Monday, November 26, 2007

Lions Might Be The Best Of The Worst

I admit to having little faith in the Lions. I do, openly and often, wonder if they will ever be successful as long as William Clay Ford owns the team - especially as long as Matt Millen remains team president and essentially functions as the general manager.
I, like most people who have followed the Lions through thick and mostly thin since they were little kids, was anything but surprised they followed up an impressive 6-2 start by dropping three stink bombs in a row.
But perception and reality aren’t necessarily mixing here. The Lions - despite their own ineptitude - are anything but done.
At 6-5, their playoff hopes are very much alive. And while they aren’t very good and seem to be unraveling, the Lions are just like the teams they are competing with for the NFC wild card berths.
Myth One: The Lions remaining schedule is very difficult. Not really. Minnesota and Kansas City are below .500 teams who blow hot and cold to the extreme. The Lions have Dallas at home and Green Bay might not be playing for anything in the season finale. Even San Diego has been up and down like a yo-yo.
Myth Two: An 8-8 record won’t get the Lions into the playoffs. It just might. The problem comes with tie breakers. The Lions don’t have it against Washington, Philadelphia, the NY Giants and Arizona. It is important, however, they gain it against Minnesota. They already have it over the Bears.

Random Thoughts

- I find it odd and disappointing the Tigers' answer for their pitching woes is to simply bring back the same staff - without Joel Zumaya, who is injured. Dave Dombrowski has to have something else up under his sleeve, doesn’t he? As is, the Tigers staff is a recipe for disaster.

- I know it is early, but it is nonetheless disconcerting that Dominik Hasek has struggled so in the net for the Red Wings. Chris Osgood has played well, but I still think Hasek is the key.

- I thought the Celtics were over-hyped at the start of this season. But they keep winning close games at the end - a definite sign something special is brewing there.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Danny said...

Welcome back Pat, hope you enjoyed the holiday a bit!

We really enjoyed you on Fox Sportworks last night as always. Plus they started giving you close-ups every time you looked at the camera and told Millen to resign! LOL! Hysterical!

I completely agree on the Tigers pitching. They can’t possibly bring back the same staff, even with Zumaya. What are you hearing about Livan Hernandez, Carlos Silva, and Octavio Dotel?

Cheers,
Danny

10:38 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: Tigers have to do something, its a bad move on their part if they don't. Winning games and fans attendance go hand in hand. If they win 95 games they draw another 3 million if they only win 85 games due to a bad bullpen their attendance will drop. Tigers do not have as much room for error as the Lions do when comes to attendance. Signing Dotel or Riske as your set-up man and Rogers is a must. Kerry Wood would be awesome if he is healthy. If Wood is used properly he might be a fit and Leyland has shown he uses his bullpen wisely. You might get 35 high quality innings as a setup guy to help Rodney. To bad they cannot sign these players prior to the winter meeting and then use the winter meeting to make a trade to upgrade. I think they would have to remove players from their 40 man roster if they sign anyone prior Rule 5 draft but, Perez future is clouded so is one or two others.

1:19 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Book hope you had a good thanksgiving. I agree this team is the best of the worse. You'd could argue they are better then the Cardinals. Are they? If so why can't we beat them.

Was it me or was the Giants loss more aggrevating after the Vikings destroyed them or when the lions actually lost. To me this team should be 8-2 8-3 at worse if they were for real. This team beat themselves. They can still go 9-7 at best cause the Vikings and Chiefs aren't that great. I feel San Diego is suspect. At the same time I think everyones early prediction of 6-10 can happen as well. People talk about Foster, but what about Bacus. You watch when fox showed three replays in the third of kitna getting hit. Bacus was involved in every single one. Cuase this guy stinks. Personally I feel we have our answer at RT and taht is bacus. They need to get a left tackle as top priority. There was a reason why Riaola chopped block in that first drive. Cause the guy is way under sized. I think cause him being under sized and the ineffectiveness of Bacus and who ever is at RT cause the whole line to colapse cause I think Peterman and Mautillo have been ok.


Personally I feel the tiger's off season has been extremely disappointing. Yes Renteria is nice. Other then that where did they improve. Is todd Jones and Kenny Rogers and improvement. The pitching turned out to be the biggest weakness of this team last year and yet you add two of the same turds. YOu had talent available and you didn't pursue it which makes me wonder are players still reluctant to come here? I am still of the believer I'd like to see them add Livan Hernandez and Kenny Rogers. I just don't think Rogers has a full season in him left.

1:54 PM 
Blogger Dan Joseph said...

Pat,

The Red Wings won the cup in 1998 with Osgood, but honestly, anyone could have been in net. I remind myself of that every time I see Osgood record another win this year. Look at the number of shots against him those games. They tout his latest shutout as some great feat, when in reality, he only had to block 12 shots on goal that night. I'm with you, Hasek has to be the key for the net.

As for the Tigers, I read a short blurb they'll still interested in Dotel, have heard anything on that?

2:30 PM 
Blogger Dakota Mark said...

Hey Pat, I hope your holiday was great!
I have no comment, nor expectations for the Lions. Any additional wins this season, I consider just gravy.

I have to believe once Dombrowski re-signs Rogers, finding a quality reliever is next on his agenda. But, he seems committed to signing his Veteran Starting pitcher first.

Hasek was brilliant last season, but so far he has been just awful. On the other hand, Osgood has been having a career season. Osgood has only one less Stanley cup than Hasek, and just as much Finals experience. He is not Dom, but I don't think Dom is or can be Dom any more himself. I say ride the hot goalie. Osgood has proven enough to be the Wings number one.

The Celtics will turn out to be the Pistons of 2006, great regular season...too tired for the playoffs. What kind of bench can they have or maintain after the big 3's combined Salaries???!

2:37 PM 
Anonymous Bryan152 said...

The playoff situation with the Lions. The three contenders for that last spot (other than the Lions) all are 5-6. So if the Lions go 3-2 from here on out (very possible), one of those teams must go 4-1 in order to knock Detroit out for the #6 seed.

Plain and simple, it comes down to Sunday at Minnesota. If they lose that game, they can kiss the playoffs goodbye. The Vikings are coming off a big win at New York and they're getting Adrian Peterson back.

Mike Martz needs to learn that being down DOESN'T mean you can't run the ball anymore. The past three games have gone as such: The Lions trail after halftime and their play calling becomes predictable and thus easy to defend against. I really wonder if the success of his playcalling in the past was more a product of a SOLID O-Line and proven wideouts.

3:36 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
Matt Millen is very good at a number of different things. Being an NFL general manager clearly isn't one of them. I don't understand why he keeps at it. His track record is beyond bad. None of those pitchers alone would be the answer - unless it is more than one of them. Dotel and Silva are inconsistent. Hernandez was throwing at 84 mph last year when I watched him - although he did win and eat up innings.
Caputo

8:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
On their staff, I like Verlander as a sure thing. The rest of it is iffy for a number of reasons. I don't get it. They certainly need to add two or three quality pitchers.
Caputo

8:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
If they were a good team, they would definitely be 8-3. As is, they are just trying to be the best of a mediocre lot. Thing is, I don't see their future as all that bright. I wrote in column today about how poorly they have drafted in recent years, especially compared to the Packers.
Caputo

8:22 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dan Joseph,
Great point about the shots on goal. The Red Wings have been, and continue to be, a tremendous puck possession team. However, when they aren't playing well, most of the chances they allow are quality ones. I have noticed that in their losses to Chicago and the one in St. Louis.
Caputo

8:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

dakota mark,
Actually, Dom and Ozzie are tied for Cup wins. Buffalo only got to the finals - they didn't win with Hasek. Although what Hasek did in the Olympics in Japan was truly special. I don't get offering Kenny Rogers that kind of money. Seems to me they need to get some fresh blood in there instead of just putting out the same old staff.
Caputo

8:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bryan152,
I couldn't agree with you more about Martz. As for the playoffs, the Lions are in the driver's seat. They are up on everybody but the Giants. They may be a mediocre team, but it's not like they are competing against Shula's Dolphins, Noll's Steelers and Walsh's 49ers, either.
Caputo

8:29 PM 
Anonymous Tim said...

Hi Pat,

Welcome back. I think the Wings are about as well set up at goal as any team in the league. Pretty low salaries and two very capable goalies. Ozzie is standing on his head right now and I can't imagine that the Dominator has lost that much over the Summer. Kenny Holland knows what he's doing. We don't have much choice anyway.

As for the Lions, I jave to admit that they had me fooled again. ON the other hand, I'm not ready to jump off the bandwagon as usual. As you have said, they have a fighting chance but I don't see them winning more than 2 more games this year.

Thanks for the good work,

8:59 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat,

Lions, yes they can fare well in the contest of who sucks the least. But they are likely not good enough to be the least crappy.

But they are certainly a sizable step better from last year.

C'mon boys - lets be slightly less crappy than these other crappy teams. Boy, I sure hope Toronto gets one of these NFL teams.

Sorry, - laughing to hard to finish. I love Detroit. Its the best sports town in the world, and thank God the Lions suck or we would just be another Boston.

Tigers - pitching - over the summer I was sworn to secrecy by my wife who conversed with a Tigers Hall of Famer who is still active with the English D. He said that there was a couple of young Japanese pitchers coming our way. This was June, and there has been no Japanese pitching.

Should I tell my wife to stop talking to these hall of famers? Am I guilty of ethnic profiling? sorry.

They start spring training in 60 some odd days. I can feel it getting warmer already.

11:16 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tim,
We'll see on the Red Wings goalies. Ozzie's career record and Cup victory suggests he is an elite level goalie, but there is a reason he is never thought of that way. Hasek goes into these funks sometimes - and never comes out of them. Most Lions fans seem like you - hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic.
Caputo

12:57 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
LOL on the Boston line. I, too, am already looking forward to spring training. Can't get here soon enough, as far as I am concerned. Oh, and the same for opening day, the all-star game and the postseason.
Caputo

1:00 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Book,

Can't disagrre about adding pitching,,but I find it humorous that a man who criticizes callers for proferring up foolish trades could make an offhand comment without a suggestion..Plus Book..I do the same type of hoemwork you used to in researching minor league baseball..and fact is..you havent been correct very often lately..your player insight isn't what it used to be..I will agree that there are more subtle moves to come..but you never know what gems a system has until they start to throw..i.e.Carmona, Lewis, Bettancourt...etc..(big change from 2006)..or look at Baker in 2006 and then in 2007..sometimes the gems are under your nose..rather than on someone elses roster..right Book??

1:43 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anaymous,
Everybody is entitled to their opinion...I don't see anyone in their system right now that will help out to the degree it is needed.
Caputo

2:29 PM 

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