I knew the Lions weren't going to be a very good team this season. I'm on record saying they'll win 4 games. But I didn't think they'd be as bad as they were during the Rod Marinelli Era of Invisibility. Unfortunately for Lions fans everywhere, Saturday night's debacle/embarrassment/flashback to '08 gave us not only a facepalm sort of game...
Stafford didn't! Yes, he did...throw a pick on the opening play...
...but a double facepalm sort of game.
Is there any question at all Picard was a Detroit Lions fan?
Watching the Lions whiff on tackles, turn the ball over, breakdown on special teams and generally allow the Browns run roughshod over, through and around them, all I could think of was, "Predicting 4 wins is being crazy generous!"
I even broke out the /facepalm Lion out on Twitter. (Which was full of funny and agnsty Lions fans, by the way)
So In the spirit of the facepalm, I'm going to start a new post game feature at TWFE.
The Facepalm Awards!
Facepalm #1 - Matthew Stafford: I want to cut the kid a little slack, as he had no idea the immense whirlpool of fail he was entering. I still believe Stafford is the most talented QB on the roster. But throwing a pick deep in your own territory on the first play from scrimmage gets you a Facepalm. So will a 14.6 QB rating. Stafford's capable of so much more. I'm of the thought his ugly performance versus a not very good Browns defense was only rookie nerves. But if...God forbid, I'm going there...it wasn't, and Stafford is the next Long/Ware/Harrington, the Lions are in deep, deep trouble...for the next 5 years. As I said on Twitter last night: Matthew Stafford's QB rating for the 1st quarter: 2.8. That's going to be my blood alcohol level if this keeps up...
Facepalm #2 - Stan Kwan's not-so-special teams: You all know my live blog rallying cry: FIRE KWAN! Anytime you put Avieon Cason on the field as your kick returner, when you have rookies to evaluate (Uh, Derrick Williams and Aaron Brown, anyone? Anyone?), it's going to get you a Facepalm. Let alone the God awful kick coverage on Josh Cribbs, who pretty much could do anything he wanted against Kwan's coverage unit. The coverage teams were a smorgasbord of epic, epic fail. FIRE KWAN, indeed.
Facepalm #3 - Jim Schwartz: Not so much for his in-game decision making, but for his asinine handling of the starting QB situation in front of the media in the days nefore the game. Stafford wasn't the "starter," he was just "beginning the game." Please. Don't. Start. With. Semantics. Schwartz, you're better than that, much better. Keep it up, and you'll soon join Rod "I believe in the invisible" Marinelli, Marty "The bar is high" Moronnweg and Bobby "Abandon ship" Ross in the Detroit Lions' Moronic Quote Hall of Fame. Trust me, that's one HOF you don't want to be a part of.
Facepalm #4: Carson Butler and Dewayne White: For their immature and outright brain dead fight on the field during warmups. When I heard about this during the pregame, I was, for lack of a better word, flabbergasted. It's one thing to get fired up before a game. Hell, it's to be expected. But fighting with your own teammate while ON THE FIELD BEFORE THE GAME? The amount of stupidity needed from both parties for a tussle to escalate to fisticuffs is unquantifiable. When you are little more than rookie training camp roster filler, like Butler, you'd think there would be better ways to get the coach's attention. The only attention he will get now is from The Turk when cuts are to be made. As for White, there is no excuse. He knows better. Lucky for him the Lions are desperately thin along the defensive line...
Facepalm #5 - The Lions defense: The Browns hadn't scored an offensive TD in 7 games, They were held scoreless in their last final 6 games in '08, and in their first exhibition of '09. Against the Lions, the Browns offensive offense scored on their opening drive. If that isn't enough to win a Facepalm...But wait, there's more! You needed more than your hands to count all the missed tackles. You needed a calculator! Yes, it was that damn bad. There's no scheme on earth capable of making such talent deficient players good. Or even average. It's going to be a looooong season with a defense this atrocious, folks.
There you have it, people. The 1st ever TWFE Facepalms. I'll be taking nominations after every Detroit Lions loss. Meaning we'll be doing this every week...no comments
Kickoﬀ : 7:30 p.m. EDT
Stadium: Cleveland Browns Stadium - Couldn't they have been a little more creative?
Television: WWJ-TV 62 (CBS) Local only, at least it isn't tape delayed, right? They better have fixed their replay machines, as replay video was so jerky last week, I started having seizures!
Play-By-Play: Matt "Ol' Shep, marooned on the butchered WDFN" Shepard
Color: Desmond "Another Heisman winner who was a bust as a pro" Howard
Sidelines: Charlie "I'm in the HOF, bitches" Sanders & Steve "Does anyone other than right wingnuts listen to WJR anymore?" Courtney
Lions Radio Network Flagship: 97.1 FM The Ticket (WXYT-FM) "It's not sports talk, it's guy talk!"
Play-By-Play: "Dapper" Dan Miller
Color: Jim "Witnessed more bad football in '08 than any normal human could possibly tolerate" Brandstatter
Sidelines: Tony Ortiz
2009 Preseason Records: Lions, 1-0; Browns 0-1- Lions are on a 5 game exhibition winning streak!
2008 Records: Lions, 0-16; Browns 4-12 - Going by the records, we're going to see some UGLY football tonight.
Lions injuries (via Roar Report): Out tonight are WR Calvin Johnson, TE Brandon Pettigrew, K Jason Hanson, RB Allen Ervin, WR Kenny Harris, and TE Casey FitzSimmons.
10 things I'm watching....or at least trying to watch, as it's only an exhibition! (I'm guessing this will be pretty much the same list, whomever you ask)
1. Matthew Stafford
2. Matthew Stafford
3. Matthew Stafford
4. Matthew Stafford
5. Matthew Stafford: Is this kid for real? When can we stop pinching ourselves and start believing what we are seeing? Stafford showed all kinds of potential against the Falcons backups and training camp roster filler, it's time to see what he can do against a true NFL defense. (I know, I know, it's the Browns, but work with me...) We may not know for sure after tonight, but I'd think we'll have a much better idea if John Matthew Stafford, Esq has a chance to be the SAVIOR and lead the Lions to the promised land (or at least to a regular season win) after playing against most of the Browns 1st team defense.
6. Louis Delmas: Tonight Delmas makes his NFL debut after missing the Falcons game with an injury. I've been dying to see the big hitting rookie safety in action. In how many other NFL cities would a rookie's decleating another rookie in camp workouts make headlines? (Freep: Lions' Delmas Lays Big Hit on Teammate, News: Lions Rookie Louis Delmas Returns with Emphasis) I hope he can come even remotely close to living up to the media hype.
7. Aaron Brown: All I'm asking from Brown is to do it again. No, Brown doesn't need to score 2 TD's. But he does need to show he belongs on the field when the big boys are playing. It's one thing to go long against never-gonna-be's, it's another altogether to play well against veteran defenders. For what it's worth, not blowing assignments and getting flagged for 15 yard celebration penalties would go along way towards his making the team.
8. Shaun Smith: SI called Smith the Lions' "most indispensable" player. Really? An inconsistent, hotheaded headcase who has yet to harness his talent, best known for punching out Brady Quinn more than anything he's EVER done on the field, is the player the team can most ill afford to lose? I'll need to see it, to believe it. I'd like to see it, starting tonight.
9. The defense: I just want to see one thing. A 3rd down stop. That's all. Is it too much to ask? My guess is...yes.
10. The over/under on Kerry Colbert dropped passes: If the number is 3, I'm taking the over...
Prediction: Stafford looks great, Delmas' talent gets swallowed up by the black hole of suck that is the Lions' defense, Brown disappoints, Smith is invisible, (It's a metaphor! I do not believe in invisibility, unlike a certain formner head coach), Colbert's stone hands dings Stafford's stats again, and I become bored stiff after the half, dozing off in the 3rd quarter.no comments
If it's nearing the end of another week, then it must be time for another Lions Congregation roundtable! Here's the latest set of questions from The Church of Schwartz's Reverend Spielman, and my answers.
1. Who was the player that surprised you the most with their play against Atlanta?
Without a doubt, it was the 6th round pick, RB Aaron Brown.
It's been well over a decade since the Lions have struck starter gold with late round picks (Namely 6th round selection FB Cory Schlesinger and 5th round pick MLB Stephen Boyd, both in those halcyon days of 1995). Since then, it's been nothing but training camp tackling dummies, practice squad roster filler, and the very occasional special teams guy. But drafting an actual player in the later rounds? Hasn't happened.
So it was refreshing to see Brown make plays in his limited time on the field. Even though it was against mostly Falcons never-gonna-be's, Brown showed signs of being the change of pace running back the Lions thought Brian Calhoun was going to be (at which he failed miserably). In 8 touches from scrimmage and 2 kick returns, Brown had 149 total yards, including a 32 yard TD run, and turned a short pass into a 45 yard TD reception. (We'll ignore his gaffes on a screen pass and punt coverage, along with the 15 yard celebration penalty, for the time being)
Yes, it's far too early to project Brown as the 3rd down RB. But for at least one night, it appeared as if the Lions had found a diamond in the rough. It remains to be seen if Brown is a true gem, or just a cubic zirconia.
2. Will Chuck Darby still be on the roster come the start of the season?
Yes, as who do the Lions have that is any better, even with Darby's lack of size and advancing age? I'm not saying Darby is all that good, which he hasn't been. But there is an absolute dearth of NFL quality (or NAIA quality, even MHSAA quality) on the defensive line.
I'm sure the Lions will jump all over any remotely adequate defensive linemen as training camp cuts begin, as they will have the pick of the cut littler thanks to their 0-16 record. But there are worse players on the roster than Darby, players who should be given their walking papers by the Turk ASAP.
3. Which Defensive Ends will be on the team at the start of the season and what roles will they play?
Can I just punt on this question? No? Hell...
Dewayne White is the only no-brainer. Cliff Averil makes it pretty much on potential alone. After that, all I can say is...Damn, the Jared DeVries injury is killing the Lions.
I'll go out on a very short limb and say at least a couple of ends on the Lions' final roster are currently on other teams. Now if the Lions are able to convince Kevin Carter to sign, then all bets are off...
As for Alma-Francis (How long are the Lions going to wait on this stiff?), Conover, Hunter and Rees, the moment defensive ends start showing up on the waiver wire, they best start cleaning out their lockers. Though one of them may end up sneaking through to opening day, as the Lions will be forced to have more than just a pair of ends on the roster.
For the thoughts of other Lions bloggers and media members, head over to The Church of Schwartz for the scoop.no comments
As we've done in the past with a mock draft, I exchanged thoughts on Saturday's exhibition tilt with Don Delco of the Cleveland Browns blog "No Logo Needed." What follows is Don's take on what the Browns are going to try an accomplish against the Lions in their attempt to win the Great Lakes Classic trophy!
This is for all the marbles...and a goofy looking ore carrier trophy!
Nov. 17, 2008. That was the last time the Cleveland Browns scored an offensive touchdown. It caused a regime change, but the results were the same in the team’s preseason debut last Saturday at Green Bay.
On T.V., closeups of the new head coach, Eric Mangini, told 1,000 words. The coach stood there with a grimace on his face and hands on his hips. We were able to figure out six of those 1,000 words: “Why did I come to Cleveland?”
Entering Saturday’s Great Lakes Classic, regaining the barge for the first time in three years is, sadly, not at the forefront. Instead, the Browns will be looking to their quarterback position.
Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson?
Quinn seems to have taken a lead after last week’s performance — 7-for-11 for 68 yards, one interception and one touchdown pass dropped by Braylon Edwards. Meanwhile, Derek Anderson was 0-for-2 with one interception.
Mangini has made no indication that a starting quarterback will be named following the Lions game. It will be hard pressed to stick with that mantra especially if Quinn puts together another good game while Anderson struggles.
As you might imagine, coming off a 4-12 season quarterback is not the only issue. A lack of a running game and a poor defense also continued to plague the Browns last Saturday.
Regardless of position battles, the goal for the Browns is simple come Saturday.
Just score a touchdown.
What insider secrets did I give Don? None at all. But I did have some things to say about the Lions, and my comments are after the jump!
Update 8/20/09: Bullocks cleared waivers at 4PM this afternoon, and rather than give the oft injured safety an injury settlement, he was placed on injured reserve. Meaning Bullocks is still property of the Detroit Lions, and is officially out for the 2009 season. Despite being given another year to recover, the question remains; can Bullocks ever retrun to form after his devestating knee injury? The TWFE Magic 8-Ball says...Not likely. Big Al
Going into the 2009 season, safety Daniel Bullocks was expected to get plenty of playing time, if not start. Yet, here we are, 3 weeks into camp, and Bullock's oft injured knee has him unable to much of anything other than visit doctors. So the Lions are going to ditch the always injured 2006 2nd round pick by placing him on the waived/injured list. Meaning he is all but done as a Detroit Lion.
Bullocks, a 2006 second-round draft pick, missed the ’07 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in an exhibition. He returned to play 16 games last year, starting 15, and was the Lions’ recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in honor of his comeback.
But the knee sidelined him in training camp this year, and he visited the surgeon who repaired it.
As to what exactly the "waived/injured list" is, here's the best explanation I could find, via WikiAnswers...
Waived injured' means the team is releasing the player but the player is injured. The team is responsible to pay the player until his injury has healed. This is usually done by reaching an agreement for a specific amount of money, called an injury settlement. Other teams are allowed to pick up players on the waived injured list but they are forewarned that the player is not in condition to play. Sometimes, if a player on the waived injured list is not selected by another team, the team will retain the player and place him on its injured reserve list.
In other words, the Lions cut Bullocks, and will essentially buy out his contract for an agreed upon cash settlement. Bullocks could return down the line, but if the current coaching staff thinks he can't get back to NFL readiness after suffering the injury 2 years ago, and after actually playing in 2008, what are the odds he'll ever be ready in their minds? Slim and none, thus the Lions cutting ties with what will be known as another Millen draft bust.
I'm calling Bullocls a bust due to never living up to the expectations of a 2nd round draft pick, though it's due to injury, not a lack of talent. Bullocks was one of the few and far between solid selections by Matt Millen. Unfortunately, the ACL injury he suffered in '07 derailed what was likely going to be a productive career.
The Curse of Matt Millen strikes again!
With the release of Bullocks, the only remaining member of the 2006 draft on the Lions' roster is Ernie Sims. Is it any wonder the Lions went 0-16 by whiffing on an entire draft 2 years previous?
What follows is what could arguably call one of the worst drafts ever, in any sport, in any era.
1. 9 Ernie Sims, LB Florida St. - Solid but unspectacular starter, has yet to truly have a break out season. The Tampa 2 was an awful fit, will The Schwartz's scheme be a better one?
2. 40 Daniel Bullocks, DB Nebraska - Torn ACL has ruined career.
3. 74 Brian Calhoun, RB Wisconsin - Spent most of his time in Detroit on the IR, but was unproductive whenever activated. Waived after the '08 season, out of football.
4. Traded to NE - The Pats drafted TE Garrett Mills in the Lions' spot. Mills has spent the last 2 seasons in Minnesota as a backup, and is on their current training camp roster.
5. 141 Jonathan Scott, T Texas - Started 6 games in 2 years, waived after the '07 season, apparently out of football.
6. 179 Dee McCann, DB West Virginia - Practice squad in '06, then released. Was signed and then cut from the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL this summer, which about says it all about Millen's drafting acumen. McCann couldn't even stick in Canada!
7a. 217 Fred Matua, G USC - Released in '06 training camp, bounced around practice squads of a few teams,apparently out of football.
7b. 247 Anthony Cannon, LB Tulane - Amazingly (It's amazing when you look at the rest of the'06 draft), Cannon had an on and off 3 year career in Detroit, almost exclusively on special teams. He was released this past off season, currently an unsigned free agent.
Wow. Words fail me as to the awfulness of Millen's 2006 draft.
At this point, the Lions might be better off blowing out every Matt Millen draft pick left on the team. What better way to cleanse the Millen stench but to eliminate any and all players connected to his tenure?no comments
As we're closing in on a new NFL season, meaning the Lions will dominate much of my writing, I plan on doing catch-all, bullet point style posts about the other sports in the great city of Detroit. Here's the first...
Aubrey Huff: If you've been reading TWFE or listening to The Knee Jerks for any amount of time, you know I've been SCREAMING for a bat for the Tigers lineup. Well, my screams were finally heard. The reply to my screams is named Aubrey Huff.
It's about damn time the Tigers got a decent (Not great, but you can't have it all) LH bat. Huff's having a down season compared to his career year in '08, but he still has more RBI than anyone on the Tigers. Even better, he's hitting .324 and slugging .514 with RISP. And we all know how bad the Tigers have been in those situations. I just wonder where in the Hell Huff is going to play, because believe you me, he will play.
Huff is blocked by Brandon Inge (Who is NOT going on the DL. according to Dave Dombrowski) at 3rd, the gazillionaire named Miguel Cabrera at 1st. and the gimpy Carlos Guillen at DH. If Huff DH's (The most likely scenario, which we saw Tuesday night, as Huff is not exactly a dynamo with the glove), that means Guillen heads to LF, which is a recipe for disaster...both in outfield defense, and for Guillen's health Then again, Raburn has been a disaster in LF too...and at 3rd...and at 1st...
Still, the Tigers picking up a hitter of Huff's quality for essentially a low upside prospect is an excellent move. Good to see Dombrowski is back on his game.
Todd Bertuzzi: When rumors ran rampant around the tube filled internets regarding a possible Red Wings/Burtuzzi contract negotiation, I honestly didn't believe them. Why would the Wings want Bertuzzi, who has been a shadow of the player he once was since the ugly Steve Moore mugging and the onset of a bad back? Let alone there is the fact Bertuzzi was a complete non-entity when the Red Wings picked him up at the '07 trade deadline.
Turns out the Red Wings did do the Watusi Burtuzzi. He agreed to a one year deal this afternoon, surprising most of Red Wings nation. A deal I didn't hear about till later in the evening (Thanks, Eno!), as I was actually trying to have a life away from those tube filled internets.
I do think quite a few fans won't be happy with bringing Bertuzzi back into the Wings fold, considering they were ticked over the Jason Williams deal. What's with bringing back under performing former Red Wings? But it's more than his past stint as a Wing, and it's more than his his thuggish past history. What fans don't like is Bertuzzi's noticeable decline in skills.
He's no longer a premier power forward. He's just a guy who might get you 40 points. But...If Bertuuzzi can get even remotely close to what he once was, he'll be a plus to Detroit on a 3rd line. It's just a matter if the Wings can bring it out of him. If there is an organization in sports that tends to bring out the best in what was thought to be washed up players, it's Detroit.
Alex Avila: Another HUGE hit Tuesday night? It's official. Avila's a GOD amongst we mere mortals.
Brett Favre: I hope you freeze your attention whoring, non-committal, prima donna ass off in Minnesota.no comments
As always, my friend and co-host Greg Eno has the highlights of last night's big show...
It was time to talk some “old school” basketball last night on “The Knee Jerks”!
The weekly gabfest I have with Greg Eno of GregEno.com had another jam-packed episode, and our guest was former Pistons player and coach and member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame (MSHOF), Ray Scott.
Ray regaled us with stories, from his being drafted by the Pistons in 1961, to his time as the team’s coach from 1972-76. And we discussed the state of the current Pistons, and got Ray’s take on the rebuilding project that GM Joe Dumars is undertaking.
Finally, we talked about the sorry financial state of the MSHOF, how it got to be so bad, and whether there’s hope for it. (Ray seems to think there could be a “white knight” on the horizon; we’ll see).
It was a glorious (and fast) 60 minutes with one of the “walking encyclopedias” of NBA history—Mr. Ray Scott.
After Ray, Al and I talked some Tigers and Lions for the remaining hour.
On the Tigers acquiring Aubrey Huff: “The Tigers FINALLY did what I’ve been asking since the beginning of the season—they got a left-handed bat! But where the heck is Huff going to play?”
On the beanbrawl in Beantown featuring Rick Porcello and Kevin Youkilis: “Youkilis was a pussy. The Tigers got bent over by the league with the ejection of Porcello.”
On the Lions’ exhibition win Saturday: “I still don’t see this team winning more than four games because there are too many issues on defense. The front four produced no pressure against the Falcons’ starters.”
On Matthew Stafford: “I think it might be a good decision, after all, to have Stafford start Game One of the regular season. If he’s the best QB, then there’s no reason not to play him. Period.”
On Huff: “He may be what the Tigers need to get over the hump. Sometimes guys who come from last place teams get re-energized. This could be good for both parties.”
On the beanbrawl: “To eject Porcello without any warnings handed out was a screw job, for sure.”
On the Lions’ exhibition game: “I wouldn’t read too much into the defensive issues right now. At least the Lions have a coordinator who believes in blitzing and pressuring the QB, and that in of itself is a breath of fresh air.”
On Stafford: “It’s getting to the point now where if you’re looking for reasons NOT to like him, it’s like nitpicking. And what an arm he has!”no comments
SURGERY? THIS MORNING?
What 'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis!?
Per Tim Twentyman at the Detroit News (Twentyman?):
"Jason Hanson had a fairly minor knee procedure done early (Tuesday). He did really well with it, the doctors are pleased with it and we're optimistic we'll get him back on the field pretty quickly," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "The idea was rather than let it linger and turn into something that was going to nag him all season, which it likely would have, we decided to do it now while we have a little bit of time and give him a little time to recover."
Yes, the player I've considered the Lions' MVP for all of this decade is on the shelf thanks to "minor" knee surgery. The coaching staff is downplaying the injury, obviously. And I doubt it's anything too serious, if the team is planning on Hanson missing a small amount of practice time.
But when you are talking about an ancient a 39 year old place kicker, is there any such thing as "minor" knee surgery? "Minor" would be removing a wart off his big toe. Knee surgery for a man who needs his legs in the best of shape is hardly minor. But then again, I'm a Detroit Lions fans, and I always believe the NFL sky is falling...right on the Lions like a 2 ton anvil.
The bigger question is, who in the Hell is going to consistently score points? Hey, it's a legit question when you consider the Lions well known and long time struggles in the Red Zone.
Taking the place of Hanson (if any such thing is possible) is rookie Patrick Swayze, who was just great in Red Dawn and Road House! Cool, huh?
Uh, may bad, taking Hanson's spot is rookie Swayze Waters, which is much less cool.
Just like a row of dominoes, adding Patrick Swayze Waters to the roster required another move. LB Cody Spencer was placed on the IR after tearing his ACL in Saturday's preseason game exhibition. Spencer's injury is just another reason why exhibitions are nothing more than ridiculous money grabs by greedy ass NFL owners.
But I digress...
In regard to this very disturbing news, let me be the first to say, "Jason Hanson, GET WELL SOON!"
On Blog Talk Radio tonight, The Knee Jerks talk hoops past and present with our latest "very special guest", former Detroit Pistons great, as both a player in the 60's and head coach from '72-'76, Ray Scott.
Scott won the NBA Coach of the Year award in 1974 when he led the long downtrodden Pistons to the playoffs with 52-30 regular season record. Even though Scott was the most successful coach in Pistons' history to that point, he was fired by new owner Bill Davidson halfway through the '76 season. Scott then went on to be head coach of the Eastern Michigan (then known as the) Hurons from '76 to '79. In 2008 Scott was elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and selected to be a part of the Pistons' All-Time team, as one of the "30 All-Time Pistons." We're looking forward to talking old school NBA with Scott, who was the last coach hired by the Pistons founding owner, the eccentric Fred Zollner.
After our interview with Ray Scott, we'll ponder the past week in Detroit sports, including the following:
Tigers: Is trading for Aubry Huff the solution to what ails the Detroit offense, the bean-ball fest and brawl wrestling event in Boston, and the fallout afterward, their continued struggles in hitting with RISP, Justin Verlander's credentials as both an "Ace" and a Cy Young candidate, the role players, such as Clete Thomas and Ryan Raburn, being placed in positions almost guaranteeing they will fail, just how valuable Brandon Inge is to the team, and the upcoming west coast trip and never-ending road woes.
Lions: Our thoughts on the exhibition season opener, a win over the Falcons, which QB was better, Daunte Culppeper or Matthew Stafford, talk about the pluses and minuses we saw from the on-field product, our thoughts regarding Jim Schwartz, and how he handled his first game as head coach. Last and least, we'll cover Charles Rogers speaking to ESPN, admitting he was a Cheech and Chong level pothead.
Michael Vick: The Eagles signed Vick to a 2 year deal (the 2nd year is a club option), which could be worth nearly $10 million once incentives are added. Could Vick have anything left after being in prison for nearly 2 years? If Vick has lost a couple of steps, can he still be an effective QB, or would he be just another guy? If he’s lost a couple of steps, is Vick just a more infamous version of Mike McMahon?
We end the show by naming our respective Jerk of the Week! To listen to the show, you have several options: You can click on the player in the right sidebar, head over to The Knee Jerks Blog Talk Radio page where there will also be a chat room, or get a direct download after the fact from the aforementioned show page, our RSS feed, via Zune Marketplace or iTunes.
Be here at 11PM every Monday night for the latest and greatest in sports talk...sports talk with a Detroit attitude!
Kickoﬀ: Saturday August 14, 4 p.m. EDT
Stadium: Ford Field
Television: WWJ-TV 62/CBS (Local only, and even worse, it's on an 8PM tape delay. Damn moronic and archaic NFL TV policies. Good luck trying to find the game on the NFL Network. Good luck trying to find the NFL Network, period...)
Play-By-Play: Matt Shephard
Color: Desmond Howard
Sidelines: Charlie Sanders & Steve Courtney (I expect all sorts of aggressive, unbiased reporting. //rolls eyes//)
Lions Radio Network Flagship: 97.1 FM The Ticket - WXYT-FM
Play-By-Play: "Dapper" Dan Miller
Color: Jim "Watched more bad football in 2008 than any man has in recorded history" Brandstatter
Sidelines: Tony Ortiz
2008 Records: Lions, 0-16; Falcons 11-5
The 5 things I'm watching:
1. Daunte Culpepper vs. Matthew Stafford: What else would you expect at numero uno? It's the only storyline truly worth keenly watching this early in training camp. Not that there is much to read into who gets the start against the Falcons, as head coach Jim Schwartz named Culpepper the starter for preseason exhibition game one, and Stafford the starter for game two.
Supposedly, Culpepper is rejuvenated in two ways; physically, in losing enough weight to now be compared to blocking tight ends (260 lbs) instead of run stuffing nose tackles (3 bills), and mentally, by being reunited with his former offensive coordinator in the land of Norsemen, Scott Linehan. We'll soon see if the increased mobility and confidence in working with Linehan makes Culpepper a respectable QB, something he wasn't in 2008...or 2007...or 2006...Notice a trend?
As for Stafford, I can't wait to see him play at full speed. We've heard nothing but SUPERLATIVES and RAVES (Yes, always in CAPITAL LETTERS!) about the rookie phenom from the national media, the local beat writers, and most importantly, the Lions themselves. Even if Stafford is going to be playing against backups, never-gonna-bes, wannabes, and training camp roster filler, I want to see if he comes close to living up to both the hype, and his mega-million dollar contract. The Matthew Stafford era finally begins...hopefully with a bang, not with a Joey Blue Skies-esque wimper.
2. The Schwartz's demeanor on the sidelines: We spent the last three years watching Rod "I believe in invisibility" Marinelli butcher the clock, throw the red challenge flag without a hope in Hell of a call being overturned, game planning being only a rumor at best, and non-existent at worst, and all around ineptitude on the sidelines. I want to see...The Schwartz not do any of those things.
3. The defensive line: Can they stop anyone? Your guess is as good as mine, considering Detroit's D-line is a weird combination of old, young, over the hill, unproven, injury riddled and not all that good on paper. I'm so used to seeing the Lions defense give up 3rd down conversion after 3rd down conversion, long TD drive after long TD drive, I'd be happy to see even a modicum of competency from the tackles and ends. Competency isn't too much to hope for, is it?
4. Injuries: The Lions can't afford any. Their roster is thinner than a bulimic Paris Hilton.
5. Not dozing off: That would be about me. Preseason Exhibition games are essentially snoozefests, especially late in the 2nd half when players who will never wear an NFL jersey in anger ever again are on the field. I have no interest in watching 5th string training camp tackling dummies go at it, even if they are wearing the Honolulu blue and silver.
Culpepper looks good, Stafford even better, the Lions defense is one in name only, a work in progress. As for the score, who cares? It's preseason exhibition season, for chrissakes!no comments