Friday, March 28, 2008

Miami=>Indianapolis=>Detroit=Winners?

First off, a quote that I love about respect from FDR (paraphrased):

When FDR said he had great respect for what his political opponent was advocating, and his opponent himself, the man interviewing him was confused. FDR replied that "I need not agree with a man to respect him and his opinions - even if he is wrong. Of course, I'm positive he would say the same thing about me."

I thought your responses to my last post were, for the most part, of that nature -- and I thank you for that. It was a post I felt had to be written, and it still makes me give pause.

Moving on to lighter fare, Ironic Headline of the Week:

"Raiders bolster pass rush by signing DE Kalimba Edwards"

LMAO-ROTF - still chuckle every time I read it. Anytime you read someone calling Millen the "worst GM ever in all of pro sports" think two words: Al Davis

I had a new customer come in this morning, and he was wearing a Raiders jacket. I asked him:

"You a big Raiders fan?"

"Yeah," he says despondently, "Who's your team?"

"The Lions - I've got a Schelsinger signed helmet over there." I say proudly. (I have a Lions jacket and hat in my office many times as well, especially in spring/fall - I didn't today.)

"Lucky you." he says "At least your team is going somewhere. Man, have you seen the guys Al [Davis] is throwing money at this year? Someone's gotta put him in a home somewhere and take over."

"Well, I hear you signed Kalimba."

"[laughs] - Yeah...like those Lions [busts]* really helped last year." (* - use of an expletive I'd rather not repeat here as I like to run a clean, respectful blog, if possible.)

I sympathized, and immediately moved on to other subjects.

Interesting that there are fans out there who are actually starting to see the Lions as heading in a better direction than their club. Thank goodness for senile Al and the Raiders, eh?

Moving forward, here is an excerpt from an NFL.com Article from last Friday, 3-21-08:

Big Tuna jumps into free-agent waters, but where's the splash?
By Vic Carucci
NFL.com

Their willingness to buy into the hard-nosed, team-first program that Parcells is putting in place, along with new general manager Jeff Ireland and new coach Tony Sporano, can help make up for whatever they might lack in talent. Finding such players has been a staple of Parcells' philosophy throughout his entire coaching career, which has produced a pair of Super Bowl victories by the New York Giants.


As Parcells once wrote in an article for the Harvard Business Review, "I'm convinced, if you get people onto your team who share the same goals and the same passion, and if you push them to achieve at the highest level, you're going to come out on top."

http://www.nfl.com/freeagency/story;jsessionid=8D2B948DF5FF05EF62E852846F9C87D2?id=09000d5d8075509c&template=with-video&confirm=true

I've been blasted for uttering Rod Marinelli's name in the same breath with Bill Parcells when looking at how he is rebuilding the Lions, and what their plan is. But that won't stop me from doing so again. Rod prepared to be an NFL HC his whole life. He has been studying what has and has not worked for other teams.

He has cleaned out the Lions Roster at least as thoroughly as Parcells has/will clean out Miami over the next three years. Miami's recent drafts have actually been WORSE than the Lions. Seriously - go look it up. Just plain awful -- they make Millen look good.

Parcells has brought in about a half dozen players from his days coaching Dallas and the Jets even. He's brought in coaches he knows. They've subsequently brought in players they know. Sound familiar yet?

They are patching up a team to take the field for 08 (year 1)and see who among the players left will be able to fit in with the coach's (GM's) way of doing things. In 09 (year 2), they will cut some more, sign some FA from Dallas and the other teams the coaches were on as their contracts come up, and field a mediocre team that could get lucky and sneak into the playoffs, or could garner about 6 wins. (from 6-10 to 9-7, depending on how the ball bounces). In 2010, (year 3) their first couple of drafts will be filling about 10-15% of the roster, with FA patching positions of need until their replacements drafted in lower rounds can develop. Many of the FA will be vets they know, often on the downside of their career, but who buy totally into the program, and can both mentor the younger players and still provide a solid boost to the team -- both in play, and in spirit. They would be squarely in the middle ranks, going at least 7-9 and possibly able to get 9-10 wins each season, and have steady playoff appearances. Over time (years 4-6) they will add til over 60 -70% of the team is draft picks the team has made. In 10 years, they will be a team comprised almost entirely of players they have drafted, and will merely use FA to tweak their roster, and add a missing part here or there for a pick that missed, or a FA that wasn't able to be retained. Most of the cap is used in retaining their own good players, and they use the draft to select replacements for guys who will be leaving in a year, or two, or three - so that the young guys have time to develop. They use the draft to fill future holes, or upgrade positions if they can. As a perennial playoff team, they are always choosing in the latter half of the first round, and even if they miss on a player or two, it doesn't blow up their cap. They choose in value positions, and get solid players who fit their system.

Question: Who can tell when I went from projecting what the Dolphins and Parcells (and Rod and the Lions) are doing to what the Indianapolis Colts actually did?

That paragraph, along with the Parcells quote about only getting the "right" type of guys ("right" meaning those who agree with the Lions way of doing things-- football character, pound the rock, team first, one snap at a time. )

Also notice the time frame Marinelli listed for seeing a team composed "almost entirely of guys we've drafted" -- even if you draft really well, at 5 guys who stick on the roster per year it takes 5 years to get to 50% draft picks, and 10 years to get to the point 80-90% of the team was drafted. It's just simple math. I respect that type of statement more than the bluster of coaches who claim they will fix the team through the draft in 2 years. Umm...yeah....right....

Rod is building his team using the methods that he knows will work, and knows will keep the team competitive for years to come. Last year was the year of improvement, followed by the off season of sweeping out the last of the dust. This year is a winning record and a shot at the playoffs. After that, playoffs are an expectation, not an exception.

So after thinking about all this, I realized -- hey, this is a great time to be a Lions fan!!

Go Lions!!

15 comments:

Dreamweaver said...

I said this exact same thing on the Lions message board on Yahoo about a mounth ago.Their response was "Parcells knows what he's doing the Lions don't. LOL
I agree with you 100 percent,I have liked Rod and the way he does things from the day he was hired.
I have pedicted their record to be 7-9 to 9-7 this year, possable wild card team, in the plkay offs for sure next year, and legit contenders for the SB the year after.
It's great to people that realy understand football to talk to, instead of the average fan that says the lions have been bad for so long there is no chance of that changing any time soon. Thanks for the great blog.

Mark in AZ said...

The reason people bash what Marinelli does is he has not built a team and Parcells has but you are correct coach is doing it his way and he know's it's the best way to build a team he wants. You are correct and kepp up the good work.

I just found this on detnews.com
Lions sign linebacker Fincher
Mike O'Hara The Detroit News
The Lions signed free-agent linebacker Alfred Fincher on Thursday. Contract terms were not announced.

Fincher was drafted by the Saints on the third round out of Connecticut in 2005. He played 27 games for the Saints in three seasons. He was put on injured reserve after sustaining a concussion in the seventh game of last season. Another soild move.

lionwing2019

Anonymous said...

I know what you guys mean. I like Marinelli's style when it comes to evaluating the team and trying to find the right kind of talent...I could do without his constant "pound the rock" and "football character" sayings, but I get that he's trying to build a winning mentality and part of that is going to come through by constant repetition and building a new organizational culture.

What I really dislike about some Lions fans is that they expect so much so early from a new coach as soon as he comes into the organization. They give them one year of leeway as the rebuilding phase and as soon as they don't see results the second year it's time to start all over again. And the worst part is...they think that is a completely logical expectation, that franchises can be turned around at the drop of the hat.

I'm glad to see that while there are often deferring oppionions on this site, everyone seems to be reasonably well informed and they don't bash the team just for the sake of bashing it.

As for the Parcells comparison. I agree that there are very distinct similarities and it shouldn't be beyond anyone's expectations that either of them would bring in some familiar faces to help out. Although I'll admit, Parcells has proven much more career-wise so he gets more of a "get out of jail free card" in the situation.

That being said, I would like to see Marinelli begin to go after other players who have been successful in the T2 on teams outside of just the Bucs (like the Colts or Bears for instance). I know they've picked up a former Colts LB but he's really nothing more than a 3rd string special teams player. At the very least, solid backups that are familiar with the T2 could be found from teams other than the Bucs. I'm not hating on Marinelli in this regard, I just would like to see him "expand his horizons" a bit as far as free agency goes.

-StreetWorm

JJLions20 said...

DetFan1979, I live in the Indy area, and I do follow the Colts as a second team. Yes I get a Lions game close to home this year. There is a big difference between Indianapolis, Miami, and Detroit. It all starts with Peyton Manning. Not only because the QB is the most important position on the field, but the leadership they get from Peyton. Nobody works harder and prepares more than Peyton. He leads by example, and it challenges others to do the same. If you can find a talented player that will work harder than everybody else.... Well, everybody else has no choice but to follow their lead. Peyton isn't there watching film or throwing passes to himself. There is Marvin, Dallas, & Reggie.

But I will agree with you there are similarities behind the Colts road map to building a roster and what the Lions are trying to do. What the Colts do well is plug in players into their system. That is exactly what Rod is trying to do. They Colts don't have 1st round picks on the O-Line. Although they did use a 2nd rounder on an OT last year, They typically use their first two picks on impact positions on offense or the impact positions in the Cover-2. Therefore you will se the Colts typically draft QB, RB, WR, DE, S in the first two rounds. The one impact position in the Cover-2 they have not drafted high is the week side linebacker. Look at the following players who were taken in the first two rounds. Harrison (WR), Manning (QB) Wayne (WR), Gonzalez (WR), Doss (S), Jackson (S - moved to CB in 2007), Sanders (S), Clark (TE - But splits out as a WR at times), James (RB), Addai (RB), Freeney (DE). Well, the Lions are trying to follow the same plan. Williams (1st - WR), Jones (2nd - RB), Johnson(1st-WR), Bullocks (2nd - S), Alexander (2nd - S) Stanton (2nd - QB), Alma-Francis (2nd - DE), Sims (1st - LB). If you follow this plan then I suspect the 1st rounder could be a DE (Harvey/Merling) or the RB (Mendenhall). The O-Line needs to be developed with lower picks.

Another thing about the Colts. Look at their rosters. Most all of their FA (about ½ of their roster) are all role player, and back-ups. Does that sound familiar.

But what the Lions need more than anything is for Stanton to be that special QB, and provide leadership from the most important position on the field.

jreffy said...

I hope you guys all have some understanding as to how REFRESHING it is to talk and share thoughts with SANE Lions fans. Haha. I'm sure all you, like me, are so sick of the "we suck, everything sucks" attitude of your typical Lions fan these days.

What those typical fans don't understand is that despite all the questionable drafts and poor free agent signings, Millen's BIGGEST mistake has been the swapping of coaches every other year. Now that he finally had some brains about him and seems to be sticking with a smart coach, we've only just begun to see this team change for the better.

NOW, for any of you out there who are coaches, or aspiring to be coaches on ANY level, I want to share a piece of advice that I recieved from a coach I will never forget. It came up when I asked him how to take over a program
and turn it into a powerhouse.
"Your job as a coach is to take those kids, and squeeze every last drop, every single ounce of talent they have, and get them to perform to the very best they possibly can, no matter how much potential they have or don't have. If you can do that, the winning will come on its own."

I sincerely agree with this, and I believe it's what Pope Marinelli is doing in Detroit. Now, along with this, the city of Detroit needs to take it upon itself to start believing in the Pope's message. I'm sorry, but despite these players being professionals, they are also human beings. Turning around a team is difficult, and made even more difficult when the entire city you play in is jumping on every chance to rip into you, your coaches, and your front office. These guys are only human, and we as "the good" fans, need to try and get other misguided fans, back on the straight and narrow (Ok, that's the end of my religions references, I promise).

We're on the right path, we're building a winning team. It takes patience, time, and most importantly a vision. Marinelli has that vision, now it's just a matter of getting his players, and the fans, to believe in it.

There are good things on the horizon men, pretty soon we'll be reaping the rewards in the promised land (ok, I couldn't resist ONE more).

JJLions20 said...

I'd like to build upon what jreffy said. Marinelli has a different coaching philosophy then Morningweg and Marinucci. Morningweg and Marinucci were system coaches, and Millen bought whole WCO hype. Although Rod has his system (the cover-2), he is more about developing talent and motivating players to reach a certain level.

Morningweg was just too inexperienced to be a head coach. He didn't have that many years of experience to draw upon with regards to how to motivate NFL players. Millen just wanted the WCO.

Marinucci inherited a very talented team in SF. He didn't have to develop the weapons he had, the cupboard was already full. He didn't have to motivate the players to reach the next level, he already had the players that knew how to reach that level. He had the guys that could lead by example. Before SF, he was the QB coach in Greenbay for Brett Favre. Now tell me how much motivating do you think he had to do with Favre.
So all of this went into the make-up of his coaching philosophy. I'm not saying Marinucci's style was bad, it was just a bad mix for the situation in Detroit.

This is where I think Millen's biggest mistake was. Millen was hiring a system (the WCO) and not a coach in those first two coaches. With Rod Marenelli, he hired a teacher and a motivator. One that brought a defensive Philosophy and a system. In my opinion Martz was a good short term hire. Marinelli knew he was lacking with regards to his knowledge of offensive systems so he brought in Martz (one of the best offensive minds in the game). Martz brought an offensive system and wide open philosophy to the team. Not exactly what rod wanted, but one that he believed could be tweaked. Martz was also demanding coach that pushed the players. This was more important then his quirks. But when you hire Mike Martz your not hiring a guy you think will be there 5-10 years later. His personality just won't allow it.

For what Detroit needs to do to rebuild this franchise, I think the philosophies of Rod Marenilli are right on. You may find that special player in the draft, and at some point you may just go buy that guy. But for the most part you have to develop that talent.

CHIEFGER139 said...

i dont like the parcells comparison-sure parcells cleans house and he has guys that follow him-i was surprised more tampa guys didnt follow maerennal to begin with-unlike parcells i dont think rod can put up with the big head ego tallanted types-many he let go proves that-it took awhile for me to buy into this lockerroom cancer crap-in fact i still dont totally buy that bunch of bs-but rod does seem fair and hard and actually i think maybe for the 1st time we have a man that recognises talant-with martz in town it was hard to judge who was really running the team-now that hes gone we know who millens behind and whos running the show-it seems like every time this off season it looks like were going south-rod had a plan to fix that gaping hole-aka darby and boden at cb-now our big 2 i see are lb-with baily gone and rback with jones and duckett gone and tackle-with woody-one of my favorites gone-all 3 can be fixed in the draft-actually many professional mock drafts say we will get mendenhal and mayo with our 1st 2 picks-they brought in forte so maybe theyre lookin at him-my favorite draft so far is mendenhal 1st, mayo 2nd and brown a tackle at 3rd-that would be awsome-but one thing each time rod has cut in one area they have fixed it and that makes me feel there not giving up on next season as a rebuilding year-there building on a win now premises that excites me
LIONS GREAT IN 2008-GO ROD-GO LIONS-PLAYOFFS AND BEYOND!!

kitabug124 said...

I appreciate the well thought out, down to earth comments in this blog and in this article. But where did this idea come from:

"Rod prepared to be an NFL HC his whole life. He has been studying what has and has not worked for other teams."

If the above is true, it is wonderful. If not, it is just wishful thinking. What evidence is there that Marinelli has been studying what has and has not worked to turn teams around as a head coach? Do you say this because what is happening @ Lions HQ looks similar to what happens in Indy? Could be just a coincidence.

Also, it takes more than just a head coach to change a team. Do you imply Marinelli studied how to be a GM? A great coach can be undone by a terrible GM.

Anonymous said...

Before persecuting Kalimba too much, lets not forget that released players during coach Marinelli's tenure tend to return and burn the Lions, Toose had a career game with the Vikings, and Harrington had a pretty solid game for the Dolphins.

From what I can gather from the Oakland media is that the Raiders will be using Kalimba in a hybrid DE/LB role, something coach Marinelli didn't endeavor. And thats puzzling. Puzzling because of of LB situation last year, puzzling in relation to moving Woody outside, and puzzling appreciating that coach wants players capable of playing multiple positions.

Putting into perspective what coach Marinelli is doing with the Lions besides the players consider for a moment the coaching staff.

First time NFL offensive and defensive coordinators. First time QB coach. First time special teams coach.... (please no Wendy's mockery). It looks to me that he's trying to parallel Tony Dungy in building a school of coaches in the Marinelli mold.

Typically its the GM that leads in introducing the new free agents to the media and fans at the pressers. This year coach Marinelli has been front and center most (75%+) of the time.

And no doubt coach Marinelli's vision (short & long term) is impacting the scouting department as well, and think that we will see that in this year's draft.

In short, coach Marinelli has taken control of the Lions top to bottom. The Lions are his team. He may not have the greatest on-camera presence but he has football presence. He has a vision for the Lions and those illiciting for him to be fired display their immaturity as well as childish impatience (are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet....) by not recognizing whats happening in turning around this ship.

Go Lions

5BakerStreet

DetFan1979 said...

kitabug - welcome to the Blog! I do have several sources for that comment. I won't put them all here as I am preparing a Marinelli piece for this summer that is fully researched -- and I'm sure you will all enjoy seeing some of the information you may not know.

The one story I wanted, I haven't been able to find yet. It was sometime in 2007 - and had the most details.

But yes -- rest assured that was not wishful thinking -- And it is a wonderful thing! I think that while Millen is still GM, Marinelli demanded from day one that he be fully supported in building the team HE wants -- and since he has Millen buying fully into his vision of the Lions, I don't think that he will be undone by him. (You are right about a GM being able to kill a coach, but vice-versa as well.) Marinelli is an avid student of the game - both past and present.

Had to work again today - will add a new article tomorrow.

jjLions20 -- Great info - especially on Indy. I said 80% draft picks in the blog write-up, but was a bit tired when I was doing my math on that. Thanks for cleaning up my mistake on that one, and expounding upon it with more great info!

CHIEFGER139 said...

parcells or dungy would never pass up on mendenhal if bell was there back-hope our guys dont either

Dreamweaver said...

While we are comparing Marinelli to other coach's, I found this the other day while doing some research, It's about Tom Landry, and how hw started out as A Head coach. I thought it was an interesting comparison to Marinelli's start. It's from Wikapidia.

For the 1956 football season, Landry became the defensive coordinator for the Giants, opposite Vince Lombardi, who was the offensive coordinator. Landry led one of the best defensive teams in the league from 1956 to 1959. The two coaches created a fanatical loyalty within the unit they coached that drove the Giants to three appearances in the NFL championship game in four years. The Giants beat the Chicago Bears 47-7 in 1956, but lost to the Baltimore Colts in 1958 and 1959.

In 1960, he became the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and stayed for 29 seasons (1960-88). The Cowboys got off to a rough start, recording an 0-11-1 record during their first season and 5 or less wins in each of their next four. Despite this early futility, in 1964 Landry was given a ten year extension by owner Clint Murchison. It would prove to be a wise move as Landry's hard work and determination paid off, and the Cowboys improved to a 7-7 record in 1965 then in 1966, they surprised the NFL by posting 10 wins and making it all the way to the NFL championship game. Dallas lost the game to Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, but this season was still a display of what lay ahead: A span of 20 winning seasons from 1966 to 1985.

CHIEFGER139 said...

keep in mind
MARENNALI IS THE COACH ONLY-HES NOT THE GM like parcells has the advantage to be-how tough it must of been to let kevin jones go-a millen 1st round pik-but marenalli seen he was washed up and dared to challenge millen on this one-rogers too-one of millens few sucesses yet he allowed him to trade him-millen has obviously placed alot of trust in rod-yet i feel millens on a short lease and therefore rod is too-i hope themsucces in 2008 cause i feel if they go back to a 4 win or less performance ford wont beable to put up with the critism anymore-especially with a failing automanufacture company-parcells has a lot of flexibility now-rod and millen dont-they have to make some kind of respectability this year or im afraid as much as you all like rod he will be fired and the best he will ever be again at his ripe old age is a d-coordinator at best but with his records with the lions-dead last at defense-that is improbable,

Anonymous said...

detfan 1979

You are VERY correct. I tried finding it last night, and my computer crashed.

The Marinelli thing "saying he has prepared his whole life for head coaching" was spoken right around the time the folks at Alameda High School in California named their varsity football field "Rod Marinelli Field". I tried, but could not find it, then the crash. I had a good post last night, too...lost forever.

---nobsnubber

DetFan1979 said...

nobsnubber --

That is exactly when I read it, and I'm sure we're thinking of the same article. Can't even remember which site I read it on. Very irritating. If you (or anyone else) does find it, email me the Link at detfan1979@yahoo.com.

As for your computer crashing, I feel your pain -- once lost all my mid-term papers that way. 4 of them. 2@5 pages, 1@10 pages, and a preliminary research final draft at 38 pages (including graphs - which were a pain to get to come out right on computers in those days.) It only took 52 hours without sleep to get it all done on time.

I also had a long, irrelevant to football but entertaining story behind how that happened and following it up -- but I closed the wrong window, and it was all gone *poof*

And I'm too lazy and tired to retype it tonight.

Hope your computer gets back up and running without too much expense. Always appreciate your insights.