Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back In Action: Keep DanO!

Finally! I'm back in the groove where I'll be posting nightly again, so watch out boys! The BS will be flying higher than the QB rating of anyone playing the Lions!!

Honestly, things had just been pretty hectic, combined with not seeing the games, and after seeing the results, not wanting to... yup. DetFan1979 was in a funk.

Then, honestly, I got a few emails from loyal readers and it perked me back up. It's been long enough since I've written, that the ideas are flowing smoothly like a RB through the Lions Dline, LB, and Secondary into the endzone untouched.

First off, I'm going to hearken back to a series I did off and on through the ifseason where I looked at the various position groups, and broke them down. (kinda like the opposition has been doing weekly)

I'm starting off with a Doozy. Yup: Quarterback.

When the Ifseason was ending, and we were heading into the disaster, I mean, filmseason - the Lions had 3 QB's:

Jon Kitna (incumbent)
Dan Orlovsky (the invisible man)
Drew Stanton (the oft injured still-a-rook)

At the time, based on preseason play, and past performance, it seemed best that Kitna would lead the team for one more season while Stanton learned. But, as we know, things often end up far different from what they seem.

Current QB's: (Drew Henson was released today, and I expect him to be re-signed to the practice squad in a time honored Lions tradition of always re-signing the same guys. I mean, they just re-signed Avieon Cason for what, the 20th time?)

Daunte Culpepper (LoveBoat Captain)
Dan Orlovsky (the invisible boundary lines)
Drew Stanton (didn't embarass myself too bad)

Of the 4 Qb's to take the field thus far, I think Dan Orlovsky takes the trophy for me at this time, and should be the starter again when he comes back from the thumb injury. What?? Dan O? Why???

Let me extrapolate:

Jon Kitna was more of the 'my head is still ringing' Kitna than he was the 'tough leader' Kitna of seasons past. He was also acting worse than a spoiled 3 year old throwing temper tantrums on the sidelines, yelling at everyone and everything, stomping his feet, and throwing his pacifier...I mean, mouthpiece. Kitna DIRECTLY lost the GB game. Pure and Simple. It wasn't a blowout til he threw three consecutive picks. No leader, no plays, no dice. His injury was a good excuse for what has turned out to be a spineless coaching staff when it comes to benching veterans, to bench thier veteran.

Daunte Culpepper looked like...well...looked like a guy whose been out of football for a year or so. He did look more like the Minnesota pre-loveboat Culpepper than the Miami/Oakland version, but it is still too early to tell. And while the coaching staff is starting him this week on the road at Carolina, I still think this would have been a good opportunity for more reps for Stanton in game-time settings, giving way to DanO or Daunte when the time was right in a couple of games. There isn't a lot of long-term upside to Daunte, but in reality (as I'll discuss in a minute) that is really of no moment. If he can get the job done, let him keep it...for now.

Drew Stanton looked like a traditional rookie QB out there. More eager to run than pass, holding onto the ball too long, checking down too quickly, etc. But he did have some nice plays, and everything that was wrong there is coachable. (Assuming, of course, you have coaches who can coach and teach.)

I would ignore Coletto's remarks about Stanton at this point (even though I somewhat agree with him, to a point) since I no longer trust this coaching staff on evaluating talent. They have proven too many times this year they have no idea who they have on the roster, and what their skills are.

Moving on, Stanton looked pretty good, but pretty raw. He needs more time and reps to learn. Keep bringing him in during the game, and especially in the 4th quarter of blowouts, of which I expect there to be some more.

Finally, I come to DanO. He had some good accuracy, and even good shots on the long balls when given time ( a perennial problem in Detroit is lack of time to throw). Outside of the stupid play for the safety (which I really blame on the lack of game time he got in blowouts the last few years) he performed very well. The TD passes in the Bears game to CJ and McDonald were perfect throws. There was a time in the Bears game, in the 3rd Quarter when that was going on, that the Line was protecting him well and he was hitting pass after pass in the holes in the defense. Keving Smith was sparking the running game and things finally looked to be going in the right direction.

Don't get me wrong here -- DanO is not some deity, saviour, etc. etc. etc. But, he has shown he is a competent NFL QB with some potential and upside to him. In my opinion, the best thing the temporary-front office could do is to resign Orlovsky to a moderate 2 or 3 year deal. This would do several things, not the least of which are:

1. The Lions would have 2 QB's under contract, and one with an option going in the first year of the new coach
2. Depending on how Stanton progresses, and the type of offense the new coach uses, there could be a 2-3 way competition for the starting QB spot, which makes all of them exel more.
3. Since Culpepper, and especially DanO, are solid QB"s the Lions would be freed up to focus on the defense and the oline in the draft for one or two years. Any young QB would be murdered behind the current Oline, and the new coach will know it. (We hope. These are our Lions, after all.)
4. If Stanton progress well, they can pick another QB to groom. If he doesn't, they can go a little higher and pick a new QB of the future -- but either way, you can wait at least one, hopefully two, draft before needing to address it with a high pick.
5. Did I mention that it will allow the Lions to build up the Oline and the Defense before finding those "final pieces" at the skill positions.

So there you have my arguments for resigning DanO, and what I think they should do going into next ifseason and why. What are your thoughts on the matter? Who, if anyone would you keep and why??


Anonymous said...

Welcome back! We have missed you on a daily basis. Your outline of writing subjects for the near future, is just what the doctor ordered. ( In my case, Medicare.)


detroitsims said...

I was kinda hoping that the Lions would re-sign him. From what I have seen out of him, he does have some upside to be a good back up or even with more GAME exp, a starter. Who knows these are our Detroit Lons and anything can happen!!!

Anonymous said...

The question is not if the Lions should or would resign DanO, it is if he will wnt to return to Detroit. He may just be fed up with the entire situation here and decide it is time to move on.

DetFan1979 said...

Good point LionFanPa --

My thought is that DanO knows that the new coaching staff and front office will be looking to make a lot of changes -- however, with all of the holes Detroit has they will want to work on the line and defense first.

Also, since they didn't pick Stanton, the new staff won't be beholden to the prior regimes draft pick status. The most likely scenario is that if they can use those stockpiled early picks -- the 2 1st, 2nd, and 2 3rd -- to fix the D and the Oline, and address QB in 2010 when there should be a stronger class than what is considered the weakest class in quite a long time for 2009 Draft, they will.

This would give Dan-O the cahnce to compete openly to be a starter -- and opportunity he has never been given to date. Looking at the teams changing coaches who will also be looking to make a QB change, the prospects don't look too great for him to get signed to compete for a starting job, even in the weak projected FA QB's for 2009 Ifseason.

There are a lot of reasons for him to both stay or go, but if he is offered a moderate two year contract -- along with the liklihood that he can compete to start -- that he will take it. If things aren't satisfactory, he could test the FA market in 2011 after the new CBA is in place.

If the current front office/coaching staff is going to stay, I think the chances of him staying are pretty slim as it appears for good or ill that the coaches are dead-set on Culpepper right now.

We'll just have to see how it proceeds. If he wants to, then I would like to see the Lions keep him for a couple more years -- he would be a great transitional QB and could develop into a solid starter. I don't think he'll be a superstar, but how many QB's in the league really are?

A great oline and D, coupled with a capable QB will get you further than a GREAT QB with a bad Oline and/or D.

Case in Point: New Orleans. Drew Brees is top tier at QB -- but until they get the defense fixed, they will gravitate to 8-8.

Anonymous said...

I fear that the Lions will draft a QB early in the next draft. I think that a new coaching regime will want to develop their own QB of the future and will not want to wait a year. I also think DanO will get good offers from other teams and choose a team with a better Oline.
The new coaches will consider Culpepper or even Kitna as the stopgate until the "future" is ready. (Not to say that I think Kitna has anything left but you never know what so called experts think). Stanton is the wildcard which is why he should be allowed to play to see if he shows some progress and consistency.
IMO, they should just get rid of both Culpepper and Kitna next year and resign DanO to compete with Stanton for the starting job. Then maybe they draft a QB in the later rounds or see if Henson has anything left(if they resign Henson that is) and wait til 2010 to draft a "future" QB.

ClusterFox said...

Well Written! Welcome Back!

I agree with you and hope DanO sticks around. From DanO's perspective, if you wanted a starting QB gig where should you go? maybe ask Daunte? if the lions want him he'll stay.

On the same thread, If a new regime comes in. The first pick will speak volumes. You build a team with the line and D. Then you plug in skill players just like DF said. If they don't I'll be disappointed.
In my opinion the only thing that will validate the signing of Daunte would be that it allows them time to build everythingelse up around the future QB.(whether its stanton or not)

Which reminds me. Why are we so star struck with Stanton and People are throwing Henson in there too. This is still Big-Ten country, not exactly known for our great QBs.( and please don't remind me about Brady) Brilliant QB are hard to find, and Average Qbs are a dime a dozen. So lets hope the new regime has as much sense as DF.