Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lions Congregation: Suh-spension of Pessimism?

Lions Congregation: Suh-spension of Pessimism?

September 5th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

Welcome once again to the Lions Congregation! This week, the panel touches on Ndamukong Suh’s corkscrew tackle of Jake Delhomme and one fan’s questions about why Mayhew isn’t the new Millen. Have a question or topic you want to see the panel address? Email

The Panel:

Al of The Wayne Fontes Experience
Zac of
The Sidelion Report
Ty of
The Lions in Winter
Blades Boyd formerly of The Church of Schwartz
NetRat of T
DetFan1979 of
Roar of the Lions

1. Richard D: What was with the media circus surrounding Suh’s play on Delhomme? Would he really face suspension?

Al: As we found out Friday afternoon, a suspension is not in the offing for Ndamukong Suh. The Lions’ prize rookie tackle was levied a $7500 fine by the NFL for trying to unscrew Jake Delhomme’s head from his shoulders. It’s nothing more than a slap on the wrist for a player soon to have a net worth north of of $40M.

As to who to blame for the media fires being stoked, I’m pointing a finger directly at the Browns. The Browns’ head coach, The Mangenius, confirmed in a presser with the ink stained wretches he asked for an NFL review. The Cleveland and national media was given more anti-Suh ammo thanks to backup quarterback Seneca Wallace bitching to the beat writers, saying Suh should be suspended…while secretly wishing Delhomme had been injured, so he could take over the Browns offense, such as it is.

Was it a smart play by Suh? Not at all. Suh has been proven to be a smart player, so his trying to pop Delhomme’s head like a pimple was out of character. Jim Schwartz has called him out on it.

But if any good has come out of this, it’s this: Suh has proven to have a mean streak, and placing the idea of his cracking quarterback skulls in the minds of the opposition. Quarterbacks now have reason to fear Suh…which is a very good thing for the Lions.

Zac: I seriously doubt a suspension was ever part of the discussion at the league office. Seneca Wallace’s quote that suggested a suspension was less than forceful in demanding such action was probably overblown as it circulated around the internet. The circus was created due to the combination of the NFL’s insistence on protecting quarterbacks and Ndamukong Suh’s big name status. Suh’s $7,500 fine shows that the league didn’t view the play too seriously although the penalty for subsequent infractions could escalate quickly.

Ty: The “media circus,” I think, was pretty well-founded. Even if that were Landon Cohen or Andre Fluellen, the viciousness of the play would have ensured enshrinement on SportsCenter. Since it was the #2 overall pick–and possibly the most buzzed-about college prospect of the past few seasons–it was bound to garner plenty of attention. Suspensions, though, are generally reserved for repeat offenders; my shot-in-the-dark guess is he’ll be fined between $10,000 and $20,000. I think he’s good for it. {it was $7500 — announced after Ty submitted his response. ~ DF79}

Blades: If this was a repeat occurrence then yes, he would be facing a suspension and fine. Thankfully, it’s not and I know Lions fans, me included, looked at it and thought it wasn’t that big a deal. However, after seeing what players get suspended for now a days, this could warrant a suspension in the future if it continues.

NetRat: He might face a penalty, but more likely he’ll get a warning this first time, a financial penalty the next time or two, then if he continues to throw QBs to the ground he might eventually get a suspension for not following the commish’s wishes. I’m not talking about the facemask bear hug thing.. just the throwing to the ground.

DetFan1979: Suspension, at this point, was nothing more than a backup QB blowing hot air, Mangini being ticked his line couldn’t even stop Suh in a hurry up quick pass offense nearly killing his QB and too many talking heads in the 24 hour sports realm. Oh yeah, also add in a rookie making a boneheaded play that cost his team some yards in a meaningless preseason game.

The message he and the Lions sent with their response to this, however, was more interesting to me. Jim Schwartz wasn’t exactly pontificating slowing down, and Ndamulong Suh pretty much said it all in what he didn’t say — namely, no apology. Not happening.

Jim Schwartz was kind of like the Dad who gets called into the office because someone was dumb enough to hit their daughter, and their daughter kicked butt instead of running away crying. Schwartz was saying the right things, but the way he said them was louder that words: Touch my kid and she’ll kick your *** and I’m going to be high-fiving her as soon as we’re out of here saying “Damn straight girl, that’s how daddy wants it.” (Yes, she — I have three daughters and yes they are fully trained to kick butt and yes if they are anything like me I will be having this conversation at some point. Daddy Lion doesn’t teach martial arts just for his health.)

After being bullied by offensive lines and quarterbacks and opposing offenses for so long players like Wallace go into a game versus the Lions expecting them to run and cry. Instead, the Lions defensive line sent this message: We’re playing to knock you out of the game every play. Man up, or go home. We’re going to pancake you to the turf and you can’t stop us.

2. Dan F: I have only passingly watched/followed the Lions the last few years thanks to Matt Millen. They still only won two games last year, and Mayhew was Millen’s guy. Other than lucking into Ndamukong Suh how are things really different than when they were adding “weapons for Joey”?

Al: Dan, the Lions are once again worth watching. They aren’t “good” just yet, but I can actually see a light at the end of a very long tunnel, much in thanks to the work of Martin Mayhew.

Here’s a few things in mind when comparing the Matt Millen Lions to the Martin Mayhew Lions.

1. Millen thoroughly and completely screwed this franchise over, a eight year long, slow motion train wreck. He left a roster in worse shape than what you’d find on an expansion team. Mayhew had to start rebuilding the Lions literally from scratch. It’s going to take much longer than two off seasons to “fix” the Lions.

2. Who was the one adding the “weapons for Joey”? It was one Matt Millen, who couldn’t add 2+2, let alone add “weapons”.

3. Mayhew may have been Millen’s “guy”, but its become obvious he learned what NOT to do while working under the worst GM in pro sports history. Mayhew snookered the Cowboys in trades…twice. Mayhew isn’t giving iffy free agents big money, long-term contracts, his signings have been lower key, cheaper and for short terms. Millen was suckered in by glitzy skill players when drafting, while Mayhew has gone into his two drafts with the intention of selecting the best available player, regardless of position. Mayhew’s first draft produced an NFL player in every single round, something Millen could never say in his eight drafts (Let’s not even go into Millen’s whiffing entirely on his draft picks from 02-06). In two years, Mayhew has done more to improve the Lions than Millen did in his entire, painfully long, tenure.

4. The Lions have begun to build a core of players, on both sides of the ball, who have a legitimate chance to become big time stars (Stafford, Suh, Delmas, Johnson, Best), others who are bona fide NFL players (Pettigrew, Levy, Scheffler, Heller, Burleson, Sims, Williams, Sammie Hill), while adding solid veterans who can still play, while mentoring the young players (Petertson, Vanden Bosch, Bly, Shaun Hill). The Lions, starting with Millen, to the front office, the coaching staff, the 53 man roster, and all the way down to the practice squad, used to be a mish-mash styles, schemes, and philosophies, all pulling in different directions. That’s no longer the case under Mayhew. The Lions have a plan, and are sticking to it, instead of lurching from scheme to scheme, coach to coach, quarterback to quarterback.

In the end, I can answer your question, “What’s different”, with six words.

5. Millen was a moron. Mayhew isn’t.

Zac: Things are different because the Lions front office has built much more cohesion between management, scouts and coaches. All facets of the player evaluation process are working together and preparing much more thoroughly than they did in the Millen era. Scouts finally have the ability to have their input heard and coaches also get some say into the players they will be expected to coach. The Millen-era’s greatest downfall was the lack of a plan. There was always a new coach, system, or star of the future. Martin Mayhew hired Jim Schwartz partly because of a shared vision between them. That is a huge difference.

It should not be assumed that Martin Mayhew was in lockstep with Matt Millen just because he was his assistant. Those that have followed Mayhew’s moves recognize them as very different from Millen-type moves. The record may not look a whole lot better this year but the team is on an upward swing rather than wallowing in a state of less-than mediocre.

Ty: My brother-in-law loves to needle me with this. To this point, Stafford’s numbers aren’t significantly different than Joey’s. 2-14 still blows. The Lions still play in one of the toughest divisions in football. If they only win 3 or 4 games this year, are they really any better? Are they really on the right track? As we speak, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Mayhew, Schwartz, and Company aren’t false prophets like Millen and Mariucci and Marinelli and all the rest.

Blades: This is the exact same attitude I have. As I’ve said before, Jesus Chris could come back to earth and play football for the Detroit Lions and my attitude would be, “Meh, I’ll get excited when something happens.” I look at the Lions with the same pessimistic attitude because I look at this years team and think we are a 5-7 win team. That being said, once Calvin misses a couple games or Stafford gets hurt, we literally won’t win a game all year. Our defense is horrible (outside the DL) and you or I could probably start in the secondary. HOWEVER, the reason there is hope is because of Jim Schwatz and Martin Mayhew. They have finally changed the attitude in the locker room and things are on the up. Once we get a little depth on offense and some skill in the secondary, we’ll be a decent team. Now, that just has to happen.

NetRat: Mayhew was on the staff, and apparently utterly ignored by Millen. Mayhew has done more for this team in 20 months then Millen could have hoped to… by a factor of upteenmillion (new word). By failing to watch the previous games you can’t know how truly bad the lack of talent was on the team (individually) and by continuing to fail to watch you can not truly appreciate the individual real talent added to the team the past 20 months. The Lions are right now a right tackle away (and a years experience) from having one of the top 10 offenses in the NFL. The defense is still a work in progress, but even it has more individual talent on it then the Lions have had since 1999. One more off season and I expect the defense to be top 15 and ready to move up quickly from there. In other words, I have no fear stating I fully expect the Lions to make the playoffs in 2011 (assuming there is football in 2011 and not a lock out).

DetFan1979: I would love to go into great detail because the names Martin Mayhew is a real NFL GM and Matt Millen was never even close. However, I have a broken finger and typing isn’t as easy as usual so I’ll sum up:

1. Mayhew has been more active in a more intelligent way in acquiring players — Houston trade, Williams trade, etc. — then Millen ever was. His first trade was one great trade more than Millen ever had and he’s pulled off several more since. Getting something for nothing and turning it into something even more by packaging it together.

2. The Lions organization used to be anything but organized. Allen Park was nicknamed “The Asylum”. No More. Mayhew is ruthless, efficient, and will — given time — be mentioned in the same breath as guys like Bill Polian with the Colts. I’m dead serious. It’s not just first round gimmes like Suh (supposed sure things Millen repeatedly screwed up, BTW) but 4th round guys like Sammie Hill and 3rd round guys like Deandre Levy.

3. The Lions were worse than an expansion team when Mayhew took over and at the rate he is filling in talent and depth they will be pushing for the playoffs in 2011.

4. Jim Schwartz and his assistants can actually coach and improve/develop talent. Guys like Aaron Brown used to come and go — nowhere. Instead, we have already seen Brown improve on his football skill and knowledge — teachable things — that never used to occur on the past. UDFA like Randy Phillips and late rounders like Willie Young are solid bets to develop into starters.

5. Mayhew is out with the scouts, linking up coaches and players, and listening and considering the facts and analysis instead of always going with his gut and playing it on the fly. (All things Millen never did) This includes being vastly more organized than the days of a voice in the back of the room calling out “Calhoun!” Instead, there is a plan A-B-C and likely D-Z for whatever will happen.

6. There is a certain feel – Marinelli was just hopeful, then repetitive rhetoric — an unimaginative predictable response to the predictable failures of the Lions and the deep seated feeling the Lions would screw it up under Millen… With Mayhew there is this constant feeling that he always has something up his sleeve and that whatever is wrong, he’s working on a solution — even if it’s next year’s draft and free agency, or rolling the dice on a guy they bring in just to see.

(Yes, when it comes to what Mayhew is doing right that WAS the short version. If they sold Mayhew jerseys I’d buy one)

Thanks again for visiting with the Lions Congregation! Next week, we’ll look at final roster questions and preview the Bears season opener.

Rating: 10.0/10 (6 votes cast)
Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • NewsVine
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis

4 Responses to “Lions Congregation: Suh-spension of Pessimism?”

  1. By nubsnobber on Sep 5, 2010

    I have to admit, I’ve been fairly dormant writing blogs over the Spring and Summer. I’ve even shamelessly been inefficient at checking in periodically, but am now up to speed on the pulse of what’s happening.

    The Mlive blog room is still why I’m here as you still see meat heads wanting to pee on their territory. The freep has changed for the better with Birkett writing very intricate and thought provoking articles. Don’t get me wrong…this is the most intellegent Lions blog site by far, but the Freep was gaining a little ground until Rob Parker dripped his poison pen today. HE was calling for Suh to be suspended.

    At first, I thought it was, at first, a tongue in cheek, reach around slap on the ass attack on the NFL about being too strict about protecting the QB/and how the league has went too far. Then I remembered how shallow the thought of the author usually is and realized I must take the article to be written at face value….Rob Parker thought Suh should have gotten a one game suspension.

    CRAZY. Thank goodness we have you all pointing out normalcy and rational thoughts.

    Here comes some more shaking of the roster….

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

    And to answer part two….Joey was Millens pick. No one wanted Joey Blue Skies to beging with.

    Millen had to hire Morningweg. Then when Marty wasn’t good enough, and the original trunk of the coaching tree became available, Mooch was swooped (and yes, rules were broken). But Joey never fit into that scheme. Never should have been drafted. Millen drafted him and almost a hundred like him. And the Lions suffered. Moooch could’ve been a good coach, but never saw eye to eye with Millen on personnel.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. By Bad Axe Herald on Sep 6, 2010

    Objectively, someone has to weigh in on the side of neutrality in relation to home team fans viewpoints. The “home team” fans are always biased towards the home team regardless of which team it is.

    For example, many over on MLive are standing on rooftops shouting that they want K34 traded, as he ain’t no good no more. No doubt in their minds should a trade occur and it involves a draft pick in return, then that pick should be a high one, say second or third rounder.

    Now reverse that situation and say K34 was playing on another team and the Lions rumor mill had them in discussions with that other team in regards to obtaining K34, as a backup for Jahvid Best. Only now the “home team” Lions fans are saying to give up a sixth or seventh rounder to obtain K34.

    Same K34, yet two different appraisals of K34’s value = home team biased partiality.

    You see the same thing on Sundays, seemingly phantom calls going against the Lions, and blatant opposing teams’ penalties going unnoticed by the refs, at least in the eyes of the Lions fans.

    You see this also on Sundays when some superstar player gets calls that the journeyman wouldn’t get.

    Doesn’t matter the sport, there is partiality involved from apparently numerous directions.

    In the case of Suh, I think the Lions caught a break in avoiding a suspension. If Delorme had been one of the Mannings, or Brady, Farve, Brees or any other elite QB then the Lions and Suh would be looking at a suspension. Delorme is a journeyman the others mentioned have more value to the NFL, via TV viewing audiences, jersey sales or whatever.

    I have moved on from the Millen era and will not look back. Mayhew and Schwartz are the right management for the Lions, continuity presently needs to be maintained. There is just no way to rebuild this Lions team back to respectability from the blight that Millen left it in, in just two drafts and two offseasons, NO WAY.

    So have a little faith, trust in what they are doing, and if that results in 4 to 5 wins this year, that’s a huge improvement for a team that was in essence last year an expansion team.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  4. By Lionfan73 on Sep 6, 2010

    Don’t know about Rob Parker…but Drew Sharp from the Freep called for a one game suspension for Suh. I don’t see it…this was Suh’s first transgression. Sharp taking his view is not surprising. Remember, a writer wants to get a reaction…positive or negative, doesn’t matter. Sharp tends to take the most unpopular view, again, to stir emotion, and get a reaction. The only way to stop this is to ignore it. Apathy bothers a sportswriter more then anything. It knocks them off there high horse.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

No comments: