Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lions Congregation: Beginnings and Endings

Lions Congregation: Beginnings and Endings

September 12th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

Welcome once again to the Lions Congregation! This week, the panel gives their thoughts on the final cutdowns and the season opener against Da Bears. Have a question you want to see addressed? Email!

This Week’s Panel:

Phil Zaroo of
Zac of the Sidelion Report
Al of The Wayne Fontes Experience
Steve of Detroit Lions Web Log
NetRat of The Net Rat Detroit Lions Site
Blades Boyd formerly of The Church of Schwartz
Joshua DetFan1979 of Roar of the Lions

Question 1: What was one positive, negative, and huh what? Moment from final cutdowns and initial waiver transactions?

Phil: The positive was how strong the final defensive line looks. Immeasurably better than last season. The negative was they still don’t have a single answer at cornerback. Even the No. 1 CB (Chris Houston) is a question mark. The “huh, what?” moment came when they dumped Landon Cohen. That said, Tom Kowalski really gave an explanation that made
sense in that Cohen looked good because he was simply guessing the snap count — when he was right, he was disruptive; when he was wrong, it looked bad. The Lions need to have someone who’s consistent.

Zac: One positive was the trade of Dan Gronkowski for Alphonso Smith. The actual move may or may not prove to have much significance depending on how Smith plays, but it was at least an encouraging reminder that the Lions overall talent base is growing when a team is able to work out a deal rather than simply cutting the player. My negative moment is the loss of veteran players like Dre Bly and Jon Jansen. Perhaps the staff had a feeling those players would not be happy in the roles they would play but the Lions may have benefited from their presence in the locker room. John Wendling’s spot on the 53-man roster is my “huh, what?” moment. We heard about Dante Wesley’s arrival due to his expected special teams contributions but apparently the Lions thought that Wendling was a better fit, despite his limited time with the team.

Al: Positive: The outright thievery of Alphonso Smith from the Broncos for 4th string tight end Dan Gronkowski and a 7th round draft pick. Gronkowskiwas the 4th tight end on the roster, and was likely going to be headed to the practice squad, if he wasn’t picked up by another team while on waivers.Denver, wanting Gronkowski but knowing he would immediately be snapped up on waivers by the first team needing a tight end, decided to trade for him.

Despite not having a very good rookie season, Smith could become a top four corner for the Lions. He was once thought of so highly, the Broncos traded a 1st round draft pick in order to move up and draft Smith in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL draft. So scouts believe the talent is there, it’s just a matter of bringing it out of Smith on a consistent basis. He may not work out, but Smith was definitely worth taking a flier on, especially when the cost is a tight end who wasn’t going to be on the 53 man roster the next day.

Trade from a position of strength to fill a need? What a concept! Too bad Matt Millen never could figure that out…unlike Martin Mayhew.

Negative: Jon Jansen meeting the Turk. The veteran tackle went from competing with Gosder Churilus for the starting right tackle job, to the waiver wire. Was Churilus so good Jansen was so much extra baggage? Hardly. The competition between the two went late into camp.

Hell, it wouldn’t have bothered me all that much if the Lions had just washed their hands of the overpaid and under performing Churilus. Instead, the Lions cut Jansen, and went younger with the slightly more versitale Corey Hillard.backing up Churilus, who somehow kept hois starting gig. Personally, I would have made Jansen the starter, kept Hilliard as the backup and said bye-bye to another of Millen’s failed draft picks…but I’m just a blogger, not an NFL coach.

Huh what? The decision to waive Dre Bly. Sure, he isn’t what he used to be, but Bly still knows how to play the game. But damn, it’s not as if the Lions are neck deep in talented cornerbacks. More like neck deep in bad ones…

Yet the team’s brass decided they only needed to keep only four corners? I’m still scratching my my head about the decision.

Steve: I was very surprised by the releases of Dre Bly, Jon Jansen, and Ko Simpson. None were essential to the team’s immediate or long term future, however, their combined experience and a painfully clear lack of depth in the secondary, made their respective terminations a bit of a surprise.

NetRat: The cuts and waivers for the Lions had a few surprises. I never really expected Dre Bly to be cut for example (my “huh what”). I did expect King to be cut but was concerned they wouldn’t cut him, so for a positive I’ll go with that one. As for a negative… after considering all the moves I guess I don’t have one, not really. The trade and 2 waiver pickups were all special team related (and in a positive way). The cuts and practice squad worked out pretty much in a positive way. There is only 1 DB on the entire roster from 2009 (Delmas) but it’ll be awhile before we know if the reload was a good one, mediocre, or as bad. So while there were some surprises they weren’t necessarily bad surprises.

Blades: One positive would have to be Kevin Smith remaining on the roster. I know he’s had a brutal pre season but keep in mind, the fact he’s even on the field is close to a miracle. He’s the PERFECT compliment to Best because of his blocking and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. In essence, he’s the perfect third down back and I think the Lions see that and they hope once his knee is back to 100%, his game will rise to that level as well.

One, of the many, negative moments was the cutting of Dan Gronkowski. Sure the Lions are loaded at TE but this kid has a future in the league and could develop into a premier receiving TE. Sure the Lions have Big Tony Schelf and Brandon Petts but this is one of the reasons the Schelf trade little sense to me. Dann-o is pretty much the same type of player; not much of a blocker but can catch anything. Will Heller had a place on this team no matter what because he isn’t a liability in the passing game and is the best blocker out of the group but this had to be a negative in my book. (despite what many of you think, Heller IS a better blocker then Petts)

The “HUH” moment for me was easy. I can’t believe the Lions cut Dre Bly. He was easily their best corner in the preseason and although he’s not the player he was, he’s still better then what they have. To have a roster with only four CB is simply unheard of. I see the Lions brought in Nathan Vasher for a work out and that’s a great idea but I still don’t see the difference between him and Bly.

The other “HUH” moment was the cutting of Landon Cohen. Whenever he’s in the game he seems to make a play or two and he’s only in his third year. That being said, Killer from MLive game us some insight to this decision and although I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, it makes sense.

DetFan1979: The one thing I’ve come to expect from Mayhew is the unexpected. While I wasn’t surprised at the release of veterans on the downside versus younger players with upside, my biggest huh? moment was John Wendling. Apparently he has something the coaching staff likes. As for negative, I really didn’t see anything I hated. Sure, I may have made a different call but I’m a fan blogger, not a professional GM of an NFL franchise or a coach so I’ll trust they know what they’re doing. On the positive side, I like the overall look and potential that is on the final roster. Gronkowski for Alphonso Smith was so good as to be criminal even if Smith ends up as a nickelback at best. There is no downside for the Lions and plenty of upside. I also really like the addition of Stefan Logan — He could finally be the answer to the Lions’ seemingly perpetual KR/PR needs.

Question 2: Bears Game – Slugfest, Shootout, Blowout or You Call This Football?!

Phil: If I have to pick one, I’ll say shootout. In reality, though, I think it’ll be part slugfest, part shootout. Part slugfest because much will be determined in the trenches. Both defensive lines have the potential to wreak havoc, and whichever line is more successful in disrupting the opposing offense will likely be on the winning team. That said, both
offenses have some weapons and they’ll each be taking some shots. So you’ll see some points on the board. Which is why the game will be part shootout.

Zac: The feeling I am getting from Bears fans is that they are as nervous about their secondary as we are about the Lions’; I have to peg this game as a shootout. It seems to be common thought that the Lions will give up a lot of points this year but will score a bunch of their own. What we see on Sunday afternoon could be the first of many shootouts.

Al: Shootout. Big time shootout. A shootshootshootoutoutout! Which is something I think Lions fans will have to get used to this season, with a blossoming offense and an iffy defense.

Neither team is very good. Both have very questionable defenses, and talent on offense. The best defense will be the one that is kept off the field more by their offense. I would not be surprised if the both the Lions and Bears end up scoring 30+ points, with the team having the final possession in regulation having a chance to win.

I’m already on record saying the Bears will win due to the Lions’ injury issues on defense. But the higher the score, the more I like the Lions’ chances, so go figure..

Steve: I believe that the Lions/Bears opening game will be a shootout which, at several moments, will border on being “You Call this Football”!? Each team posseses several glaring deficiencies, but possesses enough talent and a respective intra-divisional intimacy which will at least make the game interesting. Two Words: Mike Martz. I actually expect the Lions to eke out a close road victory after three Jay Cutler ill-timed interceptions. Lions 27 Bears 20

NetRat: As for the Bears game. Tough call. Cutler is no Warner. Heck, Cutler isn’t even a Kitna. Can he produce in Martz’s system when it calls for accuracy (to a spot) and to stand in the pocket no matter what? You know he’ll be moving… a lot (with that OLine). Will Martz get frustrated with various parts not working off the bat? I can see him abandoning the run game after a few stops by Suh, Williams and KVB. Very few of Marinelli’s (of Detroit) D players are on the roster now to tell the new D how it’ll be, but perhaps there are enough left to get some idea. The normal Martz 5 and 7 step drops could well spell doom for the Bears in this game… but Martz is crazy not an idiot, so who knows what twists he’ll put in. The Lions meanwhile should be able to chunk play it down the field on O. Special teams will be unveiled for the first time this game (Jason’s back, new gunners, new returner). The starting D (sans Levy) will all be on the field for the first time ever. Lots of things could go right or wrong for the Lions this game. My best call on it is this… the Lions will have gaps in their D but their O should be fine. The Bears will be a bit unorganized on O and their D is older, getting slower, and banged up. I’ll take the Lions to break their road losing streak.

Blades: Despite what we all want to believe, it’ll be a blowout for the Bears. Delmas will dress but only play in a quarter, maybe a half. Levy looks like he’s out. This doesn’t speak well for the Lions at all. Because of the weakness at LB and in the secondary, I truly believe you will see a heavy dose of Matt Forte. Before you all think I’m crazy, I think Martz will run the ball early to neutralize the pass rush then look to throw the ball deep. Playing in Chicago, where the weather forecast isn’t good, means the Bears will have a distinct advantage and look for them to come out on top. I think we’re looking at week four or five before the Lions pull out their first win.

DetFan1979: I’m going to steal my own answer I wrote for the Blogger Blitz answers I sent over to the Fanball Bears correspondent when he asked who I would pick if $500 was on the line:

All I need to do is divine what I know of the teams, to determine what to expect. The Bears have Martz and the Lions have no secondary, so I can clearly not choose the team in front of me. But – Martz likes 7 step drops and deep passing which takes time. With Kyle Vandenbosch and Cliff Avril coming off the edges and sacking Cutler repeatedly I can clearly not choose the team in front of you! The Bears are named for creatures who live in many climates and mostly in forests, where Lions have a less diverse habitat therefore Bears…

{mrs.detfan1979 chimes in with the requisite “you clearly have a dizzying intellect”. “Wait til I get going! … Where was I?}

Oh yes, the Bears. The Bears will be harassing Matthew Staffordwhom trusts his cannon arm more than he should to protect him, resulting in costly turnovers, so I can clearly not choose the team in front of me. Matt Forte has been getting jammed recently, whereas Jahvid Best has the potential to run all over a defense concentrating on stopping Stafford so I can clearly not choose the team on front of you!

{”you’re just stalling now…make your choice!”}

I choose… Minnesota! After all, according to ESPN Brett Favre is so awesome he can win a game he doesn’t even play in.

For all you “Princess Bride” fans out there the end call is that both cups are poisoned and since us home fans have built up an immunity to “icantbelievethatjusthappenedonlytheinsertteamnameherescoulddothat” powder – root for the home glass and drink up!

Thank you for joining the Lions Congregation once again!! Any topics you’d like to see discussed email us at

Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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3 Responses to “Lions Congregation: Beginnings and Endings”

  1. By Rip on Sep 12, 2010

    I am a very passionate Lion’s fan. What I am not is a sore losser, until perhaps now. The call to take the TD away from Detroit in Chicago needs have a thorough investigation into it.

    Either the rules committee messed up with sloppy writing of a new rule, poor training to the referee, or a back ground investigation needs to be underway to avoide conficts of interest in deciding the game.

    Again, I am a passionate fan. The NFL, and the Detroit Lions just lost a 35 year fan. No more for me this season. And once a fan changes thier routine, they may never get him back.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By Rip on Sep 12, 2010

    One more thing about the game. Did anyone noticed that on the reviews of Forte’s long run that there was not endzone view of the play to see if he stepped out of bounds? How is the official suppose to make an over ruling call if the network does not give him all the video shots? This game was totally B.S. and an NFL embarassment for pro football. If the local networks, and NFL officials, can’t bring us unbiased games, why call it a professional sporting event. Better yet, lets get rid of the replay system all together and go more towards the college game.

    What may be missed in all this is it has happened twice during the Lion’s away losing streak. In Minneapolis two season ago it was the bad call on the pass interferance against the Lion’s. Altough in that one there was no opurtunity for a replay. I mean comeon for he ran like four steps trying see the ball in the air.

    There is something wrong with this game and the NFL needs to examine, or pressure, the officiating union and local networks as to the problems involved. A background investigation in thier personnel would be a start to see where they are from and loyalties are at.

    If the Bears where to squeeze into the playoffs, do they thank the organization and the locals who did the games?

    This is a multibillion dollar enterprise that provides entertainment to the public. Who much more money would it take to actually fly people in to do 16 games a week.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
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