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Old 12-13-2010, 07:56 AM    (permalink
BcLion
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Default Not the "same old Lions"

This has been an interesting year for me. I have been stationed over in Afghanistan so I have seen all the games two sometimes three weeks after reading just about everything I could about them. This has given me a unique opportunity to look at the Lions games with no emotional ties. I already knew most of what happened and also knew the outcomes long before setting eyes on the actual games.

What I have seen has been very encouraging to me and I can't help think that if we had fewer injuries to key players this would be a different team entirely in the W/L column. I really believe they would be in the playoff race if Stafford and our defensive starters had remained healthy throughout the year. Say what you want about wins being the end all be all but I sure didn't expect this team to be in virtually every game this year with 2nd/3rd string QB's.

Schwartz has made his share of mistakes this year with clock management and bad calls. But I like seeing a football team that comes to play every Sunday and doesn't leave anything on the field. That comes down to the culture change we have been looking for. The win over GB is proof these aren't the "Same old Lions". Granted they lost their starting QB during the game but the Lions have played pretty much the entire season without theirs.

I am not expecting the Lions to finish out the season undefeated. Heck I will be surprised if they win another game this year. But it sure feels good to see how things are changing in Detroit and I look forward to being legit next year.

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Old 12-13-2010, 08:51 AM    (permalink
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That Dline is scary good.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:07 AM    (permalink
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I loved seeing the team fight for a win last sunday. It could have been easy for them to pack it in after having our 1st and 2nd string QBs get injured and now our starting CB and our defensive captain out as well.

The old lions thing to do would have been to walk out there on sunday and get creamed by the packers but instead they came to fight and pulled off the win.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:37 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stafford4Prez View Post
Hey BcLion apparently they dont have spell-check in Afghanistan yet huh?!? Just kidding but seriously its embarrassing.
having you associated with the Lions in any way is embarrassing.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:18 PM    (permalink
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Stafford4Prez Thanks for the constructive criticism. You really added to the original post content with your thoughts on the subject at hand.

detroit4life I havenít had the opportunity to see the game yet but I am looking forward to it. The last game I saw was the Jets game. I should be getting the others in the mail soon.

I also think itís important to note how bad the officiating has been this year. Not just for the Lions but throughout the entire league.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:37 PM    (permalink
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I agree completely. Everything that could go wrong this year did. The football gods evened out some of that karma with the game on Sunday.
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:12 AM    (permalink
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Mike O'Hara: Monday Countdown
National NFL experts sound off on bunch of Lions' issues

Five respected followers of the NFL have been asked to address five issues involving the Lions.

The issues: if they're better than their record; areas that must be upgraded; whether general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz are the right leadership tandem; Matthew Stafford's value and future; the national buzz on the Lions.

If you're a Lions fan, the answers provide more hope than might be expected for a team that has had double-digit losses for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
For example: Are they as bad as their record?

"They are more like a six-win team that might end up at 3-13," ESPN's John Clayton said.

Added Peter King of Sports Illustrated, NBC and anywhere in the world that football is talked and written about: "If the question is, "Are they a hopeless two-win team?' Then, absolutely not."

Is the national buzz the same old Lions?

"They're not a joke," said Gil Brandt, the super scout and personnel wizard who helped build the Dallas Cowboys into America's Team.

"The buzz is considerably more than a year ago or two years ago. There are more people talking about the Lions."

What about Stafford?

"They'd definitely have four more wins with Stafford," said Jim Miller, a former Michigan State quarterback whose 11 NFL seasons included a year, 2004, with the Patriots that earned him a Super Bowl ring.

What needs fixing first?

"Almost anything with the pass defense, and assume that means the secondary," said Clark Judge, CBS Sports' national NFL columnist. "I'm astonished by how easy it is for opponents to gash these guys with the pass."

For this week's Monday Countdown, Brandt, King, Clayton, Miller and Judge were asked to give their views on the five issues involving the Lions. It was done before Sunday's game with the Packers to avoid being swayed by a possible upset victory.

Here are their responses:

Are the Lions better than their record?

Brandt: "They easily could have and should have won the Bears game in Week 1 on that play (Calvin Johnson's nullified TD catch). They're playing like a team that's got five or six wins right now, and it doesn't look like they've quit or anything like that. It seems like they all playing hard. I'll tell you who's playing good is that left tackle, Jeff Backus.

"They're definitely a more prepared team than I've seen them. Jim has them much more prepared than ever before. I think he's doing an above average job."

King: "They've had four tortuous losses to likely playoff teams, and they play hard. And they've finally got a good defensive front for the first time since the Robert Porcher days."

Clayton: "They have played better than a two-win team. They were robbed on the Calvin Johnson play at the beginning of the season. A few other calls have cost them in the close games."

Judge: "The feeling is that the Lions are at least interesting for the first time in years and dangerous if you're not careful. Can't remember the last time I said that."

Miller: "Whether it's due to officials or what, they're better than 2-10. That offense is doing something. They actually have a good offense moving forward, if they can keep Stafford healthy."

Are Mayhew and Schwartz the right leadership team?

King: "One hundred percent yes. The Lions are making progress, have drafted reasonably well, and have some superb, young building blocks. Give this administration at least a four-year chance."

Brandt: "I talked to Bill Parcells last week, and we were talking about them, and he said, 'I hope one thing. I hope they give this guy a chance because I think he is really a good young coach.' That's straight from the great Parcells.
"Mayhew has a very good idea of what it takes."

Clayton: "Making a change at coach or general manager would be a mistake. The talent base is building up nicely, and Jim Schwartz gets good effort out of the players. Replacing Schwartz could cost them Linehan, and that would set the offense back."

Miller: "It seems like he (Mayhew) is taking the feedback from the coaches, and it carries a lot of weight. That alone is different from the past of the Lions.

"They're coordinated. It's figuring it out and having a plan. They've been aggressive. Look at all the trades in the offseason."

Judge: "Too soon to make a call on Mayhew/Schwartz. I will say that the player acquisitions have been better, much better, than the Matt Millen years, but they should be. The bar was set low. Jim brings the right attitude to this team, and the club seems to have responded. But the bottom line is, with four games left in the season his record is worse than Marty Mornhinweg's two years.

"It's one thing to say the club looks and acts better. But it better win more, and it hasn't. I'll cut Jim some slack because of the Stafford injury, but I'm startled the Lions aren't better on defense. That's Jim's side of the ball, and one where I thought the Lions would make the most improvement."

What areas need to be improved?

Clayton: "They've got to strengthen the offensive line, but they can spend the 2011 offseason on their defense. Stafford has to stay healthy for the Lions to advance. I look at it as the Lions are two drafts away from getting better on defense. They made a mistake letting Ernie Sims go to Philadelphia because they'll be in the market for two outside linebackers."

Brandt: "They have to draft like they have the past two years. They need another good draft, and in that draft, they need to get a cornerback. And the second thing that would help the most is if they get an offensive lineman. There are a lot of offensive linemen around this year."

Miller: "I still think the offensive line has to be added to. Jeff Backus can't play forever. I don't think everybody's sold on their secondary. They basically got some guys who were failed high draft picks. They have to add to their linebackers. It's the offensive line and the back seven. Jahvid Best ó that guy is a special player. I think Scott Linehan hit a home run there."

King: "1. Get Stafford healthy ó and find out for certain if these shoulder injuries are fluky or an unavoidable habit. If they are, cry for an hour, then go get some legit QB insurance. 2. Get two new pieces for an aging and just-OK offensive line. Urgent."

Judge: "I would find a cornerback or two. Draft an offensive tackle to protect the quarterback and hope like heck that Stafford isn't what he appears to be -- which is fragile."

Is Stafford the quarterback for the future?

Brandt: "Stafford's return means everything. He is capable of having the same kind of success that Sam Bradford is. He's a talented guy, and not only is he a talented guy, but a guy who works at it.

"He lives close to my house in Dallas. When he comes home in the summer and it's 115 degrees out there, he's out throwing the football with kids who were in school with him. And he's smart. That where the whole thing starts."

Miller: "They actually have a good offense moving forward, if they can keep Stafford healthy."

Judge: "I have no doubt that Stafford was the right guy, but he sure looks like an injury waiting to happen. If his shoulder is as vulnerable as it seems, it keeps the Lions from moving to the head of the class -- for a while. You can't go anywhere without solving that position, and I won't believe it's solved until I see Stafford make it through a season without sitting in the ER."

King: "They got totally screwed by the injury, and re-injury, to Matthew Stafford. It's hard to build momentum when your franchise player can't stay on the field."

Clayton: "Stafford has to stay healthy for the Lions to advance."
What is the national buzz about the Lions?

Brandt, who does a daily show on Sirius satellite radio: "The buzz is considerably more than a year ago or two years ago. There are more people talking about the Lions. Interest in the Lions has gone up considerably.
"It's not anymore, 'If they ever win a game.' It's, 'What do you think of the progress they're making?' It's not like they're a joke."

King: "There's a feeling of hope for the future when I talk to people about the Lions."

Miller, who does a daily show on Sirius, pinpointing the identity: "Every player I talk to, and I went down and talked to the offensive linemen of the Bears, they say it's the defensive line.

"They could realistically go a five-down defensive front. They can't because of their secondary, but their front can absolutely bring it. They know that it's going to be a competitive game against the Lions. They play with tremendous effort."

Clayton: "Before the injury to Matthew Stafford, there was a decent buzz about the team. Even though the Lions weren't showing much advancement in the win column, there was definite progress in the product on the field. Losing Stafford and then Shaun Hill took the Lions off the mainstream."

Judge: "The Lions are an improved team, close to where they want to be, and just a player or two away. Most people agree that if Stafford hadn't been hurt, Detroit would have had a far better season than it's had. The bottom line is this: The Lions are on the right track."


From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101213/...#ixzz184Er9DNU
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:13 AM    (permalink
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"Brandt: "They easily could have and should have won the Bears game in Week 1 on that play (Calvin Johnson's nullified TD catch). They're playing like a team that's got five or six wins right now, and it doesn't look like they've quit or anything like that. It seems like they all playing hard. I'll tell you who's playing good is that left tackle, Jeff Backus."

He is having an underrated season.
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:52 PM    (permalink
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great article

Gotta love Mayhew, Lewand, and Schwartz's Staff.

A couple more pieces, a healthy Stafford, and we should be an 8-8 type of team. The true test for management will be if we over-achieve or under- achieve next season.

Jeff Backus really deserves props. If he could just stop getting beat on the one or two plays that hurt Stafford EVERY year. Hard to blame him too much when Stafford took 10 secs against the Browns last year and Peppers is a beast.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:03 PM    (permalink
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Jeff Backus is having a legitimate Pro Bowl caliber season. He embarrassed Clay Matthews this week against both the pass and the run. For a potential Defensive Player of the Year, he was non-existent every time he lined up on Backus' side.
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