Monday, July 28, 2008

7-28-08 Camp/Ifseason Thoughts

I know training camp is going on -- but we are only just a few days in. I haven't felt the need to re-post the same information on camp that everyone is reading via sites I have links to on the side of the page. Birkett and Hondo, in particular, have some great summaries of the camp goings on. It is hard to tell who is going to do what by the end of camp. Throw in Marinelli's penchant for making EVERYONE earn playing time, and making players beat whoever is left on the team that would be starting ahead of them...and, well -- it's just really hard to tell.

I have already spoken with one of our fellow blog readers who is going to try to get some shots and do an exclusive guest-blog on his camp visit Friday if everything works out. Any season ticket holders attending camp so far? If so, let me know your thoughts/stories. I am not at camp, so I will just continue commentary based on the information I have.

Interesting thoughts on Bell and or Lenon possibly not making the squad. While it is a long shot for either, I think Bell losing out is the best probability of occurring.

In regards to the LB - I like that the Lions resigned Lehman at the vet minimum. Worst case scenario they got a solid back-up/ST player who knows the SLB and MLB. Watch out Buster!

I thought the fight between White and Backus was interesting -- like the passion, dislike the lack of discipline. It is a fine line, but one that the Lions sorely need work on. Positively speaking though, how many here were surprised it was Backus? It's been a few years since he's really shown some fire. Hopefully, this is a good sign. (Not just a sign White was kicking his backside and Kitna is in real trouble again.)

Since I am reading about both the WR's (CJ & Roy, especially) making great catches, and yet still hearing great things about the development of Smith and Bodden's integration -- I will take this to mean that both O and D have a lot to work on (not surprising the first week of camp) and that both are developing some strong points as well. If indeed both are progressing as well as it seems, it will help both improve exponentially as they play against each other.

The Lions may sign Spikes, but I think a few things could effect it:

1. How well is Lehman really playing now?
2. How good/healthy is Alex Lewis?
3. How fast is Dizon developing?
4. How much moola does Spikes want, and how much cap room do the Lions have?
5. Will missing too much of camp negate, for the price, the upgrade he would be over Lewis/Lehman/Lenon at SLB?

With that in mind, I'm guessing that they don't bring him in unless there is an injury, or no one else he wants to go to suffers same and he signs.

Speaking of which, how about that scare with Ernie? Yikes! Thank goodness he is okay.

I've been holding off on State of the LB til I knew if they were going to sign Spikes or not, but I may finish it off and post it up tomorrow. If I'm wrong about stuff in there, no big deal. Not as if it hasn't happened before.

Update to my DLine thoughts: It sounds as though Cody is having a great camp, which is a new thing for him. He hasn't had/done much of anything since being signed. However, since he is having a great camp, that brings in a scenario I touched on: keeping 5 DT's. I think if Cody, Moore, and Fluellen continue to have a great camp then the Lions could keep all 5, and go with 4 DE's (likely dropping, my guess, the loser between Devries and Smith. My money is on Smith losing since it seems Avril is having a good camp too, and would take his situational rusher role. Devries is a good all-around DE who can rotate in to either side.)

Great comments lately -- keep em coming!!


JJLions20 said...

Ok, I couldn't sleep so I get the first post.... It looks like the D-Line could become a numbers game. Although I think Rod will keep the best players, the finances come into play. So lets look at 4 player in the D-Line that could be on the bubble. Cody, Moore, Devries, and Smith. We also don't know how many D-Lineman will be kept on the roster (8 or 9). So I'll first make the assumption that baring injury, Redding, Darby, Francis, White, Fluellen, and Avril make the team. That leaves Cody, Moore, Devries, and Smith for the final 2 or three spots.

First I'll post part of the post I put on MLive about the Cody and Moore situation, then come back to the Devries/Smith situation. Also I’ll give credit to NetRat for his salary cap information before I get started.

Since Cody’s signing bonus is already spent money, Cody is costing the Lions just a little more than Teddy Lehman. Cody gets $520k in salary, and could get another $75k in incentive bonuses. That's pretty cheep by NFL standards. Actually from a pure financial standpoint the Lions would be better off cap wise by cutting Langston Moore. His salary which is not guaranteed is $927k.

I subscribe to the theory of just keeping the best player. But finances come into play. And on the day of the final cut “if” Cody and Moore are virtually equal, Cody gets the nod for three reasons. He is two years younger. He was a Lions draft pick. And most importantly, the cutting of Moore frees up more cap space.

Now with Devries it's hard for me to imagine Rod cutting the lineman that was the most consistent and maybe the best performer on the D-Line last season. I just don't see that happening. But as I said finances come into play. Second only to White, Devries has the highest non-guaranteed salary on the team ($1.3M), with cap money in the form of a signing bonus allocation of $350k in 2008, $350k in 2009, and $350k in 2010. Plus there is an un-guaranteed bonus of $6720 in 2008. So if Devries gets cut in the final cut-down, I believe the $350k from 2009, and the $350k from 2010 gets accelerated to 2008. I'll admit I'm not sure of the ramifications of a released player after June 1st. They may be able to spread that accelerated $700k between 2008 & 2009. But lets assume it all gets accelerated, or the lions choose to accelerate it. That would mean a cap relief of slightly more than $750k in 2008. And additional Cap relief in 2009 and 2010. Smith on the other hand has a $700k un-guaranteed salary, a $100k signing bonus that is spent money, and the same $6720 un-guaranteed bonus. So cutting Smith gains the Lions $700k in cap.

So the net of all of this is that by cutting the player below their is differing amounts of cap relief:

Cody - $595k
Moore - $927k
Smith - $700k
Devries - $750k in 2008 plus additional $1.7M in Cap for 2009 & 2010.

So for 2008 Smith and Devries basically cost the same. I also doubt if Smith will be picked up initially. The Lions have signed him at least twice during two different seasons. Cutting Moore actually produces the most cap relief in 2008.

But here is an interesting twist. Lets say Spikes wants a 3 year deal. By cutting Devries there is more Cap money freed up in 2009 and 2010. So if the competition between these 4 D-Lineman is really close, or the Lions feel they can go with only 8 D-Lineman, Devries could be cut to free up cap space for a player like Spikes.

CHIEFGER139 said...

darby's older and will need help, id keep 5 dt's for that reason alone and dump a extra runningback-other than smith none are all that good and no great loss in my opinion, keep felton and a backup for smith and bradly, the rest can go.if casons our kick returner obviously keep him but thats the only reason you keep him

jreffy said...

I just can't see them cutting anyone on the D-line right now. Last year I saw Moore play and thought he looked like a baby Big Baby at times. I also believe you can't just eject a draft pick, especially with the NFL starting to trend towards strong/fast defensive lines.

I haven't bothered to beak down the salary cap or anything, but I'd be willing to bet that Chiefger might be right. I can see the Lions making a cut somewhere else in order to keep all their defensive lineman.

Oh, and huge congradulations to DeVries. That guy has been busting his arse for the last few years and he has the most uncanny knack to come up big when he rotates into the line in key situations. I have memories of him falling on fumbles, picking up sacks, and just making huge plays when it counts. It's those kinds of players we need to see start to emerge on the defensive side of the ball this year.

Anonymous said...


Scary, but I think we're all in agreement here. I also see them keeping nine (and they should) with 6 games coming against Norris Division opponents (ALL RUN TEAMS), and another(5) games against running opponents (ATL, WAS, JAX, TB, and TEN.

I don't think you can add San Fran, Indy, Hou, Car, and N.O. in that mix as all are pass happy.

The curve ball in that group may be Jim Zorn's Redskins. He being a former QB, they may throw more than last year.


Can said...


You have no idea what kind of offense other teams will run for this upcoming season (teams change, no pun intended).

San Fran has Frank Gore, Carolina just drafted Johnathan Stewart, and New Orleans has Reggie Bush. These teams are going to run it down our throats. Our linebackers better be ready for these teams.

As far as the Washington Redskins go, their defense will clean our clocks so it wont matter a whole lot about what kind of offense they run.

Indy will kill us and I'm not sure about Houston but, I hear good things about them.

Anonymous said...

Those three mentioned teams still have Mike Martz, Steve Smith, and Drew Brees, Colston, Shockey, et al. They will throw.

And Reggie Bush isn't the Saints go to running back. Duece does the work.

The Redskins will be tough, Indy will kill us, and probably Houston, too as Kubiak is going to a modified-Shanahan attack.