Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bypassing Harris And Ware Killing Lions

The Lions' poor drafting under Matt Millen is legendary, but two draft picks came back to haunt them more than any others Sunday in their dismal season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Time will tell if quarterback Drew Stanton is the savior of the franchise many were making him out to be before he was injured during the preseason, but the Lions sure could have used the middle linebacker from Michigan, David Harris, they passed on, to select Stanton with the 43rd overall pick during the second round of the 2007 draft. Harris was selected four picks later by the New York Jets, and is a potential All-Pro.
Detroit linebackers Paris Lenon and Alex Lewis combined for just four tackles Sunday, an amazing lack of production considering how much the Falcons ran the ball. Harris, who had 127 tackles and five sacks last season, had five tackles during the Jets victory over Miami Sunday.
Worse than that was passing on linebacker DeMarcus Ware with the 10th overall selection in the 2005 draft. The Lions took receiver Mike Williams - one of the biggest draft busts in their history (considering their history, that's saying a lot). Ware, taken the next pick by Dallas, had 14 sacks last season. He had five tackles and a sack Sunday during the Cowboys victory at Cleveland.
Under Millen, the Lions have taken one defensive player, linebacker Ernie Sims, in the first round. That's in eight drafts. It's no coincidence the Lions' defense struggles mightily.

Random Thoughts

- Even though he wasn't that productive Sunday, I think Kevin Smith is a pretty good football player. The run blocking by the Lions' offensive line remains a major concern.

- I must admit I was wrong. The Lions miss Shaun Rogers in the middle of their defensive line more than I could have imagined. Then again, Rogers didn't do much to help the Browns Sunday, did he? Leigh Bodden's play Sunday was disappointing for the Lions.

- When all is said and done, I believe Michael Shaw will have a better career at Michigan than Sam McGuffie. Both are potentially excellent players, though.

- Can I take back my projection the Lions will win eight games this season? How about my pick that Michigan will win nine? What was I thinking?

- Can't wait for the start of hockey. Are the Red Wings really hosting the Maple Leafs to open the season? It's like some sort of dream come true after all those years of Gary Bettman's brutal scheduling.

12 Comments:

Blogger D_Fenner said...

Spot on analysis, Pat. Millen is the worst drafting GM in the history of the NFL among guys who held down the job for 5+ years. The Lions are lucky to have one draft pick pan out into a respectable starter every year. I recall my fit of anger after the Lions passed on Dave Harris. The selection of Mike Williams will forever remain the biggest "Do My Eyes and Ears Deceive Me?" moment in my lifetime of following the NFL. How pathetic is it that of all our draft picks the only guy good enough to start today was Felton at FB? What does that tell you about the quality of the selections if guys like Cherilus and Dizon can't crack a lineup that produced such a horrendous opening game?

Bring on the Red Wings. And let us be thankful that we can call them our own. They are perhaps the most well run organization in all of professional sports. A stark contrast to the lowly Lions.

9:31 PM 
Blogger Ed753 said...

I knew once the games meant something the Lion's wouldn't.

Can you say "Paper Tiger" it obviously got a bit too hot in Atlanta, because they got burned!

Funny thing, every Lion player/coach said they weren't surprised by the plays/calling of Atlanta. If you weren't surprised, then you were prepared-great! You must not be very good......

Again, Since about the 3rd month of the M&M era, I've rooted for the Lion's to lose, and I've been seldom disappointed....

9:06 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

What amazed me was how bad Ernie Sims was. He had an opportunity to tackle Turner twice on his touchdown run, but he didn't attack at all. He was very hesitant the whole first half at least. He stayed high, and slowed down before trying to make weak arm tackles. He usually isn't that type of player, so I am worried that something is wrong with him.

-Marty

p.s. I don't think the Lions would have drafted DeMarcus Ware regardless. They would have gotten Derrick Johnson if they went defense. I'm pretty sure that they felt that Ware and Merriman were more 3-4 linebackers than 4-3 linebackers; although both have had good careers (especially Merriman.)

9:59 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book, which was crazier?

A)The Lions getting getting beat by Atlanta and a rookie QB at Atlanta in Game 1

B)The Tigers taking the last two games off Minnesota at Minnesota

I pick B). I saw A)coming a mile away although I did swallow the hype it would be different this year.

Again the Lions have made me feel dumb for thinking there was a chance. I'll leave fine details to those more knowing than me to fill in, but the D was weak on the O line can't support a running game.

Here's to ya Pat, appearantly we are just a couple of naive hopeful homers. At least I'm in great company.

Leafs Wings hockey opener: Matts Sundine is becoming the Farve of hockey - more so than the Dominator of last year - and is now in Toronto wondering why the Leafs changed the team to a style that doesn't suit him.

These are the reasons I drink.

12:49 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

I can hardly wait for the hockey season myself. Especially, since I think they may have finally gotten the scheduling right. I look forward to seeing more "Prince of Wales" Conference teams.

After a dissappointing a summer downtown, the Red Wings will be a welcome sight when they take the ice. Also, I would like to thank the Lions for freeing up my autumn Sunday afternoons.

I made some Kool-Aid Sunday morning that tasted pretty good. By late in the afternoon it was all gone and I had a belly ache.

Even though the Pussycats don't need fannies in the seat to make a profit, I'm hoping that none of their home games sell-out so that these games will all be blacked=out. I think that this is probably best public service announcement we could hope for from dem bums. I've given up on Millen being fired.

1:08 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

d-fenner,
The sooner Cherilus and Dizon get in there, the better. Dizon is, at least, a good tackler. Cherilus has to be a better player than George Foster, especially run blocking.
Caputo

1:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

ed753,
You're right. When it mattered, the Lions quickly got that "deer in the headlights" look about them.
Caputo

1:49 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
That was the anybody-but-Mike Williams draft. They have needed to pay more attention to their defense in the draft - and it shows. Harris plays in a 3-4, but would still a good fit for Lions.
Caputo

1:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Yeah, the Leafs are going to stink this year, but it will be nice to at least see their sweaters in Detroit for a change. The Lions took their cue from the Tigers. Talk about two wins that were barely noticed.
Caputo

1:52 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
There have been a lot of high hopes for Detroit teams the last couple years. Only the Red Wings have really come through. Have a feeling they will again this season.
Caputo

1:54 PM 
Anonymous John said...

Pat,

Not sure if you saw ND play on Saturday. It was a really abysmal performance. If they play the way they did the first three quarters, Michigan will embarass them this Saturday as sad as that is. Not sure they will be able to run the ball, which is something tha didn't come as easily against SD State as it should have. They definitely have talent all over the field especially at the offensive skill positions and defensive backfield. Jimmy Clausen is going to be a BIG time QB at this level. He was throwing darts all over the field and got better as the game went on. Weis needs a win big time against Michigan, not many were convinced last Saturday.

John

2:58 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

John,
I saw a lot of the Notre Dame Saturday while waiting for my flight to Atlanta at the airport. It was awful. But Michigan isn't playing well offensively, either. Should be a low-scoring, pick 'em game Saturday.
Caputo

5:54 PM 

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