Monday, September 7, 2009

Mayhew’s Mayhem: Cut-Down Weekend in Review

Mayhew’s Mayhem: Cut-Down Weekend in Review

September 7th, 2009 | by detfan1979 |

For those wondering, vacation was great. Swimming, spending time with Mrs.DF79 and the Little Pink Lionesses, grilling steaks and burgers… you know, all of those storied Labor Day traditions. Apparently, Martin Mayhewdidn’t get the memo that it was a holiday weekend.

“May-wheel and deal” struck again, early, and often as cut-down day arrived. Honestly, I barely got one copy of the “official” 53 man cut-down with which to compare our “30 Lock Roster Picks” (thanks Nubs!) before it had already changed! [I will do a separate piece on how our predictions fared soon.] After much time sorting, sifting, and reading, I realized that we have become twitterfied in our news delivery. There are about a half a million short little blurbs out there, and nothing that brings it all together. Miss one piece and you find yourself going “we cut who for who? I don’t know any of these guys!”

Never fear! This is your comprehensive guide to the Lions’ Labor Day Weekend Extravaganza!!

In the spirit of Labor Day vacationers beating the traffic, the Lions traded an undisclosed draft pick for Safety Ko Simpson of the Buffalo Bills. While he was squeezed out of Buffalo’s starting lineup as an average safety, he was still considered an upgrade by the Lions over at worst their current #4 S. So rather than standing pat, they went out and got him to start off the weekend with yet another trade.

As the sun came up over the still waters on Saturday morning, Mayhew wasted no time getting up bright and early to get ready to try out all the fishing holes he had scouted out earlier. (In other words, the Lions had a list of likely cuts, the order they wanted them in, and an idea of who they were going to drop for whom should that situation arise. Methodical Martin would be another good nickname for the Lions’ suddenly competent seeming front office. This isn’t to say I’m hopping right on the 10-wins this year bandwagon, or pretending all will turn out roses and sunshine. At least the methodology shows more forethought and consistency).

First up was for the Lions to pack for their trip. Only 53 roster spots, so some guys were going to have to go. Not only that, with the trunk full but plenty of shopping to do at those fun tourist trappy shops and flea market bargaining, the Lions were going to have to let a few more things go if they could find upgrades…

QB is the most important position — and there 5 strings for 3 lines on the hammock. Since Drew Stanton’s knee surgery reportedly went well, first order of business was to ship off the 4th and 5th QB’s. Brooks Bollinger was a street FA, and back to the street he went as expected. As for O’Connell, he made the 53 man roster, but not for long — 4 teams put in waiver claims on him — Detroit, Denver, Cleveland, and the New York Jets. The Jets still wanted him, so he was sold off to them for an undisclosed draft pick. [You want him, we got him, we're willing to keep him. Unless, of course, a certain gratuity was to find it's way into a certain team's coffers... can picture it very ruthless Tony Soprano/Godfather-like with how Mayhew manipulated the Lions' 0-16 waiver dominance on that one.] With 3 quarterbacks left the QB situation was settled down as the weekend rolled into Sunday and Monday.

Mayhew didn’t really take the time to kick back and down a couple of cold ones after the initial work was done. There was more wheeling and dealing to be done, and plenty of holes left on the roster. In a stunner, Adam Jennings beat out Standeford and Looker for the 5th WR spot behind Johnson, Johnson, Northcutt and Williams. It didn’t last long as he was promptly cut when Baltimore let go of return specialist Yamon Figurs, who looks to take over PR, and possibly KR duties until Williams remembers how to catch punts. Who ends up as the primary returner will be an area to watch in game 1 and as the season progresses.

Still, with Roberson going on IR that left Cletus Gordon as one of the final 5 CB’s along with Buchanon, King, James & Henry (sounds more like British Royalty than an NFL Defensive Secondary, doesn’t it?). Gordon was gone in a flash and CB’s Marcus McCauley (from the Vikings) and Kevin Hobbs (Seattle) were added to fill the openings Gordon and O’Connell left on the roster.

Despite all of this, Mayhew still had reservations about that defense — nothing had been done along the line recently. Orien Harris (whom he got for a WR, Curry, the Lions had signed in FA who had just been cut free) was in as the 4th DT along with Jackson, Cohen, and Hill. But that DE position was sitting about as well as that 3 pound bag of pork rinds downed while watching MSU and UM crank out some great season opening wins as part of scouting the “home teams” (along with WMU). Hunter-Avril-White-Fluellen (also the 5th DT)-IAF just wouldn’t do it. So Martin said “Aloha” to IAF andbrought in Copeland Bryan, DE from the Bills. Not a “future star” type of player, he fit more of the Jared Devrieseveryman role Mayhew had been looking to replace. If the shoe doesn’t fit, get a new shoe seemed to be the axiom here.

With all of those more pressing issues taken care of, it was time to see who was left floating around out there for the practice squad. Murtha and Gronk were almost snared by other teams, but along with Follett managed to make it to the practice squad where they will be available for the inevitable injury. So too did speedy Tristan Davis and backup C/G Gerberry. WR John Boussard, TE Carson Butler and QB Brock Berlin round out the unit thus far.

Finally, Matthew Stafford was declared winner of the QB competition and will be your starting Lions QB this season, barring injury. So as we await a new round of waiver claims to filter through the bottom half of the roster how does the team look?? Overall, it is a solid mix of veterans and youth. By the looks of it, when a competition was close the Lions opted for the younger player with more upside. With the Stafford decision (And others) Schwartz is showing that this staff will not be afraid to play their young players right away and see what they’ve got, and let them learn through their experience.

As of Monday 11:50 pm EST here is your Detroit Lions Roster:

QB: (3) Stafford, Culpepper, Stanton — Stafford meets Schwartz’s criteria, and has claimed the starting job. Stanton has shown he deserves a shot next season to fight for the #2 spot after solidifying the #3 spot this year.

RB: (3) Smith, Morris, and Brown — Cason is gone (for now, he always comes back) and speedy Tristan Davis made it to the practice squad. The Lions will be well covered here in case of injuries.

FB: (2) Smith and Felton — there was no one else here, and no need for anyone else here. Solid.

WR: (5) Johnson, Johnson, Williams, Northcutt, and Figurs– Standeford and/or Looker will be there to sign if an injury strikes. Still have a feeling Looker may be back if Northcutt goes down.

TE: (3) Pettigrew, Heller, and Fitzsimmons– Gronk was a long shot, and still has potential to make the 53 man vs the practice squad next season if he continues to show improvement. Considering Fitzsimmons’ injury history, if he goes all Dan Campbell (on IR with the Saints) Gronk may see his shot much earlier.

OL: (9) Backus, Loper, Raiola, Peterman, Cherilus; backups Jansen, Salaam, Ramirez, Gandy– I’m not surprised that they kept so many linemen — with Murtha and Gerberry on the practice squad they retained most of the 2nd string O-Line that looked so good in preseason (as did the starters). The Lions are finally starting to develop this unit.

DT (4) Hill, Jackson, Cohen, Harris — Darby was cut as expected with his gas tank on “E” and Harris showed about the same as S. Smith on the field, only without the problems off the field. That could be a solid 4 man rotation, and not to forget Flu is listed here as a DE but will see plenty of time in the rotation at both spots.

DE: (5) Avril, White, Hunter, Fluellen, Bryan– Bryan was an upgrade over IAF (theoretically) and hopefully will replace a lot of what the team lost when Devries went down. Not a lot of flash, but a solid dependable player. {knocks on log is using as chair around camp fire.}

LB: (6) Peterson, Foote, Sims; backups Levy, Dizon, Bing– Bing is a guy who started to “get it” at LB last year, and really came on this camp and preseason. I liked Follett on ST as a gunner, but Levy and Bing did better as backup LB. If they kept 7 LB, Follett would be on the 53. Depending on how the now-loaded defensive backfield plays out, and how special teams looks, he could see the field yet this year. If not, he should be a solid competitor next season for a 6th or 7th LB spot — and we can only hope that the draft and FA allows the Lions to keep fewer people than the mass in the secondary now.

CB: (6) Henry, Buchanon, King, James, McCauley and Hobbs– Roberson made a good case to stick, but was injured and hidden on IR for next season. Time to heal, followed by another full offseason should lead to good things if he continues to progress like he did this year. Robinson finally gets the axe, and 6 is a lot of CB to carry when they are this…caliber. Less bodies, more talent next ifseason anyone??

S: (4) Delmas, Manuel, Simpson, Pearson — Not a star-studded S position, but hopefully IF… Stu played well for the most part in the preseason, but trading for Simpson bumped him. Likely #1 on the call list if injury hits.

ST: (3) LS Muhlbach, P Harris, K Hanson — the only three people who could feel secure throughout training camp, they are also 3 of the best in the biz at their respective positions.

Draft related thoughts for tonight: 7/10 draft picks are on the active roster, and should make solid contributions. the 3 7th rounders are all on the practice squad. Of the 7 picks on the roster, 3 (Stafford, Pettigrew, Delmas) will be starting — which is what Lions fans were hoping for with those first three picks. Levy, Williams andBrown will all be contributors/developmental backups seeing rotational time. Hill will be in the main DT rotation, which makes him about half a starter behind Jackson.

Final thought: Since the Lions must keep players claimed on waivers one week, my guess is that King – CB is next on the chopping block, along with Hunter – DE when the Lions make their next moves. So see if I’m right and one of these guys is cut when the Lions claim another player — such as Cundiff or Waters back to do Kickoffs if Hanson isn’t 100%.

Rating: 9.1/10 (11 votes cast)
Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • NewsVine
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis

Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Mayhew’s Mayhem: Cut-Down Weekend in Review”

  1. By StreetWorm on Sep 9, 2009

    Overall, I think Mayhew did a pretty good job with the waivers, but that being said I think most Lions fans are severely overestimating what the impact of these additions really is. They’re really only going to fill in backup positions and the practice squad. Now, there may be some guys who push for starting time, especially in the secondary, but if that’s the case then it’s probably not necessarily a good thing considering these are other teams’ castaways. Given, some may be that they just didn’t fit a particular teams’ scheme, but generally if a player is good, they’re going to be good enough to fit into a scheme whether it’s ideal or not.

    On a seperate note, is anyone else as worried as I am about Morris at RB? I understand that he was injured and that may have been a factor in his preseason play, but he really hasn’t shown up for a single play that I’ve seen him in on. He’s being taken down by ankle tackles and against 2nd and 3rd team players. On top of that, he brings no special teams expertise whatsoever. After seeing the final game of the season I honestly would have been happier to see Cason stay as the 3rd string RB and special teams contributor, at least Cason actually showed up in the final game. Plus, you have your bruiser in short yardage situations already in Jerome Felton, I just don’t see what Morris brings to the table now that Felton has shown what he can do.

    Other than that, I was happy to see us pick up a KR/PR which we desperately needed. It’ll be interesting to see if they still use Brown on KR’s or if he’s out of the picture in that regard. Very solid pickup.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By chiefger139 on Sep 9, 2009

    yes, the saviour has arrived-starting game 1-
    stafford to cj=td!!

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. By nubsnobber on Sep 9, 2009

    My 30 LOCK doesn’t look so bad.

    QB M Stafford D Culpepper
    RB K Smith M Morris J Felton
    WR C Johnson B Johnson D Northcutt
    TE B Pettigrew W Heller
    OL J Backus G Cherilus D Loper S Peterman
    D Raiola
    DL C Avril D White G Jackson S Hill A Fluellen
    LB L Foote J Peterson E Sims D Levy J Dizon
    CB P Buchanon E King A Henry
    S L Delmas D Bullocks

    With Bullocks gone, that puts me at 29/30 I think. I then said:

    10 MAYBE
    QB D Stanton FB T Smith
    WR D Williams TE D Gronkowski
    T J Jansen DE I Alama-francis
    LB Z Follett CB K Smith
    S K Pearson S S Schweigert

    OUCH! Gronk and Zach (practice squad) and IAF and Scweigert put me at 6/10.

    1. RB Aaron Brown
    2. FB/TE Casey FitzSimmons
    3. T Ephraim Salaam
    4. G Manny Ramirez
    5. DE Jared deVries
    6. DT Landon Cohen
    7. DT Orien Harris
    8. LB Cody Spencer
    9. CB Ramzee Robinson
    10.S/LB Darnell Bing

    Jared, Cody, and Ramzee hurt me giving me 7/10.

    This means I placed 42 of a possible 50. Not bad, but I’m sure Net Rat is laughing uncontrollably somewhere.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  4. By nubsnobber on Sep 9, 2009

    I missed CB Keith Smith in my second group only giving me 5/10 for a total of 41/50. See, “so easy a caveman can do it.”

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

No comments: