Lions Training Camp: What to Watch For

BY: DALTON

Lions training camp is this Friday (thank god football is back) and here are 5 things the I am really looking forward to:

  1. Running Back Battles: As of now, I fully expect LeGarrette Blount to be getting most of the first-team reps on day one. The role of Theo Riddick is pretty well cemented as the 3rd down back but that leaves a big question mark for the newest Lion RB, Kerryon Johnson. Will he be used in certain sets? Which sets? Are we not going to see much of Johnson because of Blount/Riddick? Then, in all of this RB mess, there is still Ameer Abdullah. It will be interesting to see these internal battles play out because, I think its safe to say, this is the first time in a while the Lions have had a logjam at running back.
  2. Cornerbacks: We all know Big Play is one of the top corners in the NFL, but who is going to play opposite of him? Will it be, free agent addition, DeShawn Shead or, the second-year player, Teez Tabor? If I had to put some money on it, I would say Shead is going to start out as the starter along with Slay. Tabor showed some promise at the end of last season but Shead is a professional who was an important member in the Legion of Boom out in Seattle.
  3. Kerry Hyder: The defensive line was one of the personnel groups on the Lions last season, but they also didn’t have Hyder the entire season. He suffered a torn Achilles a couple seasons ago and its one of the toughest injuries to come back from because it limits your explosiveness. We see it all the time in the NBA, a sport where explosiveness is considerably more important. If Hyder can return to 80% of what he was in the 2016-2016 campaign, then it is a major upgrade for the defensive front.
  4. How Players React to Patricia: This one is pretty straightforward. A new coaching staff means a new way of practice. You don’t have to be a genius either to recognize that Matt Patricia and Jim Caldwell MIGHT have some different coaching styles. How the players react to a more fiery coach will determine how the season starts and which players (special teams) will earn spots at the bottom of the roster.
  5. Offensive Line: I’m not worried about this group at all, in fact, the only positions I am more confident about are quarterbacks and wide receivers. If this group can just stay healthy through camp and develop a little bit of chemistry then they will be a lot of fun to watch.

How The Lions Did On Each Pick

BY: DALTON

  • FIRST ROUND: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
    • Obviously as I outlined earlier, I was upset then pleasantly surprised and now looking at how the rest of the draft shook out, I love it.
  • SECOND ROUND: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
    • The Lions traded up to get their guy in the second round. While I thought Guice was going to be the pick, his maturity concerns were very real as he continued to slide. Given the issues with Guice, I like this pick. It is clear through his third year that Quinn will not deal with any type of off-field issues.
  • THIRD ROUND: Tracy Walker, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette
    • The most surprising pick of the Lions draft by far. I, once again, was hoping they would pick someone different at this pick. I was hoping for Maurice Hurst but he continued to fall and confirmed to me that NFL GMs weren’t as high on Hurst as I was. This came as a shock to everyone but the Lions War Room seemed absolutely ecstatic to land Walker. The Lions are pretty solid in the secondary as is so it would have been nice to address the defensive line here but if he works out then great pick. This pick will be the one that defines this draft class.
  • FOURTH ROUND: Da’Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama
    • Another trade up for Quinn and Patricia as they finally addressed the concerns on the defensive line. I dont know much about Hand but if you’re an edge rusher for Alabama you’re probably pretty good, at least on the college level. Hopefully Paul Pasqualoni can tap into this fourth round pick and make him a contributor this season.
  • FIFTH ROUND: Tyrell Crosby, T, Oregon
    • From all accounts, this is a steal of a pick in the fifth round. If Crosby is as good as everyone says, he will be an awesome backup to both Decker and Wagner.
  • SEVENTH ROUND: Nick Bawden, FB, San Diego State
    • Meh, maybe he will help with those 3rd-and-1 scenarios that the Lions cant convert on.

 

 

Lets Be Frank About the First Round

BY:DALTON

I, like many of you, were watching the NFL Draft last night and was fully expecting the Lions to draft either a running back (Guice) or a defensive lineman/edge rusher (Landry). When the Lions announced their first pick, almost 2 hours after the draft started, I was absolutely stunned that the Lions took neither the running back or the edge rusher. Instead, they went with Frank Ragnow. Obviously, at first, I was quite disappointed because, lets be honest, offensive lineman picks arent exactly “sexy”. Instantly after the pick was announced I got on to twitter.com. After doing some research and letting some time pass, here are some thoughts:

  • Ragnow was considered the second best interior lineman in this draft, behind Nelson, and was the highest graded center EVER in the Pro Football Focus era.
  • Ragnow isnt a slouch: DbwcxC8W0AA_q53
  • The saying goes “football is won in the trenches” and Bob Quinn has bought into that mantra. He has completely overhauled this offensive line in his 3rd year as GM. If everyone can stay relatively healthy, this line should be one of the top in the league. Remember, last year the Lions offensive line was a rotating cast and crew. I’m not 100% sure on this stat, but the Lions pre-season starters played like 60-some snaps together all season. Someone should fact check that.
  • There will be running back and defensive line help through out this draft and if the Lions didnt pick Ragnow, he was going 21st to the Bengals.
  • To contend in the NFL you have to be elite on one side of the ball and we all know the Lions are quite far away from being elite on defense.
  • Adding to the offensive line should help the running game that ranked dead last in the NFL in the previous season.
  • The two guys that I thought the Lions should draft (Guice or Landry) are still on the board for Day 2. That says a lot about other teams’ thoughts on them. I know there are a lot of maturity concerns around Guice and I just learned last night that Landry was flagged with knee/back concerns. Knowing what I know now, I’m glad the Lions made the safe pick.
  • If Ragnow can become the next Dominic Raiola for 8-10 year, it was a hell of a pick.

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.

It is Official!

BY: DALTON

Matt Patricia has officially been announced as the 27th coach in Detroit Lions franchise history. As the NFLs worst kept secret, Patricia was pretty much a lock for the Lions job about 3 weeks ago. When the Lions began their coaching search, the day after their season ended, I was all in on them going after Matt Patricia. When it was announced that the job was basically his, I instantly started dreaming of deep playoff runs and Lombardi Trophies (multiple). Now that it is official, the only things that will be announced are who the assistants are on the defensive side of the ball and a few offensive assistants. It is to be believed that Jim Bob Cooter will remain the offensive coordinator at this time. I am not sure how I feel about this move, to be completely honest. On one hand, the offensive numbers suggest that JBC and Stafford have finally started clicking, on the other hand the run game has been atrocious. I am not sure if that is because of Caldwell or Cooter, I guess we will have to wait and see. But, for now, we can rejoice and wait until our personal Super Bowl, the NFL Draft.

P.S. If you are having reservations about Patricia because of the Super Bowl, you’re an idiot. If we are only basing one game on how good a coach can be, let me present to you the last game of Caldwell’s coaching career in Detroit. Im looking at you Carlos Monarez.

Bob Quinn, please become our Jesus.

BY: DALTON

By now most people have seen the ESPN article that is detailing the turmoil inside the Patriots organization. These are probably unfounded rumors (something you won’t find on this site) and this article is just bulletin board material for the Pats 6th Super Bowl.

HOWEVA,,, if these rumors are true and Bill Belichick is actually upset about being forced to trade Jimmy G, then he could actually consider leaving. I would assume that if Bill left, he would look for a QB in their prime, a defense with a few play makers, and an outstanding special teams unit. Hmmmmmmm.

Mr.Quinn, I know that you are a loyal reader of jbdc. First, thank you for reading. Second, do the right thing here. Bring in Bill. Bring his whole staff with him. Patricia, McDaniels, Ernie Adams. Get the band back together. If you do, I vow to never question anything you do ever again, I will buy season tickets for every year that staff is in place, and I will personally house Matt Patricia. I cant promise I wouldn’t cry though because if by some miracle this happens I would be a blubbering mess.

P.S. Nobody knows the contract of Belichick soooooooooooooooooo

P.P.S. Skip Bayless said there is a 75% chance Bill leaves. Skips never been wrong before.

P.P.P.S. Bill always likes a good challenge. He was with the Browns, the Pats were garbage before he got there, and we all know the history of the Lions.

 

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 11

BY: DALTON

If I were lazier than I actually am, I would just copy and paste last weeks recap and throw it up here but I love you. All of you. Honestly! Ok, well maybe not all of you, but I still appreciate you reading the blog and you can take that to the bank (new catch phrase?)! Games like these are nice that they won, believe me, but when they come out back to back weeks against inferior opponents and look so flat it is tough to have much hope. Maybe the worst part of all of this, if they win on Thanksgiving on Thursday then my expectations will be sky high once again only to end in wretched heartbreak. But, until that day comes, here is this weeks good, bad, and ugly.

 

THE GOOD:

  • Matthew Stafford: While coming out slow, Stafford had a perfect second quarter on his way to a 299 yard, 2 touchdown, and 0 interception performance while leading the Lions to a game winning drive and taking up most of the clock. Wasn’t his sharpest performance from start to finish and his pocket presence looked shaky but he made a lot of nice deep passes including a 30-yard strike down the sideline to Marvin Jones.
  • The Secondary: Aside from a potential game clinching interception that Slay shockingly couldn’t hold on to, they played a good game. DJ Hayden made the play of the game when he picked up a miss-handled snap for a touchdown. Most of the passing success for the Bears came against linebackers so the secondary gets maybe the best “good” of the bunch
  • Matt Prater: Before the Lions signed Prater, they worked out him, Jay Feely, and Connor Barth. Judging on Sunday’s game, they made the correct choice. I know I say it almost every week, but Prater has been one of the best free agent signings this franchise has ever had. If he continues this pace of clutch kicking, he could rival Han$on as the best kicker in franchise history.

 

THE BAD:

  • Flatness: 2 weeks in a row they fell behind 10 points to inferior opponents. Caldwell needs to get the boys to come out hot on Thursday.
  • Offensive Line: For having the offensive line fully healthy for the first time, they left a lot to be desired. Didn’t open any holes for the run game and allowed a lot of pressure any time Stafford took a 3-step or more drop.

 

THE UGLY:

  • Run Defense: Puke
  • Run Offense: More Puke?

 

Football Rooting Guide

BY: DALTON

Considering all of the football teams in the State of Michigan do not control their own destiny, here is a nifty little rooting guide for each team in the order of importance. NOTE: I do not think Michigan or Michigan State can reach the CFB Playoffs so I only included Big Ten scenarios.

 

MICHIGAN STATE:

  • Illinois > Ohio State: Ohio State needs another loss for MSU to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship game
  • Nebraska > Penn State: Clear up the race a little bit
  • Wisconsin > Michigan: Would completely knock Michigan out of the running for a bid to the Big Ten Championship game

 

MICHIGAN:

  • Maryland > Michigan State
  • Nebraska > Penn State
  • Illinois > Ohio State: This one is strictly for rivalry purposes. For Michigan to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship game, losses to MSU and PSU are the only important ones this week.

 

LIONS:

  • Rams > Vikings: If Lions can get within one game of the division this week, they will have a chance at a season sweep of the Vikings and sole possession of the NFC North on Thanksgiving
  • Ravens > Packers: Still a little far out to look at the Wild Card so a loss to the Packers to drop them even further in the division would be nice.
  • Seahawks > Falcons: I struggled with this one because both teams are ahead of the Lions in the WC race, but considering the Falcons hold the head to head tie breaker, the quicker they drop, the better
  • Saints > Redskins: Need the Saints to run away with the NFC South because, once again, they hold the head to head tie breaker and would oust the Lions for a WC spot.
  • Jets > Panthers: Panthers are ahead of the Lions in the WC and, tell me if you’ve heard this before, they hold the head to head tie breaker.
  • Eagles > Cowboys: The Boys are a spot behind us in the WC Standings.

 

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!

 

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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:

Friday Football Preview 10/27

Michigan State @ Northwestern, 3:30 pm, ESPN: MSU sits atop the Big Ten East and look to stay there this week. Sparty is finding ways to win football games with young players and I think most people will say the start to this year has been a surprise. This week they should win over the Wildcats, but don’t expect a blowout. NW seems to play with some pride at home. Sparty has better talent and better coached but playing on the road is always tougher than playing at home (duh). Only way MSU loses this one is if they shoot themselves in the foot with multiple turn overs. PREDICTION: MSU 24- NW 10

 

Rutgers @ Michigan, 12 noon, BTN: Well, here we are folks, the battle for 4th place in the Big Ten East. Jesus christ, just win this game Michigan. For my and my father’s health. Michigan should come out and play with a little bit of pride after being spanked last week against Penn State. If you’re a gambler, take Rutgers +24. I think Michigan wins, but they certainly won’t put up 24 points. PREDICTION: UM 17- Rutgers 7

 

Pittsburgh @ Detroit, 8:30 pm, NBC: Caldwell is 15-8 for the rest of the season after bye weeks. The Lions are getting healthy, but without Decker, that offensive line remains suspect. The Steelers are soft against the run and #1 against the pass. The Lions could get something going on the ground and Im going to go ahead and say that Abdullah hits the 100 yard mark this week. I have a sneaky feeling that the Lions are going to sell out on the run defensively so a lot of pressure will be put on the secondary, specifically Slay. If the Lions defense can force 1 turnover and not be on the field for more than 30 minutes, the Lions win this game. I don’t think they can do that though and they are running into a hot Steelers team. PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 24- Detroit 17