Thursday, April 2, 2009

Diamond-Plated Ginsu...

John Niyo of the Detroit News has the attitude right about the Lions' involvement with the Jay Cutler auction. Drew Sharp does not. (No link on purpose. Don't bother reading it.)

Have any of you ever been to an auction, or got into one online? There is a reason Ebay is popular. "It's better when you win it." was their slogan on some TV ads a couple years back. What happens in an auction for something you want, is that the price starts out at nothing - or close to it. In this case for the Lions, it started out at #33 for Cassel and swap him to Denver for one more pick, and get a lower one in return.

But, what happens as the deal making time gets closer, and more people get involved? It becomes more about winning than cost. What started out as buying for need at a reasonable price, turns into need to beat the other guy or I "lost". Denver wanted that to happen, and when Dan Snyder jumped into the fray, I knew the Lions should be jumping out.

I saw one article indicating that Jerry Angelo looked "stunned". He should be -- wait til he looks at his draft board, and needs, and then goes "what have I done!" like a guy coming off a bender looking at the divorce attorney's bill, his little studio apartment and his empty bank account.

Don't get me wrong -- this deal was all wrong for the Lions and a Vegas-Style roll of the dice for Da Bears.

I had a friend back in 2004 who was just settling into a new position. If all went well, he would be moving on to a new position -- out of state -- in about 3 years or so. The company didn't have moving incentives, so he considered selling his house and renting a condo for a few years. Instead, he took out an interest only mortgage on his house that would go for 5 years at which point his payments would go way up. Not only that, but anticipating his higher income in advance, and wanting to upgrade his lifestyle now, he took out as much cash as they would let him and used it to "live tomorrow today."

Come last year, he finally got his promotion... had the markets held out, and kept rising like they were, he would have been in a great position to sell his house for a profit after only making interest payments the last 4 years. They didn't. He can't sell, and is stuck with huge payments, and a house he can't do anything with -- making him cut back to a pretty severe lifestyle despite his increased pay. And to top it all off, he can't even unload the house because he doesn't have enough money saved, and if he does manage to take the loss it can't affect his credit as losing his house would put his job in jeopardy. He gambled, and lost.

Jerry Angelo is making the same kind of gamble with the Bears. He traded two firsts, a third, and his starting QB, for Cutler. (I know they got a 5th in return, but 5th rounders are projects - early 3rds are supposed to be starters. Big difference.) Same day, he signed Orlando Pace to a 3 year deal and hopes he has some left in the tank.

Chicago's defense is aging, but their lack of offense cost them the Superbowl in 2006, and has kept them down since. Angelo is gambling that with adding Cutler to Greg Olson, Matt Forte, Devin Hester, and the 2nd round WR they may take this year, his offense will be potent enough to offset the decline in the Bears D and get them to a Superbowl Run. If the Defense (the housing market) holds on for a couple more years, then the Bears have a legitimate chance to make a run now. If it doesn't hold up, well... there isn't a lot they can do to help it for 2009 or 2010.

The other gamble is Cutler didn't sign a new contract, and that conversation will be coming very soon to the normally tight-fisted Bears. If they don't budge on a new deal (and most likely making him the highest paid QB) it could really be a 3 year interest only loan...

For a team in Chicago's position, I think it was a good gamble for them to take -- and Bears fans I've talked with are excited about the acquisition and possibility it brings.

Question: Did Detroit "lose out"? Answer: No. We talked about whether or not you needed that special knife to QB your kitchen...and this deal went beyond Ginsu to Diamond Encrusted Collector's Edition territory. For a team on the edge of a Superbowl Run who just needs the QB -- Great move. For a team that needs about 15 starters to get to a playoff level...not so much.

Mayhew did the right thing by not doing anything in this instance. The team I think "lost out?"

The Minnesota Vikings. If any team could be said to be one QB away from the Superbowl, it is Minnesota. They have a solid defense. They have a monster running game. They have a terrific O-Line. They have a solid, if unspectacular WR corps/pass catching TE. What they don't have? A QB who can open up the box for Adrian Peterson.

Would you be able to play 8 - 9 in the box to stop Peterson when Cutler is shooting laser guided bombs to Bernard Berrian or Sidney Rice streaking down the sidelines? No. It would have been back to the big scoring offenses of the late 90's for Minnesota, paired with an actual defense.

They are in a win-now need a QB position, and if anyone was to give up 2 firsts and maybe even a 2nd and a 3rd next year -- it would have been Minnesota.

Lions Fans -- we need volume of quality players first, not one pro-bowler. This is a 3-4 year rebuild due to a total lack of talent and depth up and down the roster. As a fan of the Lions I am happy we didn't give up 5 starters (4 early picks and a starter off the roster -- we would have had to beat Chicago's deal, not tie it) to get one --- even if it was a QB.

As a Vikings fan? Well, lets just say if my name were their coach and/or GM I would be praying like mad Sage Rosenfels or T-Jack work out. Because after passing on Cutler, if they don't, they should be looking for work.

If you didn't read all 20+ comments on last story, please go back and do so. Some great stuff in there!! Including my vote for the Lions' first two picks:

  1. 1st (#1 overall) - Aaron Curry MLB Wake Forest
  2. 1st - (#20 overall) Evander Hood DT Missouri


jreffy said...

Don't you mean the Bears signed Orlando Pace? Not Jon Ogden. :)

DetFan1979 said...

Oops!! I have corrected it - goodness knows where that came from. Must be all that LT talk surrounding the draft. "The next..."

Thanks for the catch Jreffy!

RIP said...

Perhaps this was what it took to out bid the Vikes. Doubt any other team, besides the Skins or Cowboys, would put together such a package.

Patrick said...

does anyone think that our Lions were more a victim of poor coaching and preparation than actually a lack of total talent?

Isphet said...

Hard to say, Patrick. The defense is what cost the Lions last year so I'll look at that. In my mind, the coaching staff is supposed to prepare the players to be in place to make a play. They need to make sure that all the defensive X's are in the right place to tackle the offensive O's.

More often than not last year, it wasn't that the Lions didn't have a guy in place to make a play; it was just that the Lions whiffed on tackles on defense. A lot of those long runs the Lions saw happened because tackles were missed.

There were some horrible coverage breakdowns on passes also. What no one knows but the Lions is this: were players told to be one place, but they were in another, or were they in the right place and the coverages just got burned on good plays? Same goes for the D linebackers on the long runs the Lions gave up all year where no one even touched the runner after he broke through the line. Were the LBs where they were supposed to be, mainly plugging the correct gaps, or were they freelancing and RBs were running through where the LBs were supposed to be?

My take is this: I think it was the coaching was a little more to blame than the players. Way too many times, a running play from the other team was run textbookly absolutely correct. Front 4 Lions D get blocked. There's a LB in the gap. TE or tackle pulls and runs through the gap, blocks the Lions' LB. Everyone is accounted for and the opposing RB runs to the end zone untouched.

See the problem? No one on the Lions was good enough to make an offensive play not work according to plan. If you single blocked a Lions defender, he was blocked, and that was that. So, is it the fault of the players who can't blow up a play, or is it the fault of the coaches for not mixing up schemes occasionally to have someone in position to make a play?

I personally have to blame the coaches, because they knew what players they had by a certain point in the season. It was all on tape in plain sight. None of their defenders was good enough to shed a block or create a double team situation, but the coaches just kept calling the exact same vanilla defensive schemes regardless, and got burned consistently all year because of it.

At least that's how I saw it all season last year. At some point the coaches have to realize what lack of talent they had and tried to compensate with scheme adjustment.

nubs said...

You hit the nail on the head. You win today's booby prize! Go treat yourself at your local Deja Vu on Uncle Drew. The Lions are poor in some areas, but they were in a lot of games last year....until the second half.
Martz would change schemes at the half, as would Donnie Henderson. You never saw that last year with Coletto and Barry. They never made in-game adjustments. They never baited teams or saved a favorite play that worked early.
Ask yourself, how many times did you see a team's DB limp off the field and we not attack the brand new substitute that just entered the game. Why? Go for the jugular. That's what I would mean when bitching about the Lions not having the killer instincts, not being able to slam the seat and flush the toilet. You need to have that, and they didn't have that.
Defensive schemes didn't change at all, either. But ISPHET calls it right. There are many blown calls that led to big plays, and there are many missed tackles that led to big plays. Even perfectly called (timed) blitzes that whiff on a QB, and then the QB throws the back-breaking bomb.
But, you could never challenge the Lions effort. It was there through 16 miserable games. For that, I commend them. They just needed a smarter wizard.

It also seems my prodding paid off. Detfan hated the "flip-flop" Burger Time term and gave us his first round picks. Sad thing is, I'm giving the same two people as my first rounders. Seems like (with two weeks left) we need to have a contest. Can you set it up again this year, big guy?

CHIEFGER139 said...

THE WIZE CHIEF DONT THINK THE PRICE for cutler was too high, but it definately was no deal and your right he couldnt of won here with what we have now, but still it would of been nice to finally own a cadilac even though we live in a total shack-not even that a holey tent for a team. that being said time to build a house. besides maybe stafford is just as good or better-and still can get laurintus with the next top pick.Hope the boys are really doing there homework on stafford-unless what they tell me is lies-id draft him-sounds like the real deal-figure in a 3 year plan get the qb out of the way now-face it det fan99 was right last year about the qb-we may not draft this high again-swartz mite actually win 4 or 5 games??

nubs said...


Next year sees five quality QB's coming out. You could be picking 25 and still see one or two left over.

CUTLER - I think he's a by-product of Mike Shanahan's offensive genius. The alcoholic, diabetic, divorcee who moves around with his mother and father couldn't handle being lied to by his new coach. WAH!, take the money and run.

I'll bet Orton in Denver has better numbers than Cutler in Chicago next year.

RIP said...

When talking of the top three QBs, I have to bring up this link from ESPN.

When using this model, there should be only one choice. But then looking at the top of the list, and difference in type offense the Lions will use and what he ran in college, I say wait until next year.

RIP said...

I also did the calculations from ESPN's formula for Pat White and Rhett Bomar.

Pat White stated 48 of 49 games for West Virginia. His rating was 63.8 while playing in the spread offense.

Rhett Bomar started 11 of 12 games his red shirt freshman year with a rating of -22.5. He started every game, which was 19, for Sam Houston State. His rating there was 1.5.

Here is the summary for the top 3 rated QBs.

Scores for 2009 Likely First-Round Quarterbacks
Player School Score
Mark Sanchez USC 32.63
Josh Freeman Kansas State 1.94
Matthew Stafford Georgia -4.55

For a better understanding, need to read the ESPN link previously posted.

RIP said...

All the QBs from ESPN were first round draft picks. Tried do do one for Tom Brady, but there was too much info out there and did not find college stats.

Here is for one that was an undersized QB coming out of Purdue.

Drew Brees stated 37 games and his rating scored a 21.5.

Patrick said...

Isphet and Nubs
thanks for the response....I thought it was just me that saw that there were no in game adjustments. Also everything was vanilla....I could see the plays coming a mile away. I also feel that in some cases players were just not in the correct position...for whatever reason...yes the players have to take some blame...but several of our starters are on other teams...and the teams are happy they got them...Bodden, Redding and Cody to just name a few. This is going to be an interesting IF season. I am not really concerned with the draft, as we can only fill so many holes...but I am very interested in the free agents we pick up after June 1. I think that will be the big difference as to how competitive we will be during the season. I also wonder...if during the preseason games...where the second team it did last year...will they again cut the performers and stick with the old?

Patrick said...

oh...and in response to the actual article...Cutler...Originally I was hoping we would get him. But I don't want another Kitna. Whine when things are rough or bad. I want someone that will get gutter and play some ball. I want someone that will raise everyone around him...both offense and defense. I personally don't think Stafford or Cutler has that ability. Looking at the draft next year the only person that seems to have that ability is Tebow...and I am not sold on him yet. I personally want to see Stanton, raise his game, stay healthy and inspire players around him like he did at State. Even though I am a True Blue at heart...that kid gave us fits...before we hit rock bottom last year, and given a chance I still think he could be that QB we have been looking for....Up until last year...CASSEL was dogged by EVERYONE including his teammates. ESPN, CNNSI and NFL network were questioning what Belichek was thinking keeping this guy as second string after the TERRIBLE preseason. Yet...he starts the whole year and throws for over 400yards. I believe Linehan can get Stanton on the right page along with Culpepper and we will be ok at QB.

schaffdaddy said...

Haven't read all comments the last few days and first time post noticed the chemical testing issues of some of the projected l'backers in draft. It stands to reason with fewer quality ones left, it's likely there will be a run on them. I think this will push our lions to take curry... Any thoughts on this?

RIP said...


I do not believe the positive tests on Cushing and Matthews will effective the top of draft board. Both were outside linebackers which were not an area of need. Where it might effect us is at 33.

The guys that may have caused us more damage were Raji and Davis. Davis may not have been on our draft board due to his character issues. But both could change our draft board by who is left at our 2nd and 3rd spots.

DetFan1979 said...

actually, cushing was projected to MLB or OLB. Raji did test positive -- for weed.

Haven't seen a full list yet, but looks like Davis, Raji, Matthews and Cushing at least all tested positive for something...

great comments all! I've only been talking about poor in-game and week to week adjustments since during last season. Glad others are catching on!

three ways I think they could go in the first round -- and I'm not sure which it will be. More Monday on that. Been a busy weekend, and I'll have a new piece up sometime Monday.