It Is Time To Test The Waters

The Detroit Lions’ season is over.  If this statement is disputed then it is out of delusion.  The Lions have the luxury of having 6 games remaining in their 2008 schedule.  Why is this a luxury?  Simply put, they can test the waters using their young players.

DE Cliff Avril, DT Andre Fluellen, WR John Standeford, MLB Jordon Dizon, and QB Drew Stanton all need full time playing experience in the next 6 weeks.  All of these players are prospects that need to be tested before the upcoming 2009 draft.  The veterans have not been getting the job done as illustrated by the Lions 0-10 record.  What is the harm in giving the young guys full time playing experience to allow them to learn and make mistakes.  What better time is there to mistake a mistake then when your team is in the middle of a written-off season?

Drew Stanton should be starting this week against Tampa Bay.  This is not a commentary on Daunte Culpepper’s play under center.  Drew needs to be evaluated and given the time to get experience.  Using the time to evaluate Drew will give the Lions the knowledge of what should be done with their first round pick.  It is very possible that the Lions will be picking first overall in the 2009 draft.  Many Lions faithful are screaming for QB Matt Stafford with the first pick, but it is more important to see if there is a starting sitting on the bench right now.


0-16 Could Happen!

The Detroit Lions lost again on Sunday to the Carolina Panthers.  This loss puts them one step closer to the infamous 0-16 record.  If this happened the Lions would be the laughing stock of the NFL.  Yes that right Lions fans, the Lions would be officially worse than the Raiders.

Upcoming opponents:

Tampa Bay Bucs (7-3)
Tennesse Titans (10-0)
Minnesota Vikings (5-5)
Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
New Orleans Saints (5-5)
Green Bay Packers (5-5)

Every opponent at this point in the season is at least .500 .  The 0-10 Lions are in trouble as far as the difficulty of the schedule.  The Lions are also in trouble because the each team they face except 1 would be considered a top offensive team.  The Lions defense is struggling and will not be able to defend against these teams.

Unless the Lions secondary can step up to stop the pass, the Lions will go 0-16.  The Lions have one interception this year which came from a defensive end.  That is not good enough to win games.  With the Carolina Panthers having 2 running backs eclipsing 100 yards last week, the run stopping is also awful.

Another strike against the Lions is the rust on Daunte Culpepper.  With his late entry into the team, he has not been able to build a rapport with his receivers yet.  This was glaring on Sunday.  Culpepper seems to be having trouble with the timing with his receivers.  This was even apparent on the TD to Calvin Johnson.  Johnson had to make a sliding catch to save the points.  This will hopefully get better as the season moves forward but it is difficult for a retired player to come in and know his receiver in a half season.

To win one of the remaining games, Culpepper will have to manage the game and limit the mistake.  Kevin Smith and Rudi Johnson will need to score the points.  With a solid running game the Lions could stand a chance if combined with a good effort from the defense.  Only time will tell.


Culpepper to Start

Coach Rod Marinelli has stated that Daunte Culpepper will be the starter this week against the Carolina Panthers.

After last week’s performance, I would like to see more of Drew Stanton.  It would be beneficial for him to play so the coaches can evaluate him (in a game situation) before the 09 draft.  If he fails the evaluation then Detroit can persue a QB with one of the first round picks.

Starting Daunte Culpepper this week is another move by Rod Marinelli that I do not understand.  In a 0-9 season, the focus should be on seeing and developing the young players.  Bringing in retirees doesn’t benefit the future.  Could Daunte starting simply be an effort to not get the 0-16 in the history books?


Drew Henson Dropped

The Detroit Lions released QB Drew Henson today.  Drew is the 3rd string QB (4th when Dan Orlovsky returns). 

This is not a shock as there is too many QBs after the signing of Daunte Culpepper.  Drew was signed after Jon Kitna went on IR.


Lions Blow Out a Good Thing?

As many expected, the Detroit Lions (0-9) were blown out by the Jacksonville Jaquars (4-5).  The final scor in Detroit was 38 – 14.  Daunte Culpepper made his first start for Detorit against David Garrard.

Although the lowly Lions were dominated in all apects of the game, one good thing did come from the loss.  We got to see Drew Stanton is action.  Drew entered the game after it got out of hand at 38-7.  He played well including a long 41 yard pass to Calvin Johnson and a TD pass to John Owens.  Kevin Smith ran the other Detroit major into the endzone.

Is Stanton the answer goin forward?  It is hard to say from one quarter of football, but his performance should earn him another look.  Hopefully Stanton gave Jim Colletto enough onfidence to start him next week.  It is more valuable to see what the young Stanton can do before the draft.


Culpepper Could Start Sunday

Adam Schefter of the NFL Network is reporting that Daunte Culpepper could start for the Detroit Lions as early as this Sunday.

Daunte Culpepper

This wouldn’t be shocking as Drew Stanton is not ready according to the Detroit coaching staff.  If Stanton does not start I think it is pretty clear that the coaching staff has no confidence in him going forward.  Mike Martz made this 2nd round draft pick based on his style of offense.  That style of offense no longer fits in Detroit.  Matt Millen should never allowed this pick as there were much more urgent poistional needs.

Daunte Culpepper is a seasoned pro so he could step in to the starting lineup with about 10 passing plays and the running game.  He has likely been given the play book a week ago to get ready in case of emergency.  With Dan Orlovsky’s thumb injury, the emergency is upon us.


Orlovsky Out At Least 2 Weeks

Dan Orlovksy will be out at least 2 weeks with a sprained thumb.  His hand is in a cast for 2 weeks and will be evaluated after that.  This is poor timing as Dan was just starting to heat up at the starting QB position.

This paves the way for the Lions to evaluate Drew Stanton for a few weeks.  Daunte Culpepper will be waiting in the wings, learning the system while Drew takes at least Week 10 behind center.


Lions fall to 0-8

I speculated earlier in the week if this game would turn ugly against the Lions.  The answer thankfully was no.  Besides the first offensive drive, the Lions looked all around good in the first half.  Unfortuanatley they could not keep it going in the second half.  The Lions lost 27-23.

Detroit Lions Logo

Kevin Smith, Shaun McDonald, and Calvin Johnson scored TDs in the first half.  Dan Orlovsky threw beautiful passes for both receiving touchdowns.  Dan must be feeling the heat from the Daunte Culpepper signing.  He reacted with poise an had his best half of football in his short starter career.

The defense tackled hard in order to shutdown the Bears in the opening half.  The Bears scored after a Dan Orlovsky INT in the first 2 minutes.  Since then the Lions D has been a wall.  Cory Redding, Cliff Avril, and Kalvin Pearson were stand outs in the first half.

Kyle Orton was injured at the end of the half when Dwayne White fell on him out of bounds.

Lion 23 -13 after 1 half.

The strong play did not continue for the Lions in the second half.  The Bears defense came out fired up and held the Lions to 0 points for the remainder of the game.

Rex Grossman rushed for a TD and threw another to Rashid Davis to give the Bears a 27-23 win over the Lions.

The pattern continued in this game of taking a half off.  The Lions played very well in the first half, but came out in the second half with nothing.  The 0 points in the second half absolutley killed. 

The 0-8 start leaves the Lions the only winless team.  Heads are going to roll in Detroit.


Culpepper Signs with Lions

ESPN is reporting that Daunte Culpepper has signed a 2 year deal with the Lions. 

This illustrates that backup QB Drew Stanton is not ready to be used this year.  With Dan Orlovsky’s contract being up at the end of the year, Culpepper will make the QB situation for next year uncertain. 


Lions @ Bears, Will it be ugly?

The Lions have been terrible early in games this year.  Earlier this year the Lions were killed early by Chicago in Detroit.  This time we travel to Soldier Field where the atmosphere is always hostile.  With a young QB at the helm, I am not sure the offense will be able to handle the crowd and the hyped up Chi-Town defense.  The Detroit Defense has been beyond bad against the pass and run which doesn’t up their chances. This one could get ugly.

Dan Orlovsky will have to keep focused and try to take the crowd out of the game early.  Chicago’s secondary is always ball hungry but Jim Colleto should dial up some long passes early to Calvin Johnson.  This could take the crowd out of the game early which will give the offense a fighting chance.

Cory Redding need to stand up in this game and lead the run defense.  Matt Forte is the most dangerous rookie HB in the league.  Stopping him in the first half will give the Lions a chance to get some turnovers out of Kyle Orton.   Without stopping Forte, the D will have to commit more players to the front.  More players up front leave the passing game open where the Lions have struggled.

Prediction:  Matt Forte will run over 100 again against the Lions opening up for many points.  A quick start by the Bears will be too much for the Lions to handle.  Sorry Lions fans, Bears 34-17.

Fantasy Start’em for this game…

Matt Forte, Kyle Orton, Greg Olsen, and Calvin Johnson.

Fantasy Sit’em for this game…

Kevin Smith, Rudi Johnson, Dan Orlovsky, and Marty Booker.