Friday, September 01, 2006

Rod Not So Hot So Far

I have tried to be fair and not jump to any conclusions about the Lions new coaching regime. I have tried, honestly, to put the fact that Matt Millen still lurks in the background out of my mind and consider Rod Marinelli separately. But this preseason did not go well for the Lions new coach. There have been a number of red flags rising that indicate Marinelli is in so far over his head, he is going to need a snorkel soon just to breathe, and that this is going to be a long season. None more than the way first-round draft choice receivers Charles Rogers and Mike Williams have been handled. It has been absurd. Rogers said following the Lions final preseason that he is gone. There is no reason to believe he will not be cut based on the fact he played little Thursday vs. Buffalo and caught just one pass for three yards. The rhetoric from Marinelli about practice is getting old. He had a chance to evaluate Rogers under game conditions and essentially passed. It has been the same for Williams, who will likely make the team because of his salary cap status, but not play much. All I know, though, is that Rogers has made plays when he has been healthy and on the field. And that Williams also did during the first two preseason games. It is almost as if this coaching staff did not want to play these guys for fear they would show up well in the preseason games. Instead, Lions fans are going to be stuck with a very marginal receiving corps beyond Roy Williams, who will constantly double-teammed. I have heard the phrase "trophy cut" used for releasing Rogers. If Marinelli has to do that in order to gain the respect of his players, he is not much of a coach. This is a coach who equated a bus trip from Tampa to Jacksonville with a flight from Detroit to Oakland. One not smart enough to practice his team according to the NFL rules during the off season and dumb enough to look talent in the face and turn his back to it under the guise of some message. Yeah, it is too early to rush to judgement on Marinelli. The regular season is what really counts. I just wish he would stop sending all these messages. With each passing one, it gets worse for anybody who wants to believe in him and the Lions.

Random thoughts

- I know you probably do not believe this based on the way the Tigers have been playing lately, but they are actually in pretty good shape coming home from their road trip. The Tigers did not thrive, but they did survive. The schedule is much better for them the remainder of the season.

- If Jeremy Bonderman does not start pitching better - and soon - the Tigers will not make the playoffs.

- I am starting to think the Twins, not the White Sox, are the real threat to the Tigers. The four games the Tigers have coming up in Minnesota will be quite a test.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Nick P said...

Hey Book,
Lions - too frustrating on so many different levels to discuss right now.

Tigers - Alright, everyone settle down. Anybody who looked at the months of august and september objectively knew that august was an incredibly tough schedule. Cle twice, CWS twice, Bos, NYY, Tex. But this is good, because Sept is much easier, 1 series against the twins, 1 against the chisox. 6 of our last 9 games of the season are against KC. Last series of the season Min & CWS play each other. The team is struggling right now, but an easy schedule should get us in the playoffs.
I have bigger concerns though, this is not a team built to win playoff games, I really expect us to get bumped in the first round (maybe not if we play Oakland) but this team's offense is not built for patience against good pitching, which we will run into in the playoffs

8:41 AM 
Blogger I rule said...

The Twinkies have some scary pitching, and they can do something the Tiger hitters appear to have forgotten how to -- manufacture runs. Not having Polanco in the two hole is hurting in a big way. We've got nothing but hackers all over the top of the lineup.

Consider game two of the doubleheader in NY. Jeter steals third with one out in the bottom of the 6th and scores on a 45 foot roller by ARod. Monroe leads off with a double in the 8th, and Dmitri can't manage to put the ball in play to move him over. He winds up stranded at second. CMo eventually bails them out with the 3 run dinger, but it would likely never have happened had Torre elected to go with Rivera or Farnsworth.

Teams like the Yanks and Twins don't let those opportunities go wasted. They also put more pressure on bullpens by consistently going deep in counts. Yesterday the Tigers had thrown 150 pitches through 8 innings while Randy Johnson had thrown 93. Leyland has been talking about the lack of patience and quality at bats. You wonder when he's going to make his point a little more forcefully.

9:48 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
LOL on the Lions comment. I don't know whether the Tigers are built for the playoffs or not. I like their bullpen. It depends on their starting pitching. And they need to do a little more offensively, but I think they will in September. If Bonderman and Verlander pitch like they have lately, the Tigers will not last long in the playoffs. If they pull themselves together - and both are certainly capable - the Tigers should do well if they reach the postseason.
Caputo

10:09 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

i rule,
I think the most underrated aspect of the Twins is Justin Morneau. He is the big power hitter in the middle of the lineup the Tigers are lacking. He is also left-handed and that makes him extra dangerous. Also, their bullpen is underrated. It might be the best in the American League.
Caputo

10:11 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I'd have to say. First preseason never means much to me. I do look for things that can be good though. What do you think about this analaogy. With the 7th pick in the 2007 NFL draft the Lions select.

The guys I think made a statement in preseason:

Eddie Drummond - This guy has hands down earned at least a 3rd or 4th receiver on the team. Especially since tweedle dee and tweedle dumb won't be. Judging by things I think he could be productive.

Paris Lennon and Alex Lews - both guys add much needed debth to that linebackers core and I wouldbn't be upset if one of them had to start. I think they both played great in the preseason.

Sean Cody - Him and Rogers could put up serious havoc.

Calhoun - not bad..I htink could be explosive and Kevin Jones needs to get off to a good start. Because I think there is potential talent in the wings.

THings that bother me:

CHuck ROgers - I can see why he is getting no love. I mean he comes into the game when called upon. He is late getting off the line. He just looked half ass to me.
I can see where the lions just want to see them hussle and do all the little things becasue there is only one ball in football and it takes 11 guys to be successful.
M. WIlliams - the guy just looked bored. I don't understand why Marinelli couldn't order at least one or two passes his way. I'd rather it have been him instead of Martinez in the endzone. The guy is a horse take advantage of his height aomongst midget DBs.

Millen and the Lions organization: I understand the lions need a new direction. THey say in the off season. WE wanted to get good debth. Not neccessarily top notch but good debth. Personally that debth for the most part especially on the o-line has looked like absolute garbage. As far as this Rogers and WIlliams drama. Dude just cut lose already. It is obvious you don't want them. You can't tell me Martinez and buford are better.


As far as the tigers what do you think about this lineup once polanco returns and perez is put on the first ship out of town. Polanco gets hits and gets on base.
2B Polanco
C Rodriguez
SS Guillen
LF Monroe
RF Ordonez
DH Young
1B Casey
3B Inge
CF Granderson

11:58 AM 
Anonymous golf guru said...

Pat, Marinelli appears to be a true leader for the following reasons: he has a vision of the future, he communicates it often, he is consistent, positive, and if one really listens, his message makes a great deal of sense. Coaches must try to motivate players with every tool available. Marinelli does this. The reality is, however, that all motivation ultimately comes down to self motivation - that is, how the individual responds to external pressures and influences. CRog and BMW have consistently underachieved as indicated by every professional coach that they've had. CRog is pretty clearly a talented loser. Both guys were drafted under Millen's FORMER premise (from his Raiders experience) that character doesn't matter. He has learned. Today, the Lions draft considering a good measure of a player's character. Now, good coaches don't need to watch a player in a game to know whether he understands the offense, performs all his assignments appropriately, and is willing to expend the necessary effort. Regarding the trip itinerary to Denver, this has been supported by NFL insiders as the right thing to do (Mark Schlereth - however he spells his name!). The game outcome was meaningless but the lesson in mental toughness and discipline may endure in the players' minds. In fact, you are right about one thing: it is WAY too early to judge Marinelli. If he gets three full seasons, by then we'll have a real indication of how his methods are working (and I predict a positive outcome). Remember, he's trying to turn around the super tanker of the Lions' rotten general attitude and a 5-11 mentality into an uncompromising winner. Indications are actually there that it's working - for those who have eyes to see. Playoffs this year? Maybe not, but Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't lapse into the warped jaded-Detroit-sports-reporter mode of evaluating today's work based on the last 5 years (or more) of failure. That was then; this is now! Whether it is obvious to all who look, there is progress being made.

12:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. C. Bonderman?? Stopper?? Best stuff? 5- 1/3 11 hits Did bonderman have a bad 2nd half last year? Let us hope he gets it going or get the gas pipe out! They have to get DY going. Seems like DY is not in the line up much. Need some in the lineup to produce some instant runs. Bring back the magic. Vinny

1:01 PM 
Blogger DasBuchFan said...

Pat,
First off, I enjoy your work at the OP and on WXYT.

Do you think Bonderman will ever become a top-tier pitcher? He has electric stuff, but he seems to really struggle with the art of pitching. It seems like you can always point to 5-7 horrible pitches every game which blow up in his face. He seems to get easily rattled by a fielding blunder or a ump who is squeezing him. I know he is still young, but he has been in the big leagues for quite a while now. If you were the Tigers, would you ever consider trading him? One day i think he is the second coming of Jack Morris, and the next start I think he is the second coming of Jeff Weaver....

1:40 PM 
Anonymous Rob said...

I think the Twins pitching is way overrated. Santana is the Cy Young this year and will continue to be for a long time, but without Liriano their rotation is weak. Radke, Silva, Bonzer and the new kid are garbage.

The Lions would bench Babe Ruth because he didn't train well. Let's all see if Martinez truly will be better than Rogers on Sunday. I'm guessing not.

It's more frustrating watching the pig-headed mistakes of Lions management than the horrible games those mistakes create.

1:51 PM 
Blogger garold said...

Pat,

The most disturbing thing to me about the Lions is that they have been slowly driving me away from pro football! Matt Millen actually makes Russ Thomas look credible in retospect. What is with all these "M's" anyway?
Millen/Mornhinweg,
Millen/Mariucci,
Millen/Marinell...
who's next... Milton Moron???

Absolutely... change "Gridiron Heros" to that theme song from "Circus Boy!"(hmmmm... Detroit Circus Boys; coaching staff - Big Tim Champion, Pete, and Little Tom) Alrighty then... get rid of "Roary", and have Corky(Millen) riding in from the tunnel on the back of BIMBO, the elephant, before home kickoffs! Uncle Joey the Clown,(Wm Sr.) who adopted the orphan, Corky, and made him the water boy, could help him down, and slip on a "phant pie," to the delight of the fans, still buying season tickets, in order to be assured of playoff tickets! WHAT A JOKE! *ROTFLMAO*

This season is going to be the worst, royal diaster ever, only to have Millen screw-up yet another high pick next year, only to have him cut when the roster is pared down to 53 next summer.

2:46 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bible,
Lions-This is going to be a ugly,ugly,ugly season. The 1st team offense has been able to do nothing so far. I have watched parts of all 4 games and it ain't pretty,same old Lions. Until the Ford's clue in that Millen has to go,no matter who is coaching they will be continue to be in the bottom 1/3 of the league. The Martz hire was not a good one for the simple fact that he doesn't seem to be the most patient guy around and also he is head coaching material, next year at this time he will be coaching another team and we will have yet another off. coodinator for the team to try and learn from. The Charles Rogers thing I don't even know what to say, it has really got me confused, I just hope when he is released he doesn't become too big of a star else where, that would be embarassing as a Lion fan. Hopefully the Ford's will clue in sometime in the next decade or two so I can experience a winner in my lifetime. Love reading your stuff and of course listening, keep up the great work Pat.
Crackoff

3:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
There are some reasons to think the Lions will be better, but in order for that to happen, they will have to stop with the distractions and stop conducting themselves as such a bush league operation. I like your lineup. I think if Polanco had not gotten hurt, he would be the leadoff man now. Hitting Pudge second might force him to hit the ball to right field more. I like Guillen third as well. Monroe fourth is fine as long as he is hot and Ordonez is not.
Caputo

6:08 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Golf Guru,
I hope you're right and the impression I've gotten about Marinelli so far is wrong. It is troubling when a coach looks at little things and issues like that and forgets about the bigger picture. I wonder if that is what is going on with Marinelli. It doesn't seem to me like he has a real plan. Nor does Millen.
Caputo

6:10 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Vinny,
Hear you on Bonderman. He just has to get better. Leyland was pretty critical of him following his last start and it was not out of line. Young has cooled off, but hasn't pretty much everybody in that lineup?
Caputo

6:12 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dasbuchfan,
Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it. I think Bonderman should be great. I am puzzled why he has struggled so lately. To me he presents the total package. He throws very hard, has the best slider in the American League and a decent changeup. He goes to the post and likes to compete. He has command of the ball. But none of that means anything if you lack consistency. Bonderman is not consistent enough inning-to-inning. That's his major issue.
Caputo

6:16 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Crackoff,
Thanks for the compliment. I loved the Martz hire, but like you am wavering a bit about it right now. That offense didn't look good in preseason. But in fairness to Martz, you don't show your hand in preseason. It will be interesting to see what he has up his sleeve for Seattle.
Caputo

6:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Rob,
The Twins starting pitching may be overrated, but not their bullpen. The Twins bullpen has been a huge factor in their surge.
Caputo

6:21 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Garold,
They need to at least be semi-respectable. If the Lions were to win less than five games this season, I don't know if even William Clay Ford could continue the charade.
Caputo

6:23 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

thanks. reason I say that about the lineup. I think that lineup sets it up to produce a lot more. in the future maybe in the off season I'd like to see the Tigers go out and get a legit cleanup hitter/Power guy. I think that would solidify this team. With the great pitching staff they are forming. They have a lot of nice peices in the lineup already. I think they are missing that scary threat. That legit number 3 or 4 hitter that people just want to pitch around. Monroe is on fire and seeing the baseball like no other. With that said I think ordonez would just get better pitches in the 5 whole.

8:27 PM 
Anonymous atomicrod said...

Pat, I agree with you on Marinelli. I'm starting to have some serious concerns with some of his statements/actions. I'm not so much worried about cutting Rogers, I watched the game pretty close Thursday when he was in and he was so noticeably slow off the line of scrimmage that I think he's mentally checked out already. This is the 2nd staff that has had the same problem so if he doesn't want to be here, why keep him here.

One thing for you opinion based upon your years of being around the Lions on an everyday basis. Is there a chance that Rogers missed so much time over the last 3 seasons that he just lost that delicate edge of intensity that he's content with what's he's earned already? If so, and I realize this is speculation on my part, could that be part of the reason why Detroit was so adamant on trying to recoup his signing bonus? Sort of motivation by dollars. They, the Lions, were trying to remove that cushion of contentment and force him to do what they want or else he ends up with nothing. I'm curious if you think that a team which has a history of penny pinching players would do that or not.

Much of what Marinelli says is starting to sound like a broken record. They let Dan Wilkerson get away because he didn't want to go though military camp. Looking at the play of the Lions defensive line he sure looked like a player that could have helped them out.

I think Seattle will be tough for the, the test for me is Green Bay. That is a team the Lions should beat. If they can't do that, it's going to be a long year.

9:38 AM 
Blogger garold said...

Pat,

Bet you've been quite elated with the play of Omar the past 2 games! Yikes, he seems to be more confident with the sudden fan support.

Bonderman definitely needs some help with his head, to prevent him from becoming unglued. Robertson needs to step it up too. Kenny Rogers' return to form just might be a stabilizing force for both of them. Wil Ledezma has been the most dominate lately, and Zach Miner has been awesome in the bullpen. Someone always seems to be there to pick up the pitching, and I look forward to seeing good outings from Verlander and Ledezma. Sunday will be a big test for Wilfredo, with a national broadcast vs. Kelvim Escobar, who's been tough on Detroit in the past. But, there's a festive atmosphere downtown, and the brooms might be out Sunday night to clean up for the holiday. I'm counting on the scent of 86 Wins entering Labor Day, so why not 87!

1:18 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Atomicrod,
Rogers getting cut in itself isn't what is so bothersome. Lets face it. He made his own bed here. What I don't think is smart is not seeing more of what he and Mike Williams can do in preseason games so they can get an accurate evaluation to know for sure. Maybe Rogers "checked out'' as you put it because he knew he was fighting an uphill battle with the coaches they weren't going to let him win.
Caputo

1:40 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Garold,
You know Jim Leyland is a great manager. You know Dave Dombrowski and his scouts know what they are doing. So it was weird they weren't seeing what the rest of the world was seeing about Infante in comparison to Perez. But it seems like Infante has been emphasizing the point lately.
Caputo

1:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. C. One could equate the Lions with how Katrina is being handled. I can't believe a group of people could go so long without winning or getting lucky in the draft. It's almost like a dark cloud hanging over their team. Thanks Mr. Rogers! Vinny

2:19 PM 
Blogger Mgizo said...

Pat,

You are way off on Marinelli. Every former player I've heard interviewed had nothing but positive to say about him.

What you as an analyst see as mind games, former players see as motiviational. I've seen on ESPN former players talk about similar same day trips and how it built chararcter and sent a message?

Whose word to take? Yours, or a players?

Every pro coach CRog and BMW have had has sat them. Warren Sapp got sat by Marinelli. What kind of player did he turn out to be? Marinelli is no fool. He want's to succeed. He will do what he feels is best to make them winners in the long-term...not just one game.

7:12 PM 

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