Monday, September 24, 2007

Detroit Lions: Football Team Or Great Elixir?

I don’t know if I was duped. Or whether it’s just another example of me not being that smart.
But I honestly thought the Lions were going to win Sunday at Philadelphia.
Everything seemed to be on their side. The Eagles were without their best defensive player, safety Brian Dawkins. They didn’t have their top cornerback, Lito Shepphard. I have been to Philly a few times and the reputation the fans there have for being brutal is not overstated. And it’s one of those lovable things as is often portrayed. It’s downright nasty and toxic for Philly’s teams. Once a player like Donovan McNabb gets under the gun there, it is very difficult to perform. And he was very much under fire entering Sunday’s game, not only because of mediocre play, but because of comments he made to HBO about the plight of being a black quarterback.
So what did the Lions do? Became the great elixir for the Eagles All is well in Philly again. For all we know, McNabb might get another Campbell’s soup commercial out of it.
Again, the Lions talk a big game. Again, the Lions play a little one. Not only were Detroit’s coaches totally outmaneuvered schematically, but the Lions played uninspired football. They didn’t tackle and they didn’t block. It wasn’t much more complicated than that. The Eagles could have scored 80 points if they really wanted to.
People seem enamored with the Lions passing yardage numbers. Jon Kitna threw for 4,000 yards last season. But that offense isn’t effective overall. It has moments of brilliance, but doesn’t sustain them because of turnovers and sacks and poor protection and drops.
It was just one game, and normally I’d buy into that thought. Yet, that defeat was such a structural collapse of a team at its fundamental roots, I find it difficult to imagine the Lions will recover easily from it. I mean, they allowed eight touchdowns. Eight touchdowns!
Yikes.

Random Thoughts

- If I were the Tigers, I would add, not subtract. That means I would re-sign Kenny Rogers and Todd Jones, and pick up Ivan Rodriguez’s option - and still go outside the organization to build from the core. It would mean a bigger player payroll, but this team is too close to reaching the postseason and winning a championship not to spend money. Shortstop, with Carlos Guillen moving to first base, should be the top priority.

- Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson have recovered nicely from that dismal last year they were together in Detroit. Looks like the Cubs and Diamondbacks are going to the postseason. It could mean another shot at managing for Trammell, but I believe Gibson will get a manager’s job before him.

- The best college football player in the country not that many people have heard of is Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson. It’s looking like he will be a Top 10 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

22 Comments:

Blogger maddog52 said...

Book Book where do I begin here. I can't believe anybody expected the Lions to win. We all know this team. i will be honest I thought that maybe these guys were buying into Marinelli. I thought this game would be a great test even if they lost, but losing with dignity and competively. The got destroyed. This week against the Bears will tell us what we need to know. If this team goes out and puts together a solid outing and even win. Then we can look at this team and wonder, but until then it has to be the same old lions.

Kitna has been great, but his redzone play has been awful. When you have a shot at the endzone you got to stop throwing picks. 3 endzone picks in 3 games. tatum Bell is definately not the answer. He is awful in pass protection. I think the Lions need to really address the Left tackle spot in the off season. bacus is good but I think he'd be best serve on the right side or at guard.

Defense the front four got beat this week fine. I don't blame them completely cause that is only 4 guys. Can Boss Bailey make a freaking tackle and wrap up? How about Paris Lennon? The first three games guys slip right through those guys. For Millen to say they were comfortable with Stanley Wilson, Fischer, Smith at CB he should be fired based on that alone. Awful those guys get burnt like no tomorrow.

If the Lions face any decent offense this year they will get destroyed. They got lit up by the 1st units in the preseason and they gave up some big yardage the first two.

I think this game coming up against a crap Bears offense and banged up defense is huge for the lions.

10:09 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

On the Tigers notes. I agree I would add and not subtract. Rogers I am not sure. Maybe a 1 year deal at most. Todd Jones as crazy as this sounds. Who do you replace him with? I don't see very many options nobody on the Tigers have stepped up for that role. I think the same can be said for Pudge. Who do you replace him with? Plus you can play him at first to spell Guillen. So I think you resign them. I'd like to see them look into getting a Tejada, Renteria and a Left Fielder? If they can sign two good players there. I like having a Rayburn, Thames, Santiago on the bench.

10:15 AM 
Blogger Scott (Thinking Man) said...

Hi Pat,

I didn't think the Lions would win on Sunday, but I certainly thought it would be a close game .... something like 31-28. The game told me everything I need to know about the Lions for 2007. They might be a tad better than last year and eek out 6 or even 7 wins. But basically it's the same sad sack organization. I would be utterly shocked if the Lions don't get their asses whipped by the Bears and Redskins the next two weeks.

Being a Lions fan (which I am marginally) is kind of like being Charlie Brown playing football ... you know every time he runs up to kick the ball, Lucy pulls the ball away and he goes flying ... everytime the Lions win a game or two and we start to hope, they pull the ball away and send us fans flying into despair.

10:47 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

I didn't get to watch much of that game because we had my daughters birthday party yesterday, but it was amazing how easily the Eagles moved the ball. Hopefully they can fix the problems that the defense had. There was just some poor tackling, and a lot of limeman being moved off the ball by the O-line. The poor coverage that we had seen throughout the preseason finally got exploited by a capable QB. Luckily the Lions play the Bears next week, and not many people would say that they have a capable QB.

-Marty

11:00 AM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, I also can’t see any reason that the Tigers shouldn’t resign Todd, Kenny and Pudge. Pudge isn’t what he was and drives you crazy at the plate, but there isn’t anyone else really that is better. Don’t think Posada is an option. Kenny is Kenny and can still pitch. Todd, despite the rollercoaster reputation, is the only closer on the team and did a good job. I think we saw that Zoom isn’t ready yet.

Shortstop is the question. OK, not A-Rod I guess. But who? They need someone who can hit consistently for average and drive in some runs.

What about Left field? Platoon?

I believe Ilitch will spend some $$ to improve the team. Tigers don’t need much, other than two new players and some health to win next year.

Great to see Tram and Gibby doing so well! Gibson as a manager would be really interesting to watch!

Cheers,
Danny

12:16 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, I do agree with your assessment and try to keep everything together and add a star player. I still think Pitching is important( rank 9th in the AL is not that good). But in reality so does every other team. Tigers should try to sign a 10 to 15 million/year player preferly a pitcher or shortstop. This may be a hard thing to do though, so if that fails sign a left-handing bat(Ichiro,Abreu) or an all-star 3B(Lowell,Atkins). Then the Tigers can trade the player that doesn't fit. I think Tigers are close but the Core is getting older each year.

1:59 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, the Lions remain a horrible team. Nothing changed with their two victories.

Their tampa two defense looked like one of those electric football games we played as kids. They lined up really tough, but flip the switch and they scattered around randomly, while Mcnabb was running a precision offense right through them. Marinelli should send them a X-mas card for backing off at the end.

I have to say that I do enjoy the games now that I really don't care about them. If they win I still enjoy it, and it is entertaining to watch them loose as well, because I don't have any emotional involvement. These guys aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Allan

2:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, What about Sean Casey? He wasn't as good this year,not under contract for next year, and if Guillen moves to first he won't fit with the 2008 team. Dave

3:41 PM 
Anonymous Bryan152 said...

How funny was it that the top story coming into yesterday's game was whether or not the Eagles' secondary could contain the Lions' powerful passing threats. Apparently the teams reversed roles as the Lions' secondary was torn apart. That 2nd TD by Curtis was downright embarrassing -- no WR should EVER be that open in the NFL.

But a 56-21 loss is still just one loss. Lions can bounce back on Sunday against Chicago, a team that really seems to be struggling. What they can take from this game is the realization that no matter how many weapons you have in the receiving core, you still have to DEFEND against the pass in order to beat quality teams such as Philadelphia.

I think the Tigers have the tools to make another run next year. I think that their rotation is basically set: Verlander, Bonderman, Jurrjens, Robertson, Rogers (maybe). Hopefully Zumaya will find that zip in his fastball that he has sorely lacked since his return -- flat 97 mph fastballs just aren't intimidating anymore.

Few quick questions: With the decline of Mariano Rivera imminent, don't you think Joba Chamberlain would be better suited as the future closer of the Yankees?

And who do you like in the World Series?

4:03 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
It's kind of the same thing in a way. The Bears, like the Eagles were, are kind of wounded. A lot of players are hurt. They are getting ripped after losing on national TV to Dallas. I think this game being at Ford Field will help the Lions. I see the Bears as vulnerable, but I thought the same thing about the Eagles.
Caputo

8:22 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
Rogers would only get a one-year deal. I like Renteria a lot more than Tejada. Seems like Tejada is losing his tools quickly.
Caputo

8:25 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Scott (thinking man),
Somebody sent me an e-mail giving me the jazz about picking the Lions to win on the radio Sunday. It was, "don't you ever learn." Seems like the Lions taught us another lesson about trusting them.
Caputo

8:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
The Bears will be motivated, though. The Vikings and Raiders moved the ball better against the Lions than they have against other teams. I am surprised Lovie Smith isn't changing QBs. I'd take either Kyle Orton or Brian Griese over Rex Grossman at this point.
Caputo

8:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
Jack Wilson would do just fine. The dream player for the spot is Edgar Renteria. I think the Tigers will land a big-time player like that this off season.
Caputo

8:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
People may not want to hear this, but to me the key to the Tigers pitching staff involves two pitchers - Jeremy Bonderman and Andrew Miller. They are both immensely talented. If the results match the talent from those two, pitching won't be a problem.
Caputo

8:33 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Allan,
LOL on the electric football game comment. The Lions' defense did play like they had no idea where they were headed. If I were a fan, I would be hesitant to invest in the Lions emotionally after that awful effort.
Caputo

8:35 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dave,
I don't see them bringing Casey back. He just wasn't that productive for his position.
Caputo

8:36 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bryan152,
You're right. All the Lions have to do is win Sunday and the Eagles' game will be forgotten. The World Series is up in the air. I like somebody from the American League this time, though. It is so much stronger. It's kind of tough to go against the Red Sox because of the depth of their pitching, but the Yankees have been hot.
Caputo

8:39 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

(sorry for being late),

Tigers - Adding is good. Keeping is good. But we have some small change we need to subtract. I see the same frustrations if that bullpen stays the same.

I would even sacrafice Zoom-by-ya.

As for Pudge. Gotta keep him. He will definitely give you a great first half of the season. Until the All Star break. And plan for that - have a plan to bring in or up a new catcher - and hope the waters are better for fishing before then.

Was at the Tigers game sunday. Funny how a Tigers win can make piss-warm Labatts Blue taste like another.

Sorry about that whole "Lions" thing. Good luck with that.

But little-Joey had a good day Sunday.

Halelujah.

1:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
LOL - Don't know what is worse, bad baseball or warm beer...I see the Tigers keeping Pudge. The options are limited. Kitna and Harrington were a lot alike last week in posting big numbers, but in losing efforts Sunday.
Caputo

1:46 PM 
Anonymous lennyw1971 said...

Pat, I wouldn't call it being "duped". I would just label it as a longing to believe in a pretty lady in a different dress, but whose heart is still as dark as night. We all wanted to believe in this "new" belle of the ball. The freshness of a new season tends to erase the apathy of the season before. I've never seen the defense perform this poorly. Marinelli is supposed to be hard as nails, but his defense is soft schematically. It also shows lack of talent, which is not mostly on him, but he has to ultimately provide the answers at the pressers. Those two factors probably spell 5-11 this year. That's ok, because I'm comforted by the fact that I will see a title here before I'm 80... hopefully... possibly?

I'm pulling for Tram and Gibbie. They were set up to fail 4 years ago. The organization knew that Tram was hungry for a shot at skipper. We remember Leyland getting emotional when talking about Tram not having the same raw material to work with as himself. Here's a toast to two true Tigers tasting long-term success!!

3:36 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Lennyw1971,
Good comparison about the Lions. There is just something fundamental wrong with that franchise and it translates onto the field of play. I would like to see Tram and Gibby succeed, as well. They were too good for too long in a Tigers uniform to have 2005 be the last memory of them in baseball.
Caputo

6:30 PM 

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