Thursday, November 27, 2008

Be Thankful...

Whether it was spending time with family, friends, or alone. Take a moment out before the end of the day, and be thankful for what you have.

Well, my Turkey came out with nice crispy skin and juicy, tender skin. The Lions got Salmonella Surprise. Well, not really a surprise - but sickening none the less.

Just a very few thoughts that hit me between downing eggnog, mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy, and Titans rushing TD's:

1. Dwayne White is an average end. Cory Smith was doing "an admirable job trying to fill in for Dwayne White." The meaning of this is that he wasn't playing as well as White, which makes him a below average end. Cliff Avril, however, was not. He looked great out there, and if White is still out after the bye, I can see no reason that he shouldn't be starting (which is why he will be on the bench) His hit on Collins, sack-fumble-return to the 2 was the best Lions play of the game.

2. I feel sorry for anyone facing someone in Fantasy Football this week whose opponent had any of these three players: Chris Johns, Lendale White, Titans D/ST

3. The Lions were still making the same mistake on the first two TD runs on defense that they made against Carolina -- the LB and Dline all bit on a run right and the offense ran a designed cutback instead through a wide open hole where it was 15 yards to the next Lions defender. Change the opposing jersey colors, and it you would mistake for the exact same play. Thus, not only are the Lions not adjusting in game, they are not adjusting game to game.

4. Kevin Smith would have gained more yards attempting to run straight into a brick wall without his helmet on as to keep running straight up the middle at Albert Haynesworth. What, exactly, was the plan there??

5. If Chris Johnson had been given 25 carries, would he have broken Adrian Peterson's single game rushing record by 20 yards, or 50 yards? With 30 carries I think he could have topped 300 all by his lonesome. Not just talent -- it was the holes I could drive my minivan through on the defensive front

6. I taped the game, but really can't think why I will re-watch it anytime soon

7. Are they ever going to activate Landon Cohen, and could he possibly be worse than Chuck Darby or Shaun Cody at this point?

Finally, some lighthearted humor. I found a couple of recruits for the Lions next year. Note how the far..umm...player drags both feet to keep them in-bounds on the green field. Mrs. DetFan1979 and I, along with the kids, laughed endlessly at this little promo Yahoo! had over their logo this Thanksgiving of two Turkeys playing football. My favorite parts are when the Jason Hanson Turkey goes flying, and the TD dance. There are 4 different little skits. Scroll your mouse over it to get the next one - you can maximize it in your browser window for full effect.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Coming Soon! Why the Lions should make the move to a 3-4 defense next season

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Recipe?

If the Lions were cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey, they are following Rod's recipe; but they just aren't sure whether it will under cook, overcook, or is even for Turkey, not Rabbit Stew. Yet, week after week they toss it out on the field just to watch in morbid fascination to see what is going to happen.

It's like throwing your Turkey in the Oven, randomly setting the temperature, waiting til you are hungry, pulling it out and viola! Salmonella Sauce or Turkey Jerky -- you don't know what you're going to get because you don't know what you're doing. Sure, you had a plan -- put the Turkey into the oven and cook it til it's done. But unless you know what temperature to cook it at, for approximately how long, how to prepare it properly, and how to tell it is indeed done -- then your plan is too vague.

Rod and his staff have the same problem with this team. They know what turkey should taste like. They know they want a Turkey that is cooked, yet juicy and tender. They know what real football teams look like. They know they want a tough team that grinds out the clock and beats up the other guy on defense. But just like my clueless cooking lesson above, they don't really know how to get there.

I'll be enjoying well-cooked Turkey this Thanksgiving. As for football, well... not even the Lions know what they are going to get. So I guess just sit back and watch the show!

Oh Danny Boy, Where are you?

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Carolina and Tampa Bay are wins if Dan Orlovsky were still under center and healthy?

It was another brutal week of QB play in Detroit. Culpepper was back to the vintage Culpepper we've come to know. No, not MVP Culpepper - I mean the inaccurate, throws at his WR's feet, makes dumb throws to the other team, and has trouble holding onto the football Daunte of Miami and Oakland days. I'm sure he looks good in practice against the Detroit defense -- who wouldn't? But seriously, was he really playing better than DanO did? Answer: No. Orlovsky was bringing more spark a fight to both the offense and defense -- and he was getting better week to week. The improvement was there.

As for Drew Stanton? Let's just say that concerns for his ability to stay healthy are not going away any time soon. For the sake of next year's draft -- and the future of the Lions -- I hope DanO gets healthy, finishes the year well, and gets a contract extension/offer from Detroit.

He will get paid in free agency -- even if it is as a solid veteran backup, or as a stop-gap while a franchise guy is waiting in the wings. Even my boss the Bears fan said he wouldn't mind seeing the Bears sign DanO this ifseason -- let him compete with Orton, and no matter who wins the signing would solidify their team.

I've said this once already, so I won't beat home the point too much more (at least for now). Detroit needs to keep DanO for a few years -- 3-4 year contract. He is good with upside -- good enough and young enough to allow the team to fill other needs first (such as the Oline, and the entire defense, minus about 3 or 4 guys). With so many holes to fill, the Lions can't afford to be gambling on an early round QB. It is like playing Russian Roulette, and putting 4 bullets in the 6 shooter. That is the success rate of 1st/2nd round QB's in the draft.

Thanksgiving should sell out, so I will be able to watch it. Unfortunately, coming off their first loss of the season the 10-1 Titans are going to be pissed and looking for blood. They just got embarrassed by the Jets -- do you really think any player there even wants to entertain the notion of following that up by losing to Detroit? Or even allowing Detroit in the game at all? I mean, its 0-11 DETROIT!

Both the offense and defense showed up like I hoped -- for one quarter. Then it was back to the inconsistency. If they could put together four quarters in a row like the first one, they would be a playoff contender. Hands down. Really that consistency and ability to adjust throughout the game is what separates the good teams from the bad in this league. The Lions are not a good team. They may get a lucky strike here or there, but on the whole they are vanilla, predictable, and lackluster. Where is the urgency? Where is the fight? You see it with some individual guys...but not in the team as a whole.

Where are you Danny Boy? At least you can tell who is on your team... for the most part... comparably speaking, of course.

Thursday: In an attempt to top starting a QB with 4 days of practice, they make a move to Drew Henson with none with the first team after Culpepper suffers an "undisclosed soreness in his surgically repaired knee" after realizing the Titans D is going to massacre whatever credibility he had left to national viewers. "Because of what he did in college, and in know, he's hung around a long time and he deserves this chance." says Marinelli at halftime of Henson. "And we really have no one else. Can anyone else throw the ball who even remotely knows this collection of crap we call an offense? Anyone? Anyone? (sit down Rodney! You're retired - and what are you doing down by the field anyways?? In pads and uniform no less??)"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cats or Pirates?

The game is blacked out, so I will once again only have highlights/lowlights, descriptions etc to go from this week. This is especially disappointing as I think the Lions may get their first win this week. The Lions always play the Bucs really hard. Earnest Graham, their #1 back just went on IR (to the chagrin of legions of FFB Owners, considering the matchup.)

Last season, the Lions were able to beat the Bucs in Tampa. Can they beat them again this year? It really depends, once again, on two things:

Which Offense shows up? The one that paved the way for 100+ yards for Kevin Smith, or the one that allows a half dozen sacks and entire halves without scoring?

Which Defense shows up? The one that held Adrian Peterson in check, or the one that let two different backs on the same team surpass 120 yards each??

If both sides of the team show up, AND play the whole game -- then I think that the Lions have a shot. They have been perilously close a few times. Unfortunately, to get out of the first slot in the draft the Lions are going to need to win at least two, and have Cincy lose out. That is because Cincy, with its 1-8-1 record would pick after Lions squad with one win.

Great thoughts and comments on the GM discussion -- I'm sure as the season winds down and the Ifseason kicks in, that and much else will be debated here!

Go Lions!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

GM Talk

I was a little tired of looking back over how tape.

So I decided to do a little "WWFD" -- double for What Will Ford Do? This, of course, is usually followed by a whole lot of "WTMDFDN" -- which of course stands for What The Millen Did Ford Do Now???

Don Banks put together a very compelling case for why the Lions need new blood -- and also for why the Patriots' Scott Pioli would be a good choice. Earlier in the year, my biggest criticism was that Brady at QB can cover up a lot of other flaws in team building. Of course, Matt Cassel has helped prove the Patriots are a top echelon team -- with or without Brady. Sure, Brady was better but how well Cassel is doing is directly proportional to the overall strength and performance of the team.

I have to say, I've given it some thought, and I agree that Pioli would make an excellent GM, and as the Falcons' Dimitriof is proving, he knows how to train and pick his personnel as well --- which is equally, or in some cases more, important than personal talent. Pioli is an avid and successful draft day trader, and has had a keen eye in signing veteran FA --- even before the SB runs made New England a choice spot. Remember when he started, New England was as much a laughing stock of the League as the Lions. He helped build them and stock them with talent.

This fact is also true: Of all the franchises in the NFL none is more attractive this ifseason than the Detroit Lions for a man of vision and drive, and the determination to go into the Hall of Fame. I'm as serious as the chances of the Lions going 0-16. If Pioli can go from helping build the 3 time SB Champion, with even more trips to the big dance, 16-0 regular season team from a lower echelon club -- imagine the cementing of his status as the prime architect of returning the Lions to their 1950's status of the dominating team in the league?? Especially starting at the end of a long trail of ineptitude leading to a winless season?!? (may 1-15, but you see my point...)

With nowhere to go but up, how far he takes them would be the measure of the man. If he truly is as passionate as they say. If he truly demands, not strives for, greatness and ultimate team of talented guys willing to do whatever it takes to win -- and with what Ford will offer to pay him, give him in terms of power, the facilities he will have to work with, the starving fan base looking for hope -- and the knowledge he'll have more than enough time to see it through (considering he will know he will do better than Millen -- and he lasted 8 years....)

How does he not take it? How does he not rob coaching and scouting departments of key guys? There are any number of top tier coaches or candidates who would jump at the chance to come in and work with Pioli because of the high degree of respect he garners league-wide. He would instantly legitimize the Detroit Lions once again as a competitive franchise as no other candidate could.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Goats

I realize that maybe it sounded like I was making a goat of Daunte for last week's loss. That really wasn't the whole point I was trying to make. It was really that he is unprepared to be starting, and the Lions passed up an opportunity to let Stanton get some starting time while Dan O was injured and Daunte was learning, and yet still be able to pull him back into a backup role with the minimum of fuss after Dan O is better, or Daunte was up to speed.

Also, the overall idea yesterday was that the Veterans are making mistakes versus stepping up to help in crunch time, which is in my opinion what has sunk this team in its close losses more than almost any other factor.

okay - so what did I like?

I liked the look of the Oline, overall, as far as the running game was concerned. The holes weren't gaping like the ones Carolina was making, but they were there and K. Smith made the most of them, and his opportunity to get the bulk of the load.

Actually, I really didn't see McCollum as an upgrade to Raiola at center. There seemed to be mroe confusion on passing downs, and he wasn't pulling quite as well as Dom does, and while he did decent in run blocking, I think Dom was better out in space on what could be longer runs. Still, it was nice to have a competent backup center. I really think what made McCollum look better, along with the rest of the line, is that the Lions got arguably the best game out of the starting pair of G it has gotten all season.

I disagree that the gameplan was good -- initially, it seemed to be working. But as usual, when it came to in-game adjustments the Lions panicked, misadjusted, and were inconsistent. Had they stuck to the origninal game plan, I fully believe we'd be talking about their first win. Teh gameplan? Keep running Smith!! Had they continued that into the 4th quarter, especially around the time of that fateful interception, then Carolina would have had to bring up an extra guy, leaving CJ or Mac open (or CJ single-covered, which is often the same thing).

Other good things were that the Defense did a decent job stopping the Panthers -- especially early. However, the LB were beyond awful. Nece and Lenon were always sliding so far to the SS run that when the Panthers did a designed cutback to the weakside, the RB was into the secondary as the LB hadn't filled the right fits.

And tackling!!! Note to Travis Fisher: Tackling is where you hit someone and wrap them up with your arms and body, bringing them to the ground. NOT bumping into them and then wondering why they didn't just stop!

Bullocks and Pearson had their work cut-out for them with the gaping holes the RB ahd to wrok with coming into teh secondary, but I saw at least 3 great open-field tackles by Pearson, and 2 or 3 by Bullocks. Many will look at the one he missed leading to the TD (Pearson), but had him and Bullocks not been hitting and tackling beyond well ind the secondary, things would have been MUCH worse. I'm talking 2 200-yard rushers worse.

Coverage wasn't too bad in the passing game, although I'm going to finally go with ChiefGer and say I don't want to see Fisher anywhere on the field unless absolutely necessary -- especially after Keith Smith is healthy.

I have some more thoughts, that I will try to put into coherent bunches/groupings for tomorrow.

Go Lions!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ruh Roh Raunte...No Scooby Snack for You!

Yup. I'm sure that's exactly what Daunte Culpepper was thinking as he threw a low ball into triple coverage instead of out of bounds!!

How is that something Jon Kitna wouldn't do in "clutch"? How is that something not worse than any number of Rookie mistakes Stanton would invariably make? Would a healthy Dan O make that throw?

What I'm asking is, when Detroit was down by to run almost at will with Kevin Smith gaining 4.4 yards per pop...and Detroit had the ball back with enough time to grind out an ugly drive into Panthers territory for the chip-shot, game winning field goal...why on God's Honolulu-Blue and Silver Earth was Daunte Culpepper throwing the ball short, much less INTO TRIPLE COVERAGE????!?!?

I watched the game a second time instead of blogging last night. There are many other points I will get into this week. I really wanted to observe, as a 3 game blackout...I mean, home stand, is coming up.

Forget the "punt or kick", forget the other "minor" points. Even with Carolina rushing as well as they were, the Dline made a stand, got the offense the ball back with just the right amount of time left to drive down the field and kick the FG while taking enough time off the clock that Carolina would have been hard pressed to get down into FG range, much less the end zone.

Momentum was on Detroit's side. The offense had gone down and scored. They missed the typing 2pt conversion, but it didn't matter -- Carolina, 3 and out. Plenty of clock. The defense was pumped on that series. They knew the Offense could take it down and punch it in. They knew Carolina's D was getting tired. They were energized. You could see it. They weren't going to let the critics be right!

First play, the offense hands the ball chip-shot FG range. Hell of a lot harder to get into the endzone than the Hanson-zone. Especially after a one-play, essentially scoring drive for the other team. The Defense is shocked back to earth, TD. Two score game. Game Over. Kicking away after the 2pt try showed confidence in the D. They way they played showed confidence in the O.

And Daunte let them down. The coaches let them down, with a very bad play call. But in the end, players must make plays and at a key point where the team was poised to win, Daunte tried to be the "hero threading the needle" -- get back the glory. And he Favred away the game.

Even 9 out 10 rookies would throw that one high and out of bounds. Out of the pocket, out of time, no one open. Play it safe, 3 downs to go - get rid of the ball, get back to the line, get it done.

Anyone daring call themselves a veteran QB should have. But didn't. Isn't that really the heart of 0-10? What may be at the heart of 0-16? Players not making plays, especially when it matters most. Or, worse still, making a big play - for the other team.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cat Fight!

Lions vs Panthers. It's an away game, so your faithful narrator will be able to view it. Will I want to see the carnage, you ask?

Let me logic this: They got the Jags, who had just lost to two teams they should have handily beat. Their loss the week prior was to winless Cincy. They were only the 6th team EVER to play two teams back-to-back with 6 or more losses, and didn't want the distinction of going into the history books as the team that choked to said winless teams TWO WEEKS IN A ROW. They wanted it more by far than the Lions, and it showed.

This week, Carolina is coming off their arguably worst game of the season -- which they still managed to win. 4 picks and they still won. Not because they played well enough to win it, but because even though they were trying their darnedest to give the game to Oakland, the Raiders wouldn't take and said "No Thanks" and gave it back in a box wrapped in shiny silver and black paper with a shiny silver bow all nice and cozy.

The real question is, will that horrid play motivate them to come out and stomp Detroit to prove they can beat up on the bad teams -- OR -- will that horrid play make them complacent and overconfident that if they could beat Oakland while having seemingly everything go wrong, there is no way they can possibly lose to the Lions.

I'm hoping it's the second, but fearing it will be the first. We'll know in a little less than 12 hours from now.

Go Lions!! Go Washington!! (Dallas' Opponent this week)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Second(ary) Class

How the mighty have fallen. At least what appeared on paper to be strongest area of the team behind WR has literally fallen apart.

Flash-Back to the beginning of Free Agency. The Lions had ONE CB and a 2 safeties under contract. They retooled the defensive backfield, and when they got done it looked really good. The question then was "Will Bullocks be able to come back from his injury?" Bodden, a strong cover corner, came over via the Rogers trade, the team signed veteran Brian Kelly to provide a veteran presence. Travis Fisher was back -- but supposedly as the nickel-back, not a starter. My favorite signing was the re-signing of Kieth Smith. Although highly derided at the time I said then that I felt he had really improved last season, and was on the verge of becoming a very strong cover corner.

Dwight Smith was brought in as a system veteran, theoretically to start til Bullocks was fully back and to rotate in. Pearson was signed to improve the shoddy special teams play, and could step in as a versatile backup at S and Nickel-Back if needed. I was very excited to see an Alexander/Bullocks/Smith/Bodden Backfield.

While I am wrong just as often as I am right, I hit it right on with Smith. As for the rest of the backfield, what happened??

Where are we now??

Smith was named a starter, along with Kelly as Rod went all-out Tampa guys start first. This is something I was against, and still think was not good. The Tampa vets were just over the hill enough that, to me, it appeared they were about on par with the rooks/younger guys. My philosophy? Rotate the younger guys in liberally early, and move to them later in the season as they start to realize that upside that would propel them past the old vets. Didn't happen.

For whatever reason, Rod went all Larry Brown (basketball coach who refused to play anyone not a 3-4 year vet minimum, essentially) and refused to play or even discuss playing his young guys. They got no first team reps, which hurt their development. (Though not as bad as what they did to the Dline, the backfield situation was still absurd.) Bodden not starting til week 2, although he had played better than Fisher? Smith was clearly doing a much better job of covering than Kelly, who had lost a few more steps than anticipated. Still no changes.

I feel the problems in the secondary, even when Smith and Alexander were in and healthy, was chemistry. Earn your starting spot, unless you are Kelly who had it handed to him as a newcomer despite the fact that Keith Smith would technically, by Marinelli's justification of Fisher starting, the starter. Whatever. The secondary, with all the head games being played by the coaches, never got a chance to gell into a unit --- a problem that has been plaguing the rest of the team as well. Marinelli wanted them to wrok and earn -- they go the point, but they also needed a LOT of practice as a unit to get all the new pieces working together. As it is, the way the Lions are shuffling personnel weekly it is like they are heading into the 14th pre-season game.

So at this point? Alexander's prognosis sounds promising, and I think that he and Bullocks -- who is not only back, but keeps getting better and better -- will be a great Safety tandem for the Lions for quite some time. Pearson has out-played expectations by far coming in with D. Smith (who has disappointed even my low expectations for him) and Alexander out injured. The Lions are solid next year with their Pearson-Bullocks-Alexander trio signed. It will be one of those rare parts of the team that a new regime will only need to take minor fixes to in the first year or two.

As for CB, that situation is a bit muddier. Kelly will almost certainly be gone with a new regime, and has already (Finally) lost his starting spot to K. Smith. Even though Smith will be slowed by his groin injury for a couple of weeks, he is still the best cover guy on the team. Bodden has been much maligned, but he has done best in the man-coverage situations. Not only that, but once K. Smith replaced Kelly on the other side, teams began targeting Bodden more -- meaning they perceived him as the weaker CB. Still, even his $8 mil roster bonus to trigger his 4 year contract extension (which has very reasonable cap numbers after that) is what the Lions would pay -- or possibly even more -- to pretty much replace him with someone who may not even be as talented. There is a premium on good CB's, and Bodden still qualifies.

Don't believe me? Look at what Nate Clements, DeAngelo Hall, and Dre Bly have been paid in recent years. Bodden would be that kind of name on the market. The Lions might just as well lock him up. Just like with the WR, I think that Bodden will shine much better under a coaching staff that has two things:

1. Direction
2. Schemes to the strength of their players

So heading into next year, assuming they keep Bodden, K. Smith is on a 2 year deal so he is under contract as well they need to drop at least Kelly, maybe Fisher although he is adequate when not used as a starter. This means a top-level CB is still a target for the draft in 2009. With Smith on a 1 yr deal at that point, and Bodden for an additional 4 they will need to be sure to get one in 2009 so that the rook can learn, rotate into some game situations and get PT and experience before taking on a starting role.

At safety, a late round pick or moderate FA signing is all they will really need to fill out that position if Alexander is recovering on schedule.

There are still 7 games to go, so I'm sure things could change just as much between now and the end of the season as they did between the end of the preseason and now.

One more thought on the secondary is that the inability of the Dline to get any kind of consistent pressure has once again often made them look worse than they are.

Drew Sharp Hits a Great Point Again

I think when Matt Millen left, Drew Sharps journalistic skills returned and booted his pessimism with it. he had another good article a couple days back that I feel is a great read regarding the antiquated blackout system of the NFL and that Detroit deserves an exemption.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Flying Wide

Not the passes - the Wide Receivers.

Rewind to the draft -- Detroit (as usual) was feeling good about its Ifseason moves. Roy Williams was entering the final year of his contract, and there were already tentative offers out there for him. However, those offers were for a 2nd & 4th, 1st and 7th type variety. At that rate, considering Roy was a top ten pick, it made sense to keep him unless someone ponied up more than that. Dallas wanted him, but wasn't willing to pay -- then.

With CJ, Roy, McDonald and Furrey players like Middleton, Standeford, Ellis, and Moore were pretty much doomed from the start.

Fast forward to now. Dallas was desperate and decided to pay the piper -- in this case, Mayhew, top market value for Roy. Make no mistake -- a 1st and 3rd was the top value for Roy, and Dallas offered it up at the trade deadline because they knew Detroit couldn't resist it, and that it would still cost them that at the end of the season -- but the key was they would get him for just over half a season by doing it then.

So that leaves, as of today, the Lions WR as follows:

Adam Jennings (recently claimed off waivers from Atlanta -- he's a punt returner.)

What I notice most about the WR is that while they seem to be dropping fewer balls than the first few games (having fun in Dallas, Roy?), they still are not being utilized fully in this pedestrian offense. Period.

Jennings is here for the PR skills (we'll see how long he lasts). Standeford is getting his shot again at the number 4 spot. Furrey is still an excellent slot WR and has seemed to maintain his knack for knowing where the sticks are if they would only get him in position more on 3rd down. McDonald seems to be a serviceable enough #2 to keep CJ from being double/tripled constantly.

McD is not signed past this season, and I think the Lions will let him walk. He's decent, but nothing to overpay for. Furrey is still solid, and should be retained. Let guys like Standeford and some rooks compete for the other spots. Has the coaching staff forgotten how good Furrey was as #2 to Roy a couple of years back? Still the same player people.

Hopefully they will find a real returner next ifseason (Cason the most-claimed ever doesn't count) along a Joshua Cribbs type of vein. All-star special teamer, solid #4 WR when needed. As for the rest, a new #2/3 would be good, although I still think Standeford would be fine in that role.

Essentially, my take on the WR is that they are like the rest of the offense, and in fact the team -- square pegs, round holes. Herding cats. No direction from on high that can really be traversed or seen clearly.

The Lions do not really have an identity anywhere on their team. "Tough" doesn't translate to anything tangible on the field as far as scheme and execution and it shows. Rhinos are tough, but unless they are pointing in the right direction when they charge, what's the point? Right now the Lions have solid WR that just aren't being pointed anywhere useful.

Last issue with the WR? No time to get open, or even pretend to run a route. It's not a shock when the play ends before the route -- it's a shock when it doesn't. The horrid Oline play continues to reverberate throughout every aspect of the team.

Of all the areas of need, WR is still not high on that list even if/when McD leaves after the season. Resign him if it's reasonable -- otherwise forget it. WR of his class are plentiful in the later rounds of the draft to teams with real personnel departments.

But that, of course, is another night isn't it?

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??

Sunday, November 9, 2008

If you can see, tell...

I'm blacked-out from teh game, so if you can see -- please tell! -- for those of us unable to see the game.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hot Culpepper?

I'm sure you've all heard that not only is Daunte Culpepper signed, but that he will likely be starting Sunday. Also, the game is going to be blacked out. (Thanks to NetRat, as soon as I get some time I'll be able to watch the Washington game. Guess potatoes have eyes after all... Thanks Net!)

I will, of course, be unable to watch the Jags game, but I did happen to catch the entirety of the Lions-Bears game as it unfolded.

I do have a few observations from that:

Dan Orlovsky may be "injured like Kitna" and headed for IR (poor Dan O) but I think he proved one very important thing in his stint as the Lions starting QB: He isn't going to carry a team on his shoulders, and is not going to be a top-tier starter, but he is a very solid backup QB who can come in and keep your team in the game for a few weeks if your starter is injured. The TD's to CJ and McDonald were perfect passes -- the INT's, not so much. On the whole, serviceable though -- and if the Lions were as intense in the second half as they were in the first, they could have won that game.

As usual, there were just too many mistakes by the Lions that let the Bears hang around, and regain momentum. The missed XP, the INT at the goal line, the INT on the short field (which the defense kept to a FG -- which was nice work by them.)

I was still appalled at how the Lions were able to stop the Bears in fits and starts in the first half, and then let down when Rex Grossman came into the game, and immediately folded after the TD. The defense has no backbone still.

The young guys looked pretty decent that were playing -- Smith provided such a spark for the offense, it baffles me as to why they kept putting Rudi back into the game. Nothing this coaching staff does anymore seems to make any sense. They are like the person who, knowing he is not succeeding, tries anything and everything he can think of -- usually right as it pops into his head -- without thinking it through properly.

As for Culpepper over Stanton this Sunday... Listen, I went to Northern Michigan University, so I'm not an MSU homer -- but hear me out on this. I know Stanton is essentially a rookie. But he was at camp - twice. he played some in the preseason. he was a second round draft choice. Now, I know the Lions' offense is pretty simple -- but FOUR DAYS of practice for a QB who looked awful his last 3 seasons and has been out of football for almost a year starting over him? I don't care if you don't think he's polished enough, or totally ready -- you're telling me the guy with 4 days will be MORE ready?

I have great respect for how Culpepper played in the Moss days; and yes -- if he plays like that, Culpepper to CJ would be great. But Stanton is a totally unknown quantity, and lets face it -- I do NOT trust anymore the ability of this staff to judge talent in games based on practice. This is a great time to throw Stanton in against Jax with Dan O out -- get Stanton first team reps while Culpepper eases into it. If Stanton looks awful -- well, he was just starting til Culpepper is up to speed and Dan O is healthy. If he is OK -- then they can stick with him, or send it to see what Culpepper can do after having a couple of weeks to get acclimated. If he is great, then awesome -- they can ride the train til it goes off the tracks. If Culpepper plays unprepared and stinks up the joint -- then where do you go?

So while he may not be totally ready, it won't kill and starting Stanton makes the most logical sense. Just proves there is a Logic-draining device hidden somewhere at Allen Park. The bafflement continues!

Other than the observations above, not a whole lot to say about Chicago. Smith should have been in running out the clock earlier -- they should have been, with a 23-20 lead, running on 3rd and 9 and getting set up for a FG so that the Bears needed a TD to get ahead -- and yet still allow the Lions to kick a FG as time expires (which they got in position to do quite easily - it was the end zone that was elusive) instead of heave-ho's into the end zone on hope. Oh, and about 2 inches higher and CJ comes down with the game winning TD.

While the first few games were atrocious, at this point it is the little things. But little things quickly add up into big things very quickly -- and the Lions have enough little things wrong to have big problems -- on offense and defense.

Still, overall it was an exciting game to watch and even though the Lions didn't pull out the win -- at least it was good football to watch. Now, if only those of us in the blackout zone could see them beat Jax this week. Hey, two other pathetic teams (KC and Cincy) managed to do it -- why not the Lions too?

Dallas side note -- they are still headed for about an 8-8 record at this point, and a mid-round pick --- but Romo is supposed to be back, so they may actually pass more than 3 yards at a time again.

This weeks Mantra: Re-Break is finger Jessica! (Dallas in on their bye, and thus can't lose to increase the value of the Roy Williams trade. Next week...)

BTW - haven't seen any other news outlets pick up the signing of Mr. Potato Head. Guess I'm not good at starting rumors, huh?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


If you do nothing else today, be sure to get out and vote. This is a football blog, so no political pressure as to who or what -- but the exercising of the freedom we are granted, and the privelege of being participants in our governmnet demands that all civic minded individuals go out and vote today.

It is your Patriotic Duty.


(football related column forthcoming tonight)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lions Sign New QB?

The Lions were so impressed by what they saw last week, they decided to look in that direction and make a signing - I'm not talking about Daunte Culpepper. No - Mr. Potato head!

He took a hit, and they literally took his head off. But not to worry! He put himself right back together again! He's aging a bit, and not very mobile - but on the plus side, he has no knees to injure. So please, a round of applause for the new face of the franchise!