Thursday, March 13, 2008

And I'm Sorry, Mr. Jones...It's...Time...

I'd say Rod grew a set, but I think it's more like he remembered he had them around the Green Bay Game to end the season...and he's been whippin his machete around ever since.

Seriously -- what part of this off season doesn't say Straight Talk Football Guy Marinelli. No pansy excuses. No softening the news to spin it. No "we're moving in another direction, lets just be friends, okay?"

So we say goodbye to KJ and Kalimba. And the world has ended? What? I can't go near a Lions site without people making like it's black Friday in 1929. Seriously. I read about three posts on a forum today and called it quits. So I know they are gone, and not much else. Fill me in if I make incorrect inferences. To the doomsayers:

Step 1: Get back on your meds. Now.
Step 2: Throw cold water on your face.
Step 3: Relax. If you have $4500, you can go out on the town with Elliot Spitzer.

They obviously didn't like the medical prognosis on KJ and said straight up: You make too much money for what you bring to table. Kalimba was told by Rod LAST season that if he didn't figure it out, he was gone.

I wasn't surprised they cut KJ outright, as better/less injured backs have not been getting any play this off season. Combine that with the fact it is a strong RB draft, and that more quality backs are rumored to be looking for work soon (Alexander, Pittman, et al.) -- there was just no trade market there.

I am guessing that the Lions felt out other teams, and found that there really wasn't a market for Kalimba either. Any trade would likely involve him reworking his deal to get significantly LESS money, as would staying with the Lions; I'm guessing he decided to take his chances on the open market and accepting being released.

If Millen thought having either Jones or Kalimba on the roster would have helped him move around the board on Draft Day -- mark my words, he'd have kept them. Even if all he thought he could get was a 5th (ala James Hall) -- he uses those mainly to package with other picks to move around the board.

As for the Lions' draft plans, this really doesn't change too much. If anything, I see it as a sign they are thinking that there will be plenty of suitors looking to trade up to get "their guy" at the 15th slot. Looking at the Mocks, there are about 20 players going in the top 15...which means someone that another team wants is going to slide...and the Lions are in the prefect position to use that to their advantage. Add in the fact that no one is sure what the Lions will do: MLB, DE, OT or RB (poss CB if they are as gullible as Oakland) -- and there will be the opportunity to trade back into the 20's and pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd. I'm guessing Millen will package in the extra low-round pick it takes to garner the second.

And Millen could still, at that point, trade one of the extra 3rds and a 4th to get back into the 2nd round.

It is realistic to think the Lions could end up picking in the 20's in round 1, and once again get three 2nd round picks, and still have a 3rd. (no 4th or 5th rounder, and possibly no 6th).

Look back over what I just wrote. Now look at the teams picking in the 20's, and their needs. Factor in Millen's ability to get people to panic on draft day (the Cleveland one-spot trade anyone?) and it is a real possibility.

Which means there would be 5 picks in the first three rounds (4 in the first 2) to get:


Players the Lions can use at those positions, with the ability and talent to step right into either the rotation (DT, DE) or start (RB, OT, MLB) will be there where the Lions can get them.

I also think that while Millen will once again be dealing to move around the board, it will be to get the players Rod wants. He has gone all Rod's way this off season, even to the extent of letting go enough players that Millen is now confirmed as not being able to draft on his own -- I don't see it changing for the draft.

For better or worse (I think better) -- Rod has manned up now and it will be his players and his team from this off season forward. They didn't strip Millen of his personnel powers -- not officially -- but Millen is letting Rod run the show there for now. As he should -- Millen is a good Team President, but horrible evaluator of talent. What has he got to lose by letting Rod do it? After all, its pretty near impossible he could draft any WORSE, right??

Letting go of KJ and Kalimba also provides some cap relief as well, since the Lions were really pushing their limits about as far as they could go.

Specualtion: There must be at least some intrest in Kennedy out there, as they did not release him with Kalimba and KJ. So either they are looking at dealing him on draft day, or want to see what he adds to the competition at camp. I'm leaning towards option one and if there are no takers, that he becomes a June 1st designated cut.


jreffy said...

Good evaluation and breakdown.

Honestly, it was time to go. KJ has not produced over the last 2 seasons, definitely not worth what they were paying. Furthermore, the Linsfrac injury was still being treated all of last season and now he has a surgically repaired knee ligament as well.

What I hope this DOESN'T do is change the Lions Draft strategy. Go for OT/MLB/DE with your first few picks. This draft has PLENTY of quality running backs, and it's an easy position to fill (Ryan Grant anyone?).

Stick with the original draft strategy, and please, TRADE DOWN.

Anonymous said...

I see your point. I had the Millen and Rod talk with my dad tonight after I saw that KJ was cut I was hurt but after talking to him I came to 2 concluisions 1)Coach is in charge of players and 2) KJ is damage goods just like Rogers, Bryant, Bailey ect. Coach wants players to hit and stay heathly. Most of Millens picks are gone and I understand some work some don't but your right millen can't evauate players so thats why Rod is doing it his way. Great blog.

Anonymous said...

"What I hope this DOESN'T do is change the Lions Draft strategy. Go for OT/MLB/DE with your first few picks. This draft has PLENTY of quality running backs, and it's an easy position to fill (Ryan Grant anyone?).

Stick with the original draft strategy..."

March 14, 2008 1:20 AM

Exactly what I was thinking after reading some of the forums. Everyone needs quit over reacting until Millen screws up and neglects the Off. and Def lines again in the draft and FA periods until training camp. I also believe there are still going to be some other moves that will shock a few of us. I'm going to paste my quote from a couple of days ago because IMHO I think it still very much so applies and is still pretty much in the line of thinking of Detfan1979 and Jreffy's posts. I hope you all enjoy it and are trying to evaluate the big picture instead of just reacting with your heart on your sleeve...

"Reading everyone’s opinions since FA started has been quite amusing. What will happen on draft day still is unclear but if we can resist thinking with our hearts and take our emotions out of it for a minute while looking at what the market presents some logical answers can be drawn (some I have mentioned already).
First the biggest problems: LB, Offensive Line, DE, and RB. Now stand back and look what can be fixed/patched before the draft. We know that FA will end soon and there really aren't many players out there to fill these key positions. Knowing this Spikes and Wilson (provided he is healthy) are looking more and more attractive as FA moves on. Questions to be addressed regarding LB: Can we get one of them and are they the type of character players that our coaching staff is looking for? Should we rely on the Draft to help fill these positions? Should we try to make some trades to improve in this area knowing our only real trading bait seems to be Roy and KJ?
Next there really aren't any Offensive and Defensive Linemen that look very appealing without trading our only commodity (Roy) which I'm not against if we can get reasonable compensation in draft choice/player (IMHO no less than a second rounder and quite possible player to boot). In my opinion Roy is a good receiver but very over rated and I believe that there are enough teams out there looking for a big first option receiver that something like this could actually happen.
Then there is the RB situation. This position could be addressed in FA and later in the draft. Shaun Alexander, Warrick Dunn, and Tatum Bell (probably too much ego to stay, heck the coaching staff may not even want to work with him either), I even think Denver may be letting Mike Bell go and he looked real good at times last year. Anyway there are a lot of options here which aren’t in addressing the other needs.
I get somewhat tired of summarizing how to build a team to everyone (of course this is my opinion), so I will make it very short; secure your two lines, obtain a great MLB who can do it all, then start improving the other areas. Like you DetFan1979 I have so much more to say, I’m glad to have a few more people who enjoy the sport as much as I do to debate and discuss these issues with. I’m at work so I’m out, enjoy your Sunday all"


March 9, 2008 7:27 AM

So in closing, fix the Offensive and Defensive lines, get yourself a stud Middle linebacker then worry about your skill positions. Every other position can pretty much be average but the above mentioned needs to be fixed first in order to be on the successful path of providing good entertaining and competitive football week in and week out without getting embarrassed on any given Sunday. Also remember it isn't over with the draft, there will be more cap cuts from other teams for the June 1 cutoff so hopefully if the draft can't (and won't) fill the major holes there will still be time for patch work.


Anonymous said...

Furthermore have many of you realized that this business move is probably what is best for the team? KJ has had back to back years in which he has obtained pretty serious injuries. This move allows them to do two things; First it obviously opens up very needed cap space (there were be plenty more quality players cut before the June 1 cap deadline), Secondly, they could very well have approached him regarding reworking his contract due to his injuries and he didn't want to. Cutting him will allow him to wake up and realize two things. At this present time he's not worth his salary and secondly if nobody else wants him they can resign him for a more reasonable salary for this year and get what they wanted.
This isn't easy for me to say for two reasons, first, I'm a big fan of KJ when he is on the field and secondly I'm not a real big fan of Millen. Although I have to give Millen credit where credit is do. Millen has an uncanny talent to maneuver up and down the draft board on draft day (he just doesn't seem to have the personnel to properly research who to draft when getting there) and as of recently he does seem to be obtaining people who play in the positions where there is need for upgraded talent. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day, maybe Millen is finally getting it or maybe Rod and Co. are really stepping in there and influencing him (working as a team) into making better long term decisions. Either way I do like what I have been seeing so far and am very intrigued to see how we fill the rest of our holes. Unarguably being the OL, LB crew, Defensive Line and now RB. Again it is far too early to really determine what is going to happen on draft day as the March madness FA period isn't over and undoubtedly there are still going to be players cut and traded.


Anonymous said...

There are a few out there on that have posted this correctly. KJ MUST be hurt a lot worse than first expected.

With that said, KJ was a good back that is going to be hard to replace.

Compare TJ Duckett's salary with that of what KJ was supposed to make. Chicken scratch. Now, double that with the inability to trade for a draft pick of some sort. Who would do that? Why not get something in return?

Because nothing was going to be gotten. That knee MUST be bad.


CHIEFGER139 said...

if they could do the draft trade your talking about-that would be a genius move and they could get all there needs fixed.
i posted yesterday i thought they may get the rb cause none of the 1st rd tackles look that appealing and have posted on -mlive the posibility of cutting jones to free up money to get one before being trashed by most on the board-feel it was a good move cause now we can get our rb,ot and mlb with our 1st 3 picks and a de with our other 3rd and 3 of 4 can be immedite starters and they can build upon them for years to come-am really excited about next year.
lions great in 2008 playoffs and beyond!!

Anonymous said...

I just HOPE Millen doesn't step in come draft time and take his coveted skilled position players and take Mendenhall... I don't look at this as a waste of a pick but I know that is exactly what his influence will lean too. And honestly I have a theory, ANYONE CAN RUN THE FOOTBALL IN THE NFL. What you need is blocking and scemes to make it work but look at Denver who was down to their 3rd string back and he put up 100 yards on MNF against GB. It just doesn't make sense to spend a top pick on a running back even if it is someone like AP. Why waste so much money when any one of these 4.4 backs that college produces can do the job. I think Tatum Bell can do the job and Calhoun can too but ultimately we will see.

Keep up the good work
Aaron Lambert

jreffy said...

Ok, I came back to post with a bit more thought about the Draft, Rod, and Millen.

Rod and Matt
Again, kudos to Rod for making this decision and to even to Millen for going along with it (seemingly) without a fight. Perhaps we're seeing Millen turn the corner as far as yielding to Rod when it comes to making personell decisions. Honestly, I like Millen, he's a nice guy and was a great pro. However, he's in a position in which he had no direct experience. So, much like Rod, he's learning on-the-job (not a great way to rebuild a franchise). We can only hope that Rod and Matt and they start hitting the end of that learning curve this season.

The Draft
Please please PLEASE stay away from a Running Back until you have first addressed two of the following; OT/MLB/DE (preferably in that order). I wouldn't even THINK of drafting an RB until Round 3, provided that Millen doesn't work some trade-magic to get another pick in Round 2.

Not only is the draft deep at RB, like many have said, it's the easiest position to find suitable talent for. Are we going to find the next AP or LT in round 3? No. Do we NEED to find the next AP or LT? No.

Furthermore, Tatum Bell has already proven that he can be a 1000yard rusher...but here's the catch, PROVIDED he has an Offensive Line that can open up holes (see Broncos circa 05 & 06). We've already got a starter in Bell, so spend some draft picks to shore up that OL. I believe they are better than people make them out to be, and going to a more traditional offense (read as "non-Martz") will help them.

The more I'm looking at the draft, the more I want the Lions to trade down 5-8 spots and draft the OT they would have picked at #15 anyway. Then using the extra pick (most likely 3rd round) to either draft the RB, or package with other 3rd rounders to move back into the 2nd where they can take an RB who maybe slips a bit (stay away from Hart, imo).

Anonymous said...

Kevin Jones was kept on the team to drive down the price they had to pay Tatum Bell.

Then they cut him.

Two weeks ago, Marinelli said "Kevin Jones is our guy, and will be ready for camp."

They wanted TJ Duckett back, but TJ got PAID. A lot more than the Lions wanted to pay (look at the cap space numbers at the time--i.e.

So they play poker through the media, whittle down the price that Tatum Bell is asking, and sign him for around $1 million/year.

Tatum Bell would have been asking for close to what Duckett was asing had he known he was the starting back going into the draft. The Lions woul've had to pay that.


Calhoun has different timing on his injury and is four months ahead of KJ. This IS his second knee injury AND he never fully trusted it last time. These are NOT good signs for Calhoun. I don't think the indications bode well, but he's cheap enough (and returns) that he makes it to camp.


DetFan1979 said...

Very good points -- and the Lions were going to draft a RB anyways because they knew in the long run it was silly to continue counting on KJ, only to have to find a good insurance policy every offseason.

Thanks for posting guys!