Monday, January 08, 2007

The Lions: Is It The People Or The Environment?

The answer I have never quite come up with regarding the Lions is whether their troubles are because of the environment causing the people, or the people causing the environment. Obviously, there is something horribly wrong with the culture surrounding the franchise. It is a losing one. Weird things happen to the Lions as a result - like Joey Harrington coming back on Thanksgiving Day and playing like Johnny Unitas against the Lions. And then on Sunday, it was Jeff Garcia lighting up the Giants in a playoff game with Marty Mornhinweg calling the plays for him. Those two guys gotten eaten alive around here. Garcia had some injury problems, but he did act strange, too. Mornhinweg came across as extremely overwhelmed as a head coach. You wonder, however, if it would have been different for both if the Lions were not such a bungled operation. Think about it. Matt Millen is hanging his hat on Rod Marinelli having changed the losing culture. Yet, the Lions lost two more games this season than they did the year before. Dan Miller asked me on FOX 2 Sunday night what changes I would make to their roster and, too be honest, they need a complete overhaul. There is not one area that can be considered a strength. I like Ernie Sims, for example. The gall they have in Allen Park to say the things they do - as if they are getting it right. It is unbelievable. Who is a better QB? Jon Kitna or Jeff Garcia? Who has won more games in the league? Who has taken teams to the playoffs? Who has been to the Pro Bowl? Who is still playing this season? Yet, if you asked the Lions brass, they would act as if Kitna has been better all along. So would a lot of Lions fans, the ones who continue to buy into propaganda. What a farce.

Random thooughts

- Michigan State had a pretty good test at Indiana Sunday and did not pass it. State can have a really good season, but will have to tighten up defensively during the conference season. The Spartans had been playing very well defensively until Sunday. That is what made the loss discouraging.

- Ben Wallace won Round 1 with the Pistons in Chicago Saturday, but that game would have been a lot different if Chauncey Billups had played.. I still think the Pistons, with Billups, would take the Bulls in a playoff series.


Blogger ThinkingMan said...


You're right ... the Lions need to start from square one in terms of their roster. The good news is that with the No. 2 pick, they should get at least one immediate impact player. Should they pick the best player available or the best player at their biggest need?

Assuming Oakland takes a quarterback, that leaves the Lions with an intersting decision. In terms of talent, Calvin Johnson might be the best guy on the "board." But, in my opinion, there's no way they can pick another receiver that high.

I would take Thomas from Wisconsin. I don't know that much about him, but he seems to be the consensus best offensive lineman available. That is the Lions biggest need in my mind. Being able to plug a guy in at right tackle would give you a running start at upgrading the line. I don't know what the heck they're going to do a guard.

I would go after another offensive lineman or a middle linebacker in round two of the draft. As it stands right now, running back is a problem, too. But I think they should look to free agency and sign a good, serviceable back if one is available. A James Stewart-type guy.

Rebuilding this team is going to take two or three really solid drafts and free agent signing periods put together.

In terms of MSU basketball, I've watched parts of a couple of games. I think it's going to be a long Big Ten season for them. Nitzel is the only really solid guy they've got. A few others have some potential, but I think they've got a long way to go. I saw part of the OSU-Illinois game the other day. Illinois looked very poor. OSU was so far superior in terms of talent, it was almost laughable.

I wanted to talk a bit about the Tigers, too.

I kind of wonder if we are all over-sold on this team. I'm extremely happy with last season. It was so refreshing to have a good team and to see this town get interested in baseball again.

But to approach last season's success, everything is going to have to go nearly perfectly. My main concern is injuries. A lot of our key guys are on the other side of 30. We simply do not have the depth to lose Pudge, Guillen or Polonco for any extended period.

What about our pitching? Rogers almost certainly will drop off some. And with the number of innings Verlander worked, he could be headed for a "sophomore slump."

I could easily see us slipping to 85-90 wins, which isn't going to get a playoff spot.

It just seems like everyone is making the Tigers out to be the Red Wings and that a long string of great seasons are automatic. I still see lots of problems ... not the least of which is a minor league system that has little in terms of impact players or pitchers beyind Maybin and Miller.

Am I being to glass half-empty here, Pat?

12:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I saw Thomas play against Arkansas in the bowl game. A lot of people did. Most I have talked to were impressed with him. I didn't think he seemed worthy of taking second overall. What if Oakland doesn't take a QB? Do the Lions? They are, for some reason, too chicken to take a QB early in the draft. This pick will be interesting. I am not sure they will get it right. As for the Tigers, I like their chances this season for no other reason than pitching. Unless they suffer a rash of pitching-related injuries, they should have the best pitching in the American League again.

3:13 PM 
Anonymous sportznut said...

Pat, This franchise has had a losing culture for a lot longer than the past 6 years. Sure, in the last 6 we've been treated to a franchise as inept as the Bungles in the 90's.

I agree about the team needing a complete overhaul. There is no doubt some guys will keep their starting roles based on how much they are making, or the ramifications of the cap.

How many current Lions have honestly EARNED their starting spot for 2007?

I think you could pencil in Roy Williams and Ernie Sims, but who else?

Dre Bly is still the best corner the Lions have, but he's regressed every year he's been here and isn't much of a leader at all.

Shaun Rogers, when his head is straight, is as big a force that Warren Sapp was in his prime. However, much like Bly, he lacks in the leadership department.

This year there were few bright spots, but do overachievers Furrey, Campbell, and Redding deserve starting gigs now?

Worst part for the Lions is that both Furrey and Redding are FAs and will be looking for a payday coming off career years.

Point blank, this team is an absolute mess and one offseason can't fix it through FA and the draft.

Worst part is the man responsible for this mess, is also the one the Fords are counting on turning it around.

Go figure.

7:06 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I was looking at the Lions roster today and I couldn't see area that isn't a weaknesses, let alone a strength. It's amazing.

9:40 PM 
Anonymous Flog said...


What more can one say about this cursed franchise? It's been mostly mediocre football before Millen, but we've now seen for 6 years new depths of buffoonery which is increasingly feeding on itself. Despite 24 wins in 96 games, the Lions still believe they're on the right track? The irony is that had Millen done his due diligence 6 years ago, actually interviewed more than 1 coaching candidate,got his 2001 version of Rod Marinelli, then maybe we are singing his praises today, instead of cursing the day he was hired. It's not year one of Marinelli, which Millen obviously sold on the old man, but year 6 of Millen...How many more eggs can a chef break before it dawns on him he can't make a decent omlette...Millen met his Peter Principle 5 years ago...all credibility is lost, and Marinelli is a lame duck....they will draft safe players because they have to win next year...You can forget about finding any diamonds in the rough...Millen/Marinelli ( for the love of God, the third installment of m & m! ) can't gamble on someone like Jamarcus Russell( oh yeah, since the Lions don't have the #1 pick, he'll end up a Raider and be the second coming of Daryl Lamonica/George Blanda ) or a Troy Smith...Their ineptitude prevented them from drafting Jay Cutler last year.... The Lions are forever afraid of drafting a QB because of Harrington....The Lions have a plethora of holes, but you need a top flight qb to win...Russell is the guy...I agree, Brady Quinn doesn't seem like a franchise QB at all..If there is another blessing in the OSU loss, perhaps Troy Smith's stock will drop where the Lions can take him in the second round, and get the defensive end or tackle many project them to take in the first.

10:39 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I look at the Lions and do not see any position of even remote strength. It is truly awful. Good points.

2:59 AM 

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