A Few Routes for a Successful First Night of the Draft

BY: DALTON

As many of you know, the Lions have the 20th pick in this years NFL Draft. Usually, at the 20th pick you expect to get someone who can contribute immediately but wont be a star, i.e. Jarrad Davis. This year is quite different though. Given the quarterback needs of the teams in front of the Lions and the fact that some players just slip, there will be some Top 10 talent at the 20th pick.  Here are a few different ways the Lions can have a successful first night of the draft:

  • PICK:
    • Derrius Guice, RB, LSU- Some people think he can be better than Barkley and if he is available at 20 he would be an absolute steal for a team in desperate need of a running identity. He would be my favorite move the Lions could make here.
    • Harold Landry, DE, BU- Lions definitely need some help rushing the passer and on the defensive line. Landry fits both of those needs and will give the Lions insurance for the future if they cant get a deal done with Ansah.
    • Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA- Same reasons as above, Landry is just a little bit better in my opinion. If both of them are gone by 20, I’d be shocked. Davenport is a fine consolation prize for anyone who has their eyes set on Landry.
    • Vita Vea, DT, Washington- Doubt he will be here at 20 but I would be ecstatic if the Lions had a chance to draft Vea. It certainly is wishful thinking but crazier things have happened.
  • Trade:
    • Trade down with New England or New Orleans: Both of these teams have been linked to Lamar Jackson. If he slides a little bit then Jackson should still be around at 20. The Pats have a two picks in the bottom of the first round and would be my preferred trade partner. Even if they offer their 23rd and 31st for the 20th, I take that deal. Obviously it wouldnt be that simple but if the Pats really like Jackson then it would be worth it for them to move up a few spots to guarantee they get their guy. As for the Saints, they have the 27th pick and if New England looks like they are trying to make a move, the Saints will probably put together a pretty enticing package of mid-round picks. This is all dependent on in Jackson is there at 20, but my second favorite move the Lions could make is trade down and gather picks, I really think the draft is that deep.

Sports Smatterings with Dalton

BY: DALTON

Lions Free Agency:

It seemed as if every team but the Lions in the NFC North made some big, splashy move in free agency. A lot of skill players were signed to the Packers, Bears, and Vikings and it seems as if the Lions only grabbed a few linebackers. It’s all well and good to grab position players but free agency is not a time where teams put themselves over the proverbial hump. Most of the time it leads to overpaying players whom were not wanted on their previous team. I do really like the linebacker signings, not like “these guys are going to be all star” signings but in the sense of a couple of guys that can help a depleted unit. That being said, I would like to see the Lions sign a few nice defensive tackles (SUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHH) and then patch up everything else in the draft.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this the Lions cut Ebron. While I agree that he isn’t worth $8.5 million, its tough not having a TE on the roster. I hope we can sign him back at a lesser amount but I doubt he would do that.

UPDATE 2.0: We signed DeShawn Shead to a 1-year deal. Love this move. Love it a lot. Really no impact on our future and an immediate upgrade to the secondary. Only thing that would suck is if he turns out to be amazing and we only have him for the year.

Michigan in the Tourney:

I like the region that Michigan is in, I really do. Quite winnable, if I do say so myself. I do say that! Obviously a deep run will rely on the guard play of Simpson and Mathews. I feel that at this point you know what youre going to get out of MAAR, Mo, and Duncan. Here are a few obvious keys that you definitely did not miss; Mo needs to stay out of foul trouble. Free throws need to be knocked down in clutch time. Duncan needs to continue to defend the way he had at the end of the season. My player that could make everyone fall in love with? Teske. If you follow me on twitter (@dpotocki) and Teske does anything of note, get ready to see this:tt

 

Michigan State in the Tourney:

Pretty simple, these guys just need to remember that they are, in fact, pretty good at basketball. Not sure why Bridges is scared of taking it inside but if he runs more of the “Im bigger than the guy guarding me so I will go dunk it” play, things are looking bright in East Lansing. JJJ should get more run that he had been getting. It seemed like every time I watched the Spartans that JJJ would sit inexcusable amounts of time. Izzo needs to shorten up that bench and hope to god that TumTum finds an ounce of offense if they want to get by Duke in the Sweet 16. Sorry State fans, but no cool graphics for you.

Down The Field: Coaching Search Edition

BY: DALTON

The season ended a week early this year. Now, I can talk about all the disappointment that happened this year with the Lions. From the Atlanta Falcons game to the stinker that was the Bengals, the list of let downs from this year is more than the Pats have had in the last 15 years. So, to not go against the Christmas spirit (I can say that again, thanks Trump!), I will play the ghost of Christmas Future and show you what the offseason has in store for our beloved Lions.

 

Before I get into my predictions, I will fully admit that I was supportive of bringing back Caldwell at the beginning of this year. I thought that the Stafford injury at the end of last season was more detrimental than the coaching staff. I was wrong. Now matter how professional or accountable Jim Caldwell is, his calm demeanor leaked into the games and that will ultimately doom his tenure here in Detroit.

 

In the not so distant future, the Lions will beat the ever-living shit out of the Packers in an effort to save Jim Caldwell’s job. Despite winning by a very nice 69 points, Jim Caldwell and staff will be fired on the dreaded Black Monday. This will now be proving time for Bob Quinn. While he has had seemingly successful drafts thus far, finding his own head coach will be the biggest barometer of his general managerial duties. While there are many candidates out there, myself included, here are a few that are on the radar:

 

Teryl Austin

TA

This familiar name should at least warrant an interview. In his time in Detroit he has done a decent job as defensive coordinator and seems to be drawing league interest every year.

Happiness if hired: 5/10

 

Josh McDaniels

JMD

He did a pretty bad job as head coach for the Broncos back in 2010 but since returning to New England he has added a couple Super Bowl rings to his resume and has a history with Bob Quin so it isn’t crazy to think JMD (trademarked nickname of joshbobdotcom) will come to Detroit.

Happiness if hired: 7.5/10

 

Matt Patricia

MP

The other side of the New England team and has been a hot head coaching candidate for a few years now but little light has been shed on the master mind behind the Patriots defense. Is Belichick trying to keep MP 40 (another trademark but only if he is 40 years old) in house? Once again, Quin has seen behind the Iron Curtain so he should know if Patricia is the real deal or not.

Happiness if hired: 7/10

 

George Edwards

GE

The Vikings defensive coordinator has led the Vikes D to a few outstanding years and it may be time for him to take the reigns of his own team. It would depend on whom he brings in as offensive coordinator, but a great defensive mind with Stafford could be the pairing to put this team into the next tier of the NFL.

Happiness if hired: 6.5/10

 

Jon Gruden

0619-jon-gruden-profile-200x250

It would be a great disservice to coaching articles everywhere if I didn’t include Chucky. I highly doubt that he will come out of retirement but if there is ever a good situation to lure him out, Detroit is the fit.

Happiness if hired: 9.5/10

 

Mystery Candidate

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 7.30.18 PM.png

This coach could be the first to coach on Saturday and Sunday and wouldn’t have that far of a drive. Also, has a history of winning in the NFL. Hmmmmmmm.

Happiness if hired: 10/10

Down The Field: Week 14

BY: DALTON

Well, after a disappointing week last week where the Lions playoff hopes looked bleak and dreadful I have some good news. Folks, the Lions playoff chances are only bleak! The last second boot out of Prater, combined with Seattle losing, the Lions have boosted their chances to around 15%. Now for the bad news, Rodgers is set to return this coming week. If a few things break the Lions way (Seahawks lose 1 time and Atlanta loses twice) and the Lions win the next couple weeks, it could come down to one game between the Lions and Packers for a playoff spot. I am certainly not ready for that. I get physically sick thinking about Aaron Rodgers getting into the playoffs with a win in Detroit. Only way it could be worse is if Dean Blandino was some how involved.

The way that the Lions play, I feel like I have to scrap the Good, Bad, and Ugly section because too many times every player on the team goes through all three phases in one game. So instead, here are some things I saw from this week:

 

  • Aside from those two interceptions, Stafford looked pretty sharp. He will need to continue to play as sharp as he did (sans interceptions) for the Lions to run the table
  • Darius Slay can absolutely ball and if he gets left off of the Pro Bowl roster there will be hell to pay.
  • Quin looked good at safety. Forcing a fumble and an interception against a struggling Winston/Bucs offense isn’t exactly a perfect indicator of success, but Quin certainly could have done worse.
  • Offensive line did a nice job against a bad pass rush. While the Bucs have the worst rush in the league, this is the first time Stafford hasn’t been sacked since 2015. Always nice keep the Qb clean.
  • Theo Riddick should be the starting back from here on out. I would even be comfortable to make him the every down back next year if there isn’t a viable back in the draft or free agency.
  • Jim Caldwell seemed to open it up in the first half, only rushing 9 times. He also had a correct challenge on a critical play. Unless he wins a playoff game, I cant see him staying as the coach for more than the next season.
  • Refs continually get worse and I was 99% sure that the “defenseless receiver/fumble” play was going to go against the Lions but, as they say, any given Sunday.
  • I know the Bucs are bad so I wont get my hopes up too high. Especially considering the Lions will probably have to beat Rodgers in week 17 if they want a chance to get into the playoffs.
  • Jim Bob Cooter should recognize that we cant convert 3rd and 1s on the ground. He should be fined $1000 every time he calls a run on 3rd and short and should be fined an additional $5000 if he tries to use Zenner. Zenner should also be fined his entire salary for being on the team i.e. he should be cut.
  • A few thoughts from around the NFL
    • RIP Philly hopes/dreams
    • Fuck Aaron Rodgers
    • Browns are going to go 0-16 and I’m not pleased
    • Patriots are still good despite losing their 3rd game of the season in week 14
    • Jags could find a way into the AFC Championship
    • Chargers can play football and may be the hottest team going into the playoffs should they keep up this good play

DTF: State of the Lions Address

BY: DALTON

This blog wont so much be a recap as it is an address to the state of the Lions. They are at an interesting point in team history. Bob Quinn is in his second year as general manager and he has a lot to think about. As the season is slowly falling apart, not as slowly as their offensive starts, their playoff chances look slimmer by the week. In a stretch that should have been one of the easiest in the NFL, the Lions have started on the wrong foot. Shocker, I know. Dreams of winning the division have dropped almost as quickly as a pass from Stafford to Ebron and dreams of making the playoffs are looking like Golden Tate against Atlanta. As of today, the Lions are 2 games back from the last Wild Card spot and a game behind the Falcons who sit in the 7-spot and also hold the head to head tie breaker over the Lions.

While the Lions have yet to be mathematically eliminated, it’s the way that they have been losing games that is the most discouraging. The slow offensive starts, the defensive lapses, the recent special teams miscues; it is all horrible and all familiar. Watching the Lions play the Ravens on Sunday was deflating. The Lions couldn’t do anything correct in the first half. One of the more helpless feeling games that I’ve watched in a while and the Ravens really aren’t that good. Now, there was plenty of blame to go around but lets not focus on that game, lets look at the season.

Who have the Lions beat? The Cardinals, Giants, Vikings, Packers, Browns, and Bears. Of those teams, the Packers and Vikings are at .500 or above so its fair to say most of those teams are bad. Now look at who they have lost to, Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Steelers, Vikings, and Ravens. All of which are playoff teams. Now, maybe this is the team the Lions have been all year. Beat the bad teams and lose to the good teams. Their 6-6 record certainly would support that hypothesis. While the beginning of the schedule looked to be difficult, it turned out to be quite easy. What I’m getting at is that the Lions are not a fraud team, the 3-1 start just looked better than what it was because of preconceived notions on who was good in the NFL.

I have been known as a Caldwell defender. I thought that his stoic presence was good for the locker room and he brought a very poised approach to the game. But, after witnessing the last 4 weeks of football and hearing him take the blame himself, I think it is time to let Jim Caldwell go. Now, Im not saying fire him this instant. Never a good look to fire the coach in the middle of a playoff race, but the name of the game is winning Super Bowls and it doesn’t look like Caldwell is the coach that will be able to get this team over the hump.

Looking at how the NFL season has shook out thus far, I think it is fair to say the Lions are who we thought they were at the beginning of the season. They are an average NFL team who will win the games they should and lose the games they should. While it is entirely possible for the Lions to win out and a few losses to go their way and sneak into the playoffs, but for the future of this team, it may be best if they miss the playoffs, get a better draft pick, and find a new coach.

 

 

DTF Week 10

BY:DALTON

I’ve read a lot of articles about the Lions game and most of them are very negative about the game. While it certainly wasn’t a shining moment on the season, I don’t think it was as negative as many writers are making it out to be. Maybe that’s what separates me from the big journos. I didn’t see the game as a negative. That being said, I certainly didn’t see it as a positive. It was more of a neutral. Despite the Lions going down 10 in the first 8 minutes, I was never really that nervous. In fact, I was quite calm. The Lions eventually scored 17 straight to take a 17-10 lead into the half, in part thanks to the Browns being the Browns in the most Browns way possible by qb sneaking at the 2-yard line with no timeouts and 10 seconds on the clock. Then, coming out of the half the Browns scored to even it up, then they scored again to go up 24-17. I still wasn’t worried and the next drive validated my Zen-like calmness by seeing Matthew Stafford lead the Lions on a 4 play, 75-yard, 93-second touchdown drive. From there, it was all over. The Browns would fail to score again and the Lions took home the dub.

 

Its very easy to sit here and say that the Lions didn’t deserve to win or to feel worse about this team after struggling with the Browns. To that I say, don’t overreact and look at the outside factors. For maybe the 6th or 7th time in my life, I did a little bit of research (scrolling through twitter) before forming my opinion. The Browns, being perpetually bad, have a lot of young talent that was drafted high in each round so they have a lot of ready-to-go athletes. The Browns were also coming off of a bye week and the Lions were playing on short rest. The amount of days off for both game planning and recovery are huge when talking about the success of a team on a week-to-week basis so it is no coincidence that the Browns played their best game after 2 weeks of planning and playing a team that played on the road just 6 days earlier. The final reason is that the NFL is a weird league and that “any given Sunday” is still around for a reason.

 

 

The Good:

  • Second Half Stafford: Did everything he needed to do to get the win. Didn’t turn the ball over and completed well over 60% of his passes. Not a whole lot to say about perfection.
  • Secondary: Particularly Slay and Lawson. Big Play has been as advertised this entire year and for some reason opposing teams haven’t learned you just don’t throw at the guy. Lawson, while shaky early, certainly redeemed himself with the strip six in the second quarter. Lions have a sneaky good secondary. Lawson is playing better, Slay is a gawd and Quin ranks out as a top safety almost every week.
  • Matt Prater: Another gawd, possibly a g.o.a.t.
  • Golden Tate: He is possibly the most electric player on the field for the Lions. He can turn any catch into a huge play. My case in point, a screen pass he took 40 yards for a score to essentially ice the game. Tate should be getting more looks than what he already does simply because of his big play ability.
  • Jamal Agnew: Had two really electric kick returns with one of them taken back by penalty. I would not be surprised in the slightest to see Agnew get more touches on the offensive side of the ball. He also may be the fastest human alive…if he is human. More to come on that next week! (That’s what we call a teaser folks)

The Bad:

  • Sam Martin: It just doesn’t seem like he is punting the ball with the accuracy that he did last year. He has had seemingly easy opportunities to pin the opponent deep and flip the field but just hasn’t quite done it consistently yet. I have faith as long as he keeps Crespi blocked on twitter.
  • First Half Stafford: What the hell man? You made it tough to defend you from 1 pm to about 2:30 pm. Wasn’t sharp at all and I still have no idea what happened on that interception.
  • First Half Play Calling: So boring and dull. Throw the ball more! I understand that you have to run to keep the defense honest but running it on 1st and 2nd down is certainly not playing to your team’s strengths. That being said, the first time we run play action on first down in the Super Bowl is going to be sooooooooo sweet.

 

The Ugly:

  • Run Defense: Absolutely pitiful. 201 yards given up to the Browns is nothing short of embarrassing. The linebackers looked slow and had a tough time scraping off blocks while the absence of Ansah could be seen in the lack of outside contain.
  • Caldwell Challenge: To his credit, he took blame. Absolutely awful awareness by not only Jim but also his entire replay staff. They had a lot of time to look at the play while they were measuring the spot. At least he didn’t John Fox it.
  • Sense of Urgency: It was pathetic the way the team started on Sunday. It would be nice to see them come out and stomp a team.

DTF: WEEK 9

BY: DALTON

I hate to admit when I’m wrong, but I was wrong. Giving Matthew Stafford that money was the wrong move. He has yet to show me what Bob Quinn supposedly saw in him over his previous 8 years in the league. Last night, Stafford put up one of the all time stinker performances in NFL history, nay, sports history. He was 26/33, 2 tds, 0 int, 361 yrds, and a passer rating of 132.4. Please excuse me while I go puke into a bag that was already filled with my shattered hopes and/or dreams for this team. Seven incompletions folks, SEVEN. If Stafford doesn’t come out and explain himself today for those 7 incomplete passes then I would have no problem if the Lions flat out cut him today. Also, saw a stat that last night Stafford had the second highest passer rating of a visiting qb in Lambeau Field. If Stafford was “good” why didn’t he have the number one rating? Need the Stafford supporters to answer that one. They cant! In fact, he’s been trash this whole season. He’s averaging 276 passing yards at a 62% completion rate per game and has a 3.5/1 touchdown to interception ratio. Garbage can emojis for days. Also, the 6th fastest player to reach 200 career passing touchdowns. What other bums are on that list? Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady. Exactly what I thought, is that a record list or the list of starting qbs in Cleveland. Would hate to be in that company. Also, I have to add that Stafford did this against a defense that doesn’t have Aaron Rodgers. Pretty much throwing against second graders, if you ask me. So while the blindly faithful will continue to push the narrative that Stafford is, in fact, a good quarterback, I will not buy into these crackpot theories. Now, I am going to throw on my finest Hill/Stanton/Culpepper/Orlovsky/Kitna/Garcia/Harrington/Batch/Detmer/McMahon/Frerotte/Mitchell/ Krieg/Peete/Kramer/Ware/Hipple jersey and comment on the Internet about how Matthew Stafford is actually a bottom 5 qb in the NFL.

 

The Good

  • Matthew Stafford: Just read the opposite of everything written above
  • Coaching: Give credit to this coaching staff for coming out with a definitive game plan to go out and beat a Packers team without Rodgers. The Lions came out and played with poise and urgency, knowing full well that the season was on the line. The team also played a very clean game, unlike the week before and I cant help but credit Caldwell for the change in discipline.
  • Darius Slay: You just don’t pass at the guy. He probably got away with a few PIs but that’s what elite corners do, they get calls. Nice to see him finally reach the ranks of the Seattle secondary.
  • Brian Mihalik: The whole offensive line looked good in pass protection but special shout out to Mihalik who played quite well for a 3rd string LT. The coaching staff may think about giving Decker an extra week to prepare considering that Mihalik played well and that the Browns are coming to town next week.

 

The Bad

  • Opening drive defense: Yes, they blocked the field goal attempt but it seems like every teams first drive ends with some type of points. Really the only beef I had with the Lions defense on Monday night.

 

The Ugly

  • Red Zone Offense: Once again, very bad. Abdullah finally got a carry in the RZ and scored and everyone thought it was the answer. We learned within the game that it is not the answer. Honestly, I think our line just sucks at power blocking (evidence: Run Game). So when it gets down to the goal line, the Lions need to get creative. Now, I am still a fan of the qb sneak from inside the 1-yard line, but inside the 5, the Lions should spread it out. They just line up in power formations and run the ball right at the teeth of the defense, which is fine if you have that type of team, but the Lions do not. Spread out the defense and if you want to run it then fine, but just show a little more imagination with your plays instead of running inside the tackles 3 straight times for -1 yard.
  • Ameer Abdullah: Cant have fumbles.
  • Sam Martin: Had exactly ZERO punting yards on the day.

 

 

P.S. Last night just furthered my father’s theory more that refs bet on games. With the game out of hand, the refs called a PI in the end zone giving the Packers one untimed play from the 1-yard line. The Packers scored a touchdown making the combined score 47. The over/under was set at 42.5 points. It would be different if it was either a close game or it was an egregious PI but it was neither, leaving only one plausible explanation.

Down The Field: Week 8

BY: DALTON

I think this was the first truly “Lions” game of the year. A game where both teams wanted to lose the game through poor play and blunders and the Lions out lost the Steelers in the end. There are a lot of moments where you can point to where the game went on the skids. The 97-yard touchdown on 3rd and 9, the inability to convert on 7 plays inside the 10-yard line, or even when Golden Tate inexplicably dropped the ball after a long reception. But, the real moment when this game was lost was in the 3rd quarter, the Lions had the ball 2nd and goal from the Half Yard line and they couldn’t punch it in. I’ve noticed this trend around the league so I must pose the question here, is the QB sneak illegal? I saw a stat today that the Lions are 4-12 on 3/4th and 1 situations. That’s absolutely sickening. So, ignore the fact that the Lions lost a yard and had an incompletion on 2nd and 3rd down. Now, with the score being 13-12 Steelers, the Lions elect to go for it on 4th down. I will acknowledge that it is tough to not go for it at that point in time but, one thing that my father emphasized while I was watching football growing up was, “Always take the points when you can get them”. When you pass on points in the NFL, you always end up chasing them in the end and that is exactly what happened to the Lions on Sunday night. Had they kicked that field goal in the 3rd quarter, they would have only needed 3 points to win the game and the Lions were in Prater territory for, what seemed like, most of the 4th quarter. Folks, I can’t be eating this poorly and have the Lions be this bad at the same time. One of those things will have to change or there may be an abrupt end to the “Down The Field” recaps. And, since I am baking a huge batch of chili while writing this article, lets hope, for both our sakes that the Lions play really picks up.

 

Dalton’s Joke of the Day:

How are the Lions and I alike? We both cant score in the red zone!

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.55.18 PM.png

The Good:

  • Not-Red-Zone Offense: Outside of the Red Zone, the Lions moved the ball very well. I’ll talk more about the offensive woes later. That right there is an old journalist’s trick to keep people reading.
  • Darius Slay: He absolutely locked up Antonio Brown for the entire game (5 rec/70 yrds). What few receptions he had, he was tackled immediately. The defense played a good game but Slay needs special recognition.
  • Defense: Besides the lapse on the 97-yard touchdown, the defense played a very solid game. Yea, they caught a few lucky breaks with some drops from the Steelers WRs but
  • Matt Prater: Made all his kicks and for a while he was in Rob Bironas territory for most field goals made in a game (8).

The Bad:

  • Defensive Line: No sacks and minimal pressure on Big Ben (too lazy to look up how to spell his last name by here is my best try) Roethlisberger. Cant drop them into the ugly though because they did a good job with the run game and was part of a defense that really only gave up one big play.
  • Sam Martin: Shanked a punt horrendously. That will get ya put in the “Bad”. But it was his first week back and besides that one punt, did a nice job with punting and kick off duties.

The Ugly:

  • Coaching: TAKE THE DAMN POINTS. I cannot stress how much it pisses me off when teams I root for leave points on the field. One of my biggest pet peeves in football/life. Not taking that field goal came back to haunt us in the 4th. Also, how do we not have a play to score from inside the 10-yard line?
  • Red-Zone Offense: What a lead in from the last bullet point. This is some of the worst execution in the red zone I’ve ever seen and I’ve been watching Michigan football where our only red zone plays are fade routes and run over left tackle.

 

 

 

Silver lining, because what kind of a Lions fan would I be if I weren’t hopefully optimistic and pessimistic at the same time, the schedule gets a lot easier. I can wait to write the week 12 recap and I am 1000% back in on the Lions, only to end in heartbreak.

 

 

P.S. I decided to add in some Halloween flavor to this blog, that’s why I held it off till Tuesday. I decided to do a deep dive on Bobby “Boris” Pickett, the creator of the “Monster Mash”. While looking at his discography, this man only made Halloween themed singles. What a lucrative career! He passed away a few years ago, but he died with $1.2 million in the bank. This mans slick a millionaire off of one famous Halloween song. I guess it kind of makes sense? He kind of cornered the market on Halloween music. Everyone is out here trying to get in on the Christmas music scene, but Ole Boris is going 150 mph in his own lane. RIPIP Bobby Pickett. For your listening pleasure, here is THE Monster Mash, smash that play/replay button all day:

Down The Field: Week 6

BY: DALTON

It was a rollercoaster game this week, folks. What is it called? Stafford’s Law? Anything that can go wrong but will lead to an interesting 4th quarter will go wrong? It’s something like that. I’m not sure; I’ve been out of school for a little bit. On a somewhat similar note, if you know someone hiring, I need a job. Back to football. I hated this game. I hated it with every fiber of my being. The Lions came out and played maybe the worst 3 quarters of football I’ve ever seen from them. They were down 35 points towards the end of the 3rd. It was painful. Anyone who watched the entire game up to that point is an idiot, myself included. If you have a resemblance of a life, you should have turned the game off at half time and did something nice. Go play golf or see a movie or fold some clothes, just go do something else. I was watching because I am a self-hating loser and wanted to see how bad it was going to get. Oh boy, was in for a treat. Somewhere between being laughed at by millions of viewers and me tweeting about how we should pull the starters, the vacuum fired up. Its been stored away in some deep dark closet since last year and Satan himself fired it back up and had me sucked in for a second or two. And folks, what a sucking it was (sex joke). With 5 minutes and 99 yards to get a score to tie, I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what type of magic Stafford had in his beaten and bruised body. Second play of that drive a pass was deflected at the line, for the 12th time that day, and caught in the end zone for another defensive score. What little hope I had, was dashed less than 1 minute into the potential tying drive.

 

Games like this are why I hate the Detroit Lions. Play like absolute garbage for most of the game and then turn it on for a furious 10 minutes. If you hooked me up to a heart rate monitor it would look like that of Orenthal James’ during that crazy little case in the 90s. Its Sunday, the Lord’s day, and I’m breaking a sweat just sitting on the couch and stuffing my face with a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken pizza from Dominos. Let me tell you one-thing folks, that’s one damn good pizza too. Everything from the crust to the sauce to the toppings, just a fabulous pizza through and through. And, did you know that Dominos has great everyday offers such as $5.99 each for two or more items on the menu? How about the Piece of the Pie ™ rewards program where every purchase you make puts you one step closer to earning free pizza? Dominos send me free stuff.

 

THE GOOD:

  • Stick-to-it-iveness: That’s about all that was good that came out of this game. The Lions never gave up and that says a lot about the character of this team. I’m not sure it says much about their talent, but, oh boy, they have character in spades

 

THE BAD:

  • Defense: Was the defense in this game good? No, that’s why they are in the bad section. Was the defense in this game ugly? No, that’s why they are in the bad section. In fact, they may be closer to the good section than the bad section. The offense gave up 21 points. That’s right, the Saints scored 21 points via their defense. So take 21 off the board and the fact that the offense was so shitty it gave the Saints a short field a lot of the time. The defense also forced 3 turnovers. Hell, I may just talk myself into moving the defense into the good section. But, they never got pressure when they needed too and in the first half the Saints’ run game could not be stopped. Ted Ginn torched our secondary, in 2017. Just too many bad things happened in this game to see any positives. Shout out to A’Shawn Robinson though, I thought he played really well filling in for Ngata.
  • Special Teams: Agnew had the punt return touchdown that was absolutely electric, but he also muffed the ball that put the Lions’ on the 1-yard line, which led to a tipped ball pick-6. Prater missed a 56-yard field goal. Jeff Locke didn’t punt great either.

 

THE UGLY:

  • Matthew Stafford: First awful game of the new Stafford contract. He couldn’t gain any rhythm, wasn’t making the throws that he usually/needs to makes, and had 12 balls tipped down at the line. How is it possible to get 12 balls knocked down? I’ve never seen anything like it. He threw too many interceptions and had horrible ball security. Matthew needs to have better pocket presence when his offensive line is that bad. I’m not sure how much of it is play calling or if he is hurt, but until someone says something, the blame goes on the QB.
  • Jim Caldwell: Just an absolute joke of a game plan. He was thoroughly out-coached by Sean Payton in the first half. The offense, in close games, is a joke. I know JBC is in charge but Caldwell needs to get on his ass. I respect Caldwell’s calm demeanor but the Lions can’t keep coming out flat like they have been. Come game time, he has to light a fire under their asses.
  • Injuries: Injury Report- Everyone. Bye week couldn’t have came at a better time
  • Me: I’m 23 years old, live in a basement, sleep on an air mattress, use a shampoo made for horses, unemployed, and root for shitty offenses in football. If you have Dalton stock (NYSE: DTN) then I would sell. Its low and it may be a while before it comes back up.

 

 

P.S.- With Halloween around the corner, let me establish that Easter is the KING of candy holidays. I’m not talking about pure mass of candy, that is obviously Halloween, but the specialty candy that comes out is much better at Easter. There are Peeps (a lot of people hate them but I love them), jelly beans (Starburst brand are the best and I wont hear otherwise, and the King of Kings, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg. If you disagree, @ me and I will drag you on twitter. Loser.

DTF: WEEK 1

BY: DALTON

Its back folks! Down the Field has returned with a vengeance. What a week one opener, huh? It looked like we were in store for a classic Lions game. They started with an interception on Palmer. “Ok, here we go! Lions look a little different than they did in preseason”. Then on Matt Stafford’s first pass into his new contract, he delivers a strike right to Justin Bethel (Cardinals Cornerback) for a touchdown. “Fuck”. Then the Washington kick return to the 7-yard line. “Oh, come ON! Seriously?” Then our punter did this sill thing where he didn’t punt it and instead of taking the safety and letting our defense try to get the ball back, he decided to take it out the end zone and promptly get injured. “Same Ol’ Lions. Its gonna be a long season!”

Then, I’m not sure what, something happened. The Lions started to make their own luck. The defensive line started to get pressure and forced another interception Stafford marched them down to the 6-yard line , scrambled around, and delivered a strike to Marvin Jones. But, of course, Prater and company botch the extra point. “Ya know, given how the games going, I’ll take 10-6” Defense gets back out there and forces a 3-and-out with 4 minutes to go in the half. Stafford stalls out. They exchange punts and the Lions get the ball back one more time before the half ends. It just so happened though that the Lions have a kicker with a cannon for a leg. Prater good from 58 and the Lions go into the break down only one point. “Hey, they’ve been in that position before. Cardinals are starting to look like the SOL by letting us hang around”

The Cardinals second drive of the second half results in a touchdown, 17-9. “It’s ok, we’ve been here before” Lions get the ball back and punt. “Fuck, again” All of a sudden, A’Shawn Robinson (second year in NFL) forces a fumble and its recovered by Jarrad Davis (rookie). “Bob Quinn guys are starting to make plays!” Stafford hits Theo for a short gain inside the 10-yard line but Theo does Theo things and makes everyone miss as he scampers into the end zone. Lions go for two but don’t get it, 17-15. 4th quarter comes and everyone is thinking the same thing, “Matt Stafford can start to earn his money in week one with another come from behind win”.

Lions get the ball back in the 4th with 14:16 to go and down two. Stafford gets the offense going with the no-huddle and delivers a jump ball to Kenny Golladay for a go-ahead score. “AINT NO HYPE TRAIN LIKE THE GOLLADAY HYPE TRAIN BECAUSE A GOLLADAY HYPE TRAIN DONT STOP!” 21-17. Lions defense gets a 3-and-out and then Stafford delivers maybe the best ball of the day. A 45-yard touchdown strike to a diving Golladay. “Mini-Tron!!!!!!” 28-17. With 4:13 to go in the game and the Lions up 2 scores, it was certainly over. Ford Field was rocking, the beer was flowing like the tributaries of the Mississippi, and dreams of Super Bowl runs were dancing like sugar plums in peoples heads. Then, another dose of pure ecstasy, Miles Killebrew returns an interception 35-yards for a score that pushes the over (48.5) and now theres a little extra money in everyones pocket. The Cardinals get a garbage time score and that was all she wrote. Lions stand strong and get a huge win at home against an Arizona team that many analysts were high on. ON TO THE CRITICISMS!

 

THE GOOD:

  • The Defense- They were dominant in every sense of the word. They forced 4 turnovers and only allowed 45 net rushing yards. They are the main reason that Detroit won the game. If it weren’t for the defense, the game could have snowballed out of reach by the 2nd quarter. The pass rush looked exceptional despite only getting one sack. They were pressuring Palmer all day and force a lot of bad throws which resulted into turn overs. The defensive backfield, including the linebackers, looked good too. I didn’t see or hear Slay’s name much which is the best way to measure a cornerbacks day. If they can play like that on a consistent basis, playoffs shouldn’t be a surprise, they should be expected.
  • Matt Stafford- GTFO for all those people shitting on him after that pick-6. Tate was basically tackled on the play which is why there was no receiver there. Ya know, lets just say that it was Stafford’s fault. Is 29/41 for 292 and 4 touchdowns not good enough for the haters? But, Dalton, he only pads his stats when games are out of reach! Stafford moved the ball consistently all day and dismantled a Cardinals team that was in the NFC Championship game only two years ago. He was dropping dimes all over the field and even his misses weren’t that bad. Pro Football Focus said if you take away drops and other things out a QBs control, Stafford threw for an 89.5% completion rate. Are you still gonna sit there and tell me he wasn’t worth the money? Idiots.
  • Halftime Adjustments- I’m not sure how it happened, but I think that Caldwell out coached Bruce Arians. The 1st quarter was awful, more on that later, but they got into halftime and the Lions absolutely dominated the second half. Give credit to this coaching staff for keeping everyone level headed after a rocky start.
  • Red Zone Efficiency- 3/3. Thats pretty damn good.

THE BAD:

  • The Run Game- Not a great showing for our supposedly “revamped” run game. Only totaling 82 net yards. One thing I noticed though, it seemed like the offense refused to run it over the right side. You would think with upgrading that side of the line, coupled with the speed of Abdullah, they would try the right side a little more. Instead, they kept going between the tackles and on the left side. Not sure if that was a result of game planning or what but keep on eye on where the ball gets ran next week at the Giants.
  • Field Goal Unit- I know Prater boomed in a 58-yarder but you can’t mess-up extra points. Luckily, it didn’t hurt us this game but it definitely could play as a huge factor down the road. I love Prater, but missing PATs will land your unit in the bad section every week.

THE UGLY:

  • 1st Quarter Everything- Maybe one of the worst opening quarters to a season that the Lions have ever had. Pick 6, bad return, botched punt, no offensive movement. For as much credit I gave the coaching staff for their halftime adjustments, I can’t look past how poorly prepared the Lions were to start that game against what appeared to be an inferior team.
  • Punting- Back-up punter tore his ACL and we had Prater punting for us. Not good. Hopefully they sign a solid backup till Martin returns and we don’t have a situation like after Hanson left as our place kicker.
  • 2-Point Conversions- 0/2 on plays from the 2-yard line is not a good stat to have on the record. How do you not have a handful of plays that can get you the 2-points at a 95% success rate?

 

Outside of the 1st quarter it is really hard to get on this team. They played dang near perfect football for 3 quarters and were lucky that the 1st quarter didn’t put them in too big of a hole. While the Giants didnt look good on SNF, playing in New York on a Monday night won’t be easy. Enjoy this high for as long as you can, because it may not make it till Tuesday.

P.S. So after the game, me and my buddy Crespi went to Greektown Casino and was part of the most electric Black Jack table you’ve ever seen. We started calling this one older guy “Coach” and he just loved it. To make a long story short, Coach won about $10,000 that night and I can’t help but feel me and Crespi helped some how. So this blog is dedicated to you Coach.

Detroit Lions Season Preview

BY: DALTON

With football season creeping up on us like a weird dude at the bar (that reference is for all my chick readers) ((sup?)) its about time this old timer gives a crack at the season schedule.  These predictions are based on every one staying relatively healthy for both the Lions and their opponents.

Week 1 vs Cardinals: Home/Season opener in the newly renovated Ford Field. When they opened up Ford Field in ’02 the Lions lost their home opener. I don’t think that will happen here. FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD:1-0

Week 2 @ Giants: Sal Palentonio only reports from the Meadow Lands. Thats bad news for the Lions because……idk the Giants are just a better team all around. What do you want me to say? FINAL RESULT: Loss     RECORD: 1-1

Week 3 vs Falcons: Super Bowl hangover has wore off for the Dirty Birds but I don’t think it will matter. I feel Matt Ryan had a fluky good season last year and that defense lost its edge. Julio will be a load but I have a lot of faith in Slay. FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD: 2-1

Week 4 @ Vikings: Vikings are going to be a good team this year. Not great, but good. Love everything about them except Sammy Sleeves aka Sammy Check-down aka Sam Bradford. He literally doesn’t throw the ball more than 10 yards down field. Dalvin Cook is going to be a nice back, maybe ROY, but the paper mache skeleton under center will hold this team back. FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD: 3-1

Week 5 vs Panthers: Despite them having an atrocious season last year, its bounce back time for the Panthers. Lions linebackers have no answer for Cam or Christian McCaffrey. River Boat Ron is also the strongest nickname in the NFL behind Frank Gore.                       FINAL RESULT: Loss     RECORD: 3-2

Week 6 @ Saints: The Lions got a huge W in the Super Dome last year but don’t expect that again this year. Saints are gonna Saint and throw up a billion points, especially if the Lions haven’t addressed their pass rush by this point in the season. FINAL RESULT: Loss     RECORD: 3-3

Week 7 BYE

Week 8 vs Steelers: lol FINAL RESULT: Loss     RECORD: 3-4

Week 9 @ Packers: See above. FINAL RESULT: Loss     RECORD: 3-5

Week 10 vs Browns: Gut check time for the Lions. They have lost 4 in a row and the lowly Browns are coming into town. Will they be the SOL or have they actually turned over a new leaf? FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD: 4-5

Week 11 @ Bears: First matchup against the Bears and I fully expect Trubisky to be the starter at this point in the season. The Chicago defense could be a top 5 defense in the league but a rookie QB and no receivers won’t bode well for the Monsters of the Midway. Stafford also wants revenge from losing last year in Chi-Town. FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD: 5-5

Week 12 vs Vikings: Thanksgiving Day game, on a 2 game win streak, and a chance to sweep a divisional opponent. Too many good things going for the Lions to screw it up.           FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD: 6-5

Week 13 @ Ravens: Is Flacco elite? No, but he has a good team around him and the Lions suck on the road against good teams. I don’t see this as game where Caldwell can reverse this trend. FINAL RESULT: Loss     RECORD: 6-6

Week 14 @ Bucs: Everyone loves the Bucs this year but I think thats just the “Hard Knocks” effect. I feel they will be around .500, similarly to the Lions, and the Lions do well against mediocre teams. Maybe a bit of reach here  but… FINAL RESULT: Win      RECORD: 7-6

Week 15 vs Bears: Bad Bears team at home and the playoffs just off the horizon, this is a must win. They get it done and get my spirits just high enough to come shattering down when they miss the playoffs. FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD: 8-6

Week 16 @ Bengals: Bengals are always the toughest team to gauge. They are the epitome of average. Like, how the hell am I supposed to gauge this game? I guess just take the L and hope Burfict doesn’t murder any of our offensive players. FINAL RESULT: Loss     RECORD: 8-7

Week 17 vs Packers: Hopefully the Packers have won the division and already secured a first round bye and are sitting all of their starters. Thats the best I can hope for.       FINAL RESULT: Win     RECORD: 9-7

 

I think that the Lions miss out on the playoffs because of some tie breakers. 9-7 is a decent record but not good enough to make a Super Bowl run. I hope I’m wrong though.

If You Think The Stafford Deal Was Bad, You’re Wrong

BY:DALTON

So, news broke late in the evening Monday night that the Lions and Stafford have reached an agreement on an extension. As the details slowly leaked, it was learned that it was a 5-year $135 million deal where Stafford will average $27 million/year. This makes him the highest paid player in NFL history, eclipsing (current event reference) Derek Carr, who makes $25 million/year.

The news breaks and the idiots come out of the woodwork. People were calling this a bad deal, pointing to his record. He hasn’t even won a playoff game and he’s the highest paid player in history! Well guess what folks, Stafford’s deal is gonna look like a god damn steal when 80 year old Drew Bree’s gets a $30 million/year deal. Or how about when Kirk Cousins gets $31 million/year this December? How do some people not understand that every year the contracts get bigger? Thats just the nature of the beast. Stafford is a Top 10 QB in the league, or at least on the very fringe of Top 10. As a franchise who’s best QB in the Super Bowl era was Scott Mitchell, you can’t let a premier quarterback in the prime of their career walk away to a different team. How many big time QBs hit free agency? None. Deals always get done. Do you people want to start another rebuild process with some no-name rookie or a washed up vet? Fuck, you people want us to become the New York Jets.

Bob Quinn has built a nice core with players like Tate, Slay, the new O-Line, Marvin Jones, Ziggy Ansah and to throw it all away by letting Stafford walk would have been a fireable offense. The most successful teams in the NFL have consistency year in and year out at both the coaching and quarterback positions. I can’t stress enough how huge it is that Quinn didnt let this get to free agency where other teams could drive the price up. Do you know how much money the Jets or Browns would pay for a guy like Stafford? I don’t because my brain can’t think of numbers that high. So this deal, in a few years, its going to look like a very reasonable contract.

 

P.S. Do you folks understand how hard it is to write an angry blog while hung over? Lets give me a standing round of applause.

Lions Mailbag 8/12

First ever Lions mailbag (by me), so lets dig right in:

Matt from Austin, Tx-“It looked like it could be a promising year for the o line, we’ve had a couple injuries now. How do you think the o line will fair this year?”

Losing Decker for at least half the season was a huge blow for this unit. In the offseason, Bob Quinn made it clear that the O-line was a top priority and to see it already falling apart is disheartening. But, bringing in Wagner and T.J. Lang are both upgrades and with another year of experience for Glasgow and Swanson, everything but left tackle seems to be in place. Personally, I think that Greg Robinson, former Ram and Top 10 draft pick, will win the job over Kouandjio but thats what training camp is for. When Decker comes back, if the O-Line plays the same as last year, I would call it a disappointment. I expect big things once the former Buckeye gets off of the IR. But until then, expect a performance similar to last year. Not great, but just good enough for Stafford to stay clean most of the time.

Mike from Ann Arbor, Mi-“What’s the biggest question mark in the lions D this year?”

For me, its pretty clear cut. The linebackers need to step up in a big way. Jarrad Davis, this years 1st round pick, needs to be pro ready come September 10th. The Lions also need contributions out of guys who are used to only filling niche roles, i.e. Thurston Armbrister and Brandon Copeland. I’m not worried about Whitehead, I feel he has proven himself as an NFL worthy LB and bringing in Paul Worrilow (former Falcon) will add a steady veteran presence. If they play at 80% of their abilities then they will be a middle tier LB group.

Christian from Okemos, Mi-“Is it even worth it to invest my time and hopes in this season?”

You would probably have better luck investing in K-Mart, Sears, or what ever Bernie Madoff is peddling. But on a more serious note, invest time and hope in every year that we have left with Stafford.

 

BONUS- Matt from Austin, Tx-“Calvin Johnson not only has the right, but should, shit talk the Lions.”

Correct. When you’re a generational talent and get your entire career wasted, you can talk some of that sass.

MY Top 5 Kickers of All Time

BY: DALTON

The fact that Jason Hanson is ranked the 4th best kicker in history is a crime. Now, to be fair, I have not looked at the list so I don’t know who is in front of him or their reasoning for their placement BUT I know what’s in my heart and my heart almost stopped when I saw he was 4th.

 

MY TOP 5 KICKERS:

  1. Morton Anderson- The dude played for a billion years and was as consistent as Skip Bayless bringing up the Dez catch every time there is a semi-questionable call in a playoff game.
  2. Jason “J-Money” Hanson- Not sure if that was his nickname but it would have been pretty damn sweet if it was. Also a scratch golfer.
  3. Adam Vinatieri- Not sure what his regular season numbers are but he has won Super Bowls on last second kicks. Clutch gene at its finest, take note LeBron.
  4. The Gramatica Brothers- These bros went absolutely fucking wild after every made field goal. Also, which ever one hurt themselves has to thank God every day that twitter wasn’t around yet.
  5. Matt Prater- Seems like the coolest dude on earth. Just one of the guys that also happens to play professional football. Also has a cannon leg. How many RTs for me to get kicked in the nuts by Prater?

Taylor Decker Injured. Lions Still Cursed.

BY: DALTON

It was only a matter of time folks, the Lions are back and more Lion-y than ever. In just a few short months after a disappointing end to the 2016-17 season we are hit with some bad news for the upcoming one. In case you haven’t heard, starting LT Taylor Decker underwent surgery today and is going to miss an unknown amount of time. For most teams that means he will probably be back in 4 months or so, but for the Lions, there is almost a 0% chance he plays this upcoming season. Bob Quinn goes out and beefs up the starting O-Line so obviously our starting LT goes and gets hurt in mini-camp. Like, whom do you blame here? Quinn/Caldwell for having such physical mini-camps? No, that’s ridiculous. Stafford? No, but the H8erz will some how. Can someone on the Lions roster step in and fill the role? Of course they COULD, but we are talking about the Lions here. It’s just so upsetting that nothing can ever work. Obviously this injury isn’t as ridiculous as when Eric Andolsek was killed by a run away semi truck the year after the Lions went to the NFC Championship game, but god damn this team is cursed.

Obviously, Decker could make a regular recovery and miss few to no games but considering he dons the Honolulu Blue and Silver, I wouldn’t bet on it. While this is already a blow to this upcoming season, now it just gives me a little more time to design the Lions 2019 Super Bowl Champs shirts.