Friday, August 22, 2008

Honest, This Is Actually An Important Preseason Game

Preseason football is generally a yawner, but if we’ve learned anything about the Lions in recent years, it does mean something.
Steve Mariucci’s coaching stint was defined, in some way, by preseason games - a Monday nighter against the Rams, and against Buffalo a couple times in the final preseason game when James Stewart and Jeff Garcia suffered injuries.
The Monday night game against the Rams was devastating. The Lions had raised expectations, brought out their black jerseys for the first time and were crushed to the point it hindered their entire season. It was the third preseason and a much-hyped dress rehearsal.
Against Buffalo his first season, Mariucci called runs for Stewart on several straight plays. He hurt his shoulder, and the Lions began the season without a running game. A couple years later, Garica, backing up Joey Harrington, but clearly the favorite of Mariucci, took the majority of snaps and hurt his leg. By the time the Lions went to him, he still hadn’t fully recovered and wasn’t nearly as effective as he has been since with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
Before this preseason, optimism about the Lions was at an all-time low. The first two games have changed that, but it will turn back Saturday if the Lions lay a stink bomb against the Browns.
The Browns won 10 games last season, but won’t play several starters because of injuries. They played on Monday, getting whipped by the Giants, so the Browns won’t be rested. The game is at Ford Field. All the elements are in the Lions favor.
It’s important for the Lions to sustain their momentum with at least a solid performance Saturday. If they don’t, the tide from the first two preseason games will be reversed. In that way, this is "an important preseason game."
Gosh, never thought I’d write that line.

Random Thoughts

- Anybody but Fernando Rodney should be penciled in as the Tigers’ closer next season. They need to either find another closer or develop one quickly from (Ryan Perry) from their farm system. Rodney is undependable as it gets.

- Jim Leyland, according to a report from ESPN’s Peter Gammons, wants a contract extension through 2010. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers give him one. It’s doubtful they will leave him as a lame duck manager for next season. Gammons is also reporting the Tigers are going to cut their player payroll by $40 million. Don’t see how that can happen and the club still contending.

- College football team I will be surprised if it wins more than six games this season: Notre Dame.

10 Comments:

Blogger maddog52 said...

Well said book on all your points. Really hard to argue any of them. I found the Peter Gammons comments extremely interesting.

On the Lions. This is a very important game on many levels. To me the only preseason game that is useless is the final one. This game you can give key guys PT and see where you really are at. But do it and proceed with caution. No need to push the buttons on anything. Plus it be nice to see the lions go into the season with a winning mentality.

Speaking of which did you hear Troy Aikman Thursday night. HE expects the Lions to be good this year? Is he the new Pat Summeral. Tipping the bottle.. First O'Hare and now him.. Cornbread is spreading lol.. One thing I will have to agree you have to like what you are seeing from Marinelli early on.

ON Leyland I hope he does come back. I don't think you will find a better manager. It's not his fault his pitching stunk this year. Its not his fault that a lineup filled with career 280 and above hitters went flatline. To me the Tigers aren't dead yet. ITs like taking a car in Nascar. It it has problems in one race. And you don't address those problems you will have the same issues the next race.

The same is with the Tigers. We had major issues with our pitching last year. We basically went into this year with the same parts. Low and behold same issues.

Me personally I think we got a closer in our system. I wouldn't care if we got K-Rod or not. I would however like to see is get a pitcher. If there is one thing I'd like to see this offseason that is a Solid SP. A guy who can give you 6 or 7 innings on at lest 90 percent of his outings. Hell the rest of the year i'd like to see Ramon Santiago get some extended play. To see if he has come of age. Cause he has been nothing but solid. I think Dolsi, Lopez, Rodney (maybe), Robertson (should be closer), and maybe 1 or 2 more guys would be an ok Pen.

However it makes no difference if your starters can't give u at least 6 innings a night.

12:00 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, your right F Rodney is not your first choice. But he does resemble a closer somewhat. He needs to continue to throw his slider one or twice an inning. The problem I have with Rodney is his health.
Dropping 40 million from the payroll is a mistake, there lots of time to dump payroll. Tigers should wait to see how season ticket sales are this winter and how well they do in the first three months of 09. The more Mr.I gets involved the better. It was Mr.I idea to get Cabrera.
I still think JL has a good baseball mind and they all make stupid mistakes but I would not extend his contract. Concerns I have with JL is his players went to sleep on him or lack of hustle and were not prepare or ready to go when spring training was done. I am more concern with upper management decisions. But maybe Tiger Management will get lucky and the Nate _ _ _ _ will use his change-up less and start using a cutter.

12:43 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I know that the Tigers' fan base for the most part would love to say thanks but no thanks to Leyland right now. And a good chunk of my loyalty to Leyland has as well eroded away to little more than appreciation of his 2006 results.

But ...

the mere fact he wants to stay with Detroit through 2010 suggests he is not burned out, and that he either has a plan or has bought into a plan of a future path for this team. It may not be a World Series result next year - but we do have to eat the fact that under nobody will the Tigers - after a $40M payroll dump - be in contention. And quite frankly I believe the big names have to go.

I'll take the Devil I know in Leyland over the Devil I don't know in a replacement. And God only knows where that replacement might come from.

Hate him for this year if you will - I empathize with that feeling - but unless Torre would rather live in Detroit than LA (yeah .. right) .. I don't know a better option right now than the Skip.

Or maybe Peter Gammons misinterpreted Jim's mumblings.

1:52 PM 
Blogger D_Fenner said...

How exactly does Mr. Gammons propose the Tigers will shed $40 million? Sure, they will lose Todd Jones and Kenny Rogers, but that's only 15 million off the books combined. Trade Magglio? That's 18 million off the books. Dump Renteria? That's 8 million (11 minus his 3 million buyout). Losing those four players takes 41 million dollars off the payroll, but several Tigers are about to receive salary bumps (Bonderman and Cabrera each earning about 4 million more next season). But who fills in those spots in the lineup? That's a lot of talent shed. If only we could dump Sheffield, Robertson, Willis, and Inge. That'd be the day. HA!

1:58 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
There are a lot of things I like about Marinelli's approach as head coach, and have been waiting, honestly, for some of them to break through. It's one of the reasons I have thought the Lions will be OK this season all along. But I can completely understand those who look at his program and laugh off such thoughts. I mean, he is 10-22 so far and his team has often played uninspired football.
Caputo

2:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
He resembles a closer in that he has a good fastball (when healthy) and a heck of a change up for an outpitch. But nothing about his makeup in clutch situations suggests he can be an effective closer for a full season. He is inconsistent and not got it done under pressure. He's pitched well lately, but only after they have fallen out of contention.
Caputo

2:53 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I agree with you about the burn out factor. Those concerned about what happened to Leyland in Colorado shouldn't be. He was embarrassed by that and will make sure it doesn't happen again.
Caputo

2:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

D_Fenner,
I'd be surprised, too, if they cut that much payroll, or if they do it at all. I think they will cut some of their aging veterans, be more careful about handing out long-term - go for it.
Caputo

2:57 PM 
Blogger goldrush132000 said...

Kitna is the best Lions quarterback the Lions have had in a while.....thats not saying much when it comes to Lions recent history. But is he really that good when playing outside our conference?
Our conference may make him look like a superstar, but have him go outside it and hes just an average Joe. goldrush

5:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

goldrush132000,
The Lions have had one constant since they won a championship so long ago. It's they haven't had a great QB. There are a lot of things to like about Kitna, but he hardly qualfies as a great QB.
Caputo

10:57 AM 

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