Matthew Stafford’s Critics Are Unfounded

Matthew Stafford, the name brings up automatic debate. His mechanics, 1-23 vs winning teams, and on and on. Matthew Stafford’s career can be summarized by yesterday’s game. The Lions had 2 offensive touchdowns overturned and a defensive touchdown taken away from a penalty.

At halftime the Detroit Lions had 5 dropped passes. Calvin Johnson had a 20 yard Touchdown reversed because he failed to complete the “process” of the catch, 1 fumble (Brandon Pettitgrew), 1 Interception off pass deflected at the line on scrimmage, Deandre Levy Interception Touchdown called back (Ndamukong Suh illegal block), and Louis Delmas flagged for taunting Vikings WR Jerome Simpson.

Now is Stafford perfect? No, nobody is but he is darn good. He can’t help what Suh, Delmas, Pettitgrew do. Nor can he control if his WR is going to complete the “process” of the catch. All he can control is where he throws the ball and what he does when the ball is in his hands. How many times did we watch Joey Harrington take stupid sacks when he could have just thrown the ball away? Stafford plays a smart game for the most part. Everyone is going to make mistakes but Stafford rarely makes the same ones.

For some reason SOME Lions fans think Stafford is a bad QB. I totally disagree. Could he mix in a few pump fakes? Yeah. All in all I think he is a Top 10 QB in this league and only ascending. So while Ron Jaworski can babble on ESPN about how horrible Matthew’s mechanics are according to him, who wasn’t exactly a great QB himself. Love these analysts who weren’t really that good and crush these guys playing today. Sean Salisbury was an ESPN analyst for crying out loud. Now if Kurt Warner or anyone with some real credibility speaks I will listen but these ESPN guys are just made for tv. Their job is to stir the proverbial pot. ESPN has become a joke.

So while Matthew Stafford knows the QB gets the love for the Wins and hate for the Losses it’s hardly all on him.

Show me one of these names you’d bring back over Stafford.

Charlie Batch
Daunte Culpepper
Ty Detmer
Gus Frerotte
Jeff Garcia
Joey Harrington
Drew Henson
Jon Kitna
Erik Kramer
Dave Krieg
Mike McMahon
Scott Mitchell
Dan Orlovsky
Rodney Peete
Drew Stanton
Andre Ware

You can’t honestly say Stafford is not better than all these guys. At least I can not.

 

 

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5 Biggest Questions For Lions vs Vikings

1- Can Detroit run the ball? The Detroit Lions haven’t been able to sustain a rushing attack since the days of running back James Stewart. Yes it’s been that long folks. Well find out against a good Vikings defense whether or not they will be able to do so this season.

2- How will the offensive line play, especially the right side? With rookie Guard Larry Warford and Tackle Jason Fox taking over for the departed Gosder Cherilus and Stephen Peterman. Will Riley Reiff fare well against All World Defensive End Jared Allen?

3-Will the team as a whole stay away from self destructing penalties?

4-Will the Lions find a consistent 2nd receiving option opposite Calvin Johnson?

5- Will this defense create turnovers? Last year they were terrible with a -16 in turnover ratio.

 

It’s not a must win but it’s a HUGE game for many reasons. A home game against a divisional opponent, Lions went 0-6 versus divisional opponents last season, this season has many implications for the coaching staff and the front office so getting off to a fast start is essential.

 

 

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You Wanted It, You Got It. What Are You Going To Do With It?

So the Detroit Lions voted Ndamukong Suh a team captain on Friday. Suh said he wanted the role. Suh called a players only meeting on the same day of being named a captain. He stressed to the team playing without taking stupid penalties. Like personal fouls, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, playing past the whistle.

This may seem ironic coming from the man who has yet to show he has the on the field discipline that he’s asking his teammates to show. Everyone knows about the “stomp” and his multiple late hits but with this newly found leadership role it will say A TON about how far he has grown if he can go out there and lead by example in this part of the game.

Let’s not kid ourselves, the defensive line has been the biggest culprit in extending opposing teams drives by such stupid penalties. Suh, Nick Fairley, Willie Young are all guys who have done these things on the regular the past few seasons.

Whether or not the Lions can dramatically cutback on this penalties is yet to be seen. I will be watching the defensive line especially, to see improvement in this area and Suh being the leader and asking for discipline ALL eyes are firmly set on him to see if he can eliminate the dumb penalties he has been prone to so far throughout his young career without losing his intensity in the game.

Not committing these penalties and handing the opposition another 3 cracks at it will dramatically affect the Lions chances to win football games.

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An In Depth Look At The Detroit Lions 2013 Schedule

Sun, Sept. 8  VS Minnesota Vikings

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Fraizer record 16-22

2012 record 10-6 NFC Wild Card berth

Key Losses- LB Jasper Brinkley OG Geoff Schwartz WR Percy Harvin

Key Additions- QB Matt Cassel WR Greg Jennings

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 23(23) S. Floyd DT Florida
1 25(25) X. Rhodes Florida State
1 29(29) C. Patterson WR Tennessee
4 23(120) G. Hodges Penn State
5 22(155) J. Locke UCLA
6 28(196) J. Baca OG UCLA
7 7(213) M. Mauti Penn State
7 8(214) T. Bond OG North Carolina
7 23(229) E. Dawkins DT Florida State

 

 

 

Sun, Sept. 15 AT Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians 9-3 as Interim for Indianapolis Colts in 2o12 technically a rookie

2012 record 5-11

Key Losses- RB Beanie Wells WR Early Doucet

Key Additions- QB Carson Palmer RB Rashard Mendenhall

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 7(7) J. Cooper OG North Carolina
2 13(45) K. Minter LSU
3 7(69) T. Mathieu LSU
4 6(103) A. Okafor DE Texas
4 19(116) E. Watford OG James Madison
5 7(140) S. Taylor RB Stanford
6 6(174) R. Swope WR Texas A&M
6 19(187) A. Ellington RB Clemson
7 13(219) D. Jefferson TE Rutgers

 

 

Sun Sept. 22 AT Washington Redskins

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan record 21-27

2012 record 10-6 NFC East Division Winner

Key Losses- OT Jammal Brown

Key Additions- WR Devery Henderson WR Donte’ Stallworth

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
2 19(51) D. Amerson North Carolina State
3 23(85) J. Reed TE Florida
4 22(119) P. Thomas Fresno State
5 21(154) C. Thompson RB Florida State
5 29(162) B. Jenkins Florida State
6 23(191) B. Rambo Georgia
7 22(228) J. Jamison RB Rutgers

 

 

Sun, Sept. 29 VS Chicago Bears

Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman Rookie no record

2012 record 10-6

Key Losses- LB Brian Urlacher WR Johnny Knox QB Jason Campbell

Key Additions- TE Martellus Bennett OT Jermon Bushrod

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 20(20) K. Long OG Oregon
2 18(50) J. Bostic Florida
4 20(117) K. Greene Rutgers
5 30(163) J. Mills OT Louisiana Tech
6 20(188) C. Washington DE Georgia
7 30(236) M. Wilson WR Washington State

 

 

 

Sun, Oct. 6 AT Green Bay Packers

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy record 74-38

2012 record 11-5 NFC North Division Winner

Key Losses- WR Donal Driver WR Greg Jennings RB Cedric Benson

Key Additions- None

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 26(26) D. Jones DE UCLA
2 29(61) E. Lacy RB Alabama
4 12(109) D. Bakhtiari OT Colorado
4 25(122) J. Tretter OG Cornell
4 28(125) J. Franklin RB UCLA
5 26(159) M. Hyde Iowa
5 34(167) J. Boyd DT Mississippi State
6 25(193) N. Palmer Illinois State
7 10(216) C. Johnson WR Grand Valley State
7 18(224) K. Dorsey WR Maryland
7 26(232) S. Barrington South Florida

 

 

Sun, Oct. 13 AT Cleveland Browns

Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski Rookie No record

2012 record 5-11

Key Losses- WR Josh Cribbs TE Ben Watson

Key Additions- DE/LB Paul Kruger LB Quentin Groves WR David Nelson

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 6(6) B. Mingo DE LSU
3 6(68) L. McFadden San Diego State
6 7(175) J. Slaughter Notre Dame
7 11(217) A. Bryant DE East Central Oklahoma
7 21(227) G. Gilkey OG Chadron State

 

 

Sun, Oct. 20 VS Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis record 79-80-1

2012 record 10-6 AFC Wild Card

Key Losses- None

Key Additions- None

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 21(21) T. Eifert TE Notre Dame
2 5(37) G. Bernard RB North Carolina
2 21(53) M. Hunt DE Southern Methodist
3 22(84) S. Williams Georgia
4 21(118) S. Porter Texas A&M
5 23(156) T. Hawkinson OT Kansas
6 22(190) R. Burkhead RB Nebraska
6 29(197) C. Hamilton WR Arkansas
7 34(240) R. Fragel OT Ohio State
7 45(251) T. Johnson South Carolina

 

 

Sun, Oct. 27 VS Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett record 21-19

2012 record 8-8

Key Losses- RB Felix Jones

Key Additions- None

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 31(31) T. Frederick Wisconsin
2 15(47) G. Escobar TE San Diego State
3 12(74) T. Williams WR Baylor
3 18(80) J. Wilcox Georgia Southern
4 17(114) B. Webb William & Mary
5 18(151) J. Randle RB Oklahoma State
6 17(185) D. Holloman South Carolina

 

 

 

BYE WEEK

 

 

 

Sun, Nov.10 AT Chicago Bears

 

 

 

Sun, Nov. 17 AT Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin record 63-33

2012 record 8-8

Key Losses- WR Mike Wallace RB Rashard Medenhall

Key Additions- None

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 17(17) J. Jones Georgia
2 16(48) L. Bell RB Michigan State
3 17(79) M. Wheaton WR Oregon State
4 14(111) S. Thomas Syracuse
4 18(115) L. Jones QB Oklahoma
5 17(150) T. Hawthorne Illinois
6 18(186) J. Brown WR Penn State
6 38(206) V. Williams Florida State
7 17(223) N. Williams DT Samford

 

 

Sun, Nov. 24 VS Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Head Coach Greag Schiano record 7-9

2012 record 7-9

Key Losses- RB LeGarrete Blount TE Dallas Clark WR Arrelious Benn

Key Additions- S Dashon Goldson CB Darrelle Revis

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
2 11(43) J. Banks Mississippi State
3 11(73) M. Glennon QB North Carolina State
4 3(100) A. Spence DT Illinois
4 29(126) W. Gholston DE Michigan State
5 14(147) S. Means Buffalo
6 21(189) M. James RB Miami (FL)

 

 

Thu, Nov. 28 VS Green Bay Packers

 

 

 

Sun, Dec. 8 AT Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly rookie no record

2012 record 4-12

Key Losses- CB Nnamdi Asomugha DT Cullen Jenkins

Key Additions- CB Cary Williams S Kenny Phillips

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 4(4) L. Johnson OT Oklahoma
2 3(35) Z. Ertz TE Stanford
3 5(67) B. Logan DT LSU
4 1(98) M. Barkley QB USC
5 3(136) E. Wolff North Carolina State
7 6(212) J. Kruger DE Utah
7 12(218) J. Poyer Oregon State
7 33(239) D. King DE Oklahoma

 

 

 

Mon, Dec. 16 VS Baltimore Ravens

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh record 52-26

2012 record 10-6 AFC North Winners

Key Losses- WR Anquan Boldin LB Ray Lewis S Ed Reed C Matt Birk FB Vonte Leach S Bernard Pollard

Key Additions- DL Chris Canty DE Elvis Dummervil S Michael Huff

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 32(32) M. Elam Florida
2 24(56) A. Brown Kansas State
3 32(94) B. Williams DT Missouri Southern State
4 32(129) J. Simon DE Ohio State
4 33(130) K. Juszczyk FB Harvard
5 35(168) R. Wagner OT Wisconsin
6 32(200) K. Lewis-Moore DE Notre Dame
6 35(203) R. Jensen OG Colorado State-Pueblo
7 32(238) A. Mellette WR Elon
7 41(247) M. Anthony California

 

 

Sun, Dec.22 VS New York Giants

Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin record 151-121

2012 record 9-7

Key Losses- RB Ahmad Bradshaw WR Domenik Hixon TE Martellus Bennett

Key Additions- TE Brandon Myers LB Dan Connor

Draft-

RD PK(OVR) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1 19(19) J. Pugh OT Syracuse
2 17(49) J. Hankins DT Ohio State
3 19(81) D. Moore DE Texas A&M
4 13(110) R. Nassib QB Syracuse
5 19(152) C. Taylor Richmond
7 19(225) E. Herman OG Ohio
7 47(253) M. Cox RB Massachusetts

 

 

Sun, Dec. 29 AT Minnesota Vikings

NFL Free Agency, NOT As Lucrative As It Once Was

In the past, NFL players used to wait with bated breath until the day they became an unrestricted free agent. Then they could essentially go to the highest bidder. A look at this years free agents tells us that free agency is no longer the best way to get the best deal. For example, Greg Jennings passed on an offer in 2012, when Jennings was near his bargaining  peak, a source said talks on a multiyear extension ended when he turned down $11 million per year from the Packers, which was far less than the $15 million that he told the team he was seeking. He ended up taking an offer with the Minnesota Vikings that averaged about $9 million. He received a $10 million signing bonus and guarantees worth $18 million. Jennings was far from the only player to pass up a much better deal. Cliff Avril passed on the Detroit Lions offer of  a 3 year $30 million deal, with $20 million of that guaranteed. He ended up signing a  deal in Seattle worth $13 million, with $11 million in guaranteed money and a little over $2 million available in incentives and escalators.

 

Sure Mike Wallace received a big deal from the desperate Miami Dolphins but it’s easy to see free agency is no longer the way to “get rich”. The way to make the most money in today’s NFL is by agreeing to a deal with your current team. Unless you have leverage, which is rare, or you’re a proven quarterback you’re best bet is to stay put and take the money.

 

Thanks for reading.

Dave Birkett Interview

Today I was joined by Detroit Lions beat writer Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. You can follow Dave on twitter @DaveBirkett and read his work here http://www.freep.com/section/SPORTS01/Detroit-Lions

Hope you enjoy it. I’d like to thank Dave again for the interview and look forward to catching up with him throughout the season.

Thanks for reading/listening.

2013 NFL All Underrated Team-NFC

Arizona Cardinals- While Darnell Dockett gets all the press, Calais Campbell is most definitely the underrated player of this team.

Atlanta Falcons- While the offense gets all the attention and the defense has names like Osi Umenyiora and Asante Samuel, William Moore is the guy who is the difference maker.

Carolina Panthers-  Jonathan Stewart while he and DeAngelo Williams splits reps and basically are about equal in talent and production, Stewart gives them a great two back backfield.

Chicago Bears- Amongst NFL fans this guy is known but he should be known much more. Charles Tillman is the best player and has been on the Bears for years. His ability to play coverage and the run is at a rare level. His ability to force fumbles is incredibly underrated by mainstream fans.

Dallas Cowboys- This was a hard one because they have young up and coming guys but they’re coming off injuries and you never know the value of a guy until he plays again. That said, Dwayne Harris is an underrated kid. Solid in both kick and punt returns and on coverage. Not to mention he is a good 3rd or 4th WR.

Detroit Lions- Without a shadow of a doubt Detroit’s most underrated player is Cornerback Chris Houston. Houston has been a very good player since his arrival to Detroit and deserves more recognition around the league.

Green Bay Packers– Among all the weapons in Green Bay’s arsenal the most underrated and undervalued player by far is John Kuhn. He plays a dying position, fullback, and is very versatile. Blocks well, catches and runs at critical times for first downs and has had his share of TD’s as well.

Minnesota Vikings- With Jared Allen on one end, on the other is Minnesota’s most underrated player. Brian Robison in the past two seasons Robison has 16 and a half sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Very much the benefits from Allen and Kevin Williams on that line.

New York Giants- Many good candidates on this team but the one who stands out to me is Safety  Stevie Brown. He has really stepped up and filled a hole in the back-end of that defense.

New Orleans Saints- Drew Brees and Darren Sproles get all the publicity but the underrated player on this team is Pierre Thomas. Thomas has been so good that he has made Mark Ingram virtually expendable.

Philadelphia Eagles- While the offensive line gets a lot of heat one guy stands out. Todd Herremans he has played every position except Center and while he’s not a great player that kind of versatility has helped Philadelphia immensely with all the injuries along that line in recent years.

San Francisco 49ers- While Colin Kaepernick and the defense get most of the credit and press coverage the glue and fiber of this team is Vernon Davis. Yes the same guy who was told to leave the field, game in progress, by former Head Coach Mike Singletary. Not only has he grown up as a player but he puts the team first even if that means sacrifice in his own statistics.

Seattle Seahawks- By far the most underrated player on this team is Red Bryant. He plays a 2 gap technique and can play both Defensive End and Defensive Tackle. He has been the rock of their defense and allows the rushers and coverage players to make plays.

St. Louis Rams- Without question this was the hardest team to find an underrated player on. They either have good established guys like Courtland Finnegan, Chris Long, or a bunch of bad players but I did find one guy who was very good for them last year and helped them win games. Kicker Greg Zuerlein. The kid had a league best 13 fields goals past 50 yards in his rookie campaign. While his overall field goal percentage wasn’t spectacular it was not bad either. I think, they found themselves a nice contributor for years to come.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Not a lot to work with on this roster either but Mason Foster seems to be the best candidate for the Bucs. A solid tackler and hard worker this 3rd round pick in 2011, has earned the starting spot at middle linebacker and now we’ll see if he is the player most draftniks thought coming out of the University of Washington.

Washington Redskins- Quick, who was the best rookie running back last year? Alfred Morris that’s who. Once again Mike Shanahan found himself a stud running back at the bottom of the draft in 2012. Morris never had a fair shot at Rookie of the Year with Luck, Wilson and RGIII but he was by far the most consistent and best player for the Redskins last season. RGIII got the media coverage, Morris stole the show.

I’ll be posting my AFC All Underrated Team soon.

Thanks for reading