-14 with a "back-up" (actually Tobin Rote was one of a two-quarterback system in '57) quarterback.

Fast forward to 1964, the Detroit Lions are purchased by William Clay Ford, in the 6 seasons since the Lions won the Championship, they could not muster more than 8 wins in the 14 game seasons. The year after Ford bought the team, George Wilson is forced to resign.

In the 37 years since William Clay Ford bought the Detroit Lions they have won 1 playoff game. Since 1978, the Lions have played in 6 wild card games and never won. The only game they won was a divisional contest against the Cowboys in 1991.

The Lions have petered away awesome talent over the years, Charlie Sanders, Lem Barney, Billy Sims, Alex Karras, Earl Morrall, Barry Sanders, just to name a few. Others have been highly touted only to have their careers die by the hands of inept coaches hired by Ford. To name a few, Chuck Long, Andre Ware, Greg Landry.

Others have come to Detroit after achieving success elsewhere, only to disappear after playing for the Lions; Pat Swilling, Henry Thomas. Some have played mediocre for the Lions and gone on to better things; Earl Morrall led the Dolphins to a Super Bowl victory, Lomas Brown just played in SB 35, there are other examples, but I'll spare you.

Let's name some coaches, Joe Schmidt, Monte Clark, Darryl Rogers, Wayne Fontes, Rick Forzano, Tommy Hudspeth. These are men who were virtually inexperienced as head coaches in the NFL. They coached the Lions and then disappeared off the face of the earth.

There were "great" coaches. Bobby Ross for instance, the one man that Barry Sanders apparently couldn't tolerate. Sure Bobby Ross took the San Diego Chargers to Super Bowl 29. But that doesn't mean he just wasn't lucky, or surrounded by other talented coaches. He sure didn't show much in Detroit.

But, I digress, there is only common factor among these people. WILLIAM CLAY FORD.

I have a hard time accepting the "Matt Millen is in charge" routine, we all know that for the last 37 years it has been WCF.

"My name is Ron, I'm a Lions fan, welcome to my support group"

A Special Thanks to Ron Steenhagen

For providing the struggling one with his nice shiny new logo. Thanks a lot, Ron. It almost makes me feel professional. If anyone is interested in contacting Ron about the use of his excellent services, please email him at admiralron@home.com.

A Blast from the past...

As I've said, I've been writing about the Lions for a long time....let me show you an old article of mine...


Lions finish dismal season with another disappointing loss


Team stumbles to a 2-8 finish over their last 10 games

1/03/05

The Lions went down with barely a whimper, like so many of the Duck’s fluttering incompletions, 24-19 to a team of blind nuns from Tennessee. OK, maybe they weren’t blind nuns, but Tennessee was down to its third string QB, its second string RB, and its eighth string waterboy. This was a team that was simply praying that the clock would just start moving inexplicably faster and the game could end as quickly as possible. The Lions were playing a team that had already purchased their vacation tickets and were anxious to clear out of that Memphis stadium and hit sunnier climates.

By the way, the clock did repeatedly move inexplicably quicker—a fact that nobody seems to be talking about, but should be looked into by the league.

In the second quarter, with 32 seconds remaining on the clock, Joey called Detroit’s second timeout. The timekeeper allowed the clock to run down to 27 seconds. The next play, Shawn Bryson was pushed out of bounds with 20 seconds remaining and the timekeeper allowed another second to click off before stopping the clock. On the next play, again, Shawn Bryson ran out of bounds with 13 seconds left, but when the ball was snapped again, there was only 12 seconds on the clock.
In the fourth quarter, with 4:23 remaining, Stephen Alexander went down with an injury timeout. When Joey Harrington snapped the ball, there was only 4:12 remaining—where did those nine seconds go?

Reggie Swinton made a fair catch with 2:53 remaining; again the timekeeper allowed an extra tick to pass before stopping the clock. Shawn Bryson ran out of bounds with 2:46 remaining, the timekeeper allowed an additional two ticks. Stephen Alexander fought his way out of bounds with 2:38 remaining, but the game clock ran down to 2:33 before it stopped. Bryson ran out of bounds with 1:31 remaining, but the clock doesn’t stop until 1:28.

Simple math say that’s 20 seconds the Lions were cheated out of.
Is this "homecooking?" Or is it just cheating?

With 1:00 remaining in the game, the Duck called Detroit’s second timeout after Kevin Jones had run the ball up the middle for seven yards on a first down. If the clock read 1:20, do they still call that timeout? With an extra 20 seconds do they perhaps take another chance at running the ball to get those much needed three yards and four more chances at a winning touchdown?

Who knows? Probably, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The Lions didn’t run Kevin Jones on three consecutive downs when they only had three yards to go and still had a timeout in their back pocket. There isn’t much to say that with an extra 20 seconds that Mooch would have changed his philosophy.
But we’ll never know now, will we?

Running Item

I’m officially getting blue in the face while watching the Lions pass over and over again on third and three or less. Kevin Jones averages 3.8 yards a rush why not give him a shot, you’ve got an above average chance of converting—you’re playing the averages.

But what do the Lions do?

With 11:30 left in the first quarter, the Lions had the ball at their own 33 on a third and two. Instead of handing the ball off to Kevin Jones, a back who averages close to four yards a carry, the Duck dropped back and threw short to Shawn Bryson. First down.

With 6:37 left in the first quarter, the Lions faced a third and two from the Tennessee 30. Did the Lions run Kevin Jones up the middle? No. Joey passes short again to Shawn Bryson for four yards. Another first down.

With 8:44 remaining in the first half, the Lions faced third and two from the Tennessee 49. Kevin Jones now? The Duck flicks a seven yard pass to Reggie Swinton on a crossing pattern. Another first down. At this point the Leos are three for three on third and short. Wow. My "Third and Three or less" theory looks like crap right now!

6:38 left in the half, third and three at the Tennessee 35. The Duck drops back again. Incomplete pass to Bryson. Hey, the Lions were still 3 of 4—that’s nothing to squawk at.

27 seconds left in the half, the Lions had just used their first timeout to set up for a third and two from their own 37. Did the Lions secure the first down with a run and then use their second time out? Nope. Harrington passed to Bryson for a 31 yard gain! If this play stood, nobody gripes about it but me. Instead, there was a holding call on Jeff Backus wiping out everything and bringing up a third and twelve. What are the chances there would have been a holding call on a Kevin Jones run?

3 of 5 in the first half on third and three or less, not too bad, but all passes.
The Lions didn’t face another third and short until everything was on the line in the fourth quarter. Facing a third and three on the Tennessee 16 with only 56 ticks left on the clock, needing a touchdown to win, and one timeout still in the bank, did they give the ball to Kevin Jones (who on first down had gained seven yards)? No. Did Tennessee know what the Lions were going to do? Of course they did. The Lions were five for five passing the ball in the same situation! Instead of making sure that they’d get three more chances with the ball…they passed again. Incomplete to Reggie Swinton. Fourth and three? Why not give Jones a chance? Nope, incomplete. End of Season.

Many people complain that Mooch is far too conservative with his offense. I contend that he isn’t conservative enough when it counts. Six for six passing on third and short, that’s not just a trend, it was a guarantee. Something needs to be done to this offense and the play calling. Take your shots downfield often, and run when you really need it—at least %50 of the time. You have to keep defenses honest.

Who the Lions should draft with the tenth pick in the draft:

By losing eight of their final ten games, the Lions have secured the tenth spot in next April’s Draft, also known as "the Lions’ SuperBowl." There are many who think that the horrible theft of a victory against Chicago on a horrible officiating call a week ago was detrimental to the team’s future.

I don't think 10 is a horrible spot, but it is for what the Lions need. I think they really need to address three positions--S, G, and RT. A lot of people are saying DE or LB, but I don't think upgrading positions that we're OK at is going to get the Lions a big leap in the standings next year. They must address areas of real need.

At 10, it's too early for a S or G, and you're probably getting a mediocre T. McDougle is going to go out and test free agency and the Lions won't pay the numbers that he's reportedly going to be asking for. If Alex Barron or D'Brickshaw Ferguson fall to 10, the Lions are golden. If the two stud tackles are both gone, then the Lions have to pray they can find somebody to trade down with.

Personally, I'm glad they were given the Chicago win, they can't afford to keep paying top five pick signing bonuses. Over the last three years the Lions have had #2 pick, a #3 pick and a #6 pick. That’s a lot of upfront cash to dish out and a huge percentage of the team’s overall cap space. If they can move back to the bottom of the first for a second or third, I'd take that in a heartbeat and draft Elton Brown, G Va. He looks awesome and can do it all (C, G, or RT) --a 10-year starter. Then draft a S in the second round to replace Brock Marion, play Terrence Holt instead of Bracy Walker--then go best player available, making sure at least one of those picks is a QB of the future prospect and at least one or two WR's.
By the way, I will be posting several mocks over the next couple of months (probably one a month based on new details as they come out.)

Elton Brown

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Leshoure out for season...bad mojo rolling in...

One down, only 50 or so more to go...
I was really excited about this season.  I had dreams...big dreams of playoff runs and meaningful games in December and respectability.

These dreams were all pretty much based off of a great draft class and a four game winning streak to end the season...a winning streak that did not include The Franchise...he was on the sideline watching...

So take that winning streak plus getting the Franchise back plus a good draft class plus a few free agents and you've got the recipe for a big season....right?

Well, let's look at this reasonably. 

Yes, Stafford is coming back...that's a big plus.  If he stays healthy, and plays as good or better than he has in his first two seasons, I can't see how the Leos can't top eight wins this year.

Now for the bad news...

That "great" draft is going to yield pretty much nothing for at least the first quarter of the season. 

First round pick DT Nick Fairly broke his foot the first week of practice and will miss all of the preseason and problaby won't be back to contributing shape for a few more weeks after that.  At least we drafted to a "position of strength," hopefully his loss won't kill the team...

Second round pick RB Mikel Leshoure, who everyone was crooning about this preseason, popped his achilles tendon on Monday and will be lost for the season...the Lions have since picked up two...also rans to try and pick up the slack, but this loss will be felt all season in short yardage situations.

Lastly, third round pick WR Titus Young pulled a hamstring on the first day and still hasn't been seen again on the field...who know how long it'll take him to get back and if he's even any good when he does come back.

So...um...they ended last year on a four game winning streak and they didn't have Stafford...now with Stafford, just think how they'll do....because everybody else is dropping like flies.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Good bye Randy, I'll never understand why you were so important to me

Randy?
Randy Moss is retiring after 13 seasons.  He ends his career second in NFL history in both 100 yard receiving games and touchdowns.  He should, but because he's acted like douche on countless occasions won't, be a first ballot hall of famer.

And he has also been an incredible god send for this website.  And I'm really not sure why.

Here is what I know.  At the beginning of last season, one of the many loose screws in Randy's head finally fell out and he went on a crazy tirade in the locker room after a game, claiming that he was no longer going to do interviews...instead, he'd ask himself questions and then let the media know what his answers were...

I posted the transcript of that little trip through crazy town.  I don't know if everybody else lost their copy of this or what...but I get over a 1000 Randy Moss hits to my site every month...all searching for this interview. While most of my posts have little more than a 100 pageviews apiece...that Randy Moss interview has almost 20,000...people love them some crazy diva wide receiver.

So as he disappears into the sunset taking all of his worldwide interest and acclaim with him, I'll have to hope some other crazy millionaire will board the crazy train and ride it all the way to insanity junction...and then I can quote his blithering nonsense and all will be well...

This is the NFL...it's full of crazy millionaires.

I'm not all that worried.

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's August 1st...did I miss anything?

How many probowls again?
The big problem with being a Lions fan...is you know Lions history and every time the team does anything...you can make a parallel to a similar thing they've done...that has failed.

This past weekend the big news was the signing of Stephen Tulloch, a MLB from Tennessee to a one year deal.

There is a lot to like about Stephen Tulloch...but there's nothing to do cartwheels over either.  He's only 26 years old...which means he should be coming into his prime...which means they should have locked him up for longer than one year...but...eh...these are the Lions.  The one thing that I really like about him is...he's never missed a game in six seasons.  There's a lot to be said for the ability to stay healthy in the NFL.  He's also played four seasons under the Schwartz in Tennessee...so he knows the system.

But...

Six season, no probowls.  Last year, playing middle linebacker he had a career high 111 tackles...111?  As a middle linebacker?  This is worrisome.  As I recall Chris Spielman used to average like 180-200 tackles a year....a middle linebacker has to be a tackling machine...

I hope he grows into a star, which is highly possible playing behind the mega DL the Lions have put together over the last three years...

Welcome Back, Chis Houston!

This is a bigger move in my opinion than the Tulloch pickup.  The Lions were looking line up with Eric Wright, who has been on again off again his entire career and Nate Vasher who is on the down, down, down side of his career.  Pair that with the fact that Alphonso Smith, last year's most promising CB is already wearing an air cast on his foot and you get a really big need to shore up the CB position.

Houston was good, not great last year, and hopefully, with all the hype about the DL...good will be good enough.

National Reporters are idiots

A couple of years ago it was Dan Pompeii picking the Lions to go to the Super Bowl...this year it's Peter King...now, while I do have a lot more respect for King, they're still both idiots.

Thanks guys, it's hard enough in Detroit as it is...why'd you have to jinx us too?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welcome Back, NFL! Glad you didn't completely screw the pooch.

Mo money, mo money, mo...
Now that four months of Billionaires bickering with millionaires over billions of dollars is done...we can get back to football.

I've learned a lot of things in this four moth hiatus.

1. If you put "Randy Moss" in your tags, you will get site hits until the day you die.  I have no idea why this is, apparently the world loves it some crazy pot smoking diva wide receivers.  Who knew?

2. There are a huge number of people jumping on the Lions bandwagon based on the drafting of Nick Fairly...a guy who never showed up for any of the player organized activities...totally deflating all the "lazy" and "poor work ethic" rumors about Fairly.

3. The Lions still need two linebackers and two corner backs.  If these positions continue to be filled by...nobody...the Lions will be just as bad as they have been the last few years.

4. Matt Stafford has apparently been working out a lot this offseason.  He is supposedly bigger...here's hoping all that extra muscle mass can keep his joints from falling apart...

5. Free agency and rookie signing is now underway...I'll be back to complain about what they have or haven't done some more soon.

Hey, I missed you guys....
 

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