Wednesday, July 30, 2008

State of the Team: WR

The piece about the WR corps doesn't mention the one guy who is being mentioned often during camp: Devale Ellis. It also mentions the possibility of keeping 6 WR, but I'm not thinking the numbers game will support that -- although it is hard to tell since 3 of 4 starters wnet out injured at some point last season (CJ, Roy, and McDonald).

This spring before the draft, I said this about Ellis in regards to the Lions finding a new return man:

Lets not forget Devale Ellis, who is an excellent returner and more than adequate 5th WR is still on the roster as they hid him on IR last year. If he comes back from injury 100%, I think this discussion could be a moot point. I think the fact they didn't re-sign Walters, who was a cheap, quality 5th wideout suggests this may be the case.

I also think that if Ellis stays healthy, and continues to have such a great camp, the battle for 5th wideout is over -- and the battle will shift to if someone can show enough production on special teams to prompt them to keep a 6th wideout over an additional back.

As ClusterFox pointed out on the LB article, there are a wealth of able RB available on the FA market right now -- and it seems, in the last couple of years, to be a position easier to fill mid-season. Is it a long shot? Sure. Could it happen? You bet.

Notice, I haven't talked about the top 4 spots. At this point, it appears that Furrey, Roy, CJ and McDonald have those locked up. However, McDonald is still on PUP and there are conflicting reports that he may have a hand injury as well as his knee injury that is healing.

Reports I'm hearing out of camp indicate that Roy and CJ (especially a healthy, more experienced CJ) are primed to have monster years. Cornbread or Conjecture? Only filmseason can answer that one, but the potential is there (that dreaded P word), along with solid production. After cringing through having Mike McMahon on the field as a WR, it's nice to see the Lions with solid depth and options at the position.

This brings me to make conjecture on next season: Both Roy and McD contracts are up. With less 4 wide packages, they may ask Furrey to take a pay cut, maybe in exchange for an extension. I'm thinking they sign Roy long term if he has a good year. Even if they let McD walk, they will still have Ellis, and may be able to stash Middleton and Moore on the Practice Squad this year, and let them all duke it out for the 2 remaining spots, along with say Bellamy and another WR.

Yet, even as I look at this scenario -- are any of these guys good enough to step up and be a real co-#1 WR alongside CJ if the Lions don't resign Roy. What do you readers think??


Anonymous said...

Addressing your question at the end, it really all depends on the type of production CJ has this year. He can't just have a solid year, he has to have a MUCH better year than Roy Williams because he won't have Roy to draw extra attention if he's gone. there won't be that extra threat to count on.

That being said, if CJ proves to be what everyone thought he could be pre-draft, Furrey would be more than capable of handling the #2 position. I distinguish this as #2 because after Williams, there is no one on this team NEAR being a co-#1 to CJ. Hell, there aren't even many receivers in the league who merit that attention.

Still, Furrey was lightyears beyond what we thought he'd be when he played along side Williams (most receptions in the NFC). Plus, he still has gas in the tank (I'd say enough to be a legitimate #2 for the next 3-4 years). I think if we let go of Williams we'd have enough time to pick up another receiver in the 3rd or 4th round and train them up to eventually take on the #2 role.

I'd still like to hold onto Williams though if at all possible. But being realistic, I know that holding onto him may have an impact on how much we can improve in other areas, especially the O-line and D-line.


CHIEFGER139 said...

the reason they kept mc donald is if roy leaves they can sign him to replace him, if roy stays then mc donald will leave via free agency-i only see him as the one replacing roy-hes young gets open and led our team last year-furries older and not quick enough in my opinion. id especially wait and see on the production-if mc donalds up there again with roy and cj and actually beats them again-tough to cut a guy who gets open and produces. thats why i think it will be one of these 2 who's gone next year but either way we wont be in bad shape. we also like to go the cheap way many times-aka bell and foster-keeping mc donald over roy would be that rout if they wanted too. may be all mute if mc donalds put on the pup list this year

Isphet said...

I just wanted to point out that exactly one week from right now, we will be watching the Lions' first preseason game against the Giants.

Oh, and I would also like to point out that McDonald and Furrey combined for more yards receiving last year (943+664=1607) than Calvin and Roy did (836+756=1592.) I know that Martz was good at getting the slot receivers the ball, but come ON. It's going to be a different year this year for sure. There HAS to be some way to get the ball into our star receivers' hands more.

JJLions20 said...

The Lions offence has one year to prove that the two big receivers on the outside cause a match-up problems for defenses. If it does Roy will realize it and stay. He may not be the #1 receiver in Detroit, but does he think he would be the #1 in Dallas with TO there? Does he think he will be the #1 in Houston with Johnson there?

He may want to get closer to home but he doesn't get there and be the #1 receiver. If he wants out of detroit the Lions will franchise him and trade him.

My hope, Roy see's he gets a lot of single coverage and piles up big statistics. He makes the pro-bowl and realizes his success is tied to CJ.

Don't be surprised if McDonald is traded before this season starts. A lot depends on Ellis and Middleton. Also don't count out Standeford. This kid can play. He just got caught up in an numbers games with the Colts, who are loaded with WR for Peyton
Manning. If Martz panics and needs another WR that knows his system, the he may push to over pay for McDonalds come the 4th preseason game.

So if a McDonald trade goes down this is what I think it could look like.

#1 CJ
#2 Roy
#3 Furrey
#4 Ellis
#5 Middleton
#6 Standeford/Belamy (identical cap numbers)
Practice Squad - Moore