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.

 

 

Thanks for reading

 

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.

Thanks for reading

Lions Observations From Patroits Game

Joique Bell is better than Leshoure, deal with it.

Jason Jones looks like a stud.

Reggie Bush, Matthew Stafford, Chris Houston all impressive.

Far too many penalties and STILL LACKING DISCIPLINE. Willie Young incomplete pass on 2nd down taunts Tom Brady. STUPID. Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley each with Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties as well.

Offensive line is set and looked much better this week.

Ezekiel Ansah and Darius Slay will have rookie growing pains, I expect Ansah to have some real nice SPLASH plays.

DeAndre Levy has been real good looking all pre season long.

David Akers will be our kicker.

Kellen Moore was ok for the #3 QB still going to be surprised if he makes the team.

Patrick Edwards did not impress.

Matt Willis has looked real nice.

Looks like the 3 players, Justin Bannan, Rocky McIntosh, Rashaen Mathis, the Lions just brought in will be playing and making contributions.

Thanks for reading.

Martin Mayhew Is He A Competent General Manager?

 

Martin Mayhew has been an utter failure at drafting. There’s no way around that fact.  He has moved up in the draft two times for running backs. First, for Jahvid Best taking a gamble on a player who had maybe the worst looking concussion college football has ever seen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tyv4du7BTOc

They moved up and traded with Minnesota for the 30th overall pick, Here are the details; Detroit traded its second- and one of its seventh-round picks to the Vikings and flip-flopped picks in the fourth round with Minnesota. The Vikings went on to take Chris Cook with the 34th pick Everson Griffen and Mickey Schuler Jr. So the Vikings didn’t make out real well there.

Then the very next draft the Lions traded with Seattle for the 57th pick to take Mikel Leshoure. Here are the details; Seattle traded its 2nd-round pick, 5th-round and 7th-rd pick for Detroit’s 3rd (75), 4th (107), 5th (No. 154) and 7th (205). Leaving Detroit with ZERO picks in the 3rd and 4th round. How did the Seattle Seahawks fair? Well they got a solid backup Guard in John Moffitt and oh yeah with pick no. 154 in the 5th round they drafted a guy named Richard Sherman. Not that the Detroit Lions would have had the foresight to select the kid but it adds just a wee bit more salt in the wound.

As you can see I only rated 4 out of his 21 picks as Good to Great. When you take out Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh who were No.1 overall picks that means he has found 2 Good to Great players AND NONE OF THEM CAME PAST THE 1ST ROUND.

You look at the Packers and Ravens and the teams who are good, they draft guys like Ray Rice Marshal Yanda, Morgan Burnett, James Jones. Then they found guys WHO WEREN’T DRAFTED like Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, James Ihedigbo. The Lions currently have 1 undrafted player who has seen significant time on the active roster. Drum roll please…… Ashlee Palmer. Mostly a special teamer fighting for the Strong Side Linebacker position this year.

So you can decide if Mayhew has done a good job at drafting or not. Don’t forget one last thing, the team he inherited was horrible but it did have Calvin Johnson.

Martin Mayhew Picks

Underlined players are no longer in the Lions organization.
Total Miss  9           Marginal player/career  7        Good to Great player/career   4

 2009
1a     1     Matthew Stafford     QB     Georgia
1b     20     Brandon Pettigrew(from Dallas)     TE     Oklahoma State
2      33     Louis Delmas     S     Western Michigan
3b     76     DeAndre Levy(From Saints through Jets)     OLB     Wisconsin
3c      82     Derrick Williams(from Dallas)     WR     Penn State
4      115     Sammie Lee Hill(From Redskins through Jets)     DT     Stillman
6b     192     Aaron Brown(from Dallas)     RB     TCU
7a     228     Lydon Murtha(from the Jets)     OT     Nebraska
7b     235     Zack Follet(From Falcons through Broncos)     OLB     California
7c     255     Dan Gronkowski(Compensatory selection)     TE     Maryland

4 players left out of 10
2010
1a    2     Ndamukong Suh     DT     Nebraska
1b     30     Jahvid Best(from Minnesota)     RB     California
3     66     Amari Spievey     CB     Iowa
4b      128     Jason Fox(from Minnesota)     T     Miami
7b     213     Willie Young(from Seattle)     DE     North Carolina State
7e     255     Tim Toone     WR     Weber State

4 players left out of 6
2011
1     13     Nick Fairley     DT     Auburn
2a     44     Titus Young     WR     Boise State
2b      57     Mikel Leshoure     RB     Illinois
5c     157     Doug Hogue     LB     Syracuse
7b    209     Johnny Culbreath(from Cle through Sea)     T     South Carolina State

2 players left out of 5

So from 2009 through 2011 we have 10 players left out of 21, doesn’t take a math major to see his success rate is a shade under 50%. Not the success rate you want when THIS IS HOW YOUR TEAM IS BUILT, not free agency, but the draft.

2012
1     23     Riley Reiff     OT     Iowa
2     54     Ryan Broyles     WR     Oklahoma
3     85     Dwight Bentley     CB     Louisiana Lafayette
4b     125     Ronnell Lewis     OLB/DE     Oklahoma
5a     138     Tahir Whitehead     OLB     Temple
5b     148     Chris Greenwood     CB     Albion
6     196     Jonte Green     DB     New Mexico State
7a     223     Travis Lewis     OLB     Oklahoma
2013
1     5     Ezekiel Ansah     DE     BYU
2     36     Darius Slay     CB     Mississippi State
3     68     Larry Warford     G     Kentucky
4     132     Devin Taylor(Comp.)     DE     South Carolina
5     165     Sam Martin (From Ravens through Seahawks)     P     Appalachian St.
6     171     Corey Fuller     WR     Virginia Tech
6     199     Theo Riddick (From 49ers through Ravens and Seahawks) RB     Notre Dame
7     211     Michael Williams     TE     Alabama
7a     245     Brandon Hepburn (Comp.)     ILB     Florida A&M

 

 

 

Thanks For Reading

Lions Fans Brace Yourselves

The first 2 pre season games are in the books and the starting offense has scored ZERO touchdowns.

Let me get the bad out-of-the-way.

The secondary looks really bad. Bill Bentley is NOT  a slot corner. We have NO reliable receivers other than Calvin Johnson. Brandon Pettitgrew is STILL dropping passes. Scott Linehan is still calling the same plays he’s been calling since the day he came to Detroit. Scott, that end around isn’t fooling ANYBODY. We have 2 good running backs; Joique Bell and Reggie Bush and Linehan never puts them on the field at the same time. It’s the same looks over and over and over.

This team is not a playoff team. It’d be a miracle if we could be an 8-8 team. Jim Schwartz sealed his fate this off-season when he fired a very good assistant coach, one the players liked and trusted, Shawn Jefferson and failed to fire Linehan. On top of that Martin Mayhew did the team NO favors by not drafting a true #2 WR. In the 2nd round he took yet another cornerback who seems to be another failed pick. Meanwhile Robert Woods and Aaron Dobson were both on the board. In the 3rd round Keenan Allen, Terrance Williams were there. The one draft he doesn’t trade up. It’s like this organization can not dig its head out of the darn sand.

Now for the good. Nick Fairley looks very good. Reggie Bush is going to help this offense, just not as much as many believed when he signed. Ezekiel Ansah is going to make plays. Willie Young looks like a new man. Chris Houston is the only steady player on the secondary.  So if your counting at home, it’s the defensive line as the positive and everyone else as a question mark at best.  I believe once Schwartz finally chooses his starting offensive line that they will continue to get better throughout the season, Continuity is key for offensive lineman and it’s only gained by playing together.

I’m tired of Lions fans and media alike trashing Matthew Stafford. The kid is a very good QB. He can’t make guys hold onto the ball for him. He can’t block for himself and he can’t implement new offensive packages that would give him a higher percentage of having a good play. The only thing he can do is A) Be accurate and B) Be smart with the ball.

I’m not hitting the panic button because of 2 pre season games. I said it back in March. This team as currently constructed is not a playoff team. I hope they prove me wrong but I see way too many flaws with management and personnel for this to be a playoff season.

 

Thanks For Reading

 

QB’s Have Gotten Paid. Is Jay Cutler a Franchise QB?

Chicago Bears General Manager Phil Emery stated that the team will not talk contracts with any player Jay Cutler included once training camp started. So if he keeps to his guns no Bears players will be negotiating during the season. We have seen, Aaron RodgersJoe Flacco, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, and Matt Ryan have all received new deals this off-season.

The Bears didn’t really even get into negotiations with Cutler this off-season. I’m of the mind that they believe they can find a better QB. Now with all the QB’s the Bears ran through since Jim McMahon until they traded for Cutler most fans would have thought he would have been locked up long before entering the final season of his contract.

That said, is Cutler a franchise QB? Now keep in mind I ask the same question of Tony Romo as well. The numbers don’t really help Cutler at all. He has been the worst of all the quarterbacks mentioned above. Now can the Bears draft the next big time QB? Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Brett Hundley? It’s an interesting question.

The Bears have always gotten where they’ve got in SPITE OF their offense. The offense has not improved much since Cutler’s arrival. Now many will blame his line. Legit gripe but he’s had a running game and now has Brandon Marshall.

Obviously this season is critical for Cutler and his future whether in Chicago or elsewhere. His money is going to depend on it.

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NFL’s 5 Brightest Futures (TEAMS)

 

 

1. Indianapolis Colts – With a Franchise QB in Andrew Luck and basically an offense that really hasn’t missed a beat since Peyton Manning left for the Denver Broncos.

Brightest Players– T.Y. Hilton a complete steal in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. Small in size, big in plays. Colby Fleener Luck’s college teammate is going to be a very affective TE in this offense. DeWayne Allen maybe an even better TE than Fleener. Colts TE situation is set for some time. On defense the Colts have some nice pieces as well. Vontae Davis was a big upgrade at cornerback. Bjoern Werner is expected to be a quality DE. Veterans Cory Redding and Robert Mathis really fill out the defense nice.

The Biggest Questions– Was last year’s playoff team a product of emotion for coach Chuck Pagano who was fighting cancer? How much of last year’s success was because of Bruce Arians? Will all the free agent additions really improve the team?

 

2. Washington Redskins – Vastly improved team that has a lot of good to very good young core of players.

Brightest PlayersRobert Griffin III showed last season how dynamic he can be. RG3 has a very good arm which because of his elite running speed is often overlooked. Alfred Morris burst onto the scene last year and really tore it up running for 1,613 yards as a rookie. Fred Davis, Pierre Garcon, and Leonard Hankerson all are productive players. All Pro left Tackle Trent Williams is very underrated and is very athletic for his position. Kirk Cousins adds a great dimension to this  team. A backup quarterback who could probably start for at least 10 teams right now. On defense they got younger in their secondary in the draft this year and have the always reliable Fletcher London holding down the middle of that defense.

The Biggest Questions– Can RG3 comeback and be the same player he was? Will Pierre Garcon be healthy? How much longer can Santana Moss be a productive player still? Can Mike Shanahan show the ability to replace Griffin if he isn’t healthy?

 

 

3. Detroit Lions– While last season was a massive step back from their 2011 playoff appearance this team still has all the talent it needs to be good for a long time.

Brightest Players– Calvin Johnson. Without a doubt the best wide receiver in the game, dominant. Matthew Stafford. Stafford’s critics came out in full force last season about his mechanics and every other thing but the truth of the matter is he had no running game and was throwing to receivers by the names of Kris Durham, Brian Robiske, Stefan Logan, ect. Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh, Reggie Bush, and Ezekiel Ansah are all players who should be around to make this team good for some time.

The Biggest Questions– Which Matthew Stafford will we see the 2011 or 2012 version? Is Jim Schwartz really the man to lead this team? Will Reggie Bush be the X-factor the Lions believe he will be? Is Ezekiel Ansah the real deal or a workout wonder? Can Nick Fairley play a full season?

 

4. New York Giants– While they failed to make the post season last year. This team is built for winning and winning long term. Playing in the NFC East is always a hard thing with all the teams in the division pretty even but the Giants experience and Head Coach set them apart from the rest of the division.

Brightest Players- Eli Manning guy just keeps getting better and has an uncanny ability to bond with his receivers pretty fast. Resigning Victor Cruz was a big deal and now they can turn their focus to Hakeem Nicks and get him locked up. With David Wilson, Stevie Brown, Jason Pierre Paul, Justin Tuck are all very key to this team.

The Biggest Questions- Is David Wilson ready to be the premiere running back? Can they get into the playoffs? That’s really their only question. Once this team gets in, they get rolling until their Champions.

5. Seattle Seahawks- While some may argue they didn’t belong after the interception that was called a touchdown. They made the playoffs and showed they belonged in them. This team is young and fun to watch. The future of the Seahawks is at it’s brightest it has ever been. Even the Super Bowl team of 2004 wasn’t as talented as this squad,

Brightest PlayersRussell Wilson is just a winner, from his days at Wisconsin all he does is win. Russell Okung, Percy Harvin, Marshawn Lynch. The defense is like an All Star team the brightest guys here are Bruce Irvin and Earl Thomas are the 2 players that stick out the most to me. Thomas is a special player at his safety position.

The Biggest Questions- Will Russell Wilson take a step back? Can this defense play up to its numbers on paper? Will Percy Harvin be a distraction or a key player?

Honorable Mentions- Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cincinnati Bengals

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.