Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day one of the new season is in the books

Ah! So here we are again, ready to restart the quest for the Super Bowl. So far the Lions haven't done anything special, but then again things are just getting rolling.

Cutting KVB and Peterman were pretty big moves. Losing Cherilus, Avril and Delmas will also be huge. Durant is likely out. Unlike most people I wasn't a big fan of Durant. Not a guy that caused many turnovers despite so many tackles (103). Levy is similar to him but at least has 5 career INT's to Durant's 2. Neither is good on the blitz, maybe that's why the Lions never blitz. Anyway they traded up for Tahir Whitehead and its time they gave him a decent shot to be a starter.

So far the most common names heard in FA are Glover Quin, Reggie Bush and Jason Jones a DE/DT. I like the bigger DE idea. Wish they would also take a look at Matt Shaughnessy former of Oakland. DE wise or OLB wise if they need a veteran, i like Connor Barwin, a Detroit native, from the Texans. Yeah he has been a 3-4 guy the past 4 years, but he's got the size to play DE if needed (6'4 265) and it would not hurt to have someone that can blitz in the LB corps!
Anyway day two of free agency should be interesting with the three big names coming to town. If we have to get just one I hope its Quin. I like Bush, but the draft has a lot of good pass catching RB's in it and the safety position is a real disaster.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mayhew's Season Ending Presser: Unreal.

Mayhew is a terrible GM and it was kind of mind blowing to hear him admit (Wednesday, January 2) that he really screwed up last off season. Will that change anything? Doubt it, here is why …

His season ending presser was so incredibly ridiculous that it is hard to believe the media did not laugh him out of the room. To recap what he said … 

  1. The team lacks playmakers on defense … a defense composed of players he drafted or signed as free agents.
  2. He screwed up the Javid Best situation and had no plan B.
  3. He confirms that taking the best player available is his drafting strategy but he does like taking wide receivers and reaches for them.
  4. He concludes that his WR picks haven’t panned out but he is sticking to his strategy.
  5. So his defense underachieved, his WR corps is in shambles and his team depth is laughable … but he expected more from his QB that just passed for 10,000 yards and 61 TD in the last two season.
  6. The owner has retained him for another season. 
The Lions are in serious trouble.

Mayhew: Holes? What holes!

Ok just to recap what the Lions are looking at in terms of turning the team around and heading back to the playoffs ...

They have holes at Wide Receiver (two free agents, a crazy man and a guy with his second ACL), Running Back (two pluggers, no speed), Right Tackle (FA), Punter (FA), Place Kicker (FA might retire), Returner (FA), Long Snapper (FA), Left (FA) and Right (likely cap casualty) Defensive End, both Corners, both Safeties, both Outside Linebackers. Back up Center and back up Offensive Tackle are also free agents.

Detroit's Left Tackle could retire. Their Center has a 6.1 million cap hit. The Right Guard needs to be upgraded and has a 3.3 million cap hit. Both back up Defensive Tackles and Defensive Ends are free agents.

Oh yeah, according to the GM, his QB, he of the 10,000 yards and 61 TD's in two seasons is an underachiever ...

The GM also recently confessed that his BPA strategy won't change even though he admits he has drafted few difference makers and his WR picks have all been busts.

To fix all this we have ...

Six draft picks.
No salary cap space.
No one worth franchising according to the GM.
A failed drafting strategy.

Ready. Set. Go.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oh well 4-12 it is ... here's what needs to happen

Oh well 4-12 it is.
Mayhew, Schwartz, Linehan, Cunningham and Crossman (!!!) survive. The position coaches for receivers, running backs and o-linemen are out. On to next year!

The Draft

Despite the pathetic season, I choose to remain positive because this draft could see the Lions come out with at least three starters on defence. Add to that Mayhew’s own statements that his defense needs playmakers and we have at least some hope that the Lions Leadership does realize where things went wrong.

Based on what I have read and seen this year Detroit will have a chance at a stud DE in round 1 and a very good safety or CB in round two. I hope it falls that way. Round three could go in any directions but one guy that impressed me during his Bowl Game and I think would be an excellent replacement for any of our linebackers is Khaseem Greene from Rutgers. He was fast and covered extremely well. The announcers mentioned that he was originally a strong safety but because of his size and speed (6-01 230) coaches converted him to OLB. He has a round three grade and many draft sites have him going between the 60th and 90th picks. From what I can tell, the Lions pick 5th, 37th and 69th in the first three rounds.

Imagine a defense that could feature a high motor DE like Bjeorn Werner (Florida State), a hard hitting cover man like Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) and the athletic Kaseen Greene. I’ll take that over Durant, KVB and Bill Bentley!

But the defensive harvest might be cut short because of Detroit’s issues at running back.

As Mayhew readily admitted, waiting for Jahvid Best to return and not having any plan B in case he did not was a huge blunder on his part. I expect they will try to get a speedster late – someone that can return punts and be the third down threat that Matthew Stafford sorely missed this year.

Again based on a bit of research (countless minutes of surfing the web) and a really outstanding Bowl Game here is my early vote for mid or late round RB: Kerwynn Williams, Utah State. Check out the highlights from his game against Toledo here:

The Lions also need a punter. Nick Harris was awful in big moments. They need someone durable – no more 38 year olds like Ben Graham.

Free Agency

Of course before you get to the draft you have to get through free agency. The Lions have some 30 free agents of one kind or another. They have already resigned one, Ashlee Palmer so at least we know Mayhew is aware of the situation.

There are really three big names on that list: Cliff Avril, Chris Houston and Louis Delmas. Avril will likely be too costly to resign as the Lions may have to throw a lot of money at Houston. Delmas is also a must sign, regardless of health. Even 10 games from him are better than 16 from whoever else lined up in his place this season. They just have to be smarter about his health. For example, if he has a sore knee that needs a scope, don’t wait until August to get that done …

The Lions will also need to create cap space and based on what I saw last Sunday and over the last 8 weeks, here are 4 guys that should be concerned about their contracts:

1. Stephen Peterman is simply awful, run or pass. Not sure how this guy never got benched but he is at best average and whenever another team needs a big play, he is the guy they pick on. Bill Nagy or Rodney Austin from the PS should be given a chance here and maybe the Lions could even draft an OG this year. Peterman is due 3.3 million.

2. Dominic Raiola. OK he knows how to call signals, but he cannot run block and for a vet, he whiffs an awful lot on pass blocks. His mental mistakes always happen at the worst possible time (see OT vs Tennessee) and he is saddled with a 6.1 million cap hit. That is a monster number for a smallish Center over the age of 30.

3. KVB ... honestly, he can no longer play. The effort is there but the ability is gone. Would he even have value as a backup? Doubt it because I cannot see him playing special teams. Cut.

4. Stephen Tulloch. Yup. Look at game film of this guy and you'll see that for every play he makes he botches three. He was horrible in our playoff loss last year in New Orleans and he has been average to below average this year again. They are paying this guy way too much for what he provides. He is too slow to man the middle. His knees are in bad shape. Levy would be a better MLB. Guys like him get cut all the time - he looks like he is on a rapid downward spiral to scrub. Trouble is he has 11.5 million guaranteed in the first two years of his deal.

I still can’t believe he was outrun twice by that chubbo Jay Cutler. Wow.

Knowing what the Lions might do with their new found cap dollars (we can dream right) is hard to predict but somewhere out there they need to find at least one safety, one wide receiver, a punter, an offensive guard and maybe a running back and defensive end and tackle depth. Ouch.

I like the UFA Safety Ryan Mundy from Pittsburgh – a big hitter, a ST ace and still pretty young at 26. They need guys like that – solid players that won’t break the bank.

Another intriguing player is an RFA. The Saints have to decide what to do with their army of running backs and Chris Ivory might be the odd man out. Ivory is a much faster version of Mikell Leshoure and has better hands than Joique Bell. Mayhew should see what it might take to get him out of New Orleans. Maybe with all the fuss around bounty gate the Saints never heard about Titus Young’s mental breakdowns … could we be that lucky?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Calvin Johnson, Gruden and Meaningless Yards

Congrats to Calvin Johnson for surpassing Jerry Rice's most yards in a season record. An amazing feat when you consider Rice played on a dominant team, with an all-star cast while CJ is on a terrible team, riddled by injuries.

Funny to hear ESPN's John Gruden try to downplay the record breaking performance by calling some of those yards meaningless. Johnson' team has been in many close games and has been trying to either win or catch up to their opponent. Rice was the guy who piled on the yards as his team ran away with victory after victory.

Whatever I guess. That kind of talk will only ever go away if the Lions start winning again, even if only occasionally, like they did prior to the Millen era.

And yes, we still are in the Millen era. His right hand man still runs the show in the same inept fashion as he did. His first two picks still man that overrated o-line. And the only draft pick he ever really hit on remains Detroit's best player by far.

On that note, it is Christmas and we should remember to thank God for small favors!

Monday, December 17, 2012

O-line choke key to this game

O-line. D-line. These needs their own sections ...

I did not realize we were using defensive ends in this game until I saw Willie Young touch down Ryan Lindley after a botched snap in the third quarter I think it was. But enough of that. The DE are horrible on this squad. That's not news anymore.

My main beef today is with the Raiola/Backus led monstrosity called the Detroit Lions's offensive line. The media needs to do a bit more coverage on the atrocious play of the offensive line. Yesterday was classic horror gong show.

Not sure what everyone was looking at but Stafford was mauled yesterday. A freaking joke for a pro team. And against a team giving up 150 yards per game rushing, with Rieff and Heller on every other play ... we still could not run the ball.

People, this team will never, ever be a factor, let alone a winner with two perennial losers like Raiola and Backus 'leading' the charge. This was a huge, huge game for the mental health of this team and its most veteran, healthy unit CHOKED. Spare me the continuity excuse for keeping them. We haven't been able to run the ball in 12 years. The passing game has only ever functioned when A) we had Mike Martz and B) we have Calvin Johnson. In all that time the o-line has stunk in big games and big moments, regardless of the opponent.

Any, any, even the most minute clean-up of this mess starts nowhere else but the o-line. Need cap space for a corner? Start with Backus and Raiola.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Win and Mike Thomas

That was a great weekend and the so far its been a good week. Loved that win against the mouthy Seahawks. Stafford looked like Stafford. Broyles emerged and Young woke up big time. I wasn't too impressed by that start though. It seemed like the Lions were asleep. 

As for Mike Thomas, I wish he had not cost a fifth rounder but let's face it, with the loss of Burleson and Best, this offense needed a little something. Thomas can provide that little extra spark.  

I hope that they use Thomas as a CFL like slot back or how Minny uses Harvin. Line him up in the backfield or move him around all the WR spots.  

To me this was a pick up to replace Best, not Logan. Another really fast, difficult to cover 1 on 1 guy that forces the defense to go man on CJ. 

As for CJ, I think it is just a mid-season slump coupled with a sore knee. He'll be back, he is too good not to.