Friday, September 14, 2007

Lions Offensive strength Should Not Be Dismissed

The Lions’ season-opening win over Oakland was impressive on a number of levels. They ran the ball effectively, they forced turnovers, their passing game was solid and they did not fold after blowing a lead. But it was also one of those victories you had to wonder whether was the result of the Lions’ good play or the Raiders’ ineptitude. The Raiders are a bad football team. Certainly worse than I had anticipated.
But after watching replays of every game played during the first week of the season, I have come to the conclusion there are a number of NFL teams that aren’t much better than the Raiders. The Browns are just brutal. The Chiefs, as another example, are struggling, too. There isn’t much offense from a lot of teams. The Redskins, for example, had to run the ball to set up with their winning score in overtime vs. Miami. Their passing game, like at least half the NFL teams, is limited. I am still not sure about the Lions’ defense despite an excellent performance by their defensive front at Oakland. The Raiders’ offensive line is weak. The offensive line from the Lions’ opponents this week, the Vikings, is much stronger. But the Vikings can’t throw the ball worth a lick.
Guess my point is, don’t discount the Lions’ offense, particularly their passing attack. It’s still true that defense wins championships, but there are so many teams whose downfall is going to be their offense this season that it’s a huge advantage for the Lions they aren’t one of them.

Random Thoughts

- Two series key the Tigers’ postseason fate. One is the Yankees and Red Sox this weekend. The Red Sox have a better chance of knocking off the Yankees than any team left on their schedule. And it will be more than interesting next week if the Tigers somehow manage to sweep the Indians in Cleveland. I still see the Indians as vulnerable.

- I can’t believe sometimes how judgmental fans are about young players making their major league debuts. It’s amazing how many fans have already dismissed Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. Miller won some key games and pitched well for the Tigers until just before he was hurt. Maybin was called to the major leagues with only three weeks remaining in his minor league season. Don’t people realize much it helped their development to see time in the major leagues this season?

- If Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis doesn’t insert mobile quarterback Demetrius Jones and go to a spread offense Saturday against Michigan, he isn’t nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

Very nice blog. I agree with every point you made, and each seemed to be grounded in logic. I hope that the Tigers can pull it out, but they pretty much need to win every game from here on out. I also hope that the Lions win on Sunday, but Minnesota isn't exactly a pushover. We'll see what happens soon enough though.

I hope that your week is going well. Keep writing, and have a good weekend.

-Marty

11:10 AM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, great point on Miller and Maybin. Problem is, everyone in Detroit holds them up to the Al Kaline standard, which isn't fair.

Couldn't believe it when I saw the 9th inning on the net last night of the Yankees/Toronto game. I was beginning to believe NY would never lose another game. Losing 3 to Boston would be awesome. Anything is possible in that series.

Cheers,
Danny

12:58 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

I too am amazed by how sourly the emergence of both Maybin and Miller were received.

It's almost like fans expect the "Tiger Woods" effect. The young hotshot appears in the major league level and gives clinics to the old pros.

But Tiger Woods didn't win his first tournament right away. In fact he looked rather mediocre in his first several starts.

Yanks and Oakland, Tigers at Cleveland - and the Indians still have KC to contend with. I like the idea very much of KC spoiling the Indians season.

I like that thought a lot. But we have to be in position to take them.

I really sincerely don't think it's over yet. If we lose two this weekend - it's all my fault.

1:49 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, it has been great to see Detroit future players play. Sure Miller has a thing or two to get iron out and Maybin has to develop a little more. Like to see what Maybin can could do at AAA before they call him up in 2008. His next call up will be one he stays for good. These two will have a good impact on the Tigers in 2008 and great impact in 2009. These two will influence the Tigers in the 2008 free agency market on who they need to sign.

2:03 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
The Vikings have some weaknesses, but they are also very strong in a couple areas. Stopping the run is the key. If the Tigers go 10-5 the rest of the way, that equals 90 wins. That'd be a good season regardless if they reach the postseason.
Caputo

3:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
Kaline started at 18, but it took him awhile to get his feet underneath him. That wasn't his rookie season when he had that big year,although he was just 20. If the Tigers sweep this weekend and/or the Yankees and Indians are swept, this thing gets really interesting. Stranger things have happened.
Caputo

3:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
It would damage the Tigers greatly if they lost two of these games to Twins. The Royals know how to play spoiler, that's for sure.
Caputo

3:52 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
I agree with you. Maybin should start next season in Triple-A regardless. But by the end of next season, he should be a regular. Miller, however, should start next season in the rotation - if he has a decent spring.
Caputo

3:54 PM 
Blogger Max Perilstein said...

Pat-

I am one of those people that were sour on Maybin (not Miller by the way)... reason being, was purely the hype... consider the timeline. Just a few weeks before he gets called up, Leyland notes that we won't see him up in the bigs this year. Then after 6 games at AA, they proclaim him ready for the majors and BAM he's at Yankee Stadium.
And yes I expected more based on that extra fast track- especially when it was said there was no more he could accomplish in the minors.

The big thing that soured me was his defense. He looked lost out in the field. Plus with Granderson in CF, why wasn't Maybin playing in Left all season in the minors?

Yes as mentioned above I think the "Tiger Woods" effect plays in and in Detroit we love the hyped minor leaguer... remember Nate Cornejo? What he won like 20 games in one minor league season and was the next great one...

Bottom line, yes with only 3 weeks left in his season, not all was lost...

You know whats amazing is in the spring, it looked like the Tigers had too much pitching (and they did not thanks to the injuries and so on) and that with Monroe and Thames, there would be no need for Maybin anyway.... wild how things change from March to august...

Keep up the great work Pat.

5:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Max Perilstein,
In retrospect, seems like the Tigers should have played Maybin a few games in left field before he came up. He did seem lost out there. He has played well in center when I have seen him in the minor leagues or during spring training. LOL about the pitching in spring training. Guess the lesson learned is that you can never have too much pitching.
Caputo

5:46 PM 
Blogger John said...

Pat,

Unfortunately you are way off on the Demetrius Jones comment. Jones actually didn't board the bus for the trip up to Ann Arbor on Friday, per a statement made today by Weis. Word is that he will transfer, some saying to Tennessee. I think ND's best shot to win this game is to yes spread it out and throw it past the sticks, but with Clausen at the helm. Jones showed against Georgia Tech he clearly isn't ready to be the guy, not holding onto the football as a quarterback is unforgivable. Clausen has all the talent in the world. If he can get some help, notably from the offensive line he can make the plays for ND to have a shot to win. He will be a good one in the future, better than Mallett IMO.

-John

7:06 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

90 wins is a good season, but it probably isn't enough to get into the post season. The Tigers can probably only afford to lose two maybe three games from here on out to make the post season. We already knew they were a good team before the season started, so 90 wins is about what I expected. But they still have a chance to make the postseason, but it is slim.

9:16 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I agree to a certain extent on some of your points. Yeah the lions offense looked good. But I think it is to hard to even be optimistic anymore with this team. If the lions would of lost Oakland would be having the same conversation stating they beat the lions big deal. If they beat Minnesota I think there may be a sign the mind set is changing in that locker room. I feel the key to this game lies on Raiola. If he can handle those two over weight turds on the Vikings D line the team will be successful. However if he gets man handled it will break down the line and the lions will have a tough time. the center spot is huge on the o-line. cause if he gets bullied then it affects the guards and then the the tackles. SO I think that will be the key. If Riaola holds ground and gives kitna time. I think the lions passing game has enough options to pick apart the vikings secondary. God I love football.

I think it is crazy people are counting out miller and maybin. Maybin needs a year in Toledo or Erie. Miller could be on the path Verlander was. Remember his first full year in the big leagues. HE got like two spot starts and was rocked. The rest has history and Miller could have the same fate. He just needs to get his control down and I think he is fine. However, i think Casey who has been ok is a soft turd at first. I'd love to see the Tigers move over Guillen and go after a Tejada and maybe a Hunter or Jones in the outfield. At the sametime I think the biggest concenr more so then the offense is the pitching staff. Yeah we have a decent rotation but if you can upgrade I say do it. I think they need one more starter and definately some bullpen help.

11:40 PM 
Anonymous chief said...

yo el libro,

Demetrius Jones has left the team and likely will transfer. Tough break for Weis. But I can't read this game either way without Henne playing.

10:28 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

John,
I don't know if I was off as much as the kid just wanted to transfer because he saw the handwriting on the wall. Doesn't seem like he would have helped ND much Saturday, though. Nothing could help that sorry team.
Caputo

12:12 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
It's a tough road for the Tigers, but not impossible.
Caputo

12:13 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
I see the Minnesota game as a litmus test for the Lions. If they are going to be any good, they should be able to beat the Vikings at home.
Caputo

12:14 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Chief,
The post script is obvious: Notre Dame is awful. They might go 2-10 this year or something really, really bad.
Caputo

12:15 AM 

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