Monday, January 19, 2009

Cardinals In Super Bowl A Double-Edge Sword For Lions

The Cardinals reaching the Super Bowl is a good news, bad news story for the Lions.
It’s good news because it points to how mediocrity can be served in the NFL. The Cardinals were a 9-7 team, and in large degree because they played in the worst division in the league, the NFC West. The Cardinals were 6-0 against their division - and 3-7 in other games.
The Cardinals didn’t run the football a lick during the regular season. They weren’t very good at stopping the run, either. Yet, come the playoffs, they did both well, and it augmented what is an explosive passing game with Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald.
The lesson: Get into the playoffs and anything can happen. Even for the Cardinals.
It does give the Lions hope that it won’t take several years to finally win another playoff game.
The bad news is, however, that the Cardinals unlikely success happened the same season as the Lions’ unprecedented failure.
It’s way too juicy not to continually point out how the Lions were considered the NFL’s worst franchise "after the Cardinals." Or how William Clay Ford has been considered the league’s most inept owner, "other than Bill Bidwell."
None of that can be said anymore. And it’s more evidence of just how far the Lions have fallen.

Random Thoughts

- The crossroad for Michigan’s basketball season may very well be Tuesday night at Penn State. It’s imperative the Wolverines’ win on the road to make up for not holding home court over the weekend against Ohio State. This is a not a typical sorry sack Penn State team. Jamelle Cornley and Stanley Pringle are solid seniors. Sophomore guard Taylor Battle is a terrific talent. Penn State is really good on the perimeter. The Nittany Lions have beaten Purdue, won at Indiana, lost by just four at Wisconsin and scared Michigan State with a late rally that just fell short. They have NCAA tournament aspirations of their own. Penn State is vulnerable inside, making DeShawn Sims the key for the Wolverines.

- Brandon Lyon as the Tigers’ closer might be a scary proposition. He allows too many hits per innings pitched. Ideally, the Tigers need last year’s first-round draft choice Ryan Perry to be ready for the major leagues sooner instead of later.

- Gunther Cunningham would be a great choice for Lions defensive coordinator. Not only is a emotional coach with a decorated resume, but he is a former head coach with tons of experience. As a first-year head coach, Jim Schwartz is going to need a wise, old sage or two around him.

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Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, Tigers just got rid of one rollercoaster now they want another one. Why is wrong with Cruz? I know he will cost a second round pick and he has no closing experince. But the stuff is there. Beside Lee Smith never close a game once upon a time either. They all have to start somewhere. Zuyuma was suppose to be the closer because of his stuff but he got hurt. Cruz throws almost as hard and I think he has a better breaking ball than Zumaya.

2:35 PM 
Blogger Brian Calsyn said...

I want the Cards to win. I expect the black and gold marauders of death to do so, but would love to see Kurt seal the Hall of Fame bid. It will sound sappy but here is my Kurt Warner story: We live in west county St. Louis. My wife was at a local breakfast eatery when Kurt played here with two of my daughters. She notices Warner enjoying breakfast with a man in a suit. She leaves him alone till done with his meal and when he gets up she lets the girls go over and ask for autographs. He pulls out his trading card with scripture on the back and signs it with their names and pats them on the head. Classy style right? My wife and daughters finish their meal beaming over their souvenirs. Then when my wife asks for the check the waitress says, “Oh sweetie, Mr. Warner paid for all your breakfasts.”
Yeah, I know, he’s a high-paid athlete. The $20-25 tab was nothing to him. But the fact that he even thought about it. That impressed me.
Brian Marchant-Calsyn

9:18 PM 
Blogger Joe said...

Hi Pat,

There are more Lions connections that your post reminded me of.

Ken Whisenhunt was a hot-shot coordinator that was on the Lions short list when we hired Rod Marinelli. Maybe he never would have come here, but he was available. It does also bode well, that these really good coordinators can pay off as a HC. Jim Schwartz has a good chance of doing well since the Head Coach must have the ability to think quick with the speed to make correct major decisions. We all know he is super smart - and remember he has always been on the field (not in the booth) for the Titans as a DC. He's seen the speed of the game from that vantage point.

Also, I'd like Cunningham for the DC position. While his head coaching can be a positive, we also saw how Mike Martz, as a previous head coach, was a distraction when he sometimes overstepped his coordinator boundry. As long as Jim gets helped and not hurt from the experience of Gunther - we're all set.

9:22 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

If Schwartz can get Lions to the Cardinals 9-7 level of mediocrity next year, he will probably raise to Leyland (2006 version) stature in Detroit.

My math shows a 9-7 record in the NFL is a 91 game record in MLB. That's usually post-season quality.

Your Tiger Talk segment with Dan Dickerson has given me reason to look forward to Mondays. It's excellent.

The discussion was "who do we need to rebound" - and I agree with your Granderson vote - we need him sparking stuff. When he is on - the rest of the team follows. But Dan's comment of Guillen rebounding left me to wonder how he could rebound when he is stuck in left field? We do need Mags to keep fending off age and the knee and keep being Mags, and again as you said - we need Cabrera to keep up the stats but start producing some clutch situation moments.

I feel better this year going in with low expectations than I did last year when everyone was expecting to win the World Series.

A time of hope indeed. Mr. Obama taking the oath tomorrow - Spring Training Camp a week or so away - and the Lions - a new coach and the fact its impossible to have a worse season next year.

11:06 PM 
Blogger Detroit Sports Guru said...

Hello Pat,
I am in favor of the Tigers bringing in Lyon to Detroit. He has a great arm and can throw it. I wouldn't just give him the closers role, but have him and a few of the pitchers compete for it. I know for a fact that I would rather have Lyon close for me than Rodney. However, my ideal view is to have Ryan Perry win the job, but I believe he is a year away from being our closer.

11:13 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I tell u what Pat I wish Tiger Talk was on another night besides Bowling night lol.. I usually catch the tail end. Anyways I heard who you guys say the tigers need to have bounce back years and I agreed with all the choices, but I would definately say Guillen and Verlander are tops my list. Guillen in LF worries me, also I think Sheffield could be key. I know bullpen is a major need for this team, but I agree with Rod Allen the offense was very stagnet at times. A guy I am surprise we haven't looked at is Adam Dunn being we need left hand pop. I think him and the RF fence could become well aquainted. LEts say we do get Lyon. What if Robertson, and Willis can miracly bounce back. Will the tigers look to make a move in spring training? I think before it is said or done one thing we will have a lot of is depth that is if everyone can pick it up. The more I think of it though I am not sold on our everyday lineup at the moment. Yeah defensively we got great potential, but will we score enough runs? I like Polonco, Granderson, Magglio, Crabera. Guillen (If LF don't screw him up). Either way I think there are some quality veteran LH hitters that could help sure up the lineup.

As far as the Cardinals. If you look how the Cards drafted, and how they went about building this squad over the last few years. It shows how percise u have to be in your decision making. The cards put it together and it shows what can hapen. The last 8 years u had a clown running the orginization and an Owner who I am sorry could give a rats ass. Look what it equaled. Hopefully the lions can follow suit. THat is why this year is so crucial to there ever being hope. We can't miss on any moves. We need tog et every single draft pick right. Every FA right. Every coach right. Question is can they do it? Vegas odds say no, but all we can do is watch.

4:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Cruz has better stuff than Lyon, but would risky for a different reason because his command is not good.

8:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Brian Calsyn,
That's a great story. Thanks for sharing it with me. Kurt Warner is getting what he deserves because of the way he reached the top - and then got there again - through adversity.

8:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I like Cunningham's experience coupled with his connection to Schwartz. Actually, the Lions talked more about Russ Grimm, who is the line coach for Arizona, as head coach. That seems like a pretty good staff.

8:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I'm with you on Guillen. I'm not so sure about him out in left field like it is just a minor position shift. I can see him struggling out there.

8:26 PM 

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