SBS Stadium Series: The glass palace of Minnesota

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Published on : October 12, 2017

 

 

The Michigang is back in action for our annual Lions road game meet up. This year takes the crew to Minneapolis, Minnesota for Detroit’s first divisional game against the Vikings.

 

This year’s trip was extra special because we got to visit the newest football arena in the country. US Bank stadium will be home to this year’s Super Bowl and it is clear why. The building is enormous and gorgeous. Let’s get inside and explore the new digs in this installment of the SBS Stadium Series.

 

 

First impressions of Vikings Village (the area outside the building). Kind of lame. All beer stands, which I love but no food, which sucks. Because I was starving and needed something in my belly besides booze. There was also this terrible band playing covers. I wont even dignify them with a joke. Overall, the best part of Viking Village would have to be the view. The glass face of the building is super dope. Also the local train has a stop right in front which is really convenient. But it’s getting close to kickoff so it’s time to head inside. As we made our way to the front gate we came across the witches protesting for social justice. The witches kick ass. Fuck racism and white supremacy.

 

 

The lines to get in moved so fast. Best I’ve ever seen at sporting event. Inside, they scan your tickets like a boarding pass with this fancy laser podium. It’s straight The Fifth Element. First steps inside US Bank are breathtaking. It’s like a football cathedral. The roof is so far above you at all heights. The scale is truly massive.

 

We take the escalators up to the the top level and as we move through the crowds it is clear. There are some Lions fans but not many. Probably the smallest number of Honolulu Blue I’ve witnessed on the road. Bobby joked “these Vikings fans sure do travel well”. We were outnumbered but not outclassed. Our Michigang was 14 deep and rocking our matching custom t-shirts. We drew a lot of attention. But that might be because we were chanting and yelling almost the entire time.

 

 

We find our seats and get ready for the show. But first, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of a football game, the national anthem! I did not stand for the anthem. Because Trump called NFL anthem protesters, “sons of bitches”, so I stayed seated. Because criticizing protesters who are speaking out against inequality is a trash move. But I did stop eating my pizza which I thought was a very reasonable compromise. From behind me, I hear “it would be nice if all the Lions fans would stand”. I didn’t turn or respond. Facebook comment threads have taught me how to recognize a trigger situation and I’m finally (hopefully) adult enough to not always get sucked in.

 

Then, an epic DRUM BEAT on a brontosaurus sized drum. Like Game of Thrones style viking shit. The room shouts “SKOL!”. Everyone knew what was happening. Everyone but the 14 of us. The crowd claps their hands above their heads with each beat. The drumming gets faster. It’s pretty intense. And admittedly cool. It crescendos it a roar of applause. Super loud. Maybe the loudest I’ve ever heard. This is all being lead by the Skol Line (get it, it’s like goal line) a drum line band that maybe lives in the stadium. Not totally sure on that. But they do get the crowd pretty hype. Also what’s the deal with all the Skol stuff? Do they really like chewing tobacco that much? Apparently they do. Because the entire building is smokeless. No smoking deck or area period. Maybe they have a vape zone? Also not sure on that.

 

 

Finally, it’s kickoff. I get the butterflies in my stomach. I add two beers, a pretzel with cheese and a second slice of pepperoni pizza to that stomach to kill the butterflies. The game is tight. Both defenses are balling. It’s going to be a close one the whole way I can just tell. But hot damn look at the field. The whole place feels so open and new. At one point during the second quarter, the sun peaked from behind the rain clouds and shined down on the glass of the wall and ceiling. The whole building lit up like it was magic in a Disney movie. It was beautiful.

 

Each time the Vikings have a positive play, they blare this awful horn. I’m sure the fans like it. But it gets old quick. The drum is way better than the horn. The NFC North rivals trade points until it’s Detroit 14 and Minnesota 7. But there’s plenty of time left in the game so anything can happen. And for the record, the Viking fight song they play after a touchdown is real bad and I should know, the Lions fight song is not great. But this one is rough. The clock is ticking down and now the gentlemen behind me start chirping. They keep trying to bait me into something. But I surprisingly play it real cool and don’t engage. This was no easy task by the way. I’m petty and very quick with a mean joke so this is kind of my unfortunate specialty but I swallow my insults and let the Lions defense do the talking.

 

 

Lions grind out the clock with a solid ground game and it’s over. We win. 14-7. The row busts into our favorite chant “three and one, three and one, three and one” or for s fun variation, “four and o with an asterisk”. Another huge road win. Seriously, winning on the road in our division is not something I’ve experienced too much of. It was a shock and a real joy. I will remember that day forever.

 

Overall, the stadium is perfect. Not a single flaw to mention. Other than that damn horn. The total experience was great. The Vikings fans were mostly very nice. For example, most had a hard time with trash talk. One guy saw us and yelled “Go Vikings” and then we yelled “Go Lions” and then he went “but seriously that Stafford is my something, I’d say he’s probably my favorite player in the league”. Or another guy tried to heckle by shouting, “Funny hat!” at Tomas with his lion head beanie. Sick burn you guys. It’s almost cute.

 

They say that people who build glass stadiums shouldn’t throw touchdowns. And the Vikings didn’t that day. Go Lions. And who knows, maybe the Michigang will be back in Minnesota watching the Lions in the Super Bowl. A boy can dream can’t he?

 

SKOL.

 

 


Pay Stafford his money

Written by :
Published on : August 4, 2017

 

 

Lions training camp is underway and the team is looking to get back to the postseason for the third time in four years. This is a big change from the days when Detroit was bottom-of-the-barrel looking up at the playoffs. And quarterback Matthew Stafford is a big reason for this recent success. Because of that, management is working on getting Matt a new contract extension to lock up the young gunslinger for the next half decade. This is the move to make. The Lions need to open their checkbook and pay Matthew Stafford the big bucks he deserves.

 

Haters are going to say Stafford hasn’t won a playoff game yet so he doesn’t deserve $25 million+ per season. Or he throws too many interceptions. Or that Tom Brady isn’t even making that kind of money. Or that he sucks and Detroit needs to move on from him. These type of statements drive me crazy because they are so misguided. Talents like Matthew Stafford do not come around that often and the Lions are lucky enough to have drafted him, the franchise cannot afford to let a commodity like that walk away.

 

Embed from Getty Images 

 

The truth is, the NFL has a quarterback shortage. There are about 10-15 good to great QBs and 32 teams so you do the math. Most GMs are always looking for the next brilliant single caller. But they aren’t there. For comparison, Derek Carr was just given a 5 year/$125 million deal. Carr has never won a playoff game either. This just proves that the rate for a quality man under center has gone up. Carr helped set the price point. So forget all that talk about who is making what. All these numbers are going to shoot up. Stafford just happens to be next in line to get paid.  

 

Brady’s pay was cut because of the suspensions he was going to face. This allowed the team to pay him less in salary and give him most of his money via bonuses and performance incentives. Plus Tom is one of those guys that is already so rich that he doesn’t want to hamstring the rest of the roster with his huge contract. Keeps them so damn competitive. And in terms of interceptions, Stafford threw 10 picks in 2016. His fewest in 6 years. Also the 4th lowest total for QBs that played all 16 regular season games. Speaking of playing all 16 games, Matt was done that the last 6 years as well.  

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

On to the good stuff. Matt Stafford or as some of my buddies call him, Dad Stafford or Matt Dadford, has thrown for over 4,000 yards in all of the last 6 years. That’s bonkers. He is only 29-years-old but has a wealth of game management experience. Stafford is one of the best clutch players we’ve seen since John Elway. To date, Stafford has 28 comebacks in the 4th quarter or overtime. This is the guy you want to have with the ball in his hands. Plus the dude has a straight cannon. One of the best arms in the league. Hands down. Let’s not forget his legs either. Not known as a mobile guy but he routinely makes plays with his feet. AKA, the total package.

 

Matt Stafford is a recent father. He is maturing, becoming the leader the Lions needs. It’s time to reward him for all his growth and hard work. In the immortal words of John Malkovich’s character in the film Rounders:

 

Pay that man his money

 

Talk is that the contract could be worth somewhere around $30 million a year. That’s wild but Stafford earned every penny of that. And when he wins a Super Bowl, it will look like a real good deal.

 

Cash money.

 

 


I’d rather be the underdog

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Published on : July 28, 2017

 

 

As football season approaches there is a pretty wide range of thoughts and feelings that approach with it. There’s the excitement of finally being able to watch my favorite sport every season. There’s also the uncertainty that comes along with not being a fan of the New England Patriots or the Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s an uncertainty rooted in the volatility of the sport from season to season. Aside from a privileged few who produce top notch teams every single year, there’s no telling for sure who will be any good. For everyone who doesn’t have Bill Belichick or Nick Saban at the helm, it’s a crap shoot on any given year. A few thing go wrong and poof! Season is over.

 

Before any games are played, preseason or otherwise, it’s impossible to predict a team’s performance, but that doesn’t stop the legions of sports media from trying to figure out which teams will rule and which will drool. This leads to endless preseason rankings and in-depth analysis of where every team is thought to stand by people who have no real idea of what will transpire over the course of a football season. No one should put any stock in these preseason lies and conjecture, but alas, they do. And inevitably someone’s favorite team will be picked to be among the worst.

 

 Harbaugh at the helm and still no preseason love.

 

This brings me to my two favorite football teams, the Detroit Lions and the University of Michigan Wolverines. Neither of them are getting a ton of love this summer leading up to the 2017 season. Michigan lost almost all of their starters so there’s reason to temper expectations and the Lions are the punching bag of the NFL, so there’s that. It’s not like everyone is saying that both these teams will suck this year, but most of what I’ve heard about their prospects has been negative. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

I’m not saying that I want the Lions or Wolverines to be a laughingstock, but I would rather have them coming into the year with a chip on their shoulder than have people calling for them to win the Super Bowl or the College Football Playoff. I enjoy being the underdog and without the overblown expectations I like to believe my team is free to just go out there and play the game. Not to mention that every time one of my teams is picked by the talking heads to do big things they inevitably trip over their own feet and do something stupid, like lose to Appalachian State in the season opener.

 

 Give me some Matthew Stafford with something to prove, please.

 

No, no. Better to be overlooked out of the gate and shock the world. There’s no better feeling than be discounted only to come back and shut up all of the naysayers. Because when everyone thinks you ain’t shit, the only way to go is up. It’s so much sweeter that way. Maybe it’s just my Detroit roots, who knows. But I’d rather be the underdog any day. This season and for every season to come.

 

The Patriots can have their next championship handed to them before any games have been played, but as for my Lions, I’d rather have them earn it. Alabama or Ohio State can get crowned before the school year even begins, but I’d rather have the Wolverines ruin someone else’s perfect season out of nowhere. Like a cobra laying in wait for it’s prey, I like my teams to surprise the opposition and the spectators alike. I identify with the little guy and the life of an underdog is the one for me.

 

 


Calvin Johnson has the right to speak his mind

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Published on : July 16, 2017

 

 

The Detroit Lions world is once again in an uproar over comments made by Calvin Johnson. The best receiver to ever don a Lions uniform is getting a ton of flak from fans and pundits after a recent trip to Italy. When prodded by the Italian media about his early retirement, he stated that in addition to the well-noted breakdown of his body and its declining ability to recover from the rigors of playing in the NFL, he didn’t see a shot at a Super Bowl with the Lions. This has fans all over the internet hating on Megatron and complaining that he is dragging the organization, the same one that made him a very rich man, through the mud.

 


Everyone needs dial back the talk of Calvin Johnson bashing the organization and remember that he is entitled to his opinion and he is no longer an employee of the team. Not only can he say whatever he wants but he was the only bright spot in a horribly mis-managed operation for years. He suffered through so much as a Lion and always did it with class. He showed up to work, did his job and did it well. And through all the losing, and the coaching blunders, and awful rosters, he never once complained. Or demanded a trade. He was a Lion for his entire career, and when his body couldn’t take the abuse anymore he walked away from the game. That he didn’t see a Super Bowl in the immediate future for the team factored into the decision, big deal.

 

Megatron also added that he was “stuck” in his contract and had approached the team about possibly being released, which the Lions were never going to do. The only thing I really take issue with is him saying he was stuck when he chose to sign the contract in the first place. He could have entered free agency and went to any number of teams but he signed a 7 year/ $132 million extension in 2012 to be sure he would retire a Lion. If he was stuck it was his own doing.

 

Other than that I don’t really see a reason to be mad at Calvin. Can a man who is retired and not on the team not answer a question candidly? He no longer owes anything to the team and should be able to say what’s on his mind. Everyone already knew this was the case. Fans need to stop getting their feelings hurt by what was plain to see.

 

With all that said, the ongoing Calvin Johnson post-career drama is getting old. Sadly, we as fans are going to have to get used to it. Unless Calvin Johnson becomes a hermit and is never seen in public again, the conversation will eventually always come back to a career that was far too short. And most people will place the blame for that on the Lions and try to bait him into admitting that the team is the reason the world was robbed of Megatron too soon.

 

 


The Lions get it wrong again

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Published on : June 11, 2017

 

 

There’s probably nothing to it.

 

I hope there’s nothing to it.

 

Dear God, this can’t be happening again.

 

In a situation that is sadly familiar to fans of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, it seems that their most recent mega-star has walked into early retirement holding onto some hard feelings against the team. With shades of Barry Sanders, who retired in his prime via a fax on the eve of training camp, the Lions have bid farewell to Megatron, who was still one of the league’s top receivers when he walked away. Calvin Johnson didn’t screw the team over like Sanders; the team knew he had been contemplating retirement because his body was breaking down from the beating it took over the years. Sanders actions had made it clear that he was displeased with the team, but as far as regular Lions fans were concerned, the team and Calvin Johnson were all good when he retired. But we all may have been wrong.

 

A couple weeks ago, Calvin was asked about the possibility of having his jersey number retired in Detroit, to which he responded “I don’t even like to talk Lions too much just because of the way our relationship ended.” For Lions fans, it was hard to hear that the team may have soured another relationship with a player that means so much to the city. Calvin insists that there’s no hard feelings but it sure doesn’t seem like things are cool between him and the team. So what could it be that has caused this possible rift between the two sides?

 

Calvin-Johnson1

 

Well, it turns out that the team asked him to repay a portion of the $3.2 million signing bonus from his $100 million contract. The team’s logic would seem to be that since the contract was not yet completed, and in cap terms, the signing bonus split evenly over the years of a contract, that the team was still owed a portion of the bonus. Player’s on the other hand, see a signing bonus as money already earned because it’s a bonus given at time the contract is signed.

 

Now technically speaking, I would have to agree that the team is entitled to ask for a portion of that money back, but it also seems like kind of a dick move. At first it was reported that Johnson had repaid $320,ooo but a more recent report claims that the amount may have been as high as one million. Either is a paltry amount to Johnson to be sure, but also a truly insignificant amount to any NFL franchise. Especially when you consider that neither the Seahawks or Cowboys, two successful franchises with Lombardi hardware, asked for any amount of money back from Marshawn Lynch or Tony Romo when they retired before fulfilling their contracts.

 

The Lions would have been much better off letting Calvin Johnson, a guy who destroyed his own body in the name of the team, keep that money. The Seahawks and the Cowboys did it with their superstars because it was the right thing to do. When you think about the kind of money that a player of Calvin Johnson’s caliber can bring to an organization in the way of ticket and jersey sales, it just seems petty and cheap. We fans can only hope that they haven’t permanently destroyed the relationship.

 

052317-johnson-cp

 

After Barry Sanders retired, the team filed a grievance in order to recoup part of his signing bonus and it led to the team and Sanders being disassociated from each other for years. Now, as the second season since Calvin walked away rolls around, he is attending Oakland Raiders OTAs as a guest. When coupled with the fact that he seems to be lukewarm at best to the idea of the Lions as an entity in general, fans should be sad and maybe even outraged.

 

With Barry Sanders it was maybe just a case of him screwing the team and the team screwing him back. But when it happens with another football icon, maybe the team needs to look in the mirror and reevaluate. The Lions might be incapable to having anything but a toxic relationship. Maybe they should talk to someone, and quick. Because Calvin Johnson must have his jersey hanging in the rafters at Ford Field and he must be part of the Detroit Lions family. He needs to be attending Lions OTAs and be seen as a prominent figure in Detroit football and Detroit the city. If he isn’t, then I can’t see any reason that the team’s next phenom would want to be part of the family for the long haul.

 

 


Waiting on Aaron Rodgers

Written by :
Published on : May 31, 2017

 

I wait tables at a diner in Los Angeles. It’s not a glamorous job but it keeps bread in my basket. It’s a tip based gig so good customer service is the name of the game. And I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at my job but it definitely wears on me from time to time. Recently, I had a night to remember. This is my story of waiting on Aaron Rodgers, star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

 

First, let’s set the scene. I started my shift at 9pm. It normally goes until around 2am (we close at 4am) but a funny thing happened, the other server showed up wasted and was instantly sent home. That means I’m now closing. Great. Also one of the bussers didn’t show so we were even more short staffed. Plus the kitchen didn’t prep the daily special that everyone keeps ordering. Needless to say, I was cranky pants for most of the night.

 

Around 2:30 am it happened, a group of five takes my big booth. I go get drink orders and that’s when I realize. Seat 3 is Aaron Fucking Rodgers. The cherry on top of a shit sundae of a shift. Now, I have to play nice to the one pro athlete I hate the most. What a joke. I’ve watched Aaron Rodgers single-handedly destroy my Detroit Lions for the last decade. I legit despise this guy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s real good at football, that’s why I dislike him. Because he always guts me and my team. I’d list all the terrible moments but it would just get me all worked up. So, I smile and nod, while Rodger’s buddies order oreo milkshakes. I tried to find someone on the staff who could understand my predicament but with no other football fans around, I went into the back and sent a text to Alex.

 

Aaron Rodger text message

 

Alex brought up a good point. What am I going to do with this opportunity? Spit in his food? Turn my back on my city and ask for a photo? Do nothing and stew quietly (my traditional go-to)? Or maybe something bold? I had a little time to game plan. I went back and got orders. Aaron Rodgers orderd the breakfast burrito and as quick as he can read a cover-2 defense, I up-sell him on adding bacon (extra $2.50!). He bites hard on my offer. Point Bruno. Rodger’s little sidekick dittos the order, “I’ll have the same.” I can tell this happens a lot with this guy. The others get cheese fries, a breakfast sandwich and a club sandwich (no tomatoes).

 

Aaron Rodgers & Co eat their food, I check in, all gravy. No dessert, no coffee, they are ready for the check. Shit. Game time. I follow Alex’s lead and write “Go Lions” on the bottom of the receipt. I fold it lengthwise, as per usual, and go to drop it to everyone’s favorite NFL star. But before I can get there, the short blonde pulls out her Amex and insists I take it. Fuck, he may not see my message now. I run the card and return to the table, the check is unfolded, face up. Maybe he saw it? We’ll never know.

 

Rodgers check

 

The table stands and slowly makes their way to the door. I’m at the computer, closest to the the front. Aaron Rodgers is 5 feet from me. I get the idea, I should tackle him. I push that idea out of my head and then another thought creeps in. I look at Rodgers and say “Hey man”, he looks at me. We lock eyes, I say “we’ll see you at Ford Field this year” he rolls his eyes and gives a sarcastic “yeah” and then walks out.

 

I was on cloud nine. I felt so cool and tough. In my head, I told off a millionaire. The reality is, I’m not even going to the Packers at Lions game, I was just saying that as the royal ‘we’, like the Lions and I will see you later this year. Even funnier is to think of this story from Aaron Rodger’s perspective. He came in, got some okay food, decent service, then a stranger made a vague reference to seeing him later. End of story.

 

Short blonde friend did tip $20 on $75.69 which is like 26%, which I’ll take all day. There was also a moment where I considered, “what if Aaron Rodgers gets mad about the ‘Go Lions’ thing and doesn’t tip me?” but I already hate him, if he didn’t tip me, then this would be a very different story. Either way, worth it.

 

Nobody eats for free.

 

 


Inter-sport Trading: The Dream of the Hometown Fan

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Published on : May 19, 2017

 

While there certainly are some exceptions, for the most part I think sports fans grow up rooting for their local teams, riding out the highs and lows while sticking with those teams no matter how bad the tough times can get. I mean, take it from me, I’ll devote every season to my Detroit Lions even after their disastrous 0-16 season.

 

I would venture to guess that most fans are like me in that sense. Growing up here in the Metro Detroit area, we are fortunate to have a franchise in all of the four major sports, and each one is the team I stand behind. If it’s the fall you can spot me wearing that Matt Stafford #9 jersey, in the winter months there I am hoping for the return of the glory days for my Red Wings and Pistons, and come summer you can find me enjoying a cold one while sitting behind home plate looking at a re-surging Detroit skyline while rooting for arguably the greatest hitter of my generation, Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers.

 

 

Being a Detroit sports fan has blessed me with a lot of great memories as I have been able to witness and celebrate multiple championships courtesy of the Red Wings and Pistons, and have been along for the ride on some close calls with the Detroit Tigers in recent years. However, I think the dream for any sports fan is for all of their teams to be at the top of their game every season, or at the same time, and with that wish came an idea that I envisioned many years ago — the idea of inter-sport trading.

 

Now, understand this about the idea, I do realize it is essentially impossible given the fact that these teams don’t in fact belong to the cities they represent. Owning a sports franchise is a business and all businesses of course are in the business of making a profit. Therefore, even though Detroit has four franchises, they are not owned by the same individual and therefore they would more than likely never be interested in my idea. However, we all can dream right? So here is my dream, the dream of the hometown fan.

 

With the NBA Lottery complete, the Boston Celtics are on the clock with the #1 pick and are in a prime position to remain a contender for years to come. Currently, the Boston Celtics are heading into the Eastern Conference Finals as the #1 seed and therefore in a great place going forward building around guys like Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. Also in the Boston area, you have a perennial power in the New England Patriots, and even the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins have enjoyed recent success. All four franchises have won the championship in their respective sports in the past decade which is something to be really excited about if you are a Boston fan, and something that fans of other cities may wish to experience themselves.

 

 

In this example, seeing as how the Celtics are in a great spot contending for an NBA Championship, the Patriots are coming off a Super Bowl season and look to be ready to contend for another this season, and the Red Sox early on are hoping to be in the World Series conversation come October but currently find themselves in 3rd place in the AL East. If inter-sport trading were a thing, I would bet many Red Sox fans would definitely entertain the idea of being able to dangle that #1 pick that the Boston Celtics may not have much use for and trade it to another NBA franchise who could desperately use that #1 pick. Now the question is what’s the return for a Boston fan in this deal? Well, suppose the NBA team that receives the #1 pick is the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is rumored to be possibly facing a scenario where they move Jimmy Butler looking to shake their roster up and therefore a #1 pick would help that process. In return, coming off a World Series title, the Chicago Cubs are loaded with talent and perhaps could afford to lose a spare part in their rotation or lineup to give to the Boston Red Sox.

 

So in this scenario, you have the Boston Celtics still playing at a high level with salary cap space and perhaps not much need for a high draft pick at this time and the Red Sox would boost their roster via the return from the Cubs. If you’re a Chicago fan, you just gained a #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft and potentially still have a very deep roster where such a move wouldn’t affect the World Series chances for the Cubs.

 

 

However, this scenario does pose a difficult issue considering Chicago is one of many cities or states where two or more franchises reside in the same city or state. For example, South siders and North siders may both love their Bulls but will have very different opinions of the Cubs with the White Sox also having loyal fanbases in the area. Therefore, half of the city would not be in support of inter-sport trading.

 

In another scenario that ultimately inspired the idea for me, we have to go back to 2003. My beloved Detroit Pistons were on the cusp of greatness vying for an NBA Championship with a core group that featured Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince. The lottery balls that year fell in Detroit’s favor landing them the #2 overall pick. However, with LeBron James going #1, the Pistons faced a dilemma of who to take with that pick. Hindsight is of course 20/20 but they definitely struck out with their selection in the long run, but in the short run it may not have been the worst thing in the world.

 

The Pistons went on to select Darko Milicic, and he rarely saw the court during his tenure in Detroit but during his rookie campaign, that may not have been the worst thing. The Pistons had a great starting five and a good group of role players off the bench that seemed to form a perfect team, and it’s possible that even with future superstars in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony available in that draft, their best chance to win an NBA title in 2004 was with a guy like Darko who didn’t get in the way by stealing minutes from the other Pistons.

 

Darko-2003-NBA-Draft

 

In the short run therefore, drafting Darko may have not been a horrible option, while in the long run it of course looks like one of the worst draft picks in this history of the NBA as Darko Milicic went on to retire from basketball at age 27. However, I think the best scenario would have been to trade the pick because quite frankly, the Pistons just didn’t need it. This is where I drew the inspiration for my idea of inter-sport trading. The Pistons could have found a suitor in the NBA who would have jumped at the opportunity to get guys like Wade, Bosh or Melo and in return another franchise in Detroit could have reaped the benefits from it.

 

Prime example being the Indiana Pacers. The Pistons went on to beat Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals that year thanks in part to the block heard round the world when Tayshaun Prince ran down Reggie Miller swatting him at the rim. With Reggie set to retire, Dwyane Wade would have been a perfect replacement in Indiana had they traded for our #2 pick. Or imagine the frontcourt of Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal with Ron Artest at the small forward position. Just down the road in Indiana, the Indianapolis Colts were riding high with Peyton Manning winning 3 straight NFL MVP’s from 2003-2005 and went on to win 12+ games in seven straight years beginning in 2003. The Colts went on to win the Super Bowl in 2006 and perhaps back when the Pistons could have traded that #2 pick the Colts would have been willing to ship their #1 and #2 or a pro bowl quality player to the Detroit Lions.

 

Again, the idea of inter-sport trading would never work, I get it. Unless teams became property of the cities themselves or owners bought the rights to every pro franchise in that particular city, no owner would sacrifice his own business by helping another business. But a sports fan can still dream right?

 

 


2017 NFL Draft reactions

Written by :
Published on : April 29, 2017

 

2017 NFL Draft started on Thursday, live from Philadelphia. Part of this new format where the NFL Draft will move from city to city each year. Round 1 opened and from the gate there were huge trades, surprises and plenty of drama. Let’s look back at the first few rounds and cover all the big storylines.

 

Head scratchers

The Chicago Bears move up from #3 to #2 overall to select North Carolina quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky. Now, the pick isn’t necessarily bad but the Chicago organization gave up so much to make the move. They lost their 3rd and 4th round picks this year, plus a 3rd rounder next year. To make matters worse, Trubisky only ever started 13 games in college. Oh yeah, the Bears already gave QB Mike Glennon 3 years/$45 million and said he is the starter. So all those assets for someone fans wont even get to see play. They sure are putting a lot of pressure on this kid.

 

 

Titans add weapons

Tennessee can run the ball and they have a decent defense but they didn’t have much talent for QB Marcus Mariota to throw to. Until now. The team spent 3 of their first 4 picks on pass-catching standouts Corey Davis WR from Western Michigan, Taywan Taylor WR from Western Kentucky and Jonnu Smith TE from Florida International. This young core should have the Titans in playoff form sooner than most think.

 

Red flags

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon in round 2. Mixon is no doubt a talented runner but he also famously punched a woman and broke several bones in her face. This issue is being resolved in the legal sense but his character is clearly in question. In a similar instance, we have the Oakland Raiders first round choice Gareon Conley. This CB out of Ohio State is in the middle of rape allegations and could still be charged which would ruin his NFL career. I can’t understand how either franchise could pick these guys. It’s not only risky but it communicates that this type of behavior is acceptable. WHICH IT IS NOT.

 

 

College buddies

Five different teams drafted multiple athletes from the same school. The Dallas Cowboys picked DE Taco Charlton and CB Jordan Lewis from Michigan. The Detroit Lions took LB Jarrad Davis and CB Teez Tabor out of Florida. The Baltimore Ravens went all defense with their first 4 picks and two players from Alabama; CB Marlon Humphrey and LB Tim Williams. Washington got in on the Bama train by taking both DT Jonathan Allen and LB Ryan Anderson. And lastly, the Seattle Seahawks took two Michigan players, S Delano Hill and WR Amara Darboh. Rookie year will be way easier with your college buddy around.

 

Browns do great! Mostly.

Cleveland had 3 first round picks including #1 overall. That’s crazy. They also passed on all 3 QB’s that went in the round (Trubisky to Chicago, Mahomes to Kansas City, Watson to Houston). They did land some serious ballers in DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M, S Jabrill Peppers from Michigan and TE David Njoku from Miami. In round 2, the Browns found their QB in DeShone Kizer out of Notre Dame. This is strange because Kizer is raw and needs time and feels like a real project. Maybe this was an overreaction from day 1 to day 2. After everyone asked why the team hadn’t solved their long standing issue. In round 3, Cleveland added DT Larry Ogunjobi out of Charlotte. They still have 5 picks left and the defense is looking more and more fierce. The only question is, who is going to lead this unit on offense?

 

Only time will tell how any of these moves will pan out. So let’s all agree to meet back here in 4 years and we can have a really cool and retro 2017 NFL Draft conversation.

 

Pick me!

 

 


Lions must focus on defense in the draft

Written by :
Published on : April 2, 2017

 

 

The Detroit Lions have spent the better part of the last 50 years as the laughing stock of football. From pee wee to the pros, the Lions like the Browns and other oft-maligned franchises, were synonymous with ineptitude. The team that squandered the careers of Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, two legends of the gridiron. Lions and losing went together like peanut butter and jelly, but in the last few years something crazy has happened. The team has been pretty damn good at times, and mediocre at worst. For the last three seasons the team has been a legitimate contender for the division and they have made the playoffs twice in that period.

 

Gone are the days of planning for the next year’s draft in October and November. Fans in the Motor City expect to be in the running late in the season. The new goal isn’t just having a winning record or even making the playoffs, it’s winning a playoff game; something that hasn’t happened since 1991. If that goal is going to be achieved this season then there is still quite a bit of offseason work to be done. Especially on the defense.

 

 

There is an almost complete consensus that the Detroit Lions are one of the early winners of this year’s free agency. After losing Riley Reiff and Larry Warford, two long time starters on the offensive line, there was concern that an already somewhat porous unit was going to take a big step backward in 2017. Then general manager Bob Quinn surprised many people by spending big money to acquire two of the best offensive linemen available. On the opening day of free agency, right tackle, Rick Wagner, was signed away from the Baltimore Ravens. Days later local boy and longtime Packers guard, TJ Lang, was signed after it seemed like a certainty that he was headed for Seattle. These two are immediate and significant upgrades over their predecessors on the line, especially when it comes to pass blocking, where they rank as two of the best at their positions in the league. Quinn had a goal to upgrade protection for Matt Stafford and he executed his plan swiftly.

 

Those upgrades on the offensive line did not come cheap, however, and depending on who you ask, the Lions now only have about $8 million in cap space. That cap space doesn’t preclude them from making more moves in free agency but it does most likely take them out of the running for the big names like Zach Brown that are still on the market. That could be of concern because the Lions have yet to improve their defense whatsoever this offseason, and if anything the talent pool on that side of the ball has gotten more shallow.

 

Linebacker Paul Worrilow was signed from the Falcons and cornerback DJ Hayden was signed from the Raiders. Worrilow has value as a special teamer but if the Lions are forced to start him then that’s a bad sign. Hayden has the potential to start at the nickel position if he can stay healthy and replicate his performance from last season. Both of the guys are nice depth pieces but they aren’t difference makers. That is troubling on a Lions defense that is in dire need of guys who can make big plays, especially after the team chose to part ways with the once electric but now injury plagued DeAndre Levy.

 

 None of the defensive signing so far are game changers, including Paul Worrilow.

 

A few more depth pieces with some potential have been signed along the defensive line. Akeem Spence, Cornelius Washington and Jordan Hill will all contribute but the team must generate a better pass rush this year. Ever since Ndamukong Suh took his talents to South Beach there has been no pressure up the middle. Last year, that weakness really came back to bite them as opposing quarterbacks were allowed record setting completion percentages against the defense. If there’s no pass rush then the defense will surely flounder again.

 

The cap constraints and a free agency class that is short on defensive playmakers at this point means that the Detroit Lions are going to need a defensive haul of epic proportions in this year’s NFL Draft. There are huge holes on the defensive line and at linebacker and the way that the team sits right now, the offense will need to score 40 points a game for them to be successful. In the NFL, you can’t expect to have sustained success if you’re forced to rely solely on the offense. This team must dedicate the lion’s share of their draft picks to the defense because the guys they have right now simply can’t get the job done.

 

 


The Sports Oscars

Written by :
Published on : March 30, 2017

 

 

Award season has come and gone. And in honor of the recent 89th Academy Awards, ScoreBoredSports would like to present the 1st annual Sports Oscars. Just what America needs, another award show! Press your tux and fill your flask because it’s time to walk the red carpet and hand out some gold statues to the year’s best sports performances. And to all the winners, don’t forget to thank your agent and your mom. Now, let’s get this show on the road. The first category is:

 

Best Supporting Actor

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. After Kevin Durant came to town, Dray’s role on the team shifted. He no longer was needed to score the ball but instead had to become the defensive leader and do all the small things that help win games. No better example than back in February, when Green had the most unconventional of Triple Doubles. With only 4 points, he also tallied 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals (along with 5 blocks).

 

Makeup

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. This was a tough one but Bryce’s under-eye black takes the cake. It’s kind of looks like Harper is the 5th member of Kiss mixed with a little Hawk and Animal from the Legion of Doom (WWF/WWE). I think more pros should follow the face paint lead. It’s a great way to show off some personality and it just washes off when you’re done.

 

Washington Nationals v St Louis Cardinals - Game Two

 

Best Editing

The New England Patriots. These guys always seem to make the perfect roster moves They add players you think are only okay and then they preform insanely well and they cut talent you think is irreplaceable only to see them underperform with their new team. Perfect example: Lions cut ties with LB Kyle Van Noy after him not working out in Detroit. They trade him to New England. Cut to Van Noy flying around being one of the difference makers for the Pats, in the Super Bowl.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers. The dude is 45-years-old and writing his own story where only he knows the ending. The man has 763 career goals, that’s good for third all-time behind Howe and Gretzky. Jagr has more points over the age of 40 than even Howe. So he is the best older hockey player we have ever seen. He loves to play and has no plans of stopping. I hope this story has a few more chapters.

 

Costume Design

The University of Michigan Men’s Basketball team. On their way to D.C. for the Big Ten tournament, their plane was forced to abort takeoff and then roughly skid off the runway. The Wolverines barely made it to the game but their luggage with their uniforms were still stuck on the plane. U of M channeled their inner Tim Gunn and had to ‘make it work’ because they rocked their practice jerseys, looked dope and won the game.

 

 

Documentary Feature

This is the only award that both SBS and the real Oscars agree on. We both have O.J.: Made in America as the winner for best doc. It’s superbly well-made and very captivating. You should check it out. And it’s not just for sports or murder fans. It fun for the whole family.

 

Best Score

Lionel Messi of Barcelona. Messi is a wizard with the ball in space but he is just as lethal when it comes to free kicks. This zinger comes from a stretch of 3 games where Messi had a free kick goal in each. That’s just insane. Click HERE to watch the clip and be amazed.

 

Best Actress

Serena Williams. Her huge win at the Australian Open gives her 39 total titles (singles, doubles, mixed doubles) in tennis. If this category is about incredible individual effort, than I can think of no one more accomplished than Serena. She is a joy to watch and has elevated the entire sport of tennis. Not just the women’s game. Serena Williams is a champion.

 

 

Best Director

Joe Maddon, skipper of the Chicago Cubs has to win this one. His arrival seemed liked the real turning point for this franchise. From his first weeks in Wrigley, it seemed liked things were different. Maddon directed the Cubs to their first World Series win in a jabillion years and for that he wins the award.

 

Best Picture

Maybe my Michigan bias is showing but the image is truly stunning and it was a huge moment/game for two teams hunting the NFL playoffs. I really wanted to be cool and just say “presented without comment” but that’s totally a comment. And I’m way better than that.

 

 

That’s going to do it for the first ever sports Oscars. List your favorite player or performance in the comments below. Not bad for our first award show. At least we never called the wrong winner.

 

Glitz.

 

 


Best Wide Receiver combos in the NFL

Written by :
Published on : March 21, 2017

 

 

There have been some big roster shake ups since the start of NFL free agency. Many new faces in new places. Every team is trying to get faster, younger and better but who really did improve? So, the question is: which team now has the premier wide receiver duo? Let’s take a second and look around the league to determine which franchise has the best WR’s going into the 2017 season. These are your top 8 wideout tandems.

 

#8 – Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns – Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Allen had a breakout campaign in 2015 but 2016 proved to be a bit rougher. It’s clear that both these guys have the talent to post monster numbers. The biggest factor here isn’t the WR’s but everyone else. The defense that never takes the ball away, the inconsistent QB and the often dreadful play-calling.

 

#7 – Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker – Miami Dolphins

Another set of young guns that have the speed and hands to wreck opposing secondaries. Like the duo from Jacksonville, the Miami unit also suffers from up and down production from their signal caller. One could only imagine the numbers they would post with a Aaron Rodgers/Tom Brady type.

 

 

#6 – Golden Tate and Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions

It’s better to have two great receivers than one amazing one and average one. Just ask the Lions. The team always struggled to find a sidekick for Calvin Johnson, allowing defenses to zone in on him and limit his effectivness. The current Lions are much harder to defend because both Tate and Jones have the ability to be a force.

 

#5 – Bradin Cooks and Julian Edelman – New England Patriots

Cooks has yet to catch a pass from Brady but one can imagine how dangerous he will be playing for the champs. This also allows Edelman to move back to the number two spot where he is a better natural fit. Now, Cooks can handle the down field routes while Edelman takes the underneath.

 

#4 – Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers

This team may have been the best receiving combo over the last few years. Injuries are the only thing capping their success. I despise throwing praise to any Packer players but these guys are legit. It will interesting to see how the passing game will work in 2017 with Davante Adams in the mix.

 

 

#3 – Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Matthews – Philadelphia Eagles

One of the only number 1 receivers to change squads this offseason. Jeffery will join Matthews in Philly. Both are big bodied guys who can do it all. Their youth and strength give them a huge upside. The real question is how it is all going to work. Seeing they are playing with a sophomore QB in Carson Wentz.

 

#2 – Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jackson just signed with the Bucs and he brings agility and ball skills to wide out unit already featuring rising star, Mike Evans. This pairing is great because Jackson is small (5’10”) and Evans is big (6’5″). They are the new David and Goliath of football. Both will benefit playing along side each other, which makes me believe both are bound for huge seasons.

 

Djax bucs

 

#1 –  Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall – New York Giants

The top spot on the list. We all know how good OBJ is but the addition of Marshall is just nuts. Brandon Marshall has played the role of top option most of his career. Adding him will force defenses to pick their poison. Blanket both guys and the run game will kill you. The Giants just got a little bigger.

 

Over half the teams listed will feature a new wide receiver combo this year. So it’s hard to guess who will stay healthy and who will gel in a different offense but the on paper talent is clear as day. The pass-happy NFL is gearing up for another high-flying season and I can not wait. Did I leave out your favorite WR combo? Or do you think my order is crazy? Leave a comment.

 

Just give me the damn ball.

 

 


Bears to sign Mike Glennon, NFC North rivals rejoice

Written by :
Published on : March 9, 2017

 

The NFL’s new league year is beginning and with it we are seeing a flurry of new signings. This is one of my favorite times of year as teams begin to retool and build their rosters for the new season. It’s an exciting time for fans, who get to play amateur GM and imagine how they would best build their favorite team. And when teams don’t go along with the fan’s ideas of what’s best, they get to light the torches and get out the pitchforks, only to realize once games start that they had no idea what they were talking about. Aside from being excited about what your team might be doing, fans get to revel in the mistakes of their rivals. That’s why I am so excited for what the Chicago Bears are rumored to be working on.

 

 Get this man in a Bears jersey!

 

The Bears are being connected to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Mike Glennon. As a Lions fan, I would love to see the Bears sign Mike Glennon. They will have gone from Jay Cutler, a sub-par, but proven and somewhat talented quarterback to a guy that hasn’t seen the field in two years and has one mediocre rookie season as his body of work. Regardless of what the delusional fans in the Windy City want to believe, the Bears have been the gutter trash of the NFC North for a few years now and this move would make sure that trend continues. With the Packers always awesome (even when they suck) and the Vikings riding their defense, I feel like the Bears being respectable again would be too much for my Lions to handle. Better that they sign a garbage quarterback and leave the competitive football to the big boys.

 

This might be unfair to Mike Glennon. The Buccaneers did offer to make him the highest paid back up QB in the league, after all, so he has to at least have some talent. The Bears are reported to be offering him $14.5 million per year. When you say that out loud it seems like a ton but when you’re talking about a starting quarterback it isn’t really that crazy an amount of money. In fact, it puts him right around 21st when you rank starting QB yearly salary in the league. The Bears are betting big on Glennon’s potential and the fact that tons of people in the Buccaneers organization love the guy, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has only ever won five football games in his career.

 

 John Fox might not survive the Mike Glennon experiment.

 

This move reeks of desperation and that should have the the Lions, Vikings, and Packers licking their chops at the prospect of playing Chicago twice a year. Glennon might have the size (6’6″, 225 lbs), potential, starting experience (albeit limited) and knowledge of the game (he has been watching from the sidelines since Jameis Winston was drafted), but he is definitely unproven. He is also going to a team that just decided to let their best receiving option walk in free agency. When this move inevitably blows up in their face and they win five or six games, they will probably be looking for a new head coach. It seems unlikely John Fox will survive another bad season in a city that so loves football. All of that adds up to another three to four years of mediocrity in Chicago. And that most likely has the rest of the NFC North praying for Mike Glennon in a Bears uniform.

 

 


The Next Step: Detroit Lions offseason needs on offense

Written by :
Published on : February 15, 2017

 

 

In the previous installment of The Next Step we talked about the Detroit Lions and how desperately they need to improve their defense if they want to get to the next level. Defense wins championships and the lack of one can get you bounced from the first round of the playoffs in embarrassing fashion, as was the case when the Lions faced the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round. While improving the defense is paramount to establishing a consistently good team, all parts of the team should be examined every offseason and that brings us to the offense.

 

The Lions offense has carried the team for years now and Matthew Stafford, before his late season finger injury, seemed to prove that he has finally put all the pieces together. He carried the team in 2016 and was the only consistent bright spot. And even that went to hell after the finger injury. It’s time for the team to take some pressure off of Stafford and build a complete offense. Here’s what they should do if they want to accomplish that goal.

 

Offensive Line

The starting offensive line that the Detroit Lion rolled out last season is full of young talent. Rookie first round pick Taylor Decker proved that he is the left tackle of the future and Travis Swanson surprised everyone by becoming one of the better centers in the league, after an extremely rocky first two years in the NFL. Former first round left guard Laken Tomlinson on the other hand proved that he is quickly headed for bust status, but never fear! Rookie Graham Glasgow took over and did a good job. He also showed some versatility by moving to center when Swanson went down with a concussion that would cause him to miss the final five games of the year. All these players will most likely be on the Lions roster in 2017 (unless Tomlinson gets him self cut from the team, which is possible) so the left side of the line is set. But the right side could be a little tricky.

 

 The Lions must re-sign Riley Reiff.

 

At right guard is former third round pick Larry Warford, who has been very good at times but hasn’t lived up to a stellar rookie season four years ago. At right tackle is former first rounder Riley Reiff who moved to the right side after the team drafted Taylor Decker. Both are above average-to-good players but both will be unrestricted free agents this offseason. It will be very hard to keep both so that means a choice must be made. While Larry Warford is probably higher rated at his position compared to other guards around the league than Reiff would be against his peers, good tackles are just too hard to come by. If the price is right, the team should re-sign Reiff, let Warford walk, and move Laken Tomlinson back to his more natural position at right guard. They should also draft some developmental players in the mid/late rounds of the draft, but by no means should they be giving big money to any free agents. If Reiff decides he wants left tackle money then you let him walk and hope Corey Robinson can step up and fill in.

 

The team is also in desperate need of a blocking tight end. Eric Ebron is great for catching passes (when he doesn’t drop the ball) and he gives the offense an explosiveness that it has been missing but having him block has not worked out. The Lions haven’t had a tight end who can block since Brandon Pettigrew so expect them to draft someone to fill this role. If they don’t address this need they will surely regret it.

 

Deep Threat

Let’s face it, with Calvin Johnson gone from the offense the Detroit Lions had no true deep threat. Sure, there were some plays when Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, or even TJ Jones would get behind the defense. But they were few and far between throughout the 2016 season. For the most part, the offense was predicated on getting their shifty receivers the ball near the line of scrimmage and letting them breaks plays after the catch. There were long stretches when receivers could not get separation from opposing defensive backs. This has to change and the way to do that is by finding a speedy guy who can take the top off of the defense and open up the field underneath.

 

 In your dreams, Lions fans.

 

I think the answer here, like with the offensive line, should come from the draft. With as much work as the defense needs, spending big in free agency seems like the wrong move. I’m in favor of re-signing Anquan Boldin (should he choose not to retire) but he isn’t a giant threat to beat anyone deep. DeSean Jackson would be an amazing addition but with all the holes on defense, it seems unlikely that Bob Quinn will pay what it takes to get him on the team. The Lions should spend a mid round pick to find the fastest receiver available who can catch the ball well.

 

Power Runner

The Lions say that Ameer Abdullah is still slated to be the top dog in the backfield in 2017. And there’s no reason he shouldn’t be. He may be considered in an injury concern by some after missing most of last season and part of his rookie season with various injuries but that doesn’t seem fair. In the 18 games he has appeared in he has been absolutely electric and the offense is a totally different machine with him on the field. He should be the top back on the depth chart, but that doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t have other options. Fans love Zach Zenner but the Lions’ offense needs a real powerback.

 

The smartest thing to do would be to draft someone in a late round and hope that they can show enough to become the third option behind Abdullah and pass-catching extraordinaire Theo Riddick. Dwayne Washington, a sixth round pick last year, could blossom into the role but he had a very hard time seeing his holes last year and the team should have other options going into training camp. Should the team look to free agency Eddie Lacy could be an option. If he comes cheap it would be hilarious to see him run over some Green Bay Packers next season. Either way the team needs someone who can punish the defense between the tackles. Something they do not have right now.

 

 Eddie Lacy as a Lion?

 

That does it for the roster needs on offense but I have one more thing to add and it many Lions fans might think that I’m crazy. It’s the idea that maybe, just maybe, the Lions need someone new calling plays for the offense. After a great start to his career as offensive coordinator of the Lions, Jim Bob Cooter seems to have regressed. The play calling was awful at times last year and he has shown an inability to adjust as games wear on. I have no doubt that he will start the season calling plays in Detroit and hopefully he can continue to learn in second full offseason as offensive coordinator but keep an eye on how he performs in the early part of next season. If the offense leaves something to be desired he could be relieved of his duties mid season.

 

What do you think the Detroit Lions need to do on offense? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

 

 


The Next Step: Detroit Lions offseason needs on defense

Written by :
Published on : February 1, 2017

 

 

Some people see the Detroit Lions 2016 campaign as a failure. Some people see it as a success. Regardless of whether you think the team needed to win the division or that Wild Card game in Seattle in order to say that the season was a success, you have to admit that they surpassed most everyone’s preseason expectations. Nine wins and a trip to the playoffs is nothing to scoff at, but the 26-6 thrashing that the Lions took at the hands of the Seahawks proved that there is still a way to go before this team is contending for titles.

 

The team has a few very solid pieces in place and has the luxury of some nice depth on the roster, but there are some big holes still. With a few good moves this team could be a dangerous. General Manager Bob Quinn and head coach Jim Caldwell have a chance to solidify this roster and make the Lions legit. Defense wins championships so we will focus on that unit for this first installment about the Lions offseason.

 

The Detroit Lions defense was historically bad in 2016, especially against the pass. Though opposing quarterbacks carved them up through the air, I actually believe that the Lions’ secondary is the most solid unit on the defense. Darius Slay will be a solid number one cornerback for years. Glover Quin is in his prime and has a year left on his contract. Guys like Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs, Tavon Wilson, and Miles Killebrew have a ton of potential and provide solid depth. They could certainly use a solid number two cornerback who can turn and run with faster receivers (Logan Ryan from New England?), but I place most of the blame for the unit’s pass defense woes on the front end, especially the defensive line.

 

Defensive Line

 JPP has proven he can still rush the passer. Will the Lions be willing to pay him?

 

The team gambled on returning Haloti Ngata, Tyrunn Walker, and Devin Taylor back to start at defensive tackle and defensive end along rising star DE, Ziggy Ansah. And they lost big time. With Ziggy battling injury for most of the year, the defensive line was not able to get consistent pressure. Kerry Hyder, a guy I had never heard of before 2016, lead the team in sacks (8) and the team only had 26 overall. They must upgrade here if they want to turn this defense around, and though Hyder certainly earned a spot in the rotation with his efforts this year, everyone except Ansah should be on the chopping block.

 

The team may be interested in a guy like Jason Pierre Paul to start at defensive end across from Ziggy, but he may come at a price tag that is far beyond what GM Bob Quinn is willing to pay. JPP would make the Lions’ starting DEs absolutely terrifying but it seems like a pipe dream at this point. There are too many holes to be filled to spend the likely $11-13 million/year that JPP will command. Other guys like Andre Branch out of Miami or William Gholston from Tampa Bay could be more cost effective options in free agency. Defensive ends Taco Charlton out of Michigan or Daeshon Hall out of Texas A&M could be available when the Lions pick in the draft and they have the size and skills to develop into the type of player they like.

 

As far as defensive tackle, it seems likely that the team will release Haloti Ngata unless he takes a pay cut and Tyrunn Walker should allowed to walk out the door. The Lions already have one replacement starter in A’Shawn Robinson, who was drafted in the second round last year and led the line in passes defended with seven. Robinson needs to develop into a force in the interior if the Lions defense is going to get back on track because I don’t see the team spending big money on a free agent stud, if that even exists this year. I think the focus will be on defensive end and they will allow Robinson to develop while finding a band-aid type player in free agency and a more developmental prospect in the draft.

 

Linebackers

 The Lions could certainly use a linebacker who can generate a turnover or two.

 

Linebacker needs some major help too. When he signed a lucrative contract two offseasons ago, DeAndre Levy looked like the future stud playmaker on the Lions defense. Injuries have derailed his career since then and he has played in only 6 of 32 possible games. He may be healthy, but then again he could get injured again. Or he could retire after showing obvious displeasure with the league and the way it conducts business regarding its players and their health. Hopefully he will still be able to contribute and make plays but the team can’t count on it and even if he does, there are other major holes.

 

Tahir Whitehead has been the starting middle linebacker for two years now and it’s clear that it isn’t working. Three years ago, when he was the third best linebacker on the team and was playing on the strong side, he thrived. The team needs to do everything in their power to make that happen again because when he is the best option at LB, the team is in trouble. That makes finding a new starting middle linebacker priority one. In free agency, the two names that are being floated around are Zach Brown from Buffalo or Dont’a Hightower from New England. The two will definitely come at a high price, but if the team wants to spend the money then Zach Brown is the guy for this team. With Reggie Ragland returning from injury, it seems likely that the Bills will let him walk following his 147 tackle effort in 2016. If the Lions can put him in alongside Tahir Whitehead and (hopefully) DeAndre Levy then this unit can be very solid, but it’s going to cost them. I think it would be money well spent.

 

Should the Lions choose to address the need at linebacker in the draft the big name that has been floated is Zach Cunningham out of Vanderbilt. Reuben Foster from Alabama would be amazing but there is very little chance he drops low enough in the first round for the Lions to snag him. Cunningham has the athleticism, size and speed to step into the role in the middle immediately but is a bit of a problem in the missed tackle department. He would definitely have some learning to do and if the Lions are really in win now mode with head coach Jim Caldwell potentially on the hot seat, then they may opt for a more expensive solution in free agency.

 

 Cunningham could be the MLB of the future if he can clean up his tackling.

 

These are just some of the moves that the team needs to make this offseason. In the NFL you can never rest easy and you always need to be looking for upgrades at all positions. Expect the team to make some moves that don’t correspond to anything I’ve listed here. Stay tuned for the list of offensive needs for the coming offseason.

 

 


Blackout Bruno’s Wild Card Picks

Written by :
Published on : January 6, 2017

 

 

Oh snap, it’s Wild Card time. Deal me in and get me a drink. Seven and seven, please. Sorry about last post, I got New Year’s drunk, then angry drunk after the Lions game and time kind of got away from me. But I’m up and I’m ready to work. My final regular season record is 50-24-1. Pretty decent. Now, let’s flash ahead to the weekend and talk about the opening round of the NFL playoffs. These are Blackout Bruno’s Wild Card picks

 

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans

 

This game is such a crapshoot. Both crews are without their top QBs so who knows what will really happen. Someone has to step up. Because it’s so hard to call, I’ll rely on old stand by garbage about being at home and how much better the Texans are in Texas.

Winner: Houston

 

Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks

This is not the super awesome Seahawks crew that won the Super Bowl. They have been up and down all year. Russell Wilson and company normally take care of business at home but I can see how Detroit could surprise everyone. I don’t think you will find any sports pundit picking Lions but this will be a wild game to be sure. Look for Golden Tate to have an epic day and a late Matt Prater Field goal wins it.

Winner: Detroit 

 

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Dolphins are banged up. Matt Moore is starting and they are traveling to Pittsburgh to play outside, in the cold. Plus the Steelers have Antonio Brown, who can single handedly win you a game. I think Steelers win in a confident fashion.

Winner: Pittsburgh

 

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

 

Looking at the weekend slate, this screams to be the most intriguing matchup. Giants defense is a powerful unit. They should keep this thing close but I just know that stupid Aaron Rodgers is going to find a way to pull it off. Like he almost always seems to do.

Winner: Green Bay

 

Let’s hope these games excite and delight. Try mixing things up by trying a new cocktail. I love a good vodka martini. Up, dirty and with olives. Too boozy tasting for you? Go tiki and blend up some fresh fruit, fresh citrus juice with dark rum over ice. Maybe throw some coconut cream in there. Grab a straw, kick back and let’s hope Wild Card weekend is interesting.

 

Onward.

 

 


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