Friday, February 16, 2007

How Would Bly's Departure Make Lions Better?

In the wacky, nonsensical world of the NFL, the Lions allowing Dre Bly to seek a trade makes perfect sense. It would also make sense if they were to cut him. There are plenty of reasons. It’s the last year of his contract and he will count $5.4 million against the cap. He is getting older and is not the same player he used to be. He never has been the great player he acts like he is (remember his rant about Joey Harrington that was incredibly disruptive to the franchise when Steve Mariucci was fired). And he does his best work in man-to-man coverage and the Lions play mostly a zone. But to me, keeping Bly trumps all the above for one simple reason: He is the Lions best cornerback - and maybe their best player on defense. It does not matter what kind of coverage they are playing. There are some free agent cornerbacks available - Nate Clements, Asante Samuel, Nick Harper. But are any of those players actually better than Bly? And they would cost a lot on the open market. Filling that spot with a rookie from the draft would not be good. Oh, and please, spare us the Stanley Wilson and Keith Smith are so good lines. This is where the NFL - and the Lions in particular - are confusing. On one hand, they retain a number of veteran players as if they expect to win now. The most notable example of that is quarterback Jon Kitna. On the other, they are looking to move a solid player for cap reasons with no better alternative - as if they are rebuilding. The Lions of Matt Millen have constantly been in this state of flux. It points to a lack of a plan. Fine. Get rid of Dre Bly. But what is the option? The Lions never seem to have an answer for that one.

Random Thoughts

- Sometimes I want to scream when I hear, over and over, that Jeremy Bonderman’s main issue is developing a third pitch. It is not his main problem. First of all, Bonderman has thrown a changeup and a forkball in the past - and both are OK pitches. Not as good as his fastball and slider, but OK. Secondly, with his slider and fastball, it shouldn’t matter that much. He has two problems. One is struggling in the opening inning. The other is avoiding a big inning. It is not unusual for him to pitch five or six scoreless innings, but allow four or five runs in just one inning. That is a mental barrier he must breakdown. You don’t want him throwing changeups in those tight situations anyway. Not with his fastball and slider. He just has to make better pitches when he is in a jam. Other than about a 10-start span late last season, he did make progress in that area. I know people want a simple explanation for Bonderman’s flaws, and that the third pitch one falls into that category in a nice, neat package that sounds good. But his biggest issue is getting too fine in those situations, falling behind in the count and reducing the effectiveness of his slider, which just might be the best pitch of its kind in baseball.

- Credible media are reporting Kevin Jones will miss the first half of next season. The Lions are reporting Jones should be ready for training camp. Who do you believe?

- It took him awhile to get heated up, but Henrik Zetterberg has been brilliant lately. I just have a feeling he is on the verge of becoming the Red Wings next great player and will prove it during the playoffs.


Blogger maddog52 said...

I agree I think letting bly go has it some advantages, but a major disadvantage. The advantage is that yes he makes 5.4 million. He isn't as good as he once once a couple years ago. That is probably the zone defense cause Bly is a guy that is a cover corner and makes his living off of taking chances. THe key to this is what could you get for him. If you could talk some slug in giving a first round pick for him. I'd be all for it. If you could get a talented player in return such as a LB, DE, or RB. I'd be all for it. Millen will screw it up. Just look at his track record. He is also talking about letting hall go. No if Hall goes, lets say Redding Bolts, and bly goes. We now have no defensive ends, and no defensive backs. Bryant is a flash in the pan. Edwards is garbage, and we don't know where Rogers head is at. So now we where we may have only needed one at those positions we now have to look and getting one or two. Millen has destroyed this team so badly. I really don't think it matters. Just look at the holes below. I don't think I am off on any of this.

Lions need to get a line backer. Fletcher could be a good pickup. (though I prefer Thomas or Briggs)

We need now two corners (I like Sammuel I think he is ready to bust out I htought he was good all year long last year).

We need a running back even if Jones comes back. I don't think you can count on Calhoun or Arlen Harris. SO I'd suggest Michael Turner and maybe drafting a downfield runner like Pittman from Ohio State.

Offensive Line I'd draft Thomas at Number 2. Move Backus to right tackle. Put woody back at center. Give Davis another chance at guard and try and sign Steinbach.

WR I like what we got as a number 1 and 2. I wouldn't mind seeing us use mike williams more in the endzone and up the middle.
If not I think we need a more bigger physical receiver for the slot.

I think signing Redding is a must. I think him and Rogers could be good there. We have no defensive ends. SO getting a guy like Simeon Rice or something wouldn't be bad.

We need a KR. i'd say give calhoun the chance.

Believe it or not I even think we are almost ready to change the foot. I love hanson and want to keep him, but we need a guy that can kick the long 50 yarders. Hanson just doesn't have the leg anymore.

With all that said. It is disgusting. The lions need to close shop and demolish the whole orginization from Mr. Ford all the way down to imploading the bulding. Cause it is in a very bad state. We are 15 million under the cap. We have to many wholes that by the time we fill them other big wholes are formed. See what I am saying Book. I blame Millen for all of this and Ford for letting it happen. At the same time shame on us fans because we allow them to steel from us.

11:47 AM 
Anonymous John said...

Pat when are you going to be on the radio again?

1:47 PM 
Blogger dt said...

Sorry, Patrick, but the first inning stuff is simply an anomoly and not relevent to discussion of a third pitch.

Any stud (translation, ace) starting pitcher needs an off speed pitch to survive long term in the bigs. Bonderman's fastball and slider arre above average for the major leagues, yes, but they are too similar in speed. Batters are able to time both pitches and therefore look only to location.

Clemens developed the forkball. Ditto Pedro Martinez. Nolan Ryan had as good a curve as a fastball. Each of those pitchers had an equally effective, second speed pitch. Perhaps only Randy Johnson has enjoyed long term success throwing all of his pitches the same speed.

Yes, Bonderman has two excellent pitches. But part of his problem with the big innings you reference is that batters are keying in on his pitches. If the slider isn't breaking as much on any given day, batters simply sit on the speed. The third (offspeed) pitch will give him more weapons with whihc to minimize those big innings.

2:01 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Wings are a team full of light and middleweights who will be out of the playoffs after a few well placed elbows and body checks. The first gritty team they run into will have them for lunch. One addition at the deadline isn't going to change the face of their team, I don't care who they pick up.


4:33 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

They need linebackers. Ernie Sims is their one good one. They need a really good passer rusher. They need safeties with decent range. We're just talking defense here. We haven't gotten to the offense yet. Obviously, the Lions need a lot. So can they afford to dump a decent player like Bly? I don't think so.

4:37 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tonight (Friday) at six, then Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of next week at 6 pm. Also, I will be on FOX 2 tonight at 10:30.

4:39 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

His slider is not a normal pitch. It always has bite, and he commands it well. I just feel trusting his fastball early in the count in jams and throwing it for strikes is more the answer than a third pitch, which by the way, he has.

4:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Great point. Other than Holmstrom and what Chelly has left that way, they just don't have grit. And that is a problem for the playoffs. They need a tough winger. Period.

4:43 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Great point. Other than Holmstrom and what Chelly has left that way, they just don't have grit. And that is a problem for the playoffs. They need a tough winger. Period.

4:43 PM 
Blogger Ozz said...

I think you really nailed it on Bonderman's problems. His rough first innings have been frustrating for a long time, and the late inning crumbles were especially frustrating at times last year. It kind of surprises me that more people don't see those two problems as clearly as you (and I) do.

2:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Once he gets over that, he is going to be a great pitcher. And I believe he will get over it, probably sooner instead of later.

8:50 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

Chatter on Jones is all about draft day poker - he will be iffy early on next season. I got a sick feeling about that poker game by the way.

7:17 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tom Mohan,
Given the Lions propensity for losing their shirt with whatever they decide, be it on draft day or free agency, I can certainly understand your feeling.

9:18 PM 

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