When it comes to Sean Rogers, I'm of two minds.
On the one hand, I see "Big Baby" -- doubling down cheeseburgers, taking plays/games off, mishandling strippers (as a friend of mine said - how exactly do you mis-handle a stripper??), and huffing-and puffing his way to the sideline.
On the other hand, I see the dominating defensive force that near single-handedly destroyed Shaun Alexander in the 06 Season Opener (Alexander has never recovered), and still have a video of him stiff arming selvin young on the way to the end zone against the Bronco's last year.
While he did begin to sputter out the second half of the season, it must be said for me the bigger disappointment was Cory Redding. After dominating the second half of 06 when Rogers was out, he did nothing at all in 07, even though Rogers was drawing constant double teams.
One thing I keep in mind about Rogers is that he started his career under the influence of Dan "Big Daddy" (definition of Lazy) Wilkinson. That is not a great role model to pattern after for a long NFL career.
Rod's first year, he was trying to see what was there in the chaos. Rogers seemed to be really buying into his message last summer, and into the first half of the season. He's not a guy the media loves because he doesn't like talking to them -- never has. Can't say that I blame him, considering the asinine questions and petty idiots that cover the Lions.
Last year, Rogers had surgery on his knees and shoulder. Say what you will about water aerobics, etc. -- that still makes the kind of conditioning Rogers needed out of the question. Rod pushed him about as far as he could go last season. And he certainly was not the only player who folded in the second half when they had a shot at the playoffs.
Looking at the draft class of 08, it appears the Lions could find a suitable replacement with a good talent level if they have a pick somewhere in the first half of the second round. A 3rd and a 5th would probably be enough for the Lions to parlay into the proper pick as well.
The key is, why trade a guy and then go out and draft a replacement? The guys they can get there will be good, but not Pro-Bowl. Not the dominating force Rogers can be - when he wants to. And there, I think, lies the crux of the issue. Even if they get a guy who is a little less talented, but is in on every play, gives it his all, and buys into Marinelli's message as part of the Team, instead of a "special star", then the defense as a whole will be stronger for it.
I will also say that if they keep him (which I find highly unlikely -- now that there are 3 -4 teams bidding seriously, someone will go where the Lions want them to, just to "win" the player they wanted), that they must institute strict measures on fitness to not only keep him in the shape he needs to be to dominate, but to be sure that he gets no special treatment so that Rod doesn't lose the rest of the team.
If it were Millen alone picking his replacement, I'd be worried. But if there is one thing Rod knows, its Dline. (On a related note, that is why I don't see the Lions taking a DE high, if at all, this off season -- I think they are sold on Iakieka Alama-Francis -- 5-0 -- and his potential and readiness to step in and make in impact this season. Here's hoping they are right!)
Thoughts? Look for another Lions post tomorrow night!