Saturday, September 27, 2008

49ers Thoughts, Other Ramblings...

Millen's firing kind of threw me off. Now, while the GM topic is fun to debate in this bye week, let us not forget that the team is still who they are, the coaches are still who they are, and the Lions are still 0-3.

A few quick thoughts on the Lions' last loss and other random items. My other columns will keep til Monday.

I don't care what the coaches say, the players came out flat once again in that game, and the defense wasn't really clicking at all most of the game

There were at least 4 key drops by WR of very good throws by Kitna that killed drives. The WR HAVE to catch the ball. 2 were by Roy, 1 by CJ ( that was a bit of a jump ball, but eminently catchable for a loooong gain) and 1 inexcusable one by McDonald where he was more worried about getting hit by the safety than catching the ball. Mike Furrey would have made that catch, and I find it irritating that he is not in the slot for those plays. What are they saving him for???

Brandon Middleton should be returning KOR as well as the PR. He is making great gains, and when the defense does get a stop, he is putting the Lions in good field position. When they don't get a stop all the fair catches on the KR are aggravating to me. Try to get yards! Give the offense a spark, and edge, something other than a hammer to beat themselves over the head with!!

Speaking of hammers, someone needs to hammer the cement shoes off the offense and get them moving! They are stumbling around out there like they were out all night on a bender, and just woke up hung-over!

The defense has been playing selfish, and it is hurting them more than helping. Once they stick to their own assignments they will actually look better. However, my optimism on this point is very tempered by the fact that Millen's firing isn't likely to further players buying into an unselfish mentality for the good of the team play.

Lenon had plays where he looked like pre-season Lenon...then it was back to same old same old. he just can't sustain it. At this point, with as many lapses as Lenon had last game there is no real reason to continue with Dizon on the bench. He should be fully healthy by the bears game, and seeing a majority of snaps.

Aggravating point: When I watched the game, no one pointed out the 49ers were focusing on protection of the QB. No less than 6 were kept in to block, many times 7 or even 8. (two TE and a RB were kept in to block, with 2 WR going on long routes on the long TD pass). Martz kept in more blockers more time in that one game than he did the entire second half of last season!!! Even in 4 wide, ! RB -- the back was kept in to block. When he was in Detroit -- 4 wide, RB ran a "decoy" short pattern. 5 blockers. Any wonder there wasn't much pressure form the front 4? They double teamed Redding and White all day, and still had blockers to spare.

It aggravates me, because no one was pointing out that had Martz called the games in Detroit (yes, with Detroit's personnel) then things may have turned out a lot differently. It wasn't even the balance of run-pass as much as actually assisting the O-Line with help from the TE and RB.

Speaking of offense, the Lions offense was offensive! I know Rudi was the "hot hand" so they played him, but Smith was doing just fine as well when he was in. I think they are going to be a potent 1-2 punch if the Lions ever get in a close game.

Speaking of close games, it could have been a close game if Kitna would just stop throwing it to the other team and take the check down. You can only let a team march so far before you have to do something about the short out-routes and running game Detroit was using. There were enough deep shots (I'd have liked to see more) to keep the defense honest, but in an almost Martzian way Kitna was looking nowhere but CJ most of the time. He was double covered, go to someone else!

That being said, the WR did nothing to help out the cause at SF and they all get a failing grade for effort and concentration, CJ included.

Hopefully Kitna gets over what's been eating him since the regular season started, because Stanton will be here before he knows it -- whether he likes it or not. And he is the one bringing ti on himself -- if he were buying into the offense, and getting other players to go along too then I think they would be clicking a lot better.

I've seen a lot of different sources indicate that the most likely time for Stanton to start is home against Washington unless Kitna keeps turning in 3 INT performances (than it may be earlier) or starts playing like he did in preseason and they start winning (which would delay it).

The season isn't over, but to make a correction I keep seeing -- the Lions are NOT 2 games back in the division. The Packers are 2-1, but hold all the tie-breakers so the Lions are 3 games back.

My hope is that the coaches and players, inspired by the prospect of losing their jobs, revert to the intensity they were playing with in the preseason when they were also in fear of losing their jobs/roster spots and that the team racks up a few wins between now and the end of the season.

I predicted, I believe, 7-9 to 9-7 depending on how the ball bounced. So far, not bouncing so well and I think my low-end prediction is looking pretty optimistic unless they turn it around against the Bears.

I like the chances of the Defense making great strides versus that of the Offense. Chicago's D needs to be worn into submission in the 4th quarter. This means the Detroit defense is going to have to hold the Chicago O (which if they can't do that, the season is truly lost) to a minimum amount of points. It also means the offense is going to have to limit mistakes, and keep it close until the 4th quarter when the Chicago defense has been losing steam.

The game is winnable, but like the first 3 games this year, will the Lions do what is necessary?? So far, what the filmseason says is not so optimistic...

Additional GM thoughts:

I was surprised that Mayhew was listed by Bill Polian, whom I have great respect for, as an up and coming choice for a team to look at as a GM/Personnel guy -- BEFORE Millen got canned.

My thoughts on his presser: Did you really expect him to throw Millen under the bus? They've known each other for 18 years and won a SB together as players. Most telling statement to me? "We disagreed about a lot things. We need to make better decisions."

Millen was known for going against advice and going with his gut, mustaches, whatever --- and it was always wrong. 100%. Drafter CRog in spite of the scouts, same with BMW.

I heard a freind of a former intern with the Lions say this about 2 years ago: "Give Millen a list of names with 10 people on it, he'll pick 11. 20? he'll pick 21. Just felt he was "smarter" than what his information was telling him, and all his guys were yes guys that wouldn't cross him.

So Mayhew's biggest flaw may be not being firmer with his friend/boss on bad decisions he was making. Sometimes, its hard to be blunt enough to get through -- especially to a boss as you run the risk of losing your job. We'll have to see. If they actually play the guys they got, this last draft looks to have been better than in years past... and it was Mayhew's first draft as asst GM.

All that being said, I've heard the Lions have asked for a list of candidates for GM from the league, and will be beginning a vetting process.

Another possibility I haven't heard is that they keep Mayew/Lewand/Marinelli around one more season until Marinelli's contract is up to see how well Mayhew can handle Personnel matters and if Marinelli can show progress without Millen. Just throwing ideas out there, as I do now and then. What is most likely to happen? Something we don't expect.

Like Matt Millen actually being fired week 4 of this season. I mean, who really saw that one coming??


Deano the Great said...

It seems logical to me with about 13 weeks left in the regular season, the Lions have a big advantage over the other (many) teams that will be looking for a GM at the end of the year. I would hate to see the same folks kept in place with the Fords taking their time "looking" for a new GM with the NFL's assistance. I can easily see these guys in charge next year to "see how they do," and to "give them a chance." This scenario is not that ridiculous based on WCF's known loyalty to his staff. Then again, right after Jr. spouted off, Millen was fired. Maybe Jr. will be having more input or even take over for Dad. Then again, he staked his reputation on Millen when he was brought in...

I vote for Floyd...

Anonymous said...

On Kitna;
"... starts playing like he did in preseason..."

Not really sure what preseason you watched but Kitna hasn't been able to hit the broad side of a barn for a long time. There were only a few passes that looked good in the preseason(mostly curl/quick slant routes which Shaun and Roy like to drop, and the one long post to CJ across the middle when he beat being doubled). He is hawking his first reciever, his mechanics look like they are off and he is making very bad decisions and this isn't something that has just come about (somewhere in the begining of last season he started stinking up the place and everyone is blaming everything else but him). True the OL blows, true the defense isn't looking too good but when they are on the field the complete game it make sense to me on why their stats are so bad. It is time for change because Kitna sucks to high heaven and has been and that is reality and I for one am excited to fine out what we have in either of the two guys sitting on the bench.


Anonymous said...

I agree. The Lions have a unique situation in which they can bring in a great guy (such as Floyd) to look at what the front office does and evaluate them. They don't have to hire him as their General Manager..but they can after the evaluation. They could also go with Mayhew and Lewand later on after they are evaluated.

The one thing you can do is get a Mirror. If Mayhew was a "yes" man, you won't be able to evaluate him until now. His past performance is masked too much because of his relationship with Millen (if true).

Do not blame the sacks on the OLINE. This is a flat excuse and cover-up for Jon Kitna holding the ball tooooooo long.
Kitna's decision making process is screwed.
Under Martz, Kitna would know who the receiver was before the snap. Kitna would even change his feet to "hide" the route of the intended receiver.
LIK - you hit the nail on the head when you say Kitna locks on one receiver and has been doing it for some time. That's how you do it in the Martz system to the fact that you know you have to look away from the receiver so you don't tip your hand. Kitna is now tipping his hand. And when that receiver isn't open, he is confused, pulls the ball down, forgets his progression, and gets sacked. He is frustrated, and teh BYE week couldn't have come at a better time. I don't know if it is going to be enough to clear Kitna's cobwebs. It may be time to go to O'Sullivan.

I I were in Allen Park this week, I would practice and script the first twenty plays and pracitce them each of the first three days.

If I were the defensive line coach, I would resign. He does not deserve to have clothes on when the league has embarrassed him andstripped him naked of his defensive clothing. He has no tricks, no pushes, no stunts. Old Mother Hubbard has more to eat than the Lions defense. The defense has no heart, no fire, no intensity. To play team defense, read-an-react zone, everyone needs to be on the same page. The biggest problem with the defense is when they switch their blitz coverage from zone to man. I've talked about the switching out of zone before (see previous post), and they aren't figuring it out.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the "O'Sulli oops". I meant Orlovsky.

JJLions20 said...

Right now I'm in the Floyd Reese camp. I don't believe Marinelli is the problem and I'd like to see him kept around. But if some other GM prospect has Cowher lined up, then the package of GM and Head Coach may not be able to be passed up. The lions will have a very high draft choice and a new GM is going to have to figure out who will QB this club. That's why Stanton needs to have a 6 game audition. If he shows enough promise the GM could build the front 7 and the O-Line with the picks. I also think Roy will be traded. This could be a very young team next year. But depending on who the coach it may be the wrong type of players.

CHIEFGER139 said...

the only way you can guarantee you got rid of the problem is bring in a new gm and let him go at it-i think millen wasnt the only problem-theres several others too-they need someone to weed this team out all the way from scouts, to managers, assistant managers, coaches and especially players- i for one think they have been horrible on the cap-who's ever doing that definately needs to go, in my oppinion they need a total house cleaning and a total rebuild of the team-i watched the pack play the bucs and then the cowboys play the redskins and truthfully all 4 of those teams would kill us right now. i also seen some of the bears and eagles, and i dont see how we beat the bears either-there defense is ten fold times better than ours and our offense dont look much better-one good thing-the bears keep most teams in the game-will be interesting if were not down 20 points at half time or early in the 3rd quarter.hope we win im going to the redskins game would like at least 2-4 going into that one so have some sort of hope.

Anonymous said...

This is all ahead of really what we will do now, but wouldn't this be awesome? Trade Roy now for a second rounder because that's relistically what we could get at this point. Throw every last dollar we would spend franchising him at Hayesworth to put a monster on the line. Dump Darby and Cody and put the two youngsters on the bench to back him up. Make a move to sign Asomugha, but a more relistic prospect mould be trying to get a jewel from Dunta Robinson. He should be fully recovered by next season. Use our most likely top 5 pick to grab either Rey Maualuga or James Laurinaitis. Immediately try to package the 2nd we got for Roy and next years 1st rounder to move in around a 12 to 15 pick and grab a monster DE to shore up the line. Either Micheal Johnson or George Selvie. Use our 2nd rounder to pray Phil Loadholt drops to the low 2nd and toss him at right tackle and have a monster oline. If he not there grab Alex Mack asap to put behind Raiola. Third round should be another corner or running back. Rest of the draft should be for depth and a quarter back to replace DanO wwho will be lost to free agency. Just dreaming, but I wouldn't able to sleep till the season starts if they did this.

- justin

DetroitSims said...

I was reading the some of the stuff written on detroit free on the Lions. I am not sure who wrote the story, really didnt pay attention. Anyways the guy was saying how the Lions should have guys lineing up for the GM job. How its an good oppertunity to come in and make a difference. They said how Millen set the bar low so, all they'd have to do is get the team to play .500 football and the city will love them! I found that kind of interesting. 1. Yes, there might be some GM prospects that are gonna think they can come in here and right this ship. I hope they take there time to find the right person. I dont think there are gonna be a line of guys wanting the job!!! We have been a laughing stock of the NFL for awhile now. I watched the Bears/Eagles game last night and as Cheif said, I dont think our D is gonna bring the same intensity as the Bears are playing right now. They looked good last night and they have the momentum going there way. We have an 0-3 start, fired our GM for what its worth and a QB that is playin with his head stuck up his a$$!!! Thats my opinion anyways. Hey, I think we could win 4-6 games this year. Its all gonna come down to how we play this comming sunday against the Bears.

Anonymous said...

Trying to think this through.

Right now, because the Fords truly like and respect coach Marinelli, they find themselves in the quandry: they like Marinelli but they want the losing to stop. So, what to do and when?

Will the Lions make front office and coaching changes between the 2008 and 2009 seasons? Because Ford Sr. is stilling calling the shots, and because Ford Sr. is extremely loyal to his upper management, I'm less sure today than I was at the time of Millen's release -- that any changes will be made between this season and next, as the Ford's may want to see what Marinelli can do for the term of his contract, which expires next year, if memory serves. The Fords know any new GM will want his personnel and not carryover personnel for the hoped for turnaround.

If the Lions show the least little bit of improvement between now and the end of the season, suspect there will be no changes to the present hierarcy. If no improvement, then 50-50 whether or not changes will be made, see above for reasoning.

Should the decision be made to bring in a new GM, I don't think it will be that much different than Ford Motor Co. hiring Alan Mulally.

An excerpt from that hiring:

""""""One of the three strategic priorities that I've {insert Ford Jr.} focused on this year is company leadership. While I knew that we were fortunate to have outstanding leaders driving our operations around the world, I also determined that our turnaround effort required the additional skills of an executive who has led a major manufacturing enterprise through such challenges before, Bill Ford wrote in an email to Ford employees today. That's why I'm very pleased to announce that Alan Mulally, who turned around the Commercial Airplanes division of The Boeing Company, will become our president and CEO, effective immediately. Alan has deep experience in customer satisfaction, manufacturing, supplier relations and labor relations, all of which have applications to the challenges of Ford. He also has the personality and team-building skills that will help guide our Company in the right direction."""""

If a GM change is made, they will bring in someone whos turned around another team rather than out of the broadcast booth or studio without experience. Lesson learned.

Anonymous said...

5Bakerstreet, signing the immediately above entry.

CHIEFGER139 said...

then is mayhew forced to fire rod like the rams did his coach-to make one last ditch effort to save his own hide?? or would ford even allow him-knowing he wants a new gm to make these decisions-
just another weekly episode of how the lion turns

Anonymous said...

Was putzing around the Detroit News website, got to the Terry Foster blog, started reading, and came across this.

Probably irrelevant but, FYI

Thu. 09/25/08 08:33 PM
re: Bill Cowher

See related article

Hey Terry,

I don`t know if you saw it or not, but I sent you an instant feedback about a week ago, saying that my buddy saw and talked to Bill Cowher at a local gas station. My buddy said that Bill wouldn`t say why he was here, but it seems to be obvious now. Five days after he was spotted, Millen gets fired ? I realize I`m jumping to conclusions, but my opinion is he was here to talk with Senior, and he WILL be named the next GM or headcoach/GM. Hopefully the former, and not the latter.

Take care, and BOOMBAYE buddy !

Ray from Roseville,

Former Lions Lover

Former Lions Hater

Currently Indifferent

Future Fan ??

eternal agony, roseville, mi