Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pro Bowl or Flag Football?

Despite being a huge football fan, I've never watched a Pro Bowl.  So this year, I was looking forward to watching the best of the NFL.  What I had't realized was that I'd be tuning in to watch the highest paid flag football game of my life.  What a joke!

The Pro Bowl has a real problem when fans in Hawaii, who never see NFL football at home, are booing because tacklers are being 'gentle' with the running backs.  The fans don't want to see that.  I couldn't even get myself to the end of the first half.

Anybody else feel like they were watching Dancing with the Stars while watching the lineman?

Stop playing this game.  Fans are excited after a great playoffs for the upcoming Super Bowl and we have that excitement completely dampened by by bunch of rich guys playing 7 on 7.

If I were a Pro Bowl defensive back, I wouldn't play.  What happened to those guys was ridiculous!  59-41?  Come on!

Finally, I really don't see how Matthew Stafford can throw for over 5,000 yards and still not be selected as an alternate.  That's fifth all time EVER!  What is the NFL's problem with Detroit?

The answer to all of this is simple: Stop playing the Pro Bowl.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Senior Bowl Winners and Losers


Nice quick slide show showing which players improved or hurt their draft status.
Kirk Cousins, from Michigan State University,  improved is stock and is projected to be picked somewhere late in the 2nd round or in the 3rd round.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tigers acquire Fielder: Good move?

I'm a huge Detroit Tigers fan.  I hadn't heard much about any huge deals involving the Tigers so I was completely surprised when I heard that Prince Fielder had signed a 9 year $214 million contract.

I was listening to the radio this morning and one person on there was saying that this was a bad deal for Detroit.    His reasons were Fielder's weight, the amount and length of the contract, and that the Tigers already have an all-star calibre first baseman.

I completely disagree.  Prince Fielder has been a proven run producer and leader and he's been virtually injury free throughout his career.  He's one of the top 5 hitters in baseball.  Last year he had more RBIs and less strikeouts than Curtis Granderson, Adrian Gonzolez, Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira, Jose Bautista, and Joel Votto.

When you have a chance to get a guy that good at 27 years old, you take it.  Especially when you know he'll be playing for you for the next 9 year, the prime of his career.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How great was Joe Paterno?

Was just listening to a video about how Joe Paterno claimed he didn't have the power to do more about Jerry Sandusky.  Then I think about his record 409 wins as a head coach and have to wonder how winning a game was more important to a "great coach" and "great school".

In my opinion, the school shouldn't have a football program any longer.  Some would say, you can't punish the players they didn't do anything wrong.  But again I ask, how much is worth sacrificing to win football games?  Because in my opinion, from what I've seen and heard thusfar, Penn State cares most about money.

There's a quote, "Evil prevails when good men do nothing".  So maybe JoePa was a good man.  And I guess he did more than nothing.  I think he was naive about the amount of power he really had.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lions need depth at safety and healthy Delmas

Was just reading an article on the Lions website about Louis Delmas and evaluating the safety position.  Delmas went down in the Thanksgiving game against the Green Bay Packers and the secondary wasn't the same for the rest of the year.  Amari Spievey was also injured the second half but was able to play through that injury so there's no telling how good he would have been healthy.  The safety position works as a tandem anyways: those guys have to work together.  It hurts when that guy, Delmas, is also one of the more vocal players.

I thought the Lions secondary looked really good until the Delmas injury.  I hadn't realized until reading this article just how thin we were the second half of the year.  After Delmas went out, we had two other guys that were brought in also get injured before Chris Harris became the starter.  Hopefully the Lions will see one of the top safeties in the draft fall to them for some much needed depth.


Friday, January 20, 2012

New York Giants 27 at San Francisco 49ers 30

I predict that the San Francisco 49ers will defeat the New York Giants this weekend for the NFC Championship.

I've heard the term "instant classic" thrown around in reference to this game and I agree this should instantly be one of the more memorable playoff games in recent memory.  This game should be much better than the AFC game with two teams peaking at the same time.

Each team has a strong defense but I have to give the edge to the 49ers.  That opening drive last week when Donte Whitner knocked Pierre Thomas out of the game, caused the fumble, and stopped what looked like an inevitable game opening scoring drive, showed the world this defense was mean.  And, in case you're wondering, I think this defense will give some of the same treatment to Brandon Jacobs.

But what about the Giants you say?  What about the fact that Eli Manning is playing better now than he ever has?  Last week he had a nice time pushing around a Green Bay Packers defense that was pretty pathetic.  This week will be different I promise.  He'll have a decent game but no way he puts up the numbers (330 yds, 3 TD) like last week.  Don't forget the Packers offense had a horrific game.

In summary, I'd look for a low scoring first half, and then a more exciting second half as the defenses begin to wear down.  Ultimately, home field advantage will be the deciding difference.

Final score: New York Giants 27 San Francisco 49ers 30

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baltimore Ravens 24 at New England Patriots 34

I'm predicting the New England Patriots will defeat the Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC Championship and go on the the Super Bowl.

Ever go see a fight when you were in high school?  I remember one where one guy kept getting himself all pumped up and talking real loud trying to intimidate the other guy.  I also remember the other guy.  He didn't say a word, didn't really move, he just stood there very calm.  The loud mouth was scared and insecure.  The guy who you really should be scared of is the quiet one who stands there with confidence waiting.  He was confident the fight would go well for him because he had been there and done that.

I thought of that story when I was thinking about all the hype recently about Joe Flacco's comments in the media about how he isn't getting enough attention.  I think the reason he doesn't is because, like the insecure loud mouth at the fight, Flacco isn't the real deal.  He'd be much better off keeping his mouth shut.  I think he's having illusions that he's somehow like that other guy on his team Ray Lewis.

In contrast to Flacco, we haven't been hearing much from the Patriots.  That's because they've been there, done that, and they're confident that they know what the outcome will be.

I'm predicting the Tom Brady led Patriots over the Ravens 34-24.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sweet Revenge...Sorta

Admit it. You were rooting for San Francisco to beat New Orleans out of spite for the Saints eliminating Detroit.  That's what I was doing.  So I was happy Saturday to see that Drew Brees still can't win playoff games on the road.

But is there more to it than that?  Absolutely.  Maybe I'm tired of seeing the same teams every year in a league that's supposed to have parity.  Or maybe, it's more fun to watch a "team" than to see an offense.

What I mean is this: the Saints have a great offense but they're defense isn't that great (see here).  So every game they play becomes very one dimensional:  Pass, pass, and more pass.  And because the opposition is often playing catch-up, they also fall into the same pattern.

The 49ers, on the other hand, have a much more balanced team.  Offensively ranking 11th in average points per game in the regular season (see here). And obviously their defense is great.  The fan gets a more dynamic game with this team.  With them, all parts of the game are important.  Look no further than their pro bowl special team kickers.

Most of all, despite our coaches being enemies (see handshakegate), I really like San Francisco's team.  I remember the good ol' days when having a running game was essential to winning.  When the Lions had Barry Sanders, it seemed like any quarterback would do.  So seeing Frank Gore get lots of carries, and Alex Smith run for a touchdown in the playoffs, is my kind of football.

What about New Orleans? They were a great running team this year.  That's true, but their leading rusher, Mark Ingram, had less than 500 yards this year.  Running back by committee is also boring to me... that sounds  like a great topic for another day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stinky Fish in St. Louis?

The Rams hired Jeff Fisher to be their coach next year.  I always thought he was a good coach.  And if you  look at his record, he has 22 more wins than losses despite a couple bad years when he first started with what was then the Houston Oilers.

Coaching the Tennessee Titans from 1994 until 2010, 17 years,  his record was 142 wins 120 losses.  In 1999 they were AFC champions and ironically lost a close game to the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl.  Aside from 1999, they won their division 3 other times, and made the playoffs a total of 6 times.  In those six trips to the playoffs, their record was 5-6.

I was reading some reader comments on Yahoo Sports and some St. Louis fans don't think he's a good coach.  I would have to disagree.  And, yes, it always comes back to my Lions somehow.  As a Lions fan, I think I'm at least a good judge of bad coaches and bad management for that matter.  I can at least say for certain that Jeff Fisher is not a bad coach.

I think Fisher and St. Louis are both making the right move.  Sam Bradford is a good quarterback, and St. Louis has some other good young talent thanks to their imitation of what Detroit did for several years.  They also have the 2nd pick in the upcoming draft to add another star player to their team that could make a huge impact.  And don't forget, they already have a Pro Bowl level running back Steven Jackson.

This may also be a situation where the master has become the apprentice.  Jim Schwartz, who used to work for Fisher in Tennessee, came to Detroit when they also had an early first round pick to help get things going in the right direction.

My prediction: look for St. Louis to win 8 games next year and compete with the 49ers for their division the next year.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Peyton Hillis a Detroit Lion?

Ever since Barry Sanders retired, Detroit fans have been waiting in anticipation for the next feature running back.  Personally, my hopes were the highest when they drafted Kevin Smith out of UCF, a guy with a gazillion rushing yards in college.  As it turned out, he wasn't the outstanding back I had hoped for.  The list goes on...

Now we've got Mikel Leshoure, unproven in the NFL coming off an achilles injury, Jahvid Best coming off of two more concussions, and Kevin Smith back after being let go by the team.  Just like when Kevin Smith was drafted, my hopes were high and then dashed on the rocks with the draft and then injury of Leshoure.

So what should Detroit do now?

The optimist in me looks at the potential of Leshoure, Best, and Smith healthy and my mouth waters.  If Leshoure could be anything like LaGarrette Blount, and Best a poor man's Darren Sproles, Kevin Smith could back up both those guys and we'd have one of the better running back groups in football.

But hoping for the best doesn't do much for you.  The old adage "hope for the best and plan for the worst" is probably Detroit's best course of action.  that mean's bringing somebody else in that is starter quality.  Which finally gets me to the my point.

If the price is right, the Lions should go after Peyton Hillis.

Here are my reasons

  • He's young
  • He's proven he can be a 1,000 yard plus back
  • He's the kind of runner that doesn't need great run blocking due to his straight-ahead and straight-through style of running
  • He's coming off a bad season stat-wise so the price might be affordable


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Broncos are a better team than Detroit Right Now

My argument is simple: The Denver Broncos won their playoff game and moved on to the next round.  The Detroit Lions did not.  This is surprising as we look back at where each team was after the first 5 games of the season.  Detroit was flying high looking like they might take a run at going 16-0 while Denver was 1-4 and had just benched Kyle Orton in favor of Tim Tebow.

So what happened?  How does a team that looks unstoppable look tired and worn in their first playoff game in 12 years?  How does Denver start out looking horrible and now seem like world beaters?

I believe this is still partially due to the history of the two franchises.  Detroit is a place that winning is something new and Denver is a place where winning and competing for championships is expected.

Take a look at the playoff droughts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFL_franchise_post-season_droughts

Look no further than a couple stats: Detroit hasn't ever been to a Super Bowl in 53 years.  Detroit hasn't won a playoff game in 20 years.  That said; Detroit has taken huge steps this year towards building a fan base and an attitude that create an environment where going to the playoffs isn't an achievement but the minimum expectation.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Will Rex Ryan and Jets make playoffs again?

It's been great this year as a Lions fan watching other teams fire and hire without feeling like my home team should do the same.  The Lions made huge strides forward as a franchise and have followed the footsteps of the Tigers and the Red Wings to become a place that free agents want to come play.

I'm also thankful for the coach we have and his desire to do his talking with results on the field and not in front of the camera.  That said, I enjoy the entertainment value of Rex Ryan.  Seeing the offensive coordinator makes me think the Jets ship is sinking and Shottenheimer got out before the rest of the coaching staff is fired.

Mark Sanchez hasn't turned out to be what New York fans seem to want.

So my poll question, displayed at the right, will the Jets make the playoffs again while Rex Ryan still remains coach.
Rex can't shield himself from attacks anymore

Brian Shottenheimer will not return to the New York Jets next year

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Detroit Lions Cliff Avril and other Free Agents

Detroit's defense has a couple key players without contracts.  Cliff Avril and Stephen Tulloch should be kept and given new contracts as they were 2 of the better defensive players we have.