Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Help Wanted: ST Players who can TACKLE

Here is a post I saw on Mlive today, and I thought I'd start with it. Another person claimed Rod was a dunce who was screwing up the team as bad as Millen. I disagree, and so did this individual. I like his response, so here it is:

"Posted by stickety on 03/12/08 at 9:02PM
1. Gave Kalimba $20 million... - That was Rod's mistake? I could swear Millen was behind that decision, even referring to Kalimba as a "comer."
2. Gave Corey $50 million- Clearly, this mistake is Marinelli's. However, to be fair, Redding was coming off a huge season, and Rod wanted to reward him for his hard work. Once again, it's the GM's job to make these type of big picture evaluations. It's pretty unfair to put this all on Rod.
3. Agree that Kitna is the answer...- So, you would have passed on Ernie Sims and drafted Leinart? I wouldn't have. They had just signed Kitna AND McCown, a promising young quarterback. They also liked Dan O. a lot at the time. I just don't see how you can classify this move as a mistake... Do you really think Leinart or Cutler would have turned this franchise around? I don't.
4. Draft Drew Stanton- I blame Rod for not fighting harder for a linebacker, but that was a 100% MILLEN pick. Martz told the MUSTACHE that he wanted either Trent Edwards or Drew Stanton. The MUSTACHE had a man crush on Stanton and didn't want to see him get swiped up, so he REACHED. Once again, you're blaming Marinelli for something that is clearly the GM's responsibility.
5. Keeping Joe Cullen- I think that what Marinelli has done in regards to Cullen is admirable. Instead of taking the safe route by firing him, he's tried to help the guy get his life together. Criticizing Marinelli for this is cheap and stupid.
6. Declare that the Lions "are close to being an elite team"- What in the hell is your problem with that? What's he supposed to say - we suck. The man is trying to convince these guys that they can be an elite team. One way to do that is by showing confidence in your guys.
* Yes, Rod has made some mistakes, but you vastly overstated his deficiencies. Remember, he took a team that "knowledgable sports fans thought would win 5 games," and won seven.
My point is this: 90% of Lions' fans are idiots(I'm not referring to you). They ALWAYS blame the coach and the quarterback no matter what the circumstance. They ALWAYS want the Lions to make the flashy draft pick or free agent signing. They NEVER want the Lions to address the offensive line with anything other than a 5th or 6th round pick.
These type of fans resent Marinelli because he has substance. He's not the typical bullsh*tter that the Lions put through the ringer. Give the man a chance. Do you really want to see a new coach bring in a brand new system next year? I don't.
IN ROD I TRUST."

Hear! Hear!

I'm taking a break from the draft today. I still would like to see more ideas on yesterdays post - maybe even with probable trade partners, etc.

I was thinking about Safety again after reading the Tampa Bay is not going to re-sign Pearson. Silly move on their part. They gave him the lowest tender, which means as a UDFA, they get no compensation from the Lions if they choose not to match. Compare that to, say, the high tender the Lions gave Peterman. If anyone signs him to an offer sheet, and the Lions don't match, they would get a third round pick.

After last year, I really didn't think the Bucs would gamble on any more players they wanted to keep if Detroit might even possibly be interested in them. While looking through old quotes and thoughts form last year, I came across some interesting info on Dwayne White. I forgot to save the source with it, and I honestly can't remember where I came across it.

In summary of it, the Lions essentially forced Tampa to start Gaines Adams last year, to less than spectacular results. They knew they were going to be releasing Rice - he had been injured for a few years in a row, and wasn't worth what he was taking up under the cap. White had been a solid back-up, who was ready to move into a starting role. They wanted to get a younger pass-rusher to develop in the draft, and were hoping to have him rotate in with White and learn the D for a couple of years before starting full time.

Since he had been a backup, and wasn't really well known in league circles, they figured they could get off cheap re-signing him. They extended a decent, but not thrilling offer -- but big enough they figured it would take most other teams out of the running on an unknown backup. Then, Rod Marinelli -- his longtime position coach -- swoops in and offers him starter money to come to Detroit. While White's contract isn't small by any means, it sure does look puny compared to the one, say, Justin Smith got this off season. White said he was all ready to stay in Tampa Bay, but he couldn't resist the chance play for Rod Marinelli again -- and show Rod he was the starter that Rod envisioned him to be.

This year, the Bucs gambled no one would match the offer sheet (957,000 yr) they extended to Pearson. After all, he rarely - if ever - played his listed position as a DB; He was one of their special teams leader, and filled in if needed for injury situations. (What Rod calls positional flexibility). Pro-Bowl Special Teams Linebacker from the Bears (Oyanbedjo?) got over 1.5 mil a year from Baltimore just to play special teams, though. (Like Pearson, when with the Bears he played little if any time at LB). The Lions get Pearson to shore up what was one of the worst coverage and kickoff units - and they do it for about 1.08 mil a year. The average player salary on the 53 man roster is 2.25 mil. When Devin Hester is in your division some sure tacklers on special teams is not a luxury -- it is a necessity.

As I look at it, the Lions may even keep Blue if he plays special teams well. No one complained when Donte' Curry and Anthony Cannon we listed as LB's and only played special teams. It doesn't really matter what the position is -- if they can play an additional role as a reserve, and be an ace on special teams coverage units - then they are worth a couple of roster spots. If you take a close look - every team has them. And they aren't always LBs.

I like the move.

One question I saw indicated that all of these 3 year contracts could hurt the Lions cap wise. The answer is: No. Most of these guys are NOT getting signing bonuses. Teams take a cap "hit" when they drop a player if that player has pro-rated signing bonus money that has been spread out over the life of his contract that is going to be accelerated (Like BMW last year) or that will count against them for what would have been the duration of the original contract (Why Joey and Crog hit the Lions for so long.)

In this case, even if 3 of the guys with 3 year contracts all got 1 mil signing bonuses-- and were all cut in the second year (not likely) there would be a 2 mil cap hit (one time) or 1 mil a year for two years.

Part of Millen's problem early was giving huge signing bonuses to every FA - and then when they didn't work out, it put pressure on the cap that is only now finally easing a little bit with 2 off seasons of more solid signings.

Thoughts?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're scaring me.

STICKETY and I have been on the same wave length for a while.

The average fan just wants to say someone sucks. Leinart was benched. Cutler's shown streaks. Kitna is a proven vet who is steady.

REDDING - The problem is, Cory's stats were as a DE. He's now a DT. They had to sign him at DE money. At the time, he was worth it. He may still be worth it. Last year he was learning. Does that mean Cory may go back outside? They have three DT's, and if they sign another (or draft) that is always an option.

OYAH A BANJO - Our new safety is a special teams gunner. Brendan Ayanbadeyjo got paid good money, and this kid is pretty close. A little smaller and a little quicker.

OL' BLUE - Greg Blue is 6'2" and 216 lbs. Can he make a move to SAM with a little added weight??? It may be possible, but add 20 pounds and try running the same. It's pretty tough. Plus, Greg Blue still needs to cover--we know he can hit. We know he can flow to the ball and pursue.

RE-TREAD - Last topic. My least favorite comment is that we are accepting Tampa cast-offs.

1. They have a pretty stellar defense. Better than us; maybe say, 30 spots up the chart.

2. We snagged a few up-and-comers as well. DeWayne White was the starter last year until we sunk that Battleship. Rice was going to be a cap cut until they had nowhere to go to teach Gaines Adams.

3. Marinelli is a motivational force. So much so, that these guys want to leave sun-drenched Tampa and come play in the snow (easy to say in March in Northern Michigan). Darby is a rotational guy; even if he's fourth in the rotation, he's a Marinelli guy in the locker room. Same with Brian Kelly. He'll start and really help Keith Smith and Stanley Wilson develop. Remember, they can keep Fisher as the nickle and have Smith spell Kelly and Bodden. This is a lot of depth at this position which was very weak last year.

Now add Dwight Smith and Pearson. Marinelli is stamping this team, and these guys BELIEVE in his message.

Team unity is HUGE in football. The only thing bigger is MOMENTUM. And we saw the rock rolling the wrong way during the last eight games. The Lions need to start pounding it again.

nobsnubber

DetFan1979 said...

Agree 100% -- I was trying to hint that they may keep Blue as well as Pearson for primarily ST duty versus a couple extra LB like they have in the past. LB or S doesn't matter to me -- as long as they can hit and create holes and tackle guys like Hester I'm good.

Cory was hurt most of last year. With Darby to mentor him and healthy, I look for him to bounce back.

As you can tell from my blog entry today -- I think White was the top under the radar signing all last offeseason -- hands down. The Lions stole him, pure and simple.

I HATE the "tampa cast-offs" and Retread comments. ALL FA PLAYED FOR OTHER TEAMS.

Seriously. Never would have figured, huh? There are many reasons a guy is let go - systems change, a younger guy replaces them on the roster with similar talent but less cap space, or less salary. Cap cuts. Teams updgrade so starters become backups and solid depth guys get pushed out to other teams without depth at that position.

I like the FA moves, and taht they are bringing in Vets to help mentor the young guys right.

I think Rod has already started the Rock rolling in the right direction again this offseason -- lets see how far up the hill they can get it this time...

Anonymous said...

For the most part I agree with you guys. I like Marinelli and the general attitude he's trying to instill in the organization and it's players. I do however, think that you guys are being a bit easy on him.

You're being dismissive about the contract he gave redding as if it was a minor mistake but I see it as a HUGE glaring mistake that's taking a lot of cap space. I understand that he had a break out season and that he played terrific in that contract year. But they should have been able to get him for less, and if they couldn't they should have told him to walk. Consistency is the key, not "one year wonders".

Also, while I do favor some of the Tampa Bay signings, I DO think that Rod is taking it too far. In my mind, when you sign all of these players from a prior team you're risking a tendency toward stagnation. Without bringing in new players with new ideas, skills, and capabilities you're going to lose out on a lot of chances for improvement.

Lets put it this way, Rod has worked with maybe a fairly miniscule number of players as a coach at Tampa Bay (probably about 3-5% of the leauges total defenders at the moment realistically), and if 30-45% of your team's defense is being made up of those former players than you're really running the risk of overlooking that other 95-97% of players. I know he's looking for guys that understand the system, but this seems like a stop-gap solution that is going to open up some long-term problems. I'm not saying that he's wrong for signing guys from T.B.-I like D. White, Kelly, and Darby a lot, but he's beginning to take things too far and the Lions are going to start paying for it if he doesn't look outside of ONLY his prior experience and the draft for talent.

While I know that sounds very critical of Marinelli I do like him overall despite some areas where he's lacking. He's an incredibly motivator and I think he's very good at being open to his players while still maintaining very high expectations on an individual basis. He's also done a great job of building a really solid secondary out of thin air this offseason which should help us out quite a bit next year (even without Sean Rogers).

If they had the same schedule as last year I'd consider them an 8 or 9 win team...as things stand with our schedule for the coming year. I think 6-8 wins would be very good and show a lot of progress (even if it doesn't necessarily appear so from the actual record).

-Streetworm

DetFan1979 said...

Streetworm -

I should have made mroe of an effort to point out some of his weaknesses (every coach has them). I had been seeing a lot of criticism of late, but no mention of what he was doing right.

That being said, I am being leinent on bringing in Tampa guys this season because

A. They were willing to come to Detroit for a reasonable price because they like Rod

B. He needed guys who knew the system on D to mentor the young guys, and they were the only ones avaialable.

I will say that I don't think he will focus on Tampa players next offseason. If he does, then I will certainly be very critical. It makes sense this offseason, but by next year they should be beyond that point.

He also needs to hire a challenge assistant. He has been plain awful in that area.

jreffy said...

I think one thing people are not realizing when looking at all the Tampa players coming into Detroit.

Rod Marinelli evalutated and knows these player's talent.

People are always pointing out the Lions shortcomings in evaluating talent in the Draft, and righteously so. Just look at the lack of late-round picks who produce, or 1st round picks that aren't starting on anyone's roster in the NFL.

What Rod has done with these Tampa players is bring in talent that he has evaluated close-up and over a significant amount of time. Some people questioned White's ability to be a full-time starter, but I doubt you'll hear those questions being asked this season. Now Rod is stacking up on the secondary talent. First off, you can never have too many DB's in the NFL. I'm sorry, but injuries happen often in the NFL and being shallow in the DB position is something that no team can afford to deal with. Second, these guys are all Tampa 2 players, they won't need time to learn and develop. They are all players who can contribute on defense and special teams, along with passing on their knowledge of the system to the younger guys.

Overall, great job in the offseason so far. Let's just hope Millen can work some draft-day magic and get us some picks to shore up the OL and rest of the defense.

Anonymous said...

Marinelli is still learning about the head coaching position and is some ways that shows, like the challenge's. A position/assistant head coach does not have to take on those responsibilites.
Like some of the other posters on Mlive have stated, Marinelli is trying to fix Millen's many past failures.
The cap is starting to become manageable after all of the past problems.
Warning!!! this maybe the only time I say this but Millen actually is doing something smart, letting Marinelli run the show. This team will improve and like the Giants last year, big stars are not needed for great results. They got more out of there supporting cast than most teams got from their "stars". Lets see what happens in the draft and the salary cap cuts to see where the team can go.

Millenismad

Anonymous said...

Street worm

I couldn't agree with you more. Rod reached into the "Tampa pool of talent" for knowledge and teaching. They will draft each of these positions to fill from here on out. They wanted the "mentor" at each position.

CB - Leigh Bodden is a terrific talent, and Kelly will help him along. But Bodden can be placed on an "island" and still cover, he has great ball skills.

Kelly is there to bring along the young'ens. Travis Fisher, Keith Smith and, Stanley Wilson.

Darby - may get a rookie. He will teach up and motivate Redding, Cody, and Moore. You may be able to toss in a rookie in that group. If Kentwan Balmer falls to the second, he is a lock pick. They were huge on this kid after his interview at the Combine.

Smith - came from Minnesota. Not only T2 experience, but another defense as well.

DeWayne White - mentor for 5-0. I really believe they are not going to draft here until the 4th round. I think 5-0 gets his chance. Kalimba better re-structure his deal.

And now, the mess at linebacker. Ernie Sims is light out. And then...ol' Mother Hubbard. Paris Hilton and Al Lewis aren't your starters. Neither is Anthony Cannon. There is very little depth here, there is no mentor. There is nothing.

At offensive line you have a right tackle issue between Foster, Scott, and possible draft pick. Here (LB) you have a glaring hole.

That is why I truly believe, they will go 1st and 2nd with a MLB and a OLB.

Rivers is lights out. Connor may be a reach at 15. Lofton and Mayo would definately be a reach at 15. I have said (and will continue) that they will go OLB and MLB with the first two picks.

But, if the right player slips, I can see a RT. Which one, I don't know. I haven't looked at a Clady or Otah or a Williams yet. I hate the idiots that say "project". We need a guy to come in day one if we draft him in the first.

MARINELLI -

I love the guy. He needs bigger balls. Mike Martz was handled like a China Doll. Mike Martz should have been told to shut the ******** up during the draft last year.

Mike Martz shouldn't have been able to use time outs.

Mike Martz shouldn't have been able to throw Coach Kline (Henry Winkler)-type spasms in the corner (like Waterboy) when thing didn't go his way.

Marinelli is responsible for the time-out issues. Marinelli is responsible for all the poor challenges. (We were robbed in Tampa Bay with Pollard's catch).
That is my knock on coach Marinelli. But, I'll take the total package, hands down. This is a guy that players will walk through a fire for.

nobsnubber

dreamweaver said...

I also like the signing of the former Tampa players, as has been stated, they fill a dual role, as player and position coach. The know Marinelli's system, and can help teach the younger players how it works and how to play it. They also know Marinelli so the can help the rookies taken in the draft to adjust to his coaching style.
As far as Marinelli making coaching mistakes, my take on it is this. This is his first head coach gig, it's like a player learning a new position. it will take a couple years for him to get comfortable in his new position, and I think Rod is well on his way to that point. I'm surew when he studies game film he is rating his performance as well as that of the players, seeing where he could have done thing differently, and what things he did that mistakes, A good teacher always learns as he teaches.