Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 - Week #16 Detroit Lions vs San Francisco 49ers @ Home


The 6-9 Detroit Lions schooled the 4-11 San Francisco 49ers 32 to 17 this afternoon making it an impressive 5 wins out the past 7 games since the Lions front office was "reorganized".

Matthew Stafford was 29 of 37 (78.378%) for 301 yards 2 Touchdowns and 0 Interceptions. The TDs were 1 from Joique Bell rushing one from CJ receiving and the first TD ever for T.J. Jones also receiving. The Lions defense allowed 121 yards rushing and 225 yards passing with 2 TDs. Everyone on the Lions had a pretty good game but I have to give Stafford the award for MVP this game and MLB Tulloch the goat award, if I were giving out awards that is. In fact, the only player on defense failing his job interview for next year (via playing out the losing season) is Stephen Tulloch. On offense it's a tie between various member of the offensive line. More on player evaluation in a later blog entry though.

As for coaching, it took DC Austin half the season but he finally has the defense playing fairly decent, the special teams coach has them doing little wrong, and Jim Bob Cooter is doing a phenomenal job at OC after taking over from Lombardi making few rookie OC mistakes and getting the entire O to play quality football, or at least well enough within their limitations. With most of these same players and adding a quality MLB and some OL talent this team would be down right productive. Throw in a left DE, another DB, and some depth here and there and they could easily make some noise in the playoffs... but will the majority of the team stay intact? Will the coaching staff be replaced in mass or kept mostly intact? Who will be the new GM and what will he do with the coaching staff? Will the new GM be able to add the talent needed to put the team over the top or will we begin another period of perpetual rebuild? So many questions and at this point in time, no answers.

The next and final game of the 2015 season will be next Sunday outside against the Chicago Bears. If these coaches can get this team to play solid ball outside away in a losing season that will likely go a long way as far as their own personal resumes. It certainly has been a tale of two halves this year, the half with Lombardi and Mayhew and company, and the half without them in the picture. The 2nd half picture is of pro quality, the other, poor paint-by-number water colors in comparison.

Color me impressed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 - Week #15 Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints (Monday Night Football)

To do.

The 5-9 Detroit Lions narrowly escaped with a win over the 5-9 New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football this week with a score of 35-27. Matthew Stafford was an astounding 22 of 25 (88%) for 254 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions. Drew Brees was 34 of 52 (65.3846%) for 341 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions. While both men did a lot for their teams it takes the whole team to win football games and this time the Lions team beat the Saints team, much to the chagrin of draft aficionados. You see, by winning the game the Lions move down in the upcoming 2016 draft selecting later then they otherwise would have. Myself, I want the Lions to win games. You can find good players to pick up anywhere in the draft (and an equal or better number of bad ones) but instilling the will to win is much harder to do.

RB Ameer Abdullah went for 77 yards rushing and 12 yards receiving plus a touchdown while RB Joique Bell was 71 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving plus a touchdown. The Lions were able to establish a run game (finally) and it helped in all facets of the offense. The top receiver (in yards) this game was TE Eric Ebron with 79 yards. Perhaps he too is progressing in his education of what it takes to be successful in the NFL, but there is still much to do.

The Lions are still in need a of GM yet they aren't allowed to talk to members of other front offices until said team is out of their season, that's weeks away yet for many teams and many more for those in the playoffs. Until the GM is decided upon the head coach (Caldwell) won't know if he will remain as HC. Until then, the OC and DC don't know their status and so on for the rest of the coaching staff. Once we know who the coaches are then we can find out what schemes might be implemented, and from there which players on the Lions roster fit those schemes, and which do not. In addition to that, there are preparations for free agency and the before mentioned draft. Yet none of it goes anywhere until the GM is sitting at his desk (unless he already is, the Lions do have a temporary GM in place).

I would love to do more player evaluation but really, until I know which direction everyone should be pointed towards there isn't much to do in that area. I suppose I'll just bide my time watching the Lions win (or lose) their remaining games. Next up, the final home game of 2015 against the San Francisco 49ers on the 27th. Have a Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015 - Week #14 Detroit Lions @ St Louis Rams

The end.

The 4-9 Detroit Lions lost to the 5-8 St Louis Rams 14-21 today, ending any talk about making the playoffs for the Lions in 2015 who have taken sole ownership of last place in the NFC. The only score in the first half was by Trumaine Johnson of the Rams who took Stafford's interception back for a TD. Trumaine also held CJ to just one catch for 16 yards, although CJ did run the wrong route twice by my count, probably due to Cooter installing new plays each week as he moves further away from the Lombardi disaster type of offense.

Mathew Stafford was 30 of 46 (65.217%) for 245 yards 2 TDs and 1 INT. He wasn't as sharp as he has been in recent games and that helped to improve the Lions draft position (meaning he helped them lose). Casey Keenum was held to almost half that many yards (124) with no TDs and an INT, but the Lions defense allowed 203 yards rushing so it didn't matter. In the end the Rams did just enough to win the game. Well, some would argue, they had a little help from the officiating, which was exceedingly poor this game.

On top of the poor rush defense, the poor Lions offense, the inadequate quarterbacking, and various other head scratching items there was the TE Eric Ebron (3 catches for 27 yards) versus the DT Aaron Donald (3 sacks and 4 tackles) comparison (due to the 2014 draft). A large part of the Donald success in this game was due to the extremely poor offensive line play which while improved from earlier in the year is still a long way from being NFL ready.

We still don't know who the Lions GM will be for next year, and with that we don't know who the coaching staff will be since most new GMs would want a new coaching staff, so it's still going to be hard to talk draft, but that is where we are at this year. Had the Lions continued their short winning streak from a few weeks ago it was possible the interim GM and OC would remain in their positions along with the rest of the coaching staff but now that the Lions are moving the wrong way in the standings the needle is starting to swing into the other direction. I now longer know what to expect at the end of the year as things stand now.

As time permits I will update my salary cap chart and perhaps create a 2016 estimated depth chart so we may begin the slow arduous task of talking "next year" in December of "this year" once again. Welcome to the new version of the same old Lions everyone.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

2015 - Week #13 Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers @ Home on Thursday Night Football


The 4-8 Detroit Lions lost to the 8-4 Green Bay Packers 23-27 due to a successful last minute hail-mary pass with time expired by the Packers. They took an early 17-0 lead in the first quarter but could not put the game away, partially due to going too conservative (on both O and D) and partially due to officiating (though it could have gone in many directions with the various calls and non-calls all game long). Anyway, the Lions are now last in the division, in fact, they are now last in the NFC.

Matthew Stafford was 23 of 35 (65.714%) for 220 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Rodgers had exactly one more completion but it was the one that won the game on the final play, so it was relatively important. Most are blaming the head coach Caldwell but I tend to lean towards the DC on this one as Austin definitely had not put in a hail-mary defense... and I suspect he was not overruled by Caldwell, though I could be wrong.

. I waited until the last minute to write this blog as I was out of town Thursday night and then unavailable to do so until now. By last minute I mean the Lions have their week 14 game tomorrow when they play the St Louis Rams. I'm sure the Ebron versus Donald contingent will be in full force so here's hoping that Donald has a quiet day and Ebron does very well, just so I don't have to hear about it for the next 3 or 4 YEARS.

Maybe this game the Lions will attack, both on offense and defense, then actually continue to do so for the rest of the game, because a 3 score lead means nothing if you are going to give up 3 scores in the second half and then a 4th as time expires. No, it would be, as I state on a continual basis, best to attack for a full 60 minutes, or even 60 minutes and 1 second. If you know what I mean.

No amount of talent can beat the other team, the officiating, and then poor coaching on your own team, regardless of how good you are. Having to do so is how you end up last, and last is only good if we're talking about the draft spot in round 1 (meaning you won the superbowl, not traded the pick to move there).