Monday, September 22, 2008

Lions Have Absolutely Nothing In Common With Cowboys

Dallas was playing the Packers Sunday night and NBC’s John Madden started talking about Jay Ratliff, the Cowboys’ nose tackle. He was a seventh round draft pick in 2005 and has developed, in Madden’s opinion - and that of many others around the NFL - into one of best inside defensive tackles in the NFL.
Right there tells you the difference between the Lions and the Cowboys. Dallas finds players. Not just acquires big-name players such as Terrell Owens. Or just get good value in the first round like with Felix Jones or DeMarcus Ware. Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent. The Lions never, ever find players like that.
The Lions’ start this season is obviously alarming. I don’t think they are a well-coached football team in any way shape or form. Whatever Rod Marinelli addresses doesn’t show up on the field.
But the No. 1 culprit - by far - has been a string of unremarkable drafts by Matt Millen. And so far, this year’s draft doesn’t look any better, does it?

Random Thoughts

- The Tigers should have a formidable lineup next season, but one of the overlooked keys to their offensive production is Carlos Guillen. He was hurt a lot this year, and had to go though difficult personal issues (he and his wife went through child birth complications) that weighed heavily on him. The Tigers need a comeback season from Guillen. He is one of the gauges for their success. The Tigers surprised in 2004 when Guillen had a productive season, they disappointed in 2005 when he was hurt, they won the pennant in 2006 and got out to a hot start in 2007 when he was hitting well, and floundered this season as he struggled and missed significant playing time.
They need Guillen at third base to solidify their infield. If the Tigers had a captain, Guillen would be it. They need a bounce back season from him in 2009.

- Road games at Indiana and Northwestern will go a long way in determining whether Michigan State is a contender or a pretender. The contenders beat those teams on the road consistently. The pretenders don’t. The Northwestern game, in particular, could be dicey.

- I do think Michigan has a chance at home against Wisconsin. The Badgers offense is not explosive. Michigan’s defense is capable of holding Wisconsin’s offense down. Look for a close, low scoring game - if UM avoids turnovers.


Blogger Fred Brill said...

The Captain's role was one that I was hoping Granderson would grow into filling - but perhaps it's too early yet. I certainly can't disagree with your assesment of Guillen.

I see our Tigers splitting with KC and getting swept by the Rays.

In the old days of 3 big TV networks - the whole country would have been caught up in the final season home game of the Yankees at old Yankee Stadium. As it was - it was just another passing. I think that's a shame.

As I see it, the NFL - like the NBA - has no other maturing ground for players other than the NCAA - whereas baseball and hockey have minor league farm systems to really investigate a young players talents and assimulate them into the player they need.

Perhaps some form of affilation of NFL teams with Canadian Football (CFL) teams could provide that missing layer of integration and maturation most NFL players seem to lack in rookie years?

Ok - after you stop laughing - think about it - I think it would be great for both leagues!

12:46 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...


It would be nice for a developmental league, but Football is so violent, they would have to develop pretty quickly for them to have any kind of a career in the NFL. The NFL Europe developmental leage worked ok help the bottom half of the roster get playing experience, but it is too much of a risk exposing the players you expect to make plays for you to get injured.


1:56 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, keeping Guillen is good but his left handed bat is irreplaceable. Guillen not that bad of a 3B concerning range and fielding. He has too many throwing errors. This was a good move to move Cabrera to 1B. What do you think of the rumors of Willis for Lugo? I would do in a second. Lugo does have some range.

2:02 PM 
Anonymous Hollis Keys said...

Book, the inability of these two men Mr. Millen and Mr. Marinelli to find players that can help you significantly in rounds past 1-3 is a condemning statement as to the aptitude of the scouting department plus the coach and G.M. Every playoff contender has at least one of those players on their teams and the Super Bowl contenders more than the others. The NY Giants had every one of their draft choices contribute to their success other than taking up space on the inactive or injured list. Our guys keep 11 d-linemen and keep 3 inactive all the while getting no pass rush and all of the rest of the draft picks watch on the sideline or on television at home. And SOMEBODY had the unmitigated gall to say "I believe in what we are doing"-the foundation is being laid-with sand and water and NO CONCRETE!
Hollis Keys in Detroit

6:49 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


First - thanks for not laughing out loud (or at least visibly) - however think about hockey and the cheap hits and pucks to the face and the blades accross the neck - the missing teeth - the cheap shots etc - the "Eric Lindros skating across centre ice with his head down while he has two concussions" level of violence -

Yet the OHL, AHL, Quebecs QMJHL (LHJMQ in French and I think their laws demand the French!) - these kids are trying to prove what they got and survival of the fittest is the law.

I'm not disagreeing with you Marty, I'm just beating a moot point like the dead horse it could become.

But then again, how many of these NCAA prima-donnas would keep playing if they knew they had to play a season in Winnipeg or Calgary or Ottawa?

As my wife says after every rude remark she makes ... "I'm just saying!"

7:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Millen's drafts have been terrible. Tom Kowalski pointed it out on Draft day and as always, he was right on the money.

9:19 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Fred Brill,

Hockey is a different sport. There are less injuries to the legs and knees, and skating is different than running and cutting. They just don't have the same history of career ending injuries that football does. There is no way there could be a 82 game football season, and yet good hockey teams go through over 100 games a year with only a few major injuries. Most NFL teams don't make it through 16 games without multiple major season ending injuries. Yes, hockey is a very physical game, but that doesn't make it more likely to induce injuries. history just doesn't back that up.

I will be honest and say that I felt a minor league for Football and Basketball would be good things. As I have gotten older and seen how things really develop, I can say that I only feel it would really be beneficial to Basketball. It just seems like too much of a risk for Football. You would get experience and hone skills, but you could also injure your players in games that really don't matter.


9:45 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Great point about Granderson. I believe he has just touched the surface of what he can do and will become the face of Detroit sports in the near future.

11:41 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I believe NFL Europe did help the product of the game. Baseball puts so much money into player development. Why can't the NFL. Seems like considering the revenue these teams get, they are awfully cheap.

11:43 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Guillen's defense was a huge disappointment this season. Even when he got better, he wasn't that good. I'd trade Willis for any respectable infielder, especially if another club picked up all his salary.

11:45 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

They need wholesale changes in the organization, beyond Millen and Marinelli. But I do some of their scouts and they aren't as bad as you might think. They present the facts, Millen makes the choices. It's on him more than them, in my opinion.

11:46 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Agreed. Tom was right about that one.

11:47 AM 

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