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."
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!!