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.