It's nearing the end of the week, and the weather is turning crisp in SE MI. Which can only mean we are closing in on the next Detroit Lions game, and the latest Lions Congregation roundtable. As always, Reverend Spielman of The Church of Schwartz has passed on another set of 3 questions to the Lions blogosphere, with this week's Q & A focusing on the Minnesota Vikings.
1. Explain how you'd defend the Vikes this upcoming week.
The Vikings will go as Peterson goes, not Brett Favre. If I'm Gunther Cunningham, I put a spy on Adrian Peterson, place 8 men in the box, and try to punish him by hitting the Vikings star with as many bodies as often as possible. A tall order, to be sure. We are talking the Lions, after all.
The Lions won't get much push from their defensive line, which means they'll have to gamble on defense more than they did against the Saints, who tore apart Cunningham's uber-conservative defensive play calling. They should have gambled more, Drew Brees was killing Detroit straight up. (Having CB Phillip Buchanon back can only help in that regard) Detroit's most talented players on defense are the linebackers, so I'd blitz Peterson and Sims, daring the 39 year old Brett Favre to try and beat me.
Best case scenario, the Lions control Peterson, force the aged past his prime Favre to make tough throws, and take control the game. Worst case and more likely scenario, Peterson runs WILD, and Favre spends most of the afternoon throwing short, safe passes and handing off, chewing up clock.
2. How do you fix the Lions inability to run the ball in short yardage situations? New personnel packages or just play better?
Long-term, there are some things only talent can fix. Short yardage situations is one of them.
In short yardage, and for that matter, red zone situations, it's all about the offensive line getting leverage on the defense, blowing them back off the line. Unfortunately, the Lions offensive line, to be blunt, blows. They are often overwhelmed by a massive push from the defense, forcing the running back to make his first juke move before he even gets to the line.
Play calling can help, but just a little. We saw how well misdirection worked when Kevin Smith took a pitch out for a red zone TD last Sunday. But NFL defenses aren't going to be fooled continually. Which is when you need to out talent and out execute the opposition...and we know that's not going to happen...
I can't see how changing personnel packages will help. The Lions just don't have the talent or depth to do so. Not yet, anyway.
3. What's your projected score for Vikes - Lions?
Viking control the ball with Peterson, while the Detroit offense again struggles to score touchdowns. Vikings win, 24-13. The "streak" reaches 19.
To read what the rest of the Lions' blogosphere has to say about the upcoming Vikings invasion, head over to The Church of Schwartz!no comments
The //sarcasm on// oh so generous to a fault NFL //sarcasm off// has granted the winless Lions a 24 hour extension in hopes Ford Field will sell out for Sunday's matchup with the Vikings. Otherwise, it's blackout time.
The team announced there are 1,700 tickets remaining, which would have to be sold by 1 p.m. Friday.
However, the league will only grant an extension if there's a strong likelihood the team will sell out.
A "strong likelihood?" So there's that going for us...which is nice.
This shot of Ford Field would be funny...if it weren't so sad...
Get to buying tickets, so we can enjoy...did I just say enjoy? Not a good choice of words. Rather, so we can endure Sunday's game all over SE MI!
Getting to see Vikings stud RB Adrian Peterson is worth it, isn't it? Silly question! Of course it is...
How about seeing Brett Favre again? It's worth it, right? I know, I kid, I kid...no comments
A good man and a solid NFL assistant and head coach, who never really had a chance of truly succeeding with the Lions, passed away Wednesday.
Monte Clark, credited with building the dominant offensive lines on the Super Bowl winning Dolphins teams of the early 70's, and was the head man on Detroit's sidelines from 1978 to 1984, has died at age 72 after an extended illness.
Clark led the Lions to a pair of playoff appearances, in '82 and '83, their first since 1970, despite being handcuffed by penny pinching GM and Ford lackey Russ Thomas. That alone earned Clark my endless respect.
But Lions fans of a certain age will most fondly remember Clark for his actions in San Francisco on New Years Eve 1983. I remember it like it was yesterday...
Led by the great Billy Sims' 114 yards rushing and 2 TD's, and despite QB Gary Danielson throwing 5 interceptions, the Lions found themselves in position to win the divisional playoff game on the road against the then up and coming San Francisco 49er's. The Lions were 43 yards away from their first playoff game victory since 1957, and the 9-7 NFC Central winners would move on to the league championship game.
With 11 seconds left, kicker Eddie Murray (arguably the best place kicker in the NFL at the time), who had nailed 3 of 4 field goals earlier in the game (including a then NFL playoff record FG from 54 yards), lined up for the game winning 43 yard attempt.
CBS cameras caught Clark, who had been through Hell and back with the Lions, including a 2-14 season in '79, with his eyes closed, his hands together in prayer, just before the snap. It's something I'll NEVER forget.
I'm not a religious man, but I was praying too, Monte...
The kick was plenty long, but was just wide right. Clark's prayer was in vain.
Murray's words after the game summed up the feelings of all Lions fans: "If I had had a hara-kiri knife, I would've committed it right there."
The '83 playoff loss may have been the toughest I've ever had to deal with as a life-long Lions fan. I'm sure Clark felt the same way. Unfortunately, his coaching career never recovered.
It was all downhill for Clark after that crushing loss. The Lions started the '84 season 1-5, and Sims suffered a career-ending knee injury in the 8th game. He was fired a few days after the end of season, only to be replaced by college refugee Darryl "What does a coach have to do around here to get fired?" Rogers. Clark had the Lions pointed in the right direction after their awful 70's, but Rogers, a bad fit from the start in the NFL, drove the team directly and deep into the ground.
Any progress made during the Clark years was lost, and the Lions stumbled through the remainder of the 80's a league bottom feeder.
As I said, Monte Clark never had a chance. Save for spending the last year of Don Shula's career as a Dolphins assistant, Clark never coached in the NFL again. But he was not out of football, as he was a Lions special consultant for the past several years.
Wherever you may be now, Monte, may all your last second field goals be straight through the uprights.no comments
The Lions are surprisingly close to selling out the home opener against the Vikings. Closer than I ever thought possible.
Straight from the Lions' daily release:
There are approximately 4,000 tickets remaining for the Lions 2009 regular season home opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Detroit News gives us the usual details:
The Lions have until 1 p.m. Thursday to sell those tickets for the game to be shown locally on Fox. If the Lions are close to a sellout by Thursday's deadline, they could be extended a 24-hour deadline by the NFL.
18 straight losses, 1 for the last 24, and yet the Lions are thisdamnclose to selling out the home opener.
Amazing. Absolutely, stupendously amazing...
Detroit fans are such NFL and Lions sheep...which is a compliment! I'm one of the flock as well.
It won't take much to life the blackout, hit up your local Ticketmaster/Scalper/Season ticket holder who doesn't want to go, and get the game sold out.
Falcons Packers Retired Jets Retired Vikings quarterback Bret Favre spoke to the media today, and freely offered advice to the Lions' struggling young rookie, Matthew Stafford.
"I'm sure we'll chat at some point, and as far as advice goes, my motto has always been, 'Keep slinging it.'"
Wonderful. Some role model. And I'm not just talking about his attention whoring ways, or inability to make up his damn mind.
We've seen more of the Favre on the right as he refuses to change his "gunslinger" mentality...
As great a quarterback Bret Farve was (we can all agree at age 39, John Madden's sweetie is no longer "great"), he's the LAST person I want giving advice to a raw rookie.
Favre got away with murder as a QB, thanks to his arm strength and insane belief he could make any throw, in any situation, from anywhere on the field. There was a time, a little more than 10 years ago, when the Wrangler pitchman could get away with many of his crazy ass throws. But the things he did do, and admittedly, Favre did enough to make him a Hall of Fame lock, weren't exactly textbook quarterbacking. Hell, they weren't even in the book. It's not what you'd want an impressionable young player like Stafford emulating.
I've seen Favre give away more than his fair share of games,, or keep games closer than they should have been, even against the Lions (specifically back in the "glory" days of the 90's), thanks to his "I don't care if my receiver is triple covered and I have a 300 pound defensive end wrapped around my neck, I'm throwing the ball anyway" philosophy.
I was in the Silverdome and Ford Field stands for many a Packers-Lions battle (again, back when the Lions were a competitive team, which feels so long, long ago, my memories are becoming sepia toned.), and I often found myself saying, "I can't believe Favre thought he could make that throw!"
Media lapdogs like Madden and Chris Berman eat the "quarterback as gunslinger" act up. But there's a time and a place for "slinging it", as Favre suggests. Thing is, you also need talent on the other end of those slings, and talent giving you enough protection to allow you to sling the ball. For the vast majority of his career, Favre was surrounded by legitimate NFL talent. The Lions, save for Calvin Johnson, are sadly lacking in legitimate NFL talent around Stafford.
Stafford is going to throw a scary amount of picks as it is this season. Follow Favre's advice, and he'll shatter records...for interceptions.*
*The season record is held by, of all people, George Blanda. He threw 42 (!!!) INT's with the AFL Oilers in 1962. But when factoring his playing in the pass giddy AFL of the 60's, and remained in the league till he was older than Methuselah, I'd cut Blanda a little slack. For what it's worth, Favre holds the records for most interceptions lifetime, both regular season with 310, and playoffs (shared with Jim Kelly), with 28.
Personally, I had the Lions 31st, and placed the St. Louis Rams last. Why, you ask? The Lions put up 27 points against a probable playoff team, the tied for 11th and rising, Saints. The Rams, who will challenge the Lions for the title of "Worst NFL team of '09", were shut out by a middling, 14th ranked, Seahawks. In my book, that was enough to keep the Lions barely above the Rams, though the rest of the Bloguin network thought differently.A team with 18 straight losses tends to not get the benefit of the doubt, and rightly so. But that's my vote, and I'm sticking to it.
It already appears the week 8 clash of the bottom feeders, St. Louis at Detroit, will be a battle for the 1st overall selection of the 2010 NFL draft.
One thing of note. A new feature has been added to the power rankings, the comment blurb for each team are attributed to a specific blog. You'll now know eactly which snaky comments were from yours truly.
You can expect the power rankings and other features to evolve week to week, as Bloguin continues to refine their home page.no comments
The following Facepalms have been awarded to the following Detroit Lions for their on-field actions during the loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Gentlemen, enjoy. You EARNED them...
TWFE'S NFL WEEK 1 FACEPALM AWARDS
Facepalm #1 - Matthew Stafford: Rookie or not, you throw 3 picks, you get yourself a Facepalm.
Facepalm #2 - Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham: There's a play used by teams having trouble generating a pass rush with only their down linemen. In case you didn't know, it's called a "LINEBACKER BLITZ." It's known to be a quite effective play call, especially when your both your best defensive players and pass rushers are your LINEBACKERS! Come get your Facepalm, please.
Facepalm #3 - Louis Delmas: 15 yard personal foul penalty for throwing a hissy fit, knocking the ball out of Jeremy Shockey's hands after giving up a TD, is stupid. Interfering with a referee, while you are on the SIDELINES, getting yourself another 15 yard personal foul, is..well...stupider! In this case being a rookie is no excuse. TD fumble return be damned, such blatant stupidity will get yourself a Facepalm every time.
Facepalm #4 - Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan: How do you design an offense which totally ignores your stud number one draft pick, one of the top rated prospects at his position in years, tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew did not have a catch, as the ball was NEVER THROWN TO HIM. That's worthy of a Facepalm in my book.
The Special Achievement in Suck Facepalm - The offensive line: Inexcusable false start penalties stalling drives in the end zone. Giving Kevin Smith absolutely no holes to run through. Having three of the highest paid players on the team (Churilus, Backus, Raiola), yet performing at an unacceptable level..a level known as "Suck." The only reason the offensive line doesn't look totally inept is thanks to the Lions defensive line being even worse! Facepalms all around!
The Facepalm of God-Awfulness - The defnesive line: Absolutely no pass rush + Drew Brees having the time to read "War and Peace" in the pocket + Inability stop the run + A 3rd string, journeyman running back rushing for 143 yards = Facepalm
The Just Because Facepalm: William Clay Ford: The 18 consecutive losses are ultimately your own damn fault. I hope you drop your Facepalm Award, and break your richer-than-I-could-ever-imagine-being little toe. Then you might have an small idea as to the pain you've caused fans.
I expect a fresh batch of award winners this Sunday, as hilarity will ensue while the Lions attempt to slow down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Should be...excruciating to watch.no comments
It was finally time to talk some serious hockey again last night on “The Knee Jerks”, my weekly sports gabfest with Greg Eno from GregEno.com, Out of Bounds, the Bleacher Report and too many other entities to mention!
Our guest was the man I like to call “The Godfather” of hockey blogging, Paul Kukla of Kukla’s Korner.
Paul joined us for a review of the Red Wings’ off-season, and what to look for during training camp. We didn’t stop there. We pressed on, asking Paul to name us some key players for 2009-10 and where he sees the Red Wings ending up next spring.
(Note: Paul's glass is half full, which should reassure lots of Red Wings followers)
After Paul gave us his rich insight, Eno and I got to chatting.
We began with the Tigers—I'm on Eno's bandwagon, agreeing the Tigers have all but sewn up the division—and their post-season chances. Then it was time to talk some football, U-M and Lions style. We dissected Michigan’s big win over Notre Dame (is Tate Forcier a Heisman candidate of the future? Hey, if there can be--you older folks will get it--a "Huckleby for Heisman" campaign, why not "Tate for Heisman?") and the Lions’ garish loss in New Orleans.
Finally, it was time for the requisite Jerks of the Week. Eno's wasn’t sports related, but when you hear who it was, I think you’ll understand!
Fun times, as always!
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, for updates on scheduled guests, time changes, etc.
On U-M freshman QB Tate Forcier: “Forcier for Heisman in a couple of years? Looks like RichRod might have found his Pat White.”
On the Tigers’ chances in the playoffs against the Yankees: “Don’t forget that it’s a shorter series, so anything can happen. We didn’t think they’d beat the Yankees in 2006, either.”
On the bullpen: “Do you make Brandon Lyon the closer now? He’s been lights out since May. How about next year? The Tigers might lose BOTH Lyon and Fernando Rodney to free agency. I think I’d rather keep Lyon, because Rodney might be easier to replace.”
On the Lions coach Jim Schwartz: “Jim Schwartz LOOKS like a head coach. He did a pretty good job of game management in New Orleans. Unfortunately, he’s been put in a shitty situation!”
On Forcier: “Enjoy him now. That win over Notre Dame was huge. But there’ll be a game where he just blows up, because he’s so young. But if he’s for real, Michigan should win a lot of football games over the next four years.”
On the Tigers: “They lost five games in a row and only lost a game-and-a-half off their lead. That’s an indictment of the division. They’re going to win the division. And if they’re going to beat the Yankees, it’s more likely to happen in a 3-of-5 than a 4-of-7.”
On the bullpen dynamic: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Keep Lyon as the set-up man for those tough outs in the seventh and eighth innings. I hope the Tigers don’t lose both of them to free agency. Ryan Perry isn’t ready yet to assume a bigger role. He’s too erratic.”
On the Lions: “The revamped defense was shockingly like last year’s. I think Matthew Stafford had the usual first game jitters. The Lions need to give him a running game, somehow.”
To listen to the show, you have several options: You can click on the player in the right sidebar, subscribe via RSS, go to the show page for an on demand stream or direct download the MP3 version, or you can subscribe/download the show through the Zune Marketplace or iTunes, just by search for "The Knee Jerks" in the respective client!no comments
I'll always have issues with the Detroit Lions front office when it comes to...well, damn near everything. But this Sunday, the Lions franchise is doing, unquestionably, the right thing.
On Sunday at Ford Field, Harwell will be a Lions honorary captain for the home opener against the Vikings and take part in the ceremonial coin toss.
I hope Ernie is the good luck charm the Lions desperately need.
The Detroit Tigers will also be honoring Harwell, as he will be their guest of honor Wednesday night. He will thank the fans sometime during the game, though it will not be in a formal ceremony. (That's per Ernie's wishes, according MLB's Detroit beat writer, Jason Beck)
Kudos to both the Lions and Tigers for allowing the fans to thank the terminally ill Ernie Harwell one final time.
Words cannot describe how sad I'll feel when the inevitable arrives. Till then, please take the opportunity to let Enrie know just how much he's loved in Detroit.
It's Monday, so you know what that means? Not a Lions post mortem...not yet, anyway. Need I remind you Monday means it's time for The Knee Jerks? Well, consider yourselves reminded!
On today's show: With the Red Wings starting training camp in Traverse City this week, we Knee Jerks (Greg Eno and myself) thought it would be a great time to talk hockey. And who better to talk hockey than today’s guest. He is one of the Internet’s blogging pioneers, the man behind the Kukla’s Korner blogging empire, the top web destination for any fan of the NHL, Michigan’s own Paul Kukla.
In addition to Paul’s main KK blog, the Korner also hosts one of the best Red Wings blogs on the web, Abel to Yzerman, along with 10 other hockey blogs. While you can find most of his writing at KK, Paul also has a column which can be found at NHL.com. Paul’s an avowed fan of the Red Wings, so we’ll have an early preview their coming season. Expect plenty of NHL talk in general, as who wouldn’t want to vent their spleen over the worst run league in sports, and the NHL's controversial commissioner, Gary Bettman? We'll get Paul's thoughts on the state of the sports blogosphere as well!
After speaking with the Godfather of hockey blogging, we'll move on to the hottest topics in Detroit sports, including: The past week of the Detroit Tigers, from their 5 game losing streak, to the sudden need for a 5th starter (it's going to be Eddie Bonine, but still...) due to injuries to Jarrod Washburn, Armando Galarraga and Nate Robertson. Let's not forget football, both Wolverines and Lions style. We'll discuss Michigan's huge win over the evil empire known as Notre Dame, and the Lions suffering their 18th consecutive loss at the hands of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Along with Red Wings, Tigers, Lions and Wolverines talk, we'll also name our respective Jerk of the Week!
Head over to our show page at 11PM every Monday night for the latest and greatest in sports talk...sports talk with a Detroit attitude!no comments