Sunday, December 26, 2010

Game 15 - 2010 @ Miami Dolphins

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good: the Lions win game #5 on the year against the Miami Dolphins; their 3rd in a row and their 2nd road game in a row.

The bad: Due to injuries there were many guys on the Lions defense playing that normally wouldn't be playing who were getting abused regularly by the Dolphins.

The ugly: Some how, some way, the Lions made the Dolphins team look ugly by timely interceptions at the end of the 4th quarter by Levy and Vasher (yes, Nathan Vasher).

There were many other plays that were either good, or bad, or ugly. Many by the same players at different points in the game. Pettigrew had quite of few of each, as did Vasher actually. Hill at quarterback, another Hill in the secondary, and various other players all contributed to make it harder then it had to be, and also to seal the win when needed.

The team continues to play hard, fight harder, and now all that work is turning into wins. They are getting better as the year progressed, pretty much as I figured they would (you'd have to scroll way down to pre pre-season blog posts though to see that though). No, I didn't predict all the injuries, or the losses early for that matter. They won't hit my 7 wins in 2010 prediction. But they are a young team learning and that bodes very well for the future.

Next week's final game should be the final game of Bret Favre's career, assuming he actually retires and stays retired. If he can play at all you know he will. I hope to see a great battle for the final game of the season... followed up by the NFL and NFLPA agreeing to a new CBA before the Superbowl. But I digress.

There was good in the Lions - Dolphins game, there was bad, and yes there was ugly, but it was also a win. When it comes right down to it, that's what matters in the NFL, and that's what the Lions got.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Game 14 - 2010 @ Tampa Bay

The End

The Lions win this one 23-20 in overtime. Yes, I said win. So ends the 26 game road losing streak, the new NFL record road game losing streak. But that wasn't the only thing to end. The Lions also won 2 games in a row, ending that streak (of having not done so in years) as well.

It was Rayner, not Hanson (who is on injured reserve), who first tied the game in the final seconds of regulation and then it was Rayner again with the game winning field goal in overtime. I wonder if the Lions will carry two kickers on their roster next year.

Stanton made himself look good by completing passes to super talent such as Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew. Maurice Morris ran hard and piled on the yards. The defense is getting needed play time in with their depth and the defensive line is continuing to play hard and fast, a good view of what the future has in store for the players, coaches and fans. Sure the defense needs some more talent at some starting positions, that's where the 2011 draft comes into play, but it's good to see the coaches making use of the players they have now.

It was also nice to see some decent officiating for the 2nd game in a row. Hopefully that (the bad officiating) has ended as well.

Lions play in Florida next week against Miami then they come home for their final game of the season. Final game of Bret Favre's career as well (a truly momentous occasion)! It sure would be nice to see the Lions end Favre's career by ending another bad streak, divisional games (they haven't won one of those in years either).

So keep it up Lions... you're fighting hard, learning on the job, playing to win, and this Lions fan doesn't want to see that end.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Game 13 - Green Bay Packers @ Home


The Lions win their 3rd game of the season 7-3 against the powerful Green Bay Packers. Of course, Packer fans are complaining that their starting quarterback was injured during the game and their 2nd string QB just couldn't get the job done... never mind that the Lions started their game with their 3rd string QB and without many other starters as well (I believe they have 14 players total on IR now). What did suck was that Rodgers is my starting QB in several FFL contests and now I may be out of the playoffs, but I'm not complaining.

It was a pretty ugly game, both defenses (yes, the Lions defense too) played hard and well. Surprising many football fans, national media types, and the Packers themselves. Actually, since the Lions offense was supposed to be the strength of the team this year, it probably surprised a large number of Lions fans too. Despite the fact that the Lions defense has been playing fairly well lately.

You have to give some credit to the offense though... there were a lot of run plays in this game that kept the Packers offense sitting down. I would suggest the Lions get on with signing long term some of those that helped, like Logan for example.

I was surprised the officiating was fairly competent and fair this game. I know I shouldn't be that way, but some of the games this year have jaded me in that regard.

There were a LOT of things that could have gone better. On offense, on Defense, on Special Teams. What surprises many though is that the Lions have not started to just mail it in. They aren't making it to post-season this year so the tendency for a player to not give it his all has to be overcome. It was hinted at in a previous game that this happened, and I'm not saying it was so then, but if there was any minds starting to wonder the coaching staff has corrected it completely. This was a very hard fought game, right up to the end.

Now if the Lions can remember just exactly how hard you have to play to win in this league then good things can start to happen. I think it's starting to sink in... and I think many will be surprised at how well the Lions do in the future.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Game 12 - Chicago Bears @ Home

What starts well, ends well.

It does if your a Bears fan anyway. From the first play of the game when Rob Sims gets penalized for a false start to watching the Bears kneel down 3 times after the 2 minute warning for the win, Bears fans had a better day then Lions fans.

There were some good things, like Stantons play (for the most part), Avril's sacks (3 of them but none late when needed the most), Burleson did some good and bad (more good then bad). As did Pettigrew (who could've had a great game with a few less drops). There were even a few GREAT plays...

53 seconds to go in 2nd quarter, down 10-14, the Lions run a play with Best who bounces it outside then they follow it with a great catch and run by Calvin Johnson to score a TD in 2 plays (91 yards). After halftime, 50 seconds in, Avril forces a fumble and it's recovered by the Lions at the Chicago 9 yard line, but the Bears hold and the Lions are forced to kick a field goal. That would be the last points they score in the game. That would also be the end of the GREAT plays.

There wasn't much but defense the rest of the 3rd quarter from both teams (not counting the Bears' kicker getting his career record longest field goal of 54 yards). Then with 12 minutes to go in the game Stanton tries to complete a pass to a well covered receiver on 4th and 1, turning the ball over on downs. The Bears then drive down the field to the 22 yard line... on 1st and 10 Cutler rolls out and runs 7 yards, tackled by Suh, who was penalized for tackling the runner (Cutler). They called it unnecessary roughness, but it was only a push from a strong man. In other words, the Refs helped the Bears advance the ball and more importantly got the Lions players (and fans) thinking the refs were going to once again hand the game over. Next play Cutler throws a TD pass to the 3rd string TE. The Lions failed to make any more decent plays on O or D from there on. Finally, at the 2 minute warning, the Bears complete a pass to the 3rd string TE again... for a first down... the Lions with no time outs left and face the loss standing up for the final 3 plays.

Lions lose the game 20-24.

Some questions arise from the game. Why is the officiating so horrid this year? Can it be fixed? Where are the big plays by the Lions late in the game when needed the most? Can THAT be fixed? Where are the wins? Will that be fixed? Will the players union quit trying to drum up support from politicians, chambers of commerce, fans and anyone else and start negotiating? but I digress...

What starts well ends well. Unfortunately, this season for Lions fans did not start well, and it's not looking like it's going to end well either.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Game 11 - New Orleans @ Home Thanksgiving Day

I'm full.

The Lions though ran out of gas about two thirds of the way into the 3rd quarter. They fought and fought and kept the score close and in fact led for a decent amount of time. Then the Patriots who have a solidly built team decided the Lions defense wasn't as good as they appeared and starting scoring... to the tune of 4 touchdowns in a row to finish the game 24 to 45.

The complete box score / stats can be found at

The patched together Lions offense did okay until the chips were down, they simply can't keep their composure and play a full 60 minutes of exerting their will on an opponent. The closer to the end of the game it gets, the more tense they play, and the more errors are made. That said, 24 points isn't bad for an offense in the NFL, if your defense can stop the opponent from scoring.

The Lions defense wore down shortly after half time and before long there was little pressure at all on Tom Brady. Tom Brady without pressure is a sure fire way to lose a football game. The Lions defense was running on empty by the end of the game.

Were they running on empty because they were down on the offense for not scoring more? For the officiating? For the mistakes each player continually made... compounding the negative? I'm not sure. Were the coaches unable to settle the players down and get them to re-focus? Or, would it not matter who the coaching staff was there would be no re-focusing them? Was it lack of depth to keep fresh minds and bodies in the game? Lack of talent? Lack of preparation? All the above? None of the above? Everyone is going to have their opinion on what it was... for myself, I think it was a tablespoon of this and a teaspoon of that. The simple recipe of a half rebuilt Lions team playing against a fully built Patriots team on a national stage when the one team hasn't learned how to handle a lead, or a win, was a recipe for disaster and almost everyone knew that in August, let alone in November.

Until the team starts having fun playing, until they quit tensing up, until their confidence is built, things are going to remain ugly. Problem is, it takes wins to do that, and it takes that to win.

The Lions have a couple extra days to heal up before they start preparing for the Bears at home... if ever there was a time to go full throttle for a full hour this next game would be it, it's not going to get any easier the rest of the year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Game 10 - 2010 @ Dallas Cowboys

Continuing on.

The Lions continue losing by going 19 - 35 this week, giving the Dallas Cowboys their 3rd win of the season and 2nd win in 2 games to their replacement coach.

The Lions also continue their NFL record road losing streak bringing it to 26 in a row that began in 2007 when Jon Kitna was their quarterback.

At 2-8 for the season the Lions are now likely out of the playoff race... continuing that new tradition of being out before Thanksgiving Day.

Lions fans continue looking for silver linings but I may have to get back to you on that one, as I have so far failed to find even one in this game.

If you look at the stats there is nothing that immediately stands out as bad... I mean sure the Lions continue to not stop the run while at the same time continue to not run very well... and of course the Lions continue to get double digit penalties... but all in all, nothing appears completely out of whack except for the fact the Lions didn't score a single point in the 4th quarter.

So what happened? Well, the officiating. It continues to SUCK!

There was a nice play by Burleson that was called back due to a real penalty which set a bad mood by some players, yet the team continued to play. Then a break down in a punt return play allowed a TD. The team still continued to fight. Then there was a tackle, by the hair, that was called by the officiating crew as a horse collar penalty. It was a totally legal tackle. It was also the straw that popped the balloon, letting all the air out of the team. The coach was irate... the players all got upset... and instead of playing loose and having fun, to a man the team played tight and upset. That bogus call completely changed the game from that point on. One big play might have switched the mood back, but there was none. The Lions may have lost anyway despite the call, but we will never know that either.

Many will say that until the Lions quit causing penalties they'll continue to get bad calls such as that one. I suppose that is true. I suppose the team needs to learn not only how to win, how to close out a game in the 4th quarter, but also how to get over bad officiating. I suppose I should not continue to harp on that sort of thing. Guess what... that's not going to happen. I'm afraid I'll have to continue to point out what I see as the turning point in a game... and I will continue to be upset if that turning point is not a play by either team but a call by an official.

So here we are, about to watch the Lions play a great team on Thanksgiving day, the only Nationally televised game the Lions have this year. The only thing we can be certain of is that some idiots will continue to bring up how the Lions should not be allowed to continue that tradition. They don't seem to have any problem with other new traditions continuing on, but the longest standing one should be thrown away. So before all that happens, I will say it once again, the Lions should CONTINUE playing their traditional Thanksgiving Day game and there is no valid reason to break with that tradition. If you don't want to watch it, don't. Do shut up about it though. Removing the game from Thanksgiving Day does not punish the current team, only the future teams that would otherwise play that day, probably long after you are dead and gone.

Coaches and Front Office... continue on tweaking the roster.
Players... continue on playing, you all must have some pride and drive to win, try to ignore the officiating, have some fun while you can.
Lions Fans... continue on planning your draft parties.
NFL and NFLPA... START negotiating a new CBA. Everyone wants to CONTINUE watching football, regardless of all the rest of it.

You all have your instructions... now continue on.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Game 9 - 2010 @ Buffalo Bills

Getting Colder.

Yep, it's mid-November and it's definitely getting colder outside. The Lions are also getting colder... as in far far away from where they thought they would be, where they expected to be, and from where I thought they were. Lions break their own record by losing their 25th road game in a row. They also allowed the Bills to get their first win of the year. And it was raining. All game pretty much. The team looked and played cold, slow, and not too good ball.

If one was to look at the box score one would see the Lions losing 12-14 and that the new kicker missed a field goal. The temptation might be to point and say "that was why". One would be wrong.

The Bills are one of the worst teams in the league defending the run... so far at least, that could change (they pretty much had the hardest schedule in the league). Yet the Lions managed only 2 first downs by running (and 16 passing). I think it's safe to say the Lions run game has been bad all year not just because they played tough run defenses... but because the Lions are not good at run blocking. Their fastest RB (Jahvid Best) also appears to have an aversion to grass fields. He looks horribly slow when he's on an outdoor field (at least he has been every time he's played on one so far). This might have been a good game to play Smith more, but that did not happen (6 for Smith, 17 for Best). At 76 rushing yards for the Lions and 151 rushing yards for the Bills it's readily apparent who is the better team at run blocking and run stopping... and it's not the Lions.

The Lions "one-armed" Quarterback (Shaun Hill played the game with his non-throwing arm in a light cast having broke it 4 weeks ago and with a titanium plate and 6 screws inserted) got 314 passing yards versus the Bills anemic 139. This too is a complete flip, the Lions defense is known for it's poor secondary and linebackers... why only 139 passing yards by the Bills? First, the Lions are getting a bit better at defending the pass, but the real reason in this game is that the Bills did not need to pass to win. They did just enough to get the job done and the Lions couldn't really stop them. Didn't really appear they wanted to actually. The body language for many of the players was that they were cold and miserable and they played exactly that way, cold and it was indeed miserable.

The rest of the box score (stats) can be found here if you are interested

The only thing that you need to know though is that the turnovers were equal to 1 apiece but the Lions had 11 penalties to the Bills 4. The sloppier team lost.

There were few big plays to add to highlight reels but quite a number of potential winter coat endorsements could be forth coming. Then again, I think most companies want winners for their endorsements, so perhaps there won't be any offers for that either. I guess the Lions will need to figure out how to get warmer before the next 11 days are over, as they have two games to play in that time frame, one being their only nationally televised game of the year. If they do not, it'll only keep getting colder and colder, on the field, in the stands, and from the fans.

It's well past time for the Lions coaches and players to get themselves focused and to get the fans something to feel all warm and fuzzy about. I don't need or want a new winter coat to beat the cold, I just need my team to not play cold.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Game 8 - New York Jets @ Home

Blew it.

Yep, the Lions blew it. Fought for and got the lead (more then once) but let the Jets back in the game to tie it late in the forth quarter only to lose in overtime 20-23. Not only that, but they may have lost their kicker and starting Quarterback (again) as well. They sure did for the last part of this game anyway. They also lost their swagger, their momentum, their whatever-you-call-it that helps a team compete just that little bit harder then their opponent. Not that the Lions didn't compete, they did, but then they blew it.

They couldn't stop the Jets when they needed to (even after doing so for much of the game) and they couldn't drain the clock when they had the chance to seal the win.

Yes there were some bad flags along with some missed ones. But there were some legit ones that were on the players who lost their focus, flags that never should have happened but were very much deserved.

Yes there were some questionable plays called by the coaches. For example: even though Suh kicked extra points in camp he won't be winning special teams player of the week this week I'm afraid... and perhaps having your 3rd string QB throw instead of calling run plays when run plays were clearly expected by the Jets (and needed by the Lions) isn't really a strategy. But had those plays been executed correctly instead of incorrectly they would've been something to see.

Are the Lions a super deep team able to overcome all kinds of injuries? No. Are they still in building (or re-building) mode? Yes. Were they really and truly expected to win this game by those outside the team? No. Did they put up a good fight for nearly fifty some minutes? Yes. Could they have won this particular game? Yes, I think they could have. But, they blew it.

So why do I sound upset? What happened that wasn't expected? What went wrong that shouldn't have gone wrong? What difference does it make?

The Lions need to learn how to win, they already learned too well how to lose and just when victory was theirs for the taking, they blew it.

Learning to win was that next step. The step was not taken today. It's now put off until some time in the future. I was ready for the team to take a "next step". Most fans were ready for them to do just that... even the ones who didn't know that's what they wanted. Establish a home field dominance, one the fans can partake in. Be able to put a team away when you have the lead. Not just any team, a good team, in your home sold out stadium. Know what to do to win the game on every play and do exactly that. That did not happen today. I did not realize that I wanted it either today until after it was all said and done.

I as a fan wanted my team to take the next step. I thought they were ready for it. I think they thought they were ready for it. I believe that many if not most fans of the Detroit Lions were ready for it. It'll still happen... some day... just not today. No today, the Lions blew it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Game 7 - Washington Redskins @ Home on Halloween Day


The Lions put the SWAK on the Redskins (Suh Williams Avril KVB) bigtime for an "easy" 37 to 25 win. Even after throwing an INT in the end zone early in the game and even after Burleson turning the ball over again after being stripped of the ball during another great drive. There were 3 TDs by CJ, lots of great runs by both Smith and Best, the 4th INT in 4 games for Smith, and some other great plays by various members of the team on various plays... but it would be hard to deny that the reason the Lions won the game was due to the SWAK, the defensive line.

There are a lot of fans who didn't get to see the SWAK though, since the game wasn't sold out and therefor blacked out. But for those of us who did see the game, what a great entertaining way to spend a part of Halloween day.

Stafford was a little rusty at first then started to get back into the grove eventually. Some of the other players tried to do the normal lions screw-ups in an attempt to give the game away, including allowing a kick return for a touchdown and various untimely penalties. The refs were a little more even in blowing the calls (which actually was nice to see, not the blown calls or non-calls, but that they spread around the horrible calls to both teams fairly evenly). But mostly each of the position groups started playing as a group, as a team. There is talent spread throughout the Lions roster and when they play as a team they are VERY hard to beat.

You won't be seeing any late night Lions jokes the rest of this year I do not believe. That honor will go to the Bills, the Cowboys, and even to the Vikings (ala Brett Favre). No, the Lions are now (so I do declare) a team to be reckoned with. As long as they do not hurt themselves too much, they can play toe to toe with any team in the league. Note: I did say "As Long As". For they can be beat by any team in the league as well if they do not play together.

Next week the Lions plays the Jets, at home. The Jets just lost 9-0 to Greenbay (yeah, 3 field foals to no points) and are going to be anxious to rectify that feeling. The Lions will need to really pull together to beat them. The Jets defense is top of the line, there will be a ton of frustration by the Lions offense when drives are hard to come by. Luckily, there is more to the team then just offense. Despite the perceived poor secondary, the Lions are proving to be a match for most teams and I don't think the Sanchez led offense will find the going any easier. Granted, the Lions defensive line is helping the linebackers and the secondary look good, but there can be no denying that the players currently on the roster are playing tough when they play together. The Redskins found out today just how tough the Lions defense is, now it's the Jets turn to be meet the SWAK.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Game 6 - 2010 @ New York Giants

Mental Errors.

Boy did I make a mental error. I sat Maclin and played Nicks in FFL at the last moment and now it looks like I will be losing that match in that one FFL game. Of course, that is NOTHING compared to the mental errors the various Detroit Lions players made. Between fumbles, penalties, and just about every stupid thing in the book that you can do to screw up a game, the Lions managed to eek out a close loss of 20-28.

I'm not saying the Lions could've won this game had they played a disciplined game... actually, yes I am saying that. If not for the sheer number and stupidity level of the mental errors the Lions would've ended their road game losing streak.

The only thing that looked worse then the Lions was the removing of Follett from the field on a stretcher (word is he has feeling in his extremities). Even the injury that ended up breaking Shaun Hill's left forearm didn't look as bad as the team played. I wonder what stewing over all these mental lapses will do now that the Lions are on their bye week. Will thinking about it for two weeks help or hinder? I guess that is up to the coaches and the players, to each their own, so to speak.

Lions will probably be looking for a QB and Stanton will probably be the #2 starting after the bye week. The Lions will also be a little thinner yet at LB it would seem. The front office doesn't get the bye week off, that much is for sure.

As for the players, they need to learn focus. Somehow, some way, they must learn how to remain focused. They've learned to shake off the problems that come up during the game and to keep playing hard, but they haven't learned how to focus and take advantage of that first step.

It should be interesting to see all the analysis that will be done for the next 13 days... but it will always come back to one thing. Mental errors.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Game 5 - St Louis Rams @ home


Not even the refs could give this game to the Rams. Lions 44-6 win was the widest margin of victory since 1995... this being the Lions first "official" win of the 2010 season. The game was won by a combination of defense, offense and special teams and the current Lions losing streak ends on 10-10-10.

You could argue that each facet of the team got a 10 as well.

Special teams? Yeah, they get a 10. They (Logan) tied the 105 yard return for a TD set in 1998 by Fair. All field goal attempts were perfect. Coverage units were great. No need to argue, the Lions special teams score a 10.

Defense? Holding the Rams to two field goals, holding Stephen Jackson from getting any major yards, not getting as many holding calls, and generally creating havoc for the NFL's new media darling, Bradford. The interceptions and fumbles along with recoveries were enough to make any fantasy football player wish they had played the Lions defense (and I did in a couple of my leagues). Were they 100% perfect? No. But in football you can score a 10 without being perfect on every single play. So I give the Lions defense a 10 in this game.

Offense? The running yards weren't quite as high as I would've wished, but the backup QB (Hill) played a very good controlled game despite not going to CJ much in the first half of the game. There are still things the team can work on, but when you win such a convincing game as this, you just plain old fashion deserve a 10 as well.

The team played a complete game. The score reflected the play on the field. The refs had no bearing on the results. It was all in the Lions hands from beginning to end and they all deserve a 10 for not just winning the game they were supposed to win, but for doing so quite decisively.

Next week the Lions have some momentum but the injury situation isn't quite known yet, so it's kind of hard to tell what is going to happen with that road losing streak... I can at least predict another hard fought game is on the schedule, and if this team can play this well next week... that road game losing streak can also become a thing of the past. Now, can the team play this well two weeks in a row? We are about to find out.

Meanwhile, we all get to celebrate a score of 10 on 10-10-10.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Game 4 - 2010 @ Green Bay Packers

Getting Closer.

The Lions did not embarrass themselves in this game, nope, not at all. Yes they lost 26-28 but I was expecting them to lose by 3 scores. I'm sure some will say it would not have been as close had the Packers not made so many mistakes but the Lions made mistakes too and neither team made as many mistakes as they both did last week. No, what happened is the team is starting to play hard together and everyone is starting to work together. When they play as a team they stay in the game... even with the lack of talent at certain positions. Yep, the TEAM is getting closer.

The officials are getting closer to calling a fair game as well. They still blew a few calls but they are getting closer.

The coaches are calling plays a little better. Closer to what the fans expected.

All in all I believe this game, even though it was a loss, will make some fans feel a little bit better about the future of the team. The Lions are getting closer, now it's time for some wins.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Game 3 - 2010 @ Minnesota Vikings


This game was just filled with mistakes. Mistakes by nearly every player on the team (from Hanson to Hill, Pettigrew to well, yeah, pretty much every player on the team); from the Lions coaching staff; from the officiating crew; even from the Vikings (just not as many as the other three).

It was like the Lions were a team that was recently near the bottom of the league and only just begun to climb... while the Vikings were a Favre INT away from the superbowl. Actually, it was like that because that is what it is. The difference being the Vikings are by no means playing at the level they were playing at last year. The Lions on the other hand, are playing their backup QB and a bunch of defensive guys that almost everyone on the planet knows will be replaced next year (assuming another great draft).

The backup QB explains some of the offensive woes, but not all of them. Pettigrew still needs to catch the ball, as do ALL the other wide receivers, when they get their hands on it. A WR hint if you will: Do NOT start your run until you have actually CAUGHT the ball... stupid mistake. CJ needs to do more to get open all on his own instead of counting on others to do it for him. Lots of offensive mistakes, way too many for an offense that is supposed to be nearly "built".

Best needs to be healthy as the backup RB isn't nearly as good (regardless of name). No, Best being injured isn't a mistake, just another issue to overcome but it is a reason why other RBs are on the field but the play calling didn't change. The play calling needs to open up as playing "safe" isn't going to get'er done. The only way to beat Favre (hasn't changed since 1993 really) is to pressure him, hit him hard, hurry him and trap him in the pocket. The Lions managed only a small handful of this in this game. I believe more could've been done (yes, at risk of less so-called coverage downfield).

Jason Hanson isn't helping build confidence with this coaching staff. Whiffing the catch doesn't either if you are a return man (and it's your main job). Mistakes on special teams another no excuse issue.

Now defense, they actually have reasons for some mistakes. The Lions are not finished building the defense yet... and many young non-household names have starting jobs that could be theirs to keep IF they would only seize the moment. They are not. Some may not get many more chances (like CC Brown for example). Others will get more chances but had better start improving. Overall though, even if mistakes are expected on the defense, there were too many of them to overcome.

The officiating crew needs to know that throwing or fumbling a ball behind the QB is a live ball regardless of what you want to call it. Some officials need to get mandatory eye exams as well... other plays were often quite questionable if not outright mistakes.

I am not upset... I really don't care if the Lions make 7 wins like I predicted or only 5 wins and get a better draft spot. I would like some entertaining games to watch though... this was not one of them. Too many mistakes by players, coaches and officials.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Game 2 -2010 Home Opener Philadelphia Eagles

Objects in your rear view mirror might be closer then they appear.

Lions lose this one 32 to 35. Sounds like a close game and in many ways it was, but in others it was not. Lions went from being 2 scores ahead to being 3 scores behind but were able to come back with plays that include a 2 point conversion and an on-side kick.

Both teams had 13 passing first downs. Both teams averaged 7.3 yards per pass play. Both teams were 3 for 3 in the red zone. Both teams had 9 penalties. Even time of possession was close (29:08 to 30:52).

Lions had more total yardage but Hill also threw 2 interceptions while the Lions defense didn't have any (but did drop a couple that would've been).

I suppose the most interesting play (or couple plays) was when the Lions turned it over on downs instead of kicking a 49 yard field goal. Coach must not have the same trust in Hanson as previous coaches. They tried twice to get the yard they needed and they even added a new twist to things by playing Suh at fullback. Unfortunately the pile didn't move at all and neither the 3rd or 4th down gained an inch. If I had a chance to discuss this with coach Schwartz, I would say that first of all coach, if it's under 55 yards Hanson kicks (unless you need 7 and not 3) especially at home. Secondly coach, the problem never was the fullback. It's always been the center. If you want to use Suh on offense that's great... can he hike the ball? If so, THAT'S where you need to put him. Now I'm not saying that Raiola can't play center (in this scheme) but he does have one horribly obvious deficit, and that is he has zero power to move a pile. So you were close coach... putting Suh in the game to help move the LOS was a great idea, you just had him playing the wrong position.

The Bears killed the Cowboys today, so last week wasn't just the Lions playing poorly (though there was a lot to fix). A lot of the issues from last week were obviously worked on and some things were improved, but there is more to go even still. Next weeks game will probably not look pretty either, but at least the opponent is going to have to respect the Lions somewhat. Meanwhile the team can continue to fix what shows up, continue to learn and improve, and they should continue to entertain with some interesting plays throughout each game. They have talent, here and there, and the team itself is getting closer to a playoff team with every week of work they put in. That's what goes into building a team.

The results of this game certainly were closer then even I had expected. Possibly closer then most fans expected (especially during the 3rd quarter). Wins are what counts though... most fans don't want moral victories or to hear about improvement... just wins. The Lions will win games this year and games like this one show me they are closer to doing just that. It may not be next week exactly... but the Lions are indeed closer (to winning) then they appear.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Game 1 -2010 at the Chicago Bears

Sick. I'm just sick. The Lions have had calls go against them before but that may have been one of the worst I've ever seen. Heck, the Lions usually have at least one questionable call that goes against them per game, but none of them compares to this one. You can shout B.S. You can have a heart attack yelling at the t.v. You can even vow to never watch a football game again... nothing will make you feel better about this. That can't happen. It's capital S, I, C, K. SICK!

Calvin Johnson catches what was probably the game winning touchdown in the final seconds, has the ball secured one handed as he's knocked to the ground, gets both feet and his tush inbounds on the ground, and as the ball still firmly in his hand hits the ground he obviously flicks his thumb and finger to release the ball and celebrate his TD catch. The refs converge to call it incomplete. Booth review, even using super slo-mo, can't apparently see the hand motion to release the ball, and instead, using the rule that a WR must retain possession all through the process of catching the ball, upholds the ruling on the field. Two throws later, the Lions run out of downs and chances and time and so lose the game 14-19.

What's worse. Matt Stafford injured his knee and both shoulders while taking a sack and stood around the entire 2nd half in a double shoulder brace on the sidelines. He looked like I feel. Sick.

The game statistically was all Bears. The Bears had scored a field goal early in the game. Yet the Lions led the game for almost all of it after scoring two touchdowns. There was a couple of brain farts there at the end of the first half that allowed the Bears to score 10 points in under a minute. (That's also when Backus missed the one block that allowed the defender by at full speed to injure Stafford). The Lions carried the 1 point lead all the way until the final minutes of the 4th quarter, when various Lions players came down once again with a bad case of the brain farts. The Bears score a TD and miss the 2 point conversion. Unfortunately, the brain fart illness was contageous, and the refs caught it. Sick.

The player who let me down the most? Nate Burleson (2 drops).

The player who will be blamed for a lot but played fairly well for most of the game? Jeff Backus.

The player who surprised me with great play? The entire defense for most of the game. (there were many many defensive stops that NO ONE thought the Lions would manage to do)

The coach who surprised me the most? Marinelli (he called some great d)

The forums can complain about the conservative play calling for the Lions or about the OLine, or about the refs, but the only thing they will be right about is the refs. The Lions had the game won. Even with the all the brain fart illnesses being passed from one player to another and back again, the Lions won the game. Until the refs made us all... SICK.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Last night before a new season begins.

The team is undefeated. The Fantasty Football team as well. Things are looking great... for one more day. After that, who knows. Educated guesses, that's all we have at the moment. Keeping that in mind, here is my Lions prediction for the 2010 season.

Sunday, September 12 at Chicago Bears. Some teams are well prepared to start the season, for other teams it's a little more of a work in progress. Nearly a quarter of all the points the Bears scored in 2009 (for the whole season) came against the Lions in the two games they played them. Should the Lions have won those two games, their records would've been nearly identical. With a new OC in Chicago, a complicated system to learn, and a new DC as well, I predict that the Lions for a change (and with a new improved DLine) will be the more prepared team and thus break their road losing streak in week 1. Winner: Lions 30-20. 1-0

Sunday, September 19 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES. The Eagles have a new QB, a new RB, and various other roster changes. They are still going to be a force in the game though. Can the Lions win in week 2 via a shootout? The game will come down to the defense (all things being equal). Winner: Eagles 38-24. 1-1

Sunday, September 26 at Minnesota Vikings. The only way the Lions win this one is if Suh and company put the SWAK on Bret Favre (Suh Williams Avril KVB) he either has to be feeling his age and then some all game or go into involuntary retirement. With that bum ankle, I think I shall take the Lions this year. Winner: Lions 17-14. 2-1

Sunday, October 3 at Green Bay Packers. I fully expect the Packers to win the division. Their D was really catching on to the coaching at the end of last year and their offense is near enough to unstoppable. This one will get ugly. Winner: Packers 34-17. 2-2

Sunday, October 10 ST. LOUIS RAMS. The Rams are going to be fighting for the worst team in the league once again this year. This game will only help them achieve that milestone. Winner: Lions 21-10. 3-2

Sunday, October 17 at New York Giants. This game will look like the Eagles game... but with different names on the jerseys. Winner: Giants 27-17. 3-3

Sunday, October 24 *** BYE WEEK *** Jack Williams starts practicing at Nickel CB.

Sunday, October 31 WASHINGTON REDSKINS. The Redskins have their own problems and are desparate for a road win. Maybe next time. Winner: Lions 20-10. 4-3

Sunday, November 7 NEW YORK JETS. Jets are going to make it to the superbowl, according to their coach. While the Lions might have the better O (or at least one as good as theirs) the Defense takes over this game... just not the Lions defense. Winner: Jets 23-9. 4-4

Sunday, November 14 at Buffalo Bills. This game should be an easy win for the Lions, but it won't be that easy. After a full hour of hard play they do manage to squeek out the win... making the entire game harder then it needed to be. Winner: Lions 21-20. 5-4

Sunday, November 21 at Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys WRs & TEs will destroy the Lions defensive confidence, leaving the coaches scratching their heads, and it couldn't have happened at a worse time. Winner: Cowboys 27-13. 5-5

Thursday, November 25 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS. Thanksgiving against Tom Brady on a short week after losing big time to the Cowboys the week before (the score was closer then the game) makes for a bad day (with good food). Winner: Patriots 27-13. (sound familiar?) 5-6

Sunday, December 5 CHICAGO BEARS. Bears fans are talking about who their next head coach will be. The team is turning on themselves and the coaching staff. But they still have to play the game. With the redzone acting like a demonic 12th player the Lions gain back a little confidence. Winner: Lions 19-12. 6-6

Sunday, December 12 GREEN BAY PACKERS. The confidence from last week is gone in a flash when the Packers jaggernaut comes to town. Does no good to stop the run game with a passing game like that. Winner: Packers 28-16. 6-7

Sunday, December 19 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Back on the seesaw of emotions the Lions bounce back to give Tampa a great game on their own turf. Going into prevent nearly allows them back in the game at the end. Winner: Lions 17-16. 7-7

Sunday, December 26 at Miami Dolphins. Getting another week in Florida doesn't seem to help the Lions like it does other snowbirds. Lions play like they were hung over from Christmas. The overly optimistic Lions fans who were talking about a wildcard spot just yesterday (as their Christmas present) have joined the rest of the fans in talking 2011 draft. Winner: Dolphins 24-13. 7-8

Sunday, January 2 MINNESOTA VIKINGS. Had the Vikings played better earlier in the season they might be sitting their starters this game... but they didn't so they won't. In a last ditch effort to make the playoffs they really attack the Lions who have a few key injuries of their own to contend with. Playing for your pride versus a play off spot just isn't the same. Winner: Vikings 31-16. 7-9

So there you have it, the entirely plausible and thus entirely unlikely to happen, 2010 season. With talk of the 2011 season not happening, no free agency, and a mid 1st round draft pick Lions fans are left to argue amongst themselves about every aspect of every game that was lost so that blame can be assigned to someone for the team not making the playoffs after being in contention for a wildcard right up until Christmas. Never mind the improvement that took place in 2010 nor the fact the Lions actually did better then expected. Those voices get drowned out.

As for the fantasy football team... well, let's just say Christmas was very good this year (it's my blog, what did you expect me to say?).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Post Cut Down Day

It's been a little over 24 hours since the Lions and the other 31 NFL teams had to get their rosters down to 53 men. Those cut go on waivers and can be claimed by teams based on how they did last year... the Lions ranked 2nd (worst). Basically, anyone the Lions want they can put a claim in for and as long as the Rams don't also pick the guy the Lions will get him. Trick is, for every player claimed one would have to be cut (and that player goes on waivers until 24 hours later).

So, what happened to the Lions roster today?

First, they cut Dennis Northcutt and claimed on waivers Former Packers TE/LB Spencer Havner. He was actually claimed by three teams -- Detroit, Seattle, Tennessee. The Lions were awarded the claim.

Havner is a backup TE and backup LB. Kind of a jack-of-all-trades. Northcutt made the team due to his punt return abilities (in my opinion) but last nights' trade for Alphonso Smith made him expendable (Alphonso can also return punts).

As TimT in my forum posted. Think of Havner as the 7th LB / 4th TE / 2nd FB. Or, an HB that can cover the linebacker position in an emergency.

The Lions also cut LB Rocky Boiman.

Lions claimed former Steelers WR/KR Stefan Logan

As was tweeted by RyanJSteck...
Stefan Logan averaged 26.7yds on KR (55 rtns 1,466yds) -- & 9.3yds on PR (30 rtns 280 yds) in all 16 games with the Steelers last season.

Now I may have the order of the cuts backwards, but this is the order things were divulged so I stuck with it.

What does the trade for Smith and todays' waiver claims of Havner and especially Logan mean? The Lions are working on improving special teams and bottom of the roster depth. Not in a small way either. They actually have a legitimate kick returner and guys who will help the team win.

I managed to get something right... the Lions put in two waiver claims (I blogged that last night). I also got it totally wrong... the Lions put in two claims, they were for a TE and WR, not two defensive guys - though one can play LB in a pinch.

I also now have to rearrange my bottom of the roster now... the next to go if defense is probably DB Wendling... if offense, it would appear that WR Derrick Williams may be the most expendable or as an alternate RB Maurice Morris.

The Lions probably aren't done yet either. There are those players cut to make room for waiver pickups today that they might claim someone from... and as far as aged veterans go, anytime after game 1 they may be picked up since at that time their entire years' salary won't be guaranteed.

Other teams are already making their lists of vets they plan to acquire after game 1, you can bet the Lions have a list to consider as well. The game against Chicago will determine if anyone is expendable for one of those on that list.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Final 53 correction

One correction to DE spot.

That makes 9 wrong with 4 that weren't on the team when I locked it down.

Almost missed Mr Jackson ending up in Mr Hunters place.

Final 53

I had locked in my estimated depth chart before the first pre-season game. I got 8 wrong this year (5 wrong being my record a few years back). 3 of the 8 weren't on the team when I locked it in. I feel pretty good about that considering everything.

Now, there are a number of players sitting on the roster who shouldn't get too comfortable... because there are roughly 680 players from the other 31 teams who have hit the waiver wire and the Lions have 2nd dibs. They will quite likely put in a couple three claims.

My biggest surprise cut? Dre Bly followed by Jansen.

My biggest surprise keeper? Wendling followed by Northcutt.

Waiver claim information should come in after 6pm on Sunday. I'll put myself down for 2 players claimed... both on defense. Now we'll see how that turns out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Preseason thoughts

Here is a great read on the thinking a team goes through this time of year (well, these few days between Sunday and this Friday night anyway).

I can't believe the 4th game of the preseason is upon us already. It's crazy I can't find the time to review the game tapes (well DVDs) I made of the first 3 preseason games and blog about them in detail. Circumstances this year just haven't been favorable for that though, I guess I'll just have to admit it... that I won't be able to find the time to do a thorough job of it.

In looking over my estimated depth chart I can see some things that are likely to be wrong... I made the changes because of IR or PUP or waived/injured but there are more I'd make right now if I could. Mike Moore (who didn't heal fast enough) and Tim Toone will both likely be cut and signed to the practice squad if they pass waivers (and they may not, not with the Rams fishing). Ramirez and Clark both will likely make the final cut, or Ramirez and Northcutt will. I'd probably take Hilliard over Jansen at this point as well. There is even a small chance that DeDe Dorsey makes it over either Morris or Smith... though I think that somewhat less likely.

On defense I would obviously replace Hunter with another choice, probably Landon Cohen due to special teams. Linebacker is going to look different then what I have... especially with the newest addition to the team. Even the secondary may be different then what I had since Spievey was moved to Safety after I locked in the depth chart.

After the 2nd preseason game there was a great deal of talk in the forums about the new backup kicker and how Jason needed to retire. But the guy was kicking in Denver where the air does indeed make a difference based on what I saw in game 3... and on top of that, the guy never kicked a field goal over 30 yards... I don't even know if he can. It's defintely premature to be retiring Hanson and keeping the newbie... it's just not going to happen.

I'll see what I can add to this Friday night before the final cut down date. Perhaps I'll even have a couple hours to review my DVDs. Stranger things have happened.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

One adjustment to my estimated depth chart

In my estimated depth chart (see blog post below) I had to make a change at MLB due to Dizon being put on IR. I moved Landon Johnson to backup MLB as he can play all 3 LB spots. Everything else has to remain the same (even though there are changes I'd love to make). While it's true DeVries also went on IR my depth chart didn't have him as making the final roster anyway (I thought his injury might be more severe then let on). The competition is really heating up now at wide receiver, running back, offensive line, and in the Lions secondary. I read that Spievey has been moved to Safety (which is what Hefney did a few weeks ago). I wonder if the Lions are trying to find Safety depth with someone who can also play nickel corner or if they are just now getting a feeling for various players true fit in the system. They also could be making moves to get the best players on the field at the same time, more on that and other roster thoughts soon.

I will also be back with my thoughts on preseason games. I had intended to do so following the games but due to some unforeseen circumstances ending with a death in the family I was unable to do so. Once I can actually watch the preseason games and comment in detail on them I will do so. Sorry for the delay.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time to lock in my estimated depth chart for 2010

Each year as the off season progresses I maintain an estimated depth chart. You can find the link to it on my website (

It is an excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs (at the bottom) showing pre-draft, post-draft, and training camp rosters. I update it all off season according to additions and cuts; my personal visit to training camp; and various news articles.

I make my best guess as to what the final 53 man roster will look like on opening kick off game 1 and see if I can beat my best record at it (48 out of 53 correct a few years ago). The only changes I'll make now that the first pre-season game is upon us is to accomodate guys who get injured and end up on IR or get traded.

There are so many "bubble" guys this year I am not feeling very comfident about my choices. These guys who I have making the final roster may in fact not: Tim Toone, Mike Moore, Dylan Gandy, Jake Nordin, Maurice Morris, Willie Young, and Jonathan Heffney. Jack Williams might even start the season on PUP and not be looked at again until mid-season. Those guys that I have as getting cut but who could win a job from the above "bubble" guys are: Dennis Northcutt, Brian Clark, Manuel Ramirez, Aaron Brown, Aaron Berry, Eric King and KO Simpson.

That's 7 chances to be incorrect right there... and that's just with my own evaluation (versus the coaching staffs evaluations and the Lions scouting department evaluations). The Lions could also keep more of one position and less of another then what I have estimated.

Last year the Lions made many roster moves AFTER the final cut down day, I believe there were 5 guys on the roster opening day that never saw a preseason game (as a Lion). There could be more of that this year, though not as many. I do expect one difference this year after the final cut down day... and that is that there will be some Lions getting cut then picked up and playing for other teams.

Obviously, it will be critical that the coaching staff and the scouting department make the correct calls.

So there you have it, my estimated depth chart for 2010. If you visit the link above and click on the 2010 depth chart you could also make your own chart... as a linked excel spreadsheet you can edit it to your own criteria and save a copy of it on your hard drive (it won't affect mine online).

While I won't be making changes based on preseason games to the chart, I may blog some updates and ideas here. Only one thing left to say... GO LIONS!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lions Practice Sunday Aug 8th am

My last training camp for this year it would seem, as I am now back in West Michigan and no longer able to attend. I had arrived late due to the packing time required to vacate my hotel suite this morning, the Lions were just finishing up a special teams drill.

The team then entered what appeared to be 11 on 11 with a slew of players not participating. Of the ones that did, I saw the following:

Stafford completed a nice pass to Schefler mid field for a good chunk of yards.
The next completion was to CJ to his far right for a handful of yards.
Stafford then faked a pass and handed it off on a delay to the left, the dline was in his face by then. Quite a lot of pressure brought in that 'non-contact' drill.
Another run play to the left, #44 (Best) did a couple of quick directional changes for a few extra yards on the play.
The next pass was dropped by #47 as he was being "hit" (lightly) and brought to the ground (Nordin is #47)
The final pass by Stafford was dropped by #85 as he fell to the ground with some defensive assistance (Schefler)
New QB was #14 Hill. Run play by #27 to the right (DeDe). Then a run by #27 left. Then a dump off pass to #27. I got bored so started watching who was playing the OLine with Hill (the so called 2's). #68 was playing RT (Jansen). #65, #74 and #78 were also out there (Gandy, Schuening, and Hilliard). Missed the 5th one. Hill missed two pass plays and the whistle blew.
New QB was Stanton. First two passes went incomplete so I tried to catch all the numbers on the field on offense. I got 64 78 72 70 74 16 83 21 and 46. (Gerberry, Hilliard, Canfield, Fox, Schuening, Parks, Toone, Brown, and Dickson). With so many injuries and guys not playing some where playing up from their normal position and others were playing at both their position and the one behind them (extra reps) so nothing too much should be read into who was on the field. Still, I wish I had thought to jot down this kind of info each day on both O and D... perhaps next year.

There were about 4 more incompletes before the horn blew and practice was over (early if you ask me, by about 20 minutes almost).

After practice the press cornered the coach in the corner in the no fly zone (for us peons) and then they went inside after the press dispearsed without mingling with us outside the fenced off area... so I couldn't make Tom late for his mid-afternoon work. Nice move that.

With nothing much going on I decided to finish my shopping and head for home. I will be working on tweaking my estimated depth chart (final 53 roster) during the week and getting ready for the first preseason practice game next weekend.

Sure hope some of the injured get healthy sooner rather then later. The back 7 was kind of up in the air to begin with, now it's even more so.

Saturday Open Practice Aug 7th 4pm

I managed to get a seat in row 3 on the 25 yard line where in year's past was the "center" of the action... so of course this year it was not so much. Oh well, the good news is after the practice I was able to corner Tom Kowalski who was mumbling something about "there goes avoiding you all weekend". I just laughed and shook his hand. I think he was stalking me since he knew I was going to a Tigers game after I left and he knew I went to one last night as well. Scary, really.

I did make both Tigers games... and that's about all I want to talk about them. Horrible games, especially todays.

So anyway, after the autograph session the players started wondering onto the field. First one out was Derrick Williams. He began catching "kicks" from the machine and was quickly joined by Tim Toone. More of the team arrived a bit after that then Williams and Toone were joined by Aaron Brown, Nate Burleson, DeDe Dorsey, Contravious Parks, and Jahvid Best. Some worked on kick returns and some on punt returns and some on both. Burleson and Williams looked the smoothest at it to me, but that might due to their experience at it. Without the live bullets (a defense) it is really hard to tell how the are doing... except they did all (even the worst ones) look better then last year at this time.

After the horn they went into group drills. The entire offense was on the first half of the field (away from me) so I got to watch the DBs up close and the LBs over from them (again). So Phillips still looks out of sorts, I'm beginning to think he was playing with the ones to get film on him (from a report from the other day). To me he looks like the first guy to be cut from the DB class. Someone was on the field wearing number 36 with no name... didn't know who that was (until I got back to my room and saw the tweet about the Lions re-signing Paul Pratt). Anyway, the DB drills were about concentration and foot/hip work. During the drills Wade was the only one to drop the pass sent his way on one part while #36 also dropped one later on.. and White stumbled on his feet once. If this was normal for any of them they wouldn't make the team. As it is though it was one drill on one day and so I have no idea if it was something unusual for them (for each of them) or something to worry about. I didn't see this problem on Friday's practice from anyone.

My notes say #55 was not smooth and dropped a pass (Landon Johnson). I don't recall the practice play which is why I write it down and look up names later (usually).

The horn blew and some new drills involving both the offense and defense started. First play Stafford throws a beautiful deep ball to Burleson and just as he was about to catch it Houston tips it away (just like the drill from Friday was about). It was a great defensive play... one that Houston always seems to be making if I'm able to watch him. In comparing some matchups; Williams beat White with a pass by Hill; Toone beats Hefney also on a pass by Hill; Phillips got called for interference or should've if he didn't; #87 (Brian Clark) faked out Bly on a great move as did Toone later on; #41 (Dante Wesley) had great coverage on #81 but CJ beat him anyway; Northcutt had a couple of great catches in stride; then King got faked out by Burleson but Burleson didn't complete the catch. (If I left out details I didn't catch them to write them).

The horn blew and my notes say it was 7 on 7 time. There were a whole bunch of short passes that got lots of yards after... really exploiting the LB area (need Levy to get healthy bad!... also note; no LB depth). Stafford is going about his reads quickly, efficiently, and still making a decent looking throw on his 2nd or 3rd reads (of course, no sacking or hitting is happening). I'm not going to post the play by play as I missed either who was defending or who was throwing or who was receiving on most of the plays (hard to catch all 3 when they keep rotating players in on every play).

After the next horn blew it was 9 on 9. KVB 'accidently' rolled over DeDe like a rolling pin and dough. #62 got yelled at, big time (Chima Ihelkwoaba). #24 knocked the ball (fumble) from #44 (Wade and Best). Hill was pulled off sides by Hill (as in Shaun Hill used his voice to draw Sammie Hill off sides). Suh was off sides, twice. My notes say something about Bly making a good play on a RB but I can't read all of it. #85 had a couple of good plays (Schefler, didn't realize then it was him... I don't have ALL the numbers memorized yet). Young got a LOT of personal coaching... during before and after a few plays in a row. Not sure what he did to tick off the coach but he sure did.

Another horn. My notes say that #36 had a nice tackle on a run play but since it was special teams play I don't know what I meant... perhaps it was on a running back on a special teams play? Whatever, #36 (found out it's Pratt did a good play). #97 Hunter got yelled at big time on a special teams play. #50 as well (Isaiah Ekejiuba), in fact, the coach stopped the play and sent him to the sideline and skipped that play entirely.

Another horn and it was announced they were going to play a special situations set.

I saw Kevin Smith play in this, I'm sure it was him. #79 got yelled at (Willie Young) and then talked to by the coach on the sidelines later. I watched for a little while not taking notes. It was all onesided stuff anyway. Did note that Stafford is making fewer and fewer off target throws though.

Another horn and now it's a full out scrimmage. 11 on 11.

First play is a deep perfect ball to CJ... and it's knocked down by Houston, perfectly. Next is complete to #85 (Schefler). Best makes a 1st down. DeDe runs for about 5 yards. A deep ball appeared to be called back. A nice throw to #44 (Best) who ran quite a ways after the catch then slipped and fell making a cut move. Stafford was replaced with Hill who ran a couple plays before #75 self destructed... off sides unabated and another play that was called back for something. Stanton thew about 7 yards to #35 (Matt Clapp). Handed off to #27 (DeDe) for a 1st down. Then a very low snap (shotgun) hit Stanton in the ankle by I think it was Gandy, couldn't tell for sure.

That was it, but I stuck around as usual.

The very first player to exit the field without stopping? Suh

The first player wondering around with ice on the knee already? Kevin Smith

Who carried the hobbled Smith's gear inside? Jahvid Best.

Who found Killer Kowalski on his way to writing his reports? NetRat

And that was all for the day. One final note, I would like to thank the Greektown Casino for paying for 95% of my long weekend vacation. You run a fine establishment!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lions Practice 08-06-10 pm

I made it to the afternoon practice on Friday just as the players were making it onto the field. Sat down on the bleachers and realized that both camera lifts were positioned at the far end of the practice area... as far from the public seating area as it's possible to get. Rather then fighting the crowd for the few standing only spots at the left end of the field I chose to stay put and watch what I could, at least the group work was done with the DBs right in front of me and the LBs off to the right a little bit.

Before they did that though the Lions worked on punt formation drills for a little bit. May have been their first time doing this kind of thing or perhaps they were installing some plays I'm not entirely sure. It wasn't full blown punting and returns, just drills pertaining to punting.

After the horn blew the DBs worked in front of my seating area with the LBs off to the right. Everyone else was from 80 to 120 yards away and may as well have been invisible for all the details I could see.

Can you see the others way in the back? No? Me either.

How about behind the LBs? No? Yeah, okay.

Anyway, every year I observe these training camps to try and get a feel for who might make the team and who won't. I was watching the DBs and thought that the guy wearing a Phillips jersey looked lost and confused. I had him on my notes as a guy who wouldn't make the team... then I realized he just got to camp and it's no wonder he didn't know the drills. I will have to make sure I figure out what I'm actually seeing if I want to get this anywhere close to right.

For example... Muhlback was working out with the LB group. Why? Last I knew he was a TE. Then I saw him playing center with the 3s earlier today. Well, his job is safe any way you look at it if you ask me.

Oh, by the way, if you're waiting for me to start giving play by play on the practice, that isn't going to happen. The entire team didn't do a lot of that, and when they did it was very very far away. Instead, I'm going to just explain more of what goes on at camp and perhaps some impressions that the camp this afternoon gave me.

The defensive backs did a practice whereby one would pretend to be the receiver while the other the defender... the apparent goal was to tip the ball away from the receiver while the ball was at it's highest point (but still within catching range). Picture a receiver leaving the ground to make a catch and the DB also leaping to just connect with the ball enough to knock it away.

The DBs then worked on coverage drills... keeping with the routes, etc. After that, they all worked on slapping the ball out of the QBs hands... but not using a real QB... the QB was a tackling dummy with "hands" and the ball was "held" in the one hand in a pose similar to when a ball is about to be released by a QB.

Meanwhile, the LBs were practicing using their hands to block and after that, to catch the ball (intercept) while dropping into coverages.

Jason Hanson walked by, no limp, only 3 or 4 days since surgery. He was on the field the entire practice, occasionally stretching or just helping out where he could.

After the next horn the team split up into a couple groups. Stafford was working with the WRs and DBs on the left, Stanton with the RBs and LBs on the right, both were on the 2nd field (the furtherest one from me). Staffords group was working on receiving routes and defending them. Stanton's group on throwing to running backs and fullbacks against linebacker coverage.

I saw #13 Burleson make a great catch and then have to leap the rope (going into the standing crowd) and returning to the field. #23 Houston knocked down a nice pass (he just keeps catching my eye, and so does Burleson for that matter who then made another great catch). #80 BJ also went over the rope head first making a successful catch (at least I think it was him). #18 Eric Fowler dropped a one handed try. #12 Derrick Williams was well covered and still made a great completion.

Another horn sound.

I saw #44 make another great catch then run both elusively and FAST. He makes the other guys who are very fast look not quite as fast (hard to explain that but it's true). There were completions made to #44, #28, #13, #86, #28 again, and I think Stafford was the QB for all of them. Hill comes in and also makes completions. Stafford I believe was back for another completion then a rare incomplete by sailing one over CJ's head. Stanton made 3 shorter passes but all 3 were slightly low (looked like he was throwing down a hill).

Then the horn blew.

I was thinking that #82 has a chance to make the team, then I realized #82 is Gronkowski who is a TE (not a WR) and that position is already over full. If it weren't though, he'd have had a chance I do believe.

Right about here it started to rain a little so I put the paper away and just watched for a little while. Eventually the team went to work on kick returns with the new kicker doing the kicking and everyone that is trying out for special teams took turns on either the kicking team or the receiving team drills.

What did I get out of just watching for a little while instead of furiously taking notes? Basically that to a man the entire team appears more fit then I have ever seen it (and I've been going to training camp since the first Saginaw camp when Barry Sanders still played). The entire team is fast. Much faster even then last year (and last year I thought they were fast but that was just in comparison to the year before that). The drills are more productive, they apply directly to a play or series of plays that you see every week in season (yeah, they did that last year, but not as quickly, efficiently or as productively as this year). It is basically totally different then I am used to seeing. Will that translate into anything good? I think it will bring about results, eventually. Then again, what do I have to go on but the past Lions practices.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow's open practice at Ford Field. It's a bit easier to see what's happening with only one football field in front of you, and the jumbotron running replays and so on. I may still put the pen down for a bit and just watch though... this team is actually a joy to watch.

Of course it's hard to know exactly what the team will do regardless... after all... there is no sacking or touching the QB, there is no worries by the WRs of being tackled, there is not much chance of getting slugged in the chin in the trenches, and basically the O has it easy while the D can only show it's promise.

The first preseason game will be most important for the defensive guys. It'll be the first time they can really lay into the offense and show they "get it". Some of the potential may prove to be only that, while others might yet shine. Hopefully Levy and Delmas will be ready by then as well.

I have tickets to another Tigers game tomorrow (prefer not to talk about this last one), so the blog will be late again tomorrow night.

Lions Practice 08-06-10 am

Finally made it to my first Lions practice at Allen Park today. I got there about half way through the morning activities, roughly 10am or so.

As you can see from this picture below (which is a max zoom with my digital camera) it is very hard to see what all is going on. The practice area is a couple of football fields worth of real estate and the players can end up anywhere on it at any given time. They usually move around a lot to prevent damage to the grass.

When I finally got seated they had started Kick Return practice with the jugs machine doing the simulated kicking. First play I saw was #12 Derrick Williams field the ball and do some pretty good zig-zagging to mid field before they blew the whistle (without tackling you can never be sure if they truly would've made it that far or not). #17 Mike Moore was on the sideline in front of me slightly to the left and he was practicing catching the football one handed. He did about 10 of those. Never missed. Then it went like this:

#21 Aaron Brown fielded a kick.
#44 Jahvid Best fielded a kick.
#12 Derrick Williams fielded a kick.
#21 Aaron Brown fielded a kick.
#44 Jahvid Best fielded a kick.
#12 Derrick Williams fielded a kick.

Then the horn blew. (They use an air-horn to signal the end of a particular practice segment.) In my opinion, Derrick Williams ran the best after the catch but also was the only one to double clutch one of the catches. All 3 players were able to field the kicks and take off running though with no drops or major errors.

Next was some passing/defending drills. 7 on 7 or something similar to it anyway, slightly different then I've seen before, all pass plays. Now, during this I had to also deal with the crowd, some walking by in front of me, some talking on the phone behind me, and some yelling... like these dudes (the only 2 in full face paint).

The first play I caught in this session was a wobbly looking pass from Stanton to CJ that he easily caught. Then Stafford threw an incomplete pass but it may have been the wrong route by the WR (you just never tell about these things). Right after that Stafford completed a short pass to CJ in perfect mid-stride. Right about then #24 Jonathan Wade came off the field holding the groin area. I don't know if he was kicked, pulled a muscle or what. He never made it back on the field from there.

All the plays were from the same LOS which was 3/4 of the field away. This is what I could catch out of it:

Stafford to CJ... stop then go route for a nice run after the catch. Great throw.
Appeared to be Stafford dropping the snap (shotgun).
Someone (couldn't see who the QB was, think it was Stafford) threw a nice pass to #13 Burleson on a stop then go route on the other side of the field. I believe it was Houston who smacked the ball hard trying to strip it, Burleson held on.
Stafford to #85 Schefler after the first 2 reads weren't there. Great throw and catch.
#14 Shaun Hill to #21 Aaron Brown threw a short wobbly pass for the catch.
#14 Hill threw an incomplete (but was it on the QB or the WR????)
Noted Jason Hanson across the field (on field #2) doing stretching exercises already, his knee is wrapped but he's out there rehabbing already.
#14 Hill to (unknown) pass broke up, defended very well by I believe Houston (couldn't see number too well, so not sure)
#14 Hill to #84 Pettigrew on 2nd or 3rd read, late throw deep, Pettigrew missed the nice pass somehow (over his head a little but should've been caught). Looked big, looked fast to me... not sure he totally trusts his knee yet, maybe why he didn't "go" for the ball like he might otherwise have tried.
#14 Hill to #85 Scheffler on a nice throw and catch.
#14 Hill to #21 Aaron Brown on a short read and a nice shifty move after the catch.
Noted Houston again playing good corner... I don't usually catch how the D is doing unless they manage to intercept or knock down a ball when it's a passing drill, but I kept noticing Houston playing tight.

Horn sounded.

When #90 Ndamukong Suh and #99 Corey Williams stand next to each other you can't see the THREE people on the other side of them. This was an even stranger drill. No helmets now. Not full speed. Mostly run plays or fakes. I have no idea what they were working from 3/4 of a field away... There were a couple of runs to the right, then a fake run with a nice throw and catch behind the LBs to Pettigrew. After that there were a number of plays that didn't appear to do anything but they were working on something.

Horn sounded relatively quickly... shortened session apparently.

Still no helmets, some kind of passing drill, no defenders. On the field were #5 Drew Stanton, #16 Contrevious Parks, #18 Eric Fowler, #27 DeDe Dorsey, #46 Richard Dickson, #48 Don Muhlback at center, and #83 Tim Toone. After a couple of completions and actual movement down the field (unlike previous drills) Stanton spiked the ball... so it was a 2 minute drill then... Toone ended up catching 3 of the throws, none were incomplete or dropped, and it ended in the end zone (no D, not that hard, but they must've wanted some film on these particular guys).

Horn sounded (already).

Coach talked to them in the middle of the field for longer then normal at the end of practice and from there it was autograph time. Many players took time to do that, some stayed on the field and stretched or worked out with a position coach. The rest went inside. In front of me the kids (and some adults) were getting autographs from Canfield, Raiola, Peterman and Gronkowski. Further over were some of the WRs. Further yet was Delmas (he was the last to stop autographing .. he even allowed some fans to get their pic taken with him. The official autograph lines were long but everyone got one if they wanted it. Coach Schwartz even came over and signed a ton of things.

I looked for Killer but never found him. In fact, I didn't see anyone from the press that I knew so I split.

More tonight after the next practice but not until I get back from the Tigers game that I'm headed to following practice (if I have time tonight, otherwise it'll be around noon tomorrow).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ndamukong Suh signs a 5 year contract Wednesday Aug 4

The Lions and their first round draft pick Ndamukong Suh agreed to terms Tuesday night and Suh signed the contract Wednesday upon arriving at the Allen Park facility.

It was a 5 year deal reportedly worth $60 million (with options to max at $68 million) and with $40 million guaranteed.

So, how does that compare to the #1 and #3 picks of the 2010 draft, and how does that compare to the #1 pick of 2009 (Matthew Stafford drafted by the Detroit Lions with the first overall pick)?

To compare is fraught with difficulties, the first issue being that Stafford and Bradford both signed for 6 years but Suh and McCoy both signed for 5 years. So let's do a little math and compare the contracts on a average per year basis instead of overall.

Sam Bradford (QB) got $78 million for 6 years with a possible max of $86 million and $50 million guaranteed. Ndamukong Suh (DT) got $60 million for 5 years with a possible max of $68 million and $40 millions guaranteed. Gerald McCoy (DT) got $63.5 million and $35 million guaranteed. Last year Matthew Stafford (QB) got $72 million with a possible max of $78 million and $41.7 million guaranteed.

Now to break it down on a yearly average basis:

Bradford $13 mill per year (max of $14.333 mill per year) with $8.333 mill per year guaranteed.

Suh $12 mill per year (max of $13.6 mill per year) with $8 mill per year guaranteed.

McCoy $12.7 mill per year (no idea if max or not) with $7 mill per year guaranteed.

Stafford $12 mill per year (max of $13 mill per year) with $6.95 mill per year guaranteed.

As you can see, once you reduce the totals to a per year average, Suh has a contract that guarantees him more money then Stafford and more overall if both max out. At first glance the totals make it look like Stafford is making more then Suh... but that is simply not true. Additionally, Suh's contract is much closer to Bradford's in guaranteed money then McCoys.

Further more, for it be a negotiation the Lions must have originally gone for less then this and Suh's agents for more... meaning they started out asking for the same or even more then Bradford got. It is unknown exactly which day the figures were finally agreed to and then the lesser wording was hammered out, so we can't know exactly why the holdout lasted 4 days (into training camp), but we can see that Suh's agents got more then their fair share.

So what does Suh's agent say (via Twitter)about it? How about this... Ndamukong Suh's agent Roosevelt Barnes on Suh's 5 year contract: "One of the things that was important to Ndamukong was to be able to get here, play well, and get back to the bargaining table as soon as possible. "

The man will be as equally difficult to deal with in 2015 (or 2014 or even 2013 depending on circumstances such as when they deem an extension is needed or demands for trades, etc). For a guy who doesn't like drama, he sure seems to have set the stage for a lot of it (both now and in the not too distant future).

The $40 million dollar man hasn't even defended one single snap in the NFL and already he's making his mark. One could almost expect him to play in a special uniform, one with a great big $ on his chest. Hopefully there was no kryptonite accidently used in building Ford Field.

By the way, I type this from my suite (got a GREAT deal on it, but that's another story) near Detroit and Allen Park having arrived here a couple hours ago from West Michigan after a days' work (long day). Got some business to take care of near here, some Lions practices to watch and take notes on (and report here on) and tickets to a couple of Tigers games. Keep an eye out here for my Lions Training Camp updates tomorrow through at least Sunday night.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Suh ... and the current contract situation

I've seen a lot of reports on the Suh contract and all of them have been refuted. I've seen or heard about some pretty nasty displays of anger as well. I've even seen some funny new nicknames (NdramaKong Suh being my favorite). What I don't know if I've seen is any truth... so let's try deduction.

The max contract is limited by the rookie pool and the 30% rule. Can't exceed those hard numbers.

The guaranteed money while important, isn't important if you think the player will hit all his incentives anyway... I think the Lions and Suh know he will make more then the guaranteed (barring permanent injury) so it doesn't matter what the guaranteed is, not really.

The Lions have great experience at top contracts... they aren't stingy and they aren't apt to pull stuff.

Suh's agents are the opposite but even that doesn't account for the delay in getting a deal done exactly (see above).

So what's different this year? The potential for a lockout next year. That's what's different. The majority of the top picks get their guaranteed money in the 2nd year (with some in year 1 and most of the rest in year 3). A lockout year in the 2nd year of the contract needs to be thoroughly covered in the contract.

I could easily be wrong here... but it seems to me if all other things are known, and no side is being utterly unrealistic about the numbers... then the new wrinkle might just be the culprit.

That said, there is still some things that just don't add up. One being that ALL the other already signed draft picks have the same new wrinkle to deal with. Two being that the 3 remaining first round picks consist of two players who think they were the best Tackle or the best Running Back in the draft and just because they didn't get picked higher then someone else they should be paid like they were (ala Crabtree last year). Three being that Crabtree's agent is Suh's agent. Four being that Suh has said that he believes HE is the best player in the draft (period) and that makes me think his agent is trying for more then Bradford despite the fact he refuted that claim. So, do I believe the agent here when he refutes the claim or was the question not phrased correctly and a lawyer responded?

Nah... I shall remain gullible and believe it's merely the small stuff that has the talks stalled, since demands of being paid more then your slotted draft spot is always going to drag out negotiations for a very long long long time.

NdramaKong Suh... lol, still funny! (Thank you darkosstache of Mlive Lions Forum for the laugh).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lions Training Camp and Roster Outlook Part 1

I just updated my estimated depth chart based on mostly hunches and guesses from what I've read for the past several months. I expect to do another update to it in a little over a week and then lock it down (except for injuries, trades, etc) until final cut-down day.

The link to my depth chart is located at my site

I will be leaving West Michigan Wednesday night and heading towards the Allen Park area for 4 days. I will be attending at least 2 of the practices at the Allen Park facility and also the open practice at Ford Field on Saturday. I also have tickets to Tigers games on Friday and Saturday night to add to the fun. Since there are 2 a day practices on Friday and Sunday I may be able to attend even more practices then I thought, depending on my itinerary.

Look for updates here, on twitter (, in my forum (again the link is on my website), at MLive and finally on my estimated depth chart starting Thursday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement)

I have a few ideas for the new CBA and season length, rookie contracts and assorted other NFL issues that I want to share.

First, we already know the owners voted to void the old CBA and that is the reason why 2010 is an uncapped year, and why 4 and 5 year veterans are restricted free agents this year instead of being unrestricted free agents. We have also heard that failing to agree on a new one by next year will likely result in a lockout of the players (and thus no football next year). To continue that out, in 2012 there wouldn’t be a draft and basically all the goodwill and revenue the league has enjoyed will be very difficult to get back, if it ever can be. Both sides have reasons to actually agree to a new CBA, but both sides are still currently far far apart. A little bit about these issues was printed about 4 months ago or so, if you wish to read up on it visit

Second, the old CBA should you wish to acquire a copy of it can be downloaded at

Third, the old CBA has a few quirks, a few things one side or the other didn’t like, a few things the press and the fans didn’t like, and it’s entirely likely the new will as well. It isn’t possible to satisfy everyone, and negotiations will eventually make it something that neither side loves but both can at least live with. Since the old CBA was a part of the greatest expansion of the NFL in both money and prestige, I suggest the old CBA should be tweaked just a little rather then starting over from scratch. In fact, they could pass the whole thing with these changes and both sides could probably live with it and still keep the option to complain.

1. The players currently share 60% of the income. The owners are complaining that this level is not maintainable due to increased costs and economic downturns. I suggest the league find ways to increase revenues and players see more spent on vets and less on rookies (more on this later) but I can appreciate that 60% of revenues to the players is too high a percentage for at least some teams. My overly simplistic and amateur analysis suggests the current players should share in 55% of the revenues. However, I believe the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) needs to do more for players no longer in the league due to injury or who become disabled later in life from football related injuries. 2% of gross NFL revenues should be used to take care of these players (that equates to around $170 million a year). The final numbers then, owners go from 40% to 45% of gross revenues, active players go from 60% to 53%, and an injured players fund gets 2%.

2. Teams didn’t get as much as they wanted, and the active players gave up even more, so it’s time to increase the overall revenues to benefit both sides. They currently play 4 preseason and 16 regular games with 1 bye week for 21 weeks of televised games. Fans and players hate the 4 weeks of preseason, owners and players want more revenue, so the obvious (and already mentioned solution) is to make it 2 preseason games and 18 regular season games, but since it’s a longer season let’s go with 2 bye weeks. Also, to increase revenues, make sure each team has a Thursday night game (except for Dallas and Detroit and their opponents who have Thanksgiving afternoons already). Also, if it’s able to be scheduled, the Sunday BEFORE the Thursday game should be the new bye week, teams would have 11 days to get ready for their Thursday game (instead of 4) and then 10 days until their next game. Revenues would increase by virtue of an extra week of football and 13 extra Thursday night games.

3. Rookies hurt teams by getting paid big money then busting. Top rookies also hurt vets by taking up so much of the salary cap. There are rarely any trades in the top 10 of the draft due to the inflated contracts and there are various positions you just can’t draft in the top of the draft because that position isn’t worth the current contracts at those draft spots. So, a new rookie payscale. In addition, teams get hurt by holdouts. Time to simplify all of it. ALL rookies get a 3 year contract and become RFA’s (restricted free agents) in year 4. ALL rookies get minimum rookie salaries for each of those 3 years. Draft pick #255 gets a $20,000 signing bonus, pick #254 gets a $40,000 signing bonus, pick #253 gets a $60,000 signing bonus. The #1 draft pick’s bonus is then $5,100,000 (if I did my math right). It’s a signing bonus, so it’s guaranteed. It’s for a 3 year contract to an unproven NFL prospect. It will free up millions of dollars in cap for teams to use on vets. Hold up, there’s one more aspect to it, incentives. Each and every drafted player will have incentives built-into the contract based on position. All 255 of them. This part I don’t have hammered out yet, but for example, a Defensive Tackle might get $5,000 per double team, $10,000 per sack, and $10,000 for every game active. A Running Back might get $5,000 per blitz pickup, $100 per yard gained, and $10,000 for every game active. And so on for each position. Player #1 in the draft and player #255 in the draft can make the same incentives (if they play the same position). The actual amounts would have to be based on average stats for that position but it should allow a player to get paid like as if he was a top 10 pick in the current system (taking into consideration the 3 year contract) should he do very well for his team. Also, all contracts are pre-written, where you are drafted at and what position you play determines your exact contract, no negotiations, no holdouts. The incentive pay would have to be treated as NLTBE bonuses for cap calculation purposes.

4. Allow teams to have a practice squad of however many players they want. Since any team can sign a player from another’s practice squad this increases the pool of talent to pick from, it does reduce the available cap for that team and it increases team expenses (locker room, equipment, etc) so it’s self limiting in some ways but it keeps more players learning the NFL then with a hard limit.

Let’s get some feedback on these ideas then I’ll go on from there, if need be. Please comment on my ideas and feel free to introduce new issues for a future discussion.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2010 Post Draft Part I

Okay, this eating crow business is for the birds (yuk yuk yuk). Just in case anyone else needs the recipes here you go

So how did I do on my predictions? Obviously only got some of it right. The Rams did indeed draft Bradford. The Lions did indeed draft Suh. I was 2 for 2 at this point. Berry not getting picked until after pick #6 didn’t pan out, he went at 5. The predicted first four Lions picks will consist of a DT, RB, CB, and LB was 3 for 4. The LB Misi didn’t drop, they took CB Spievey in round 3 and then to mess up my prediction they took Jason Fox a left tackle in round 4. Did they do that on purpose (to spite me)? Nope. Am I upset with the pick? Nope. I just got my prediction wrong, of course, at the time, I didn’t know they were going to bring back Caleb Campbell the Safety from Army that Millen drafted a couple of years ago in round 7 to try out at Linebacker either. Then my prediction the Lions would draft someone that no one had heard of was more or less solid. My last prediction that they would be very active in the undrafted free agency market was also spot on, not that this was that difficult to predict, but there you go. Four for Six.

I’ve been hearing a lot of calls for the Lions to sign PacMan Jones CB. There is something to remember about this “plan” though. The Lions do have a draft board on one wall, but on the opposite wall they have all the current players from all the teams ranked. An adjacent wall has all the current lion’s roster ranked, and opposite of that is all the free agents not on any team also ranked. If the Lions don’t sign someone it’s because they (the player and his agent) are demanding too much (more then the Lions deem they are worth), are injured, are not ranked highest of the available talent out there, or not ranked higher then the players already on the roster.

Just guessing here, but the Lions haven’t either exhausted all their better options yet or they don’t have PacMan ranked as high as some think they should.

I also hear that Jones wants only an incentive laden minimum contract. That sounds good, until you consider just how he will react every time he is benched for either poor play or just to get others their time on the field. After all, can’t make those incentives if you are on the bench. I actually think, that in this case, a non-incentive contract would be better, with penalties for misbehaving… I’m just not sure the wording would get approved by the league.

The Lions have 78 to 80 players on the roster plus the unsigned draft picks. They will bring in a player here or there and release some already signed if they can find someone ranked high enough. But for the most part, the players there right now are likely to be the ones fighting it out for the final 53 roster spots. Not to say that as summer camp begins that they won’t find guys to cut sooner rather then later in order to pick up players that other teams cut, it’s just that there won’t be more then a handful of these. As the draft picks sign they will have to make room by cutting some of the current guys anyway.

Right now the ranking of players on the roster, on other teams, and not on any team continues. This adjusting will continue for months. If I note any changes of any significance I will be back with that information. Meanwhile, I am going to work some more on my depth chart (trying to guess/duplicate what the Lions are doing) and will report back with my thinking over the next few months on each position group.

Perhaps I can lose the crow recipe before the season begins.