Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Preseason Has Revealed Little About Lions Offensive Line

The Lions have played well this preseason, and it has been the cause of hope and optimism.
Let’s put it this way: After the first two preseason games, I’m not getting the same, "No way" reaction to my thought they will win between seven and nine times, and be a legitimate contender for a playoff spot.
The one thing I no clue about is their offensive line. Is it improved or is it the same? And that is both in terms of player personnel and scheme.
The Lions offensive line hasn’t exactly been road graters while run blocking this preseason. Their pass protection did break down a couple times vs. the Bengals Sunday night.
My basic view of Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola is they are decent offensive linemen, who have been more victims of the Lions’ malaise than causes of their problems. First-round draft pick Gosder Cherilus seems raw, but his talent is evident. I’m not sure about the Lions guards. I think Stephen Peterman has a chance to be a good player, but how much does Edwin Mulitalo, a very good player throughout most of his career, have left? Michael Gaines is a massive tight end - that should help. Depth, however, is a concern.
I can’t help but think having a more balanced attack plan will benefit the Lions’ offensive line in pass protection, but can they run the ball reasonably effectively, especially if they have a lead late in games?
That question hasn’t been answered this preseason because the Lions’ offensive line remains every bit as much an open question as it was at the start of training camp.

Random Thoughts

- An important development in the Tigers minor league system: The Tigers getting first round draft choice Ryan Perry signed in time so that he can pitch this season. He is getting in quality innings for Class A Lakeland this month, which puts him ahead of the usual development curve. He has three saves already and could move quickly. One of the biggest pieces of the puzzle for next season will be finding a closer. Could it be that Perry, who starred for the University of Arizona, will be closing games for the Tigers as soon at some point of next season?

- On the subject of the Tigers closer: I think the first thing they should do this off season is announce they plan on using Joel Zumaya as a starter next season.

- College football recruiting is more of a circus than ever when it comes to verbal commitments. It’s like anything goes now. That’s why Michigan’s faithful shouldn’t be too disappointed quarterback Kevin Newsome backtracked on his commitment to Rich Rodriguez. Freshman Michael Shaw, a running back with tremendous potential, reversed field on Penn State to sign with the Wolverines in the spring. Shaw has the best combination of size and speed among U-M’s backs and should be special.


Blogger Fred Brill said...

I personnaly think the Zumaya move to starter would be more effective if done quietly - making the intention apparent at spring training. It should only be done after taking away his motorcycle license.

He's not shown himself to be a guy you can depend on. And for that reason alone - putting Zumaya in the rotation would not make me - as a typical fan - feel like the Tigers were making their rotation stronger. He might be more valuable as trade bait.

1:07 PM 
Blogger Sandy Gholston said...


I agree wholeheartedly with your thought about college football recruiting. it has indeed turned into a circus (witness the one kid who faked the media, the public and everyone else about being recruited by a big-time school). This flip-flopping on recruiting commitments is a sign of the times. Kids make decisions, back out of it, make different decisions and so on and so forth. You win some and you lose some.

4:18 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

You would know best Pat, by Zumaya's action from what we hear he acts like a starter. Let him bull his way for 6 innings plus one out every five days. Hopefully it is true Ryan Perry will be ready to close next year but it seem like a big jump. He has a better shot of being a 7th inning guy next year. Perry's 5 BB in 7 innings might mean he need time to harness his control. Mr.Moscoso at AA might be interesting chap.

5:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Great point about Zumaya. How mature is he? Can he handle being a professional? It seems disappointing there is so much potential there and such little results. Hope he figures it out before its too late and he has one of those, "Could have been" careers.

6:40 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Sandy Gohlston,
Yeah, that fake recruitment is a classic example of what is wrong. The dynamics have changed, but not for the better. But fans better get used to it. Seems like its here to stay.

6:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree with you about Perry. In an ideal world, he would not come in as a closer. I saw that about his walks. It would not be good if he continues that trend. Also, pitching this season is a good thing, but it's only a small smapling of what he is going to be like. For the most part, so far, so good.

7:56 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I personally agree as well that Zumya should be considered for a starter. I think even swap positions with him and Nate. If not then you got to dump Nate some how. DUde just don't have it. He wasn't very good last year. He is even worse this year. I mean it is evident Verlander and Gallaraga. Hopefully Willis can Keep working all winter and can be back. But the rest of the rotation. We need a guy that can go innings. Our starters can't go 6 innings. heck they can barely go 4 at times. That is just me..

As far as the lions.. I think it will be hard to see where this team is at until we see K. Smith go 15 carries. Yeah he only got 4 carries for 19 runs. but he only got 4 carries. I'd also like to see us change up our blocking schemes to make the run game work. But you are right we need lineman bottom line.

3 thinks I'd like to see from the lions sunday win or lose.

1. K. Smith and Pinner get the bulk of the carries.

2. I'd like to see Kenneth Moore and Middleton get more returns in.

3. See redding play better and Sims, Davis and Dizon as LBs.. at one point..

A sleeper if he stays healthy I think is ALex Lewis he has looked good so far.

2:39 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Great points on the Lions. I want to see Moore with the first return units. He looked really good to me.

5:30 PM 

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