Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Draft Position Scenarios

Thanks to Rubicon of Mlive Lions forum for boiling down the draft position scenarios into an easy to understand format:


Draft Position:

by  Rubicon, 12/29/10 4:56 PM

We're guaranteed between #4 and #14.

If we WIN, we gain one spot from #14 for each of the following that happen:

- Browns beat Steelers

- Seahawks beat Rams

- Titans beat Colts

- Redskins beat Giants

- any 3 of the following (we would pick ahead of the Vikings, if 2 happen we would have a coin flip with them, if less than 2 then the Vikings would pick ahead of us): Saints beat Bucs (counts twice), Seahawks beat Rams, Cardinals beat 49ers

If we LOSE, then we are #8 and gain one pick for each of the following:

- Bengals beat Ravens

- Bills beat Jets

- Cowboys beat Eagles

- Texans beat Jaguars

So most likely if we win we get #12 or #13, and if we lose we get #6 or #7.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Killer Film Breakdown - Lions at Dolphins

Here is a summary of Killers film breakdowns of the Lions at Dolphins on

O-Line Struggled Early

Run D Forces First FG

Stare-Down Leads to Pettigrew TD

Breakdowns Ruin Good Individual Defensive Plays

Trouble Running Against a 7 Man Front

CJ Key Even When Not Catching the Ball

Henne Feels Suhs Displeasure

Vashers Run Defense Solid Too

Rookie Mistake Leads to first Henne INT

Levy Makes Offense Pay for Slip

I admit I was frustrated most of the game as the Lions were thisclose to making a big play, but werent getting it done.  One player would crash into the backfield, another would lose contain.  One player would make a great block, another would let someone into the backfield on the opposite side.  Both teams were grinding out a solid but not spectacular game all around until the 4th quarter. 

Then things finally clicked together for the Lions and thisclose became big plays that changed the game in the Lions favor allowing them the solid win.   The end to this season is validating the progress we thought we were seeing under the Mayhew-led Lions organization in terms of talent, and Jim Schwartz in terms of coaching.  Both areas are now passing the eye-test on the field and the part that matters most in the W column.  The Lions now have 5 wins, and could end the year at 6-10.  Ill be at Ford Field next Sunday for the season endcap. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lions Congregation: Merry Christmas!

Happy Holiday wishes from the entire Lions Congregation!

This is the season that brings to mind what football is about - entertainment, family, fun. About keeping cinnected with your brother by going to a couple of games together each season. Good times, good food, great memories.

May all of you have a great holiday, and we'll be back to answering you Lions questions next week!

Joshua Pung

On behalf of the entire Lions Congregation

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lions Congregation: QB's, IR and Stanton

Welcome back!  Vacation was great, but there is football being played!  The Lions Congregation is back at it, tackling your questions on all things Lions.  Have a question?  Email

This week's Panel:

Al of The Wayne Fontes Experience
Steve of Detroit Lions Weblog
Zac of The Sidelion Report
Net Rat of The Net Rat Detroit Lions Site
Joshua Pung DetFan1979 of

Question 1: Jimmy R. wants to know why the Lions didn't/won't put Stafford on IR. Is there a reason other than a vague hope of him playing?

Al: Why is Stafford still on the 53 man roster? I have no freaking idea, Jimmy. I've been asking the same question since Stafford tore up his shoulder against the Jets.

There's no reason to play Stafford unless he's 100% healthy. From all accounts (all rumors, as Jim Schwartz isn't talking), the odds Stafford can take the field before the end of the season are slim, at best. I'm long on record saying the Lions keeping a seriously injured player on the roster, when others are dropping like flies, doesn't make a Hell of a lot of sense. But the Lions are willing to use a roster spot, and carry four quarterbacks, regardless.

I've always believed in the principle of Occam's razor, which is "The simplest explanation is more likely the correct one." So saying Stafford has remained on the roster because the Lions have a "vague hope" he'll play before the season ends is as good of an answer as any...and if you go by Occam's razor, it's probably the correct one.

Steve:  The Lions likely want to keep the potentiality of his return open, so that they can continue to market interest in his return. If Stafford's season is eventually put on ice, a number of fans would also subsequently check out.

Furthermore, if Stafford doesn't return this season, the criticism over his lack of durability and speculation about whether he was a busted draft pick (or not?) would only increase.

I firmly believe that Stafford would love to return. He is hungry, and as a burgeoning team leader, likely feels a certain amount of accountability to himself, the fans, and the franchise, itself.

As the season continues, and Stafford continues to rehabilitate, his imminent return will remain a hot topic. As imprudent as it may seem, I am all for getting Stafford back onto the field, gaining valuable experience, while establishing himself as a legitimate franchise QB, rather than preserving him for posterity's sake.

Zac:  The Lions haven't put Stafford on IR because they believe he could be healthy enough to play again this season. They have been very consistent in saying that he will play when healthy, even if it is only for one game. The only cost of not putting him on IR is the inability to fill Stafford's roster spot with a healthy body. The Lions obviously place a higher value on potentially getting Stafford more game action this year over bringing in another journeyman that won't make any long term contributions.

NetRat:  If Stafford is not on IR he can practice with the team (even if he's not throwing).  Plus, there is a chance he could play a game or two before the end of the year to get some more experience (and snaps DO count).

DetFan1979:  If he went on IR not only would his season be over, but Stafford would not be able to practice with the team.  Even if he comes back just for a half of a game against the totally imploded, exploded, and indescribable Vikings those gameday snaps are important -- as are the throwing session during the week, even if they only limited.  Limited is better than away from the team.  This way he is around the team, and all it cost them was a roster spot on a team that was essentially eliminated from the playoffs -- a spot that would have been used on someone who wouldn't be around next year anyway.  The development of Stafford trumps that by far.

Question 2: What exactly has Drew Stanton shown in his two starts with the Lions?  Backup, potential starter, or 3rd stringer til he's out of the league?

Al: Surprisingly, Stanton has shown he's capable of winning a game in the NFL, if used properly. And just how did the Lions use Stanton properly in beating the Packers last Sunday? By taking the ball out of Stafford's hands, and using his mobility instead.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for your quarterback, but it worked.

Stanton was placed behind the 8-ball in his rookie season when then offensive coordinator Mike Martz wanted his pet quarterback project, J.T. O'Sullivan, on the roster, instead of Stanton. Martz thought Stanton's mechanics needed to be broken down and rebuilt from scratch...and to be honest, Martz didn't want Statnon on the team at all.

So Stanton was (stupidly, in my opinion) placed on IR, which ended up costing him the first two years of his career. Stanton was been scrambling to catch up in his development ever since.

Stanton was drafted to be the Lions' quarterback of the future. For obvious reasons (over $40 million of them), that's no longer the case. It's pretty much a given Stanton won't be the backup for the Lions either, not with Shaun Hill under contract. If Stanton has a future in the NFL, it won't be inDetroit...and that's best for both parties.

Stanton needs a fresh start, and the Lions have cast their lot with Matthew Stafford. Not that talent-wise, they compare. Stafford has a chance to be great, Stanton has a chance to be a journeyman. The accuracy The Lions are making the right decision, but it's the previous regime's fault Stanton never had a real shot in Detroit in the first place.

Best case, Stanton sticks in the NFL as a backup...and after four seasons in the league, I don't think he can hope for much more. Fifth year quarterbacks are rarely kept on as third string, unless the team has major injury issues. That position is normally held by a developmental quarterback, not a player going into his second NFL contract.

But in the end, I think Stanton will be a backup somewhere in the NFL next season, just not in Detroit. Hell, if Dan Orlovsky can find a backup job after stinking it up with the Lions...why not Drew Stanton?

Steve:I think Stanton is exactly the player many Lions fans thought that he was. He has good feet, is gutsy, and may have even more leadership ability than was originally expected.

That being said, Stanton is an inaccurate passer, doesn't have the greatest footwork, and is prone to making poor decisions, at any moment. The Lions offense with Stanton at QB has certainly been less productive than it was with Shaun Hill, earlier in the season.

I believe that Stanton is a marginal NFL player at best, who may become jobless if the Lions don't retain him in the upcoming months. He is a third-stringer, with a marginal argument being made that he could continue to provide grit and leadership as second-stringer.

As a Michigan State fan, I am glad the spirited Stanton has performed well in his brief opportunity, but it is clear that there is a huge talent gap between he and Matthew Stafford, which overrides any of his gumption or intangibles. He is much more likely a UFL starter, than ever becoming a NFL starting QB.

Zac:   Drew Stanton has proven that he is not a legitimate NFL quarterback. He outperformed expectations in his first start and managed a win in his second start but the difference between Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton is like night and day. Any talk of Stanton as a potential starter is laughable although I suppose he could land as a backup with someone in a desperate situation. The problem with Stanton hanging around the league as a third stringer is that those spots are usually filled by guys in their first three years in the league that teams think could have some developmental value. Sure, Stanton's growth was stunted by Mike Martz but there may not be many teams out there that are willing to consider that.

NetRat: Drew Stanton has shown that he'd have a hard time making the 49ers roster. Perhaps if he changed his name to Smith? Seriously though, he is simply too inconsistent. One game he's more or less spot on, the next he couldn't hit the ground standing on a ladder. I figure he checks out FA, someone might give him a chance but I seriously have my doubts.

DetFan1979:  Shaun Hill is a great backup, borderline starter.  He can play with little prep time and do well for stretches of time, but doesn't have the same top end as a Stafford, Shaub, Rodgers, Brady, Manning.  However, he's the guy you feel confident can come in and take over if the #1 guy goes down.  

Drew Stanton is not.  He is a great athlete, great guts, great personality horrible decision making and pocket presence.  He can get it done on occasion -- like one drive in the Green Bay game.  However, he is inconsistent, has a poor feel for the pocket, and doesn't see the whole field while having trouble reading defenses.  In other words, he is a #3 QB.  If your talent level at this point of his career is still #3...well, you will be replaced by someone who may develop into a solid backup some day.  

That being said, Dan Orlovsky is still a backup, and Rex Grossman is in Washington and even Patrick Ramsey is getting another go-round after two years out of football.  Anything can happen, I guess and some team may see him as a cheap insurance option.  If I were Drew though, I would be sharpening the resume and getting ready to transition to his post-NFL career. 

Have a question for the panel?  Email 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Green Bay Fans: Reality Check

I've been catching up on my Lions news and views after taking a much needed rest.  One thing I like to do is see what the opposition media/fan opinion is after a game. For instance, after losing to the Jets their media and fans were talking abou thow lucky they were, and how scary close Detroit was to beating them.  They felt Detroit was much better than they anticipated.

After Thanksgiving, I saw articles talking about how the Lions finally put on a great Thanksgiving show with a game tied at the half, competitive into the late 3rd quarter before the Patriots pulled away and made it a rout in the the 4th. 

Against the Bears, it was about how the Lions were close, but their Stanton didn't hurt them, but didn't make the big plays and the defense couldn't hang on through the game time injuries.  Bears fans are worried about their team being one and done in the playoffs, and most felt the Lions are on the way up while they are headed in the other direction.

So, imagine my surprise when this was the most common type of comment I was seeing about the Green Bay Packers' loss to the Lions on Sunday:

"take Brady out of the Thanksgiving Day game and Detroit might beat NE. Take any top QB off his team and the opponent has a good shot at winning. God, this is nothing's been like that since the 1920's for god sake."
Pete Daughtry at the Green Bay Press Gazette had a great article that pointed out a sobering fact for Green Bay fans they didn't like: Take away Rodgers (the starting QB) and they are just as bad as Detroit is without their starting QB.  He even went so far as to say that if Green Bay had Hill then Stanton under center, and the Lions had Rodgers the records for the two teams would be reversed -- with no other changes.  The Lions would possibly even be better. 

Hey Green Bay fans -- I know he's only been in three games this year, but Matthew Stafford is the number one QB for the Lions.  Guess what else?  Shaun Hill is the number two QB for the Lions.  Drew Stanton -- that guy you saw starting Sunday -- is the Lions' 3rd QB.  You know -- the guy who runs the scout team and is normally inactive on game day and holds a clipboard.  Lots and lots of clipboard holding. 

Green Bay Packer Fans:  Your #1 QB was in the game for almost a full half.  Detroit was playing its' QB3.  In teh second half, you were playing your QB #2.  Detroit still was playing QB #3. 

As for injuries, Detroit is down just as many starters as you are Green Bay.  Newsflash:  You were the team with "depth" and "playoff potential" and "Superbowl Contenders".  The Lions were expected to win 4-6 games. And that was WITH a healthy Matthew Stafford. 

Looking at this objectively, this leaves only three possible scenarios:

1. Green Bay is a MUCH worse team than advertised
2. The Lions are a MUCH better team than advertised
3. The perception for both teams was skewed by the quarterback position -- which is important.  But that outside of quarterback for good or bad the overall talent level of the teams is about equal.

For Lions fans this is great news!! For Packer fans...well...sometimes, the truth hurts.  You better get used to the new reality because an automatic "W" for two games on your schedule is no longer there next to "Detroit" on the schedule. 

However, there is a silver lining:  If Minnesota keeps self destructing spectacularly, you may have a new favorite NFC North opponent. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Groundhog Day

Just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, it seemed we were going to keep re-living the same game over and over and over again with the Lions this year.  I left the same game summary up for three games -- and it fit every single one. 

This week, however, we finally woke up to something other than Sonny and Cher.  The Lions have another victory -- one we haven't seen anything like in...well...too long to remember, that's how long.

How crazy was it?

  • The Lions won a low-scoring defensive struggle
  • The Lions defense made a defensive stop to allow the Lions to preserve a lead and win
  • The Lions had almost 200 yards rushing
  • The Lions knocked the OTHER team's QB out of the game for once. 
  • The Lions only had 6 penalties
  • Drew Stanton was the best rated passer in the game - with about a -10
  • The Lions defensive line utterly dominated the Packers
  • The Lions beat a playoff caliber team -- and in doing so, may have knocked them out of the playoffs.
That's right.  Green Bay goes to New England while the Bears get to face reeling Vikings.  If the Bears win, and Green Bay loses the Bears have clinched the North thanks to tie breakers.  This loss also puts Green Bay needing help to get in even if they win out thanks to other wildcard teams also holding tiebreakers over Green Bay.  Thanks in part to that one Lions win the Packers could have ten wins and be on the outside looking in come playoff time.

The Lions beat a team - finally - that they weren't supposed.  And they did it almost as ugly as you can get offensively with the defense carrying the game.

One Thanksgiving note -- Looking at the last 3 games the Patriots have played, they are back in "perfect season" form.  Know what's scarier?  The Lions put up the best fight of all 3 of those teams -- the other two who are (or were) playoff bound, keeping the Thanksgiving matchup competitive into end of the 3rd quarter.    From Don Banks:

• A 45-24 defeat of the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving, in which the Patriots, playing on three days' rest, rallied past their plucky opponent by outscoring it 35-7 after halftime.
• The 45-3 destruction of the Jets last Monday night, in the much-ballyhooed showdown that swung the AFC East almost irreversibly to New England's advantage.
• And finally, Sunday's eye-popping 29-point win in the wintry elements, with the Patriots storming to a 33-0 halftime lead and making the tough-guy Bears (9-4) look like mere cubs in search of a warm place to lie down. Once again, it was New England that faced both a short week of work and a road trip to the Midwest. No matter.
Do the math. That's a five-game onslaught in which the Patriots have overwhelmed their opponents by a combined 196-88 (or 39-18 per game), with only one game having any drama by the fourth quarter. To slice it even a little thinner, since trailing at the half in Week 12 at Detroit, New England has outscored the Lions, Jets and Bears (oh, my!) 116-17 over the course of its last 10 quarters.

In other words, the last team to hold a lead over the Patriots was...the Lions. 

All of that being said fellows, I'm still thinking the Lions get one more win at most this season.  They are very injured, and where the backups have stepped in well (Landon Johnson, Turk McBride) they have even less depth than they did to begin the season -- which was about a half a napkin deep. 

So put your booties on folks because it's cold out there, real cold.  But it'll be warmer soon...say the 2011 season.