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Monday, January 14, 2008

Detroit Lions Offseason (written Jan 06, 2008)

Detroit Lions – I am not a mind reader; nor can I tell the future. I am however going to go out on a limb and make a prediction. There will be no10 win guarantee from the Motor City this coming off season. The first thing they need to do is dump Matt Millen. I mean really how many horrible decisions do you get to make before you’re done. I definitely understand firing Mike Martz, he just couldn’t seem to make his offensive schemes match the talent he had at hand and that is no one’s fault but his own. However that is a complete wash as a move, sure it doesn’t make you worse to get rid of him, but it doesn’t make you better.
The Lions are in real trouble I mean as I review the segments of their team the best looking segment is quarterback John Kitna. Yeah, I know the best potential is at WR but I have yet to see that potential deliver. So with those two the offense is just a pinch closer than the defense. So let’s address the offense first.
Step one go to the draft for offensive lineman. Let’s be honest George Foster isn’t exactly fostering hope. Ryan Clady (OT-Boise St.) will very likely not drop this far but he should be their first choice, the next best option on the board will be Jeff Otah(OT-Pittsburgh), who has a lot of upside but is still very raw. Considering the Lions do not have a skilled Offensive Line to surround him with in a mentoring role I think they would be smart to consider Sam Baker(OT-USC) who is a much more polished product.
The second step in the offensive solution is to go get Brian Billick to be the offensive coordinator. Their isn’t a strong tie between Billick and Marinelli but they do have a tenuous tie. Marinelli is part of the Tony Dungy coaching tree(which is rapidly growing) while Billick and Dungy made their names as Offensive and Defensive Coordinators under Denny Green in Minnesota.
The Lions D is not really strong but the only glaring weakness is at cornerback. In an extremely Matt Millen move, they sent Dre Bly to Denver for Tatum Bell and George Foster. (Look I can’t say this clearly enough. DO NOT trade with Denver for any aspect of their line or running back field. It is there system, it has been shown again and again, even Clinton Portis who is inarguably a Pro Bowl back isn’t as good now as he was in Denver.) We already know the Foster part didn’t work and by the end of the season Bell was hardly seeing any carries, so essentially they gave up a premier corner for little to nothing(I swear this’ll be the last time I mention that Matt Millen must go). So perhaps as they are looking to draft Offensive lineman they should look to bring in a few CB if that is the best player on the board. The one thing I will say they have going for their Defensive growth is that is Marinelli’s real skill area. While he was in Tampa Bay as Defensive coordinator they dominated that side of the ball, They led the nfl in sacks during the time he was there.
Overall it will be a slow growing process across the board. The key though is that they do keep growing. They can’t afford to take the continued small steps backward that Millen’s leadership forces.(ok I needed one more shot at him).
Tomorrows team – Chicago Bears

Outside shot
Did any one else hear Madden heart breaking??
In the middle of a key drive Heath Miller tipped a ball that went to Hines ward, to which Madden replied “you know those tipped balls seem to happen here” referring to the AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Madden’s Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 23, 1972 where Franco Harris caught a tipped ball off his shoes that knocked the Raiders out of the playoffs.

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