First of all, to Deano -- I can't do a story on the conditioning guys because...you can know as much about them as I can by looking them up on Detroitlions.com! Unlike a lot of journalists, I do not bill myself as an "insider" for one simple fact: I'm not. I am an insurance man. Who has this hobby where he researches and writes about his favorite NFL team -- publishing it on a blog as DetFan1979.
Essentially I'm doing what I did throughout college: Researching and writing short essays late at night (Not as late as then, but hey -- I have to get up a lot earlier too. And I'm not that young anymore either! Also skip the coca-cola, pizza, and ice cream too. Well, most of the time.) I do my best to be sure that I differentiate between what is fact, what is my opinion, and what is someone else's opinion/ideas. I give direct links to my sources, or name them when a link isn't available, so that you know where my information is coming from -- and also so that you may read it and form your own ideas and opinions -- and hopefully share them in the comments section.
That so many of you enjoy this site, and the sense of community it brings are to me just overwhelming. When I started writing this at Mrs. DetFan1979's suggestion ("Please -- tell it to someone who wants to hear about it. I can only take so much football talk!") I figured if a half dozen people read it, that would be a lot. Now, there are about hundreds of readers daily, even in this -- the slowest part of the ifseason. So let me take a moment here to say thank you to everyone -- you make this Blog a great site for Detroit Lions analysis -- from the big details, to the little. I am humbled, and will do my best to continue to produce quality work. Thanks!!
2 Biggest differences for me writing this blog from my college days of yore are:
- I actually enjoy writing about the Lions more than I do the gross manipulation of pricing factors for licensed physician services by their trade group, in what is an overlooked monopoly on an imperative service that has been specifically shorted of supply despite increased demand to artificially inflate prices to levels that go beyond mere price gouging. (A 36 page paper I actually wrote during my undergrad, thought I had a link to/copy of but apparently only have on 3.5" floppy written in a word processing program that is no longer used that I no longer own -- assuming that the disc still is good after ten years in boxes in attics/basements/garages without AC next to who knows what. Ahhh... progress.)
- I don't have to pay to write this blog. I get to do it for free.
Going back to injuries, I'm with Nubsnobber in that these things tend to be cyclical -- and also have a lot to do with ifseason conditioning. Kevin Smith has it right on when he talks about putting on his armor for the season in the ifseason. If you look back, the Lions had the most injuries during the Mooch era of "relaxed" practices and less than intense ifseason programs. Actually, on the whole, the Lions' injuries the last two years have seemed about average for the league. Like most teams they have a tendency to get hit at one position or position group. This isn't typically due to the trainers or coaches -- but the players and the situation. When one guy in a position group is injured, then many times you either have a back-up -- who isn't as used to game contact, or may play multiple positions -- or another starter moving in to take over. Guys see more game action as there is one less person to rotate in. Same for practice. This can lead them to wear down more. If they are playing out of position due to injury, then they can be hesitant, or try to switch directions, or move in ways they aren't used to, which can also lead to injury. That is why Marinelli is so concerned about having quality depth, and not just a solid starter -- if you have a superstar, and then no one, you are one snap away from "no one" starting...
KC Lion -- good thoughts on the Lions. I think 10-6 is a bit optimistic at this point. Based on the dreaded "P" word, I think it is a 7-9 to 9-7 season depending on how the ball bounces, and how soon players progress. However, that being said, I am pretty teed off that the Lions keep getting lumped in with teams expected to win less than a dozen games at best as if they were picking in the top ten last year, while teams like KC, St. Louis, and even the 49ers are being lumped in with "potential" teams... despite as many or more holes as the Lions. The Lions were about as close to middle of the pack as you can get in the NFL -- 16-17 share the "center" spots in this 32 team league. 15 is just barely south of "Top Half" teams... I will do a separate piece after I take a look at teams with similar records last season.
Can - nice to see you here -- let the sunshine in man, and what you say makes total sense -- but it's not something to be depressed about -- yet.
1. White is healthy, and he has shown what a difference he makes. Redding is also healthy again. While I agree it is something we need to see, it will be a total unknown until the season -- and a lot of the defense's fortunes for 2008 and beyond will rest on the development of 3 guys: IAF, Avril, and Fluellen. IAF is the biggie this year -- if he has stepped up to the next level, then the Line will bring pressure. If not...well, then I'll be right there shaking my head and checking out FA and Draft Prospects next ifseason. I say to give him a shot first, as well as the other guys on the line. I want to see how they play when the coaches are dictating who is in the game, not whether or not S. Rogers feels like playing that down.
2. ST who can tackle? I did a bit on that a month or so ago I think during FA. One thing they have done, while improving their depth, is that almost all of the guys brought in are ST juggernauts -- and that is based on performance, not potential. If ST is even half as bad as last year in the first three games, Kwan should be fired on the spot. Last year, talent on the ST unit was a problem (outside the kicking unit). This year, it is not. No excuses Stan -- you're Priefer's disciple -- one of the best ST coaches the league ever saw. Time to show it.
3. The running game is a mystery, as I've said, because they just plain haven't done it. I had no idea how well I would do writing a regular Lions Blog -- sure, I put comments here and there and it seemed to do well -- but could I do it regularly? And maintain it? Never know til you try, and plain fact is that Martz really didn't try to seriously run last year. Add in a revamped Oline, and new blood/healthy guys at RB and what you have is...what we get. (just like this blog) That's why its the Ifseason. IF the line gels, IF Coletto's defensive changes bring balance to the offense, IF 24k is as advertised, then maybe I'm a little low at 9-7 as the top end prediction right now. IF not...then the Lions will be picking middle of the pack again. I'm leaning more towards WILL -- 24k graduates next year, or last year, and he goes no later than top of round 2 -- hands down. The draft was just that loaded at RB this year -- a lot of great seniors, as well as a host of juniors declaring loaded down the draft with talent this year -- and despite what the hypesters said, there was not too much talent-level difference between the first back taken and K. Smith. Really, no matter what offense your NFL franchise runs, there were a couple of backs in the draft this year for you.
So cheer up Canopener! There are good things happening in how the team is approaching things, and the types of players/talent they are picking up. They will still be borderline playoff this year -- just like last season -- but are moving forward with a strong foundation for a change.
I did see your comment on "simple", which I'm not sure many others did since it is an older post, so I'll put it here (hope you don't mind):
"Simple" is disguising plays by having a running back out there and not let the opposing team know exactly when you are going to run or throw the ball. Any team in the NFL could tell if we were going to run or pass. My biggest problem with Mike Martz was he should have had the running back out there more often to disguise plays. A running back that can block will help us.
Right on all three counts -- which is exactly where I was planning on going after schema etc were established. The follow-up article to "simple" will also be forthcoming soon. Martz was so intent on being the "genius" that he was outsmarting himself, and his own players.
Well, didn't get to the news tonight, but I do have a bit to say on Mr. Dizon - (other than looking up "Colorado legal limit" gave me more DUI lawyers than I cared to think existed nationwide, much less just in Colorado.) that will just have to wait.