Is Daunte Culpepper the Answer?

Daunte Culpepper worked out for the Detroit Lions this week.  This causing debate amongst the Lions faithful (yes, there still are plenty of Lions faithful).  This brings the question of “Is Culpepper the Answer?”.

Daunte Culpepper
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

I really do not see the need to bring in Daunte Culpepper.  He was a great player in Minnesota before his knees gave out.  Since then he has had failed stints in Miami and Oakland.  Why does Detroit need to gamble on an aging wild card when we have Dan Orlovsky and 2nd Round pick Drew Stanton on the roster. 

Quarterback right now is the least of Detroits worries.  The young guns need playing time to be evaluated in game situations.  Orlovsky should get the ball until Week 10, then hand it off to Stanton.  This would give the Lions an actual sense of who the QB of the future is.

The Lions are rebuilding.  Rebuilding should not consist of handing the team to someone who is currently retired with maybe has a couple of football years in him.  If the Lions are concerned with the QB situation after the end of the season, this should be handled in the draft.  Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford, and Tim Tebow all should be scooped up early by teams such as KC, Minnesota, and San Fransisco, so the Lions would need to act fast if they want an elite QB in the draft.  Drafting a QB that early would be a mistake since the OL needs so much work that the new QB would be a tackling dumby.

Harsh Criticism on Total Access

Marshall Faulk made this comment regarding Santana Moss’ punt return in Week 8.

The Detroit Lions should give their fans their money back and forfeit the rest of their games. That isn’t right.

While that comment was extreme, he is correct about the effort the Lions are putting in.  The special teams was the one bright spot of the season but the effort in that punt return was absolutely inexcusable.  Stan Kwan has done a good job this year.  He should be careful about falling into the lull the rest of the coaches in Detroit are in.

Restoring the Roar: O-Line

The Lions are obviously in rebuilding mode.  The question is, how do they go about rebuilding the team.  The “Restoring the Roar” series will look at the different parts of the team that the Lions need to focus on to get the team up to NFL caliber. 

The Offensive Line

The Lions have had a very poor offensive line for years.  This year has seen 6 different offensive line combinations in 7 weeks.  Rod Marinelli cannot seem to focus on a tandem that will protect the QB.  He simply does not have the talent to put together an NFL quality line.

Last season the Lions allowed a league high 54 sacks.  This year is looking to be the same with 25 sacks allowed in 7 games.  It is no wonder Jon Kitna is on injury reserve.  Kitna has never been my choice for the Lions QB but I admit that he one tough SOB.  If you are wondering, the Lions lead the league in sacks allowed last year and are close to the top this year.

Gosder Cheriluswas a heavy investment as the Lions first round pick in 08.  He is a big part of the Lions protection future.  Rod Marinelli needs to keep him in there for every snap and let him make mistakes.  Chasing a free-agent linemen to mentor him and any 2009 OL draft picks would be a key to rebuilding.  Matt Birk and Marc Colomboare two of the many free agent linemen who will be free agents in the off-season.  The Lions need a quality leader on the line to teach and keep the young guys straight.

Drafting will also be an avenue the Lions will have to get better at with a new GM on his way.  The offensive line is one of the biggest holes and needs to be addressed with at least one of the Detroit’s two first round picks.

With Edwin Mulitalo getting older and Jeff Backus not playing up to expectations, the LT, LG, and RG all need replacing.  Stephen Peterman has been playing better at the RG position. The coaches need to evaluate if the RG spot need addressing in free-agency or thorugh the draft.  If he continues playing well, the Lions could use there 3 high picks in the draft to help the defense and left side of the offensive line.

9 Game Short of Perfection

The lowly Lions played a better game today against the Washington Redskins but still dropped to 0-7.  The Lion could be in a struggle not to hit the shameful 0-16 mark for the season.

The Lions lost 25-17 to the Washington Redskins. The Redskins improve to 6-2 with this big road win.

4 Quarters in a Football Game!!

Why do the Lions feel the need to take a quarter off every game?  The first half was played with heart, but after the half the Lions game out flat and basically sunk the game.  The coaching staff needs to a better job getting the Lions fired up after the half.  Without the 3rd quarter shutdown, the Lions probably would have earned their first win of the season.  I am sure the Redskins were chewed out by coach Jim Zorn for a flat first half performance.  The Lions coaches had to know the Skins would be fired up.

Stand Outs

The rookie Cliff Avril looked solid in this loss.  He put pressure on the QB which resulted in a fumble which was recovered by Paris Lenon.

Calvin Johnson was an excellent first round pick a year ago.  He continues to show that the Lions WRs are fine without Roy Williams.  Calvin needs some assistance from Furrey and McDonald.  They both had drops today that would have kept drive going.

Kevin Smith is a great option for screens and check-downs.  He showed good hands today and gave the Lions another dimension that they have been missing for years.  He will be valuable in helping his QB out of trouble and getting positive yardage.

KTV: Redskins Roll into Big D

The Lions are in for a tough contest this week against the 5-2 Redskins.  Last time the Skins and Lions met it wasn’t even close.  The Skins destroyed the Lions 34-3 last season.

The First Quarter…

The main key to the Lions breaking the goose egg for the season is maintaining the first quarter.  The Lions have scored a total of 0 points in 6 games in the first quarter.  The Lions D has given up 54 points in the first quarter.  That is a huge difference to climb out of each game.  The coaching staff need to get the players fired up and ready to score and stuff the run.

Portis Needs to Be Stopped

Clinton Portis is on fire this year.  He has rushed for 818 yard and 7 TDs.  He is going to be the biggest challenge the for the Detroit rush defense (ranked 31st) to date.  The Lions have given up an average of 167 yards per game.  If this happens with Clinton Portis running the ball, it will surely translate to at least 2 Tds.

The Lions need an identity on the O-Line instead of the constant carosel of starters.  Gosder Cherilus will likely start this week in place of George “False Start” Foster.  The O-Line is the Lions weakest point out of many weak points.  This will need to be handled in the draft with the 3 early picks we will have.

Fantasy Picks for this Game

Clinton Portis – The Lions D is full of holes which will allow Clinton to run crazy.  He will break 100 yards and put 2 in the endzone.

Washington Defense – It is not often I will pick a Defense as the fantasy pick but this is an excception.  With the poor O-Line play and young Lions QB,  the Washington D will have a big game.

Mike Furrey – The Washington D will be all over Calvin Johnson.  This will leave Mike Furrey open.  Furrey will see 8 to 10 catches and possibly a TD.  If you need a third WR because of the bye week, pick up Mike for this week.

How’d I do last week?

My fantasy picks last week were gold!  Calvin Johnson, Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson all had great weeks. 

Tuesday Hang-Over: Week 7

The Lions are 0-6.  0 wins. 0 first quarter points all year. 

All I can say is the Lions looked like a team that could not have competed in NFL Europe in Week 7.  The entire team didn’t show up until the second half.  The offense and defense started playing better but it was too late because the Texan were given a 21 point pad before Detroit thought to show.  This loss was a mix of poor coaching and an uninspired start.

Why is Gosder Cherilus Sitting?

Why is our first round pick sitting in favor of George Foster?  Cherilus needs to be out there taking his lumps and learning from mistakes.  What good does it do him to see Foster (who has been benched 5 separate times since joining the Lions) take 2 more false start penalties on Sunday.  Decisions like sitting Cherilus makes me seriously question if the Lions are committed to winning in the future.

Calvin! Calvin! Calvin! Calvin!… 

Why was Calvin Johnson’s names only called 2 times in the first half?  Two pass attempts to our new #1 receiver is ridiculous.  The Texans #1 receiver Andre Johnson caught 8 passes in the first half.  That is how the Lions should be using Calvin Johnson.  This could explain why the 37 yard line was as close as the Lions got to the end-zone in the first half.

Run Kevin! Run!

Kevin Smith Touchdown
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

The young running back Kevin Smith is for real.  He showed a huge amount of potential in his limited amount of carries in the loss to the Texans.  It was obvious that he was a steal in the 3rd round when he was selected.  His 26 yard TD was a spark for the Lions and a glimmer of hope for the future of the Lions.

How about a pep talk?

Am I the only one who thinks the Lions need a pep talk before the beginning of the game?  Why do they always give up 2 or 3 TDs before starting to play.  In the NFL it is almost impossible to recover from 3 TDs down at the half.   The coaches need to get these guys fired up before the game instead of at the half?

Maybe a few cheerleaders on the sidelines would help? 

Texans Beat The Lions: Week 7

Complete NFL Play by Play 

Detroit came out of the gate like a donkey in a horse race.  It was 7-0 for the 1-4 Houston Texans within the first minute.  The defense looked terrible allowing a long run to Steve Slaton and then left Owen Daniels wide open for a simple touchdown.

The next series for the Lions defense was equally dismal.  A pass interfernce call against Leigh Bodden led to an easy run into the enzone for Ahman Green.  With 10 minutes gone in the opening quarter, the Lions already gave up more points than they did against the Vikings in Week 6. 14-0 Houston.

The offense was as equally bad in the first quarter.  The Lions could only manage 1 first down in the first 2 series.  Dan Orlovsky missed a wide open Shaun Mcdonald which would have resulted in a walk-in TD.

The third defensive series saw Steve Slaton shred the Lions run game resulting in a Slaton TD at the 12 minute mark of the 2nd quarter.  21-0 Houston after 18 minutes of play.

The Lions offense finally got into the Texans side of the field halfway through the 2nd quarter off a long pass to Mike Furrey.   The drive stalled at the 37 yard line.  Jason Hanson cashed in on a 54 yard field goal.  21-3 Houston.

The Texans rolled down the field on the 4th drive but Matt Schaub was stripped of the ball at the 9 yard line.  Jared Devries recovered the fumble.

Andre Johnson had 8 catches for 95 yards in the first half.  Calvin Johnson had 0 catches off 1 look before a hail mary at the end of the half (58 yards).  21-3 at the half.

Detroit started the second drive of the second half in Texans territory (47 yd line).  Kevin Smith broke a 21 yard run and then a 26 yard run for the Lions first TD of the afternoon.  Kevin Smith was very impressive on this drive bringing the Lions back into this game in consecutive plays.  21-10 Houston.

The Texans continued where they left off in the first half  by scoring another TD on the next drive.  Owen Daniels caught his second TD to put the Texan up by 18.  28-10 Texans

On the first play of Detroit’s next drive, Dan Orlovsky threw a 96 yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson.  Calvin made this franchise record TD look easy.  He had 2 strides on the cornerback before the ball was caught, then trotted into the endzone.  Calvin Johnson caught the 2 point conversion to make the score 28-18 for the Texans.

On the next drive, Mike Furrey made a 25 yard one handed catch on 3rd & 19 to keep the Lions rolling.  A Tim Bowman sack on Dan Orlovsky put the the Lions into very difficult field goal range. Jason Hanson attempts his second 54 yard field goal of the day and hits it! 28-21 Texans.

In the end the Lions could not get it done.  The terrible defensive start  killed them.  In the second half they looked much better but it is difficult to overcome a 21-3 half time deficit.  They put up a fight in the second half but fell 7 points short.

Final 28-21 Texans

Detroit Lions 0-6.  It is hard  to be a Lions fan these days!

KTV: Lions @ Texans Week 7

Week 7 in the lowly Lions schedule brings the almost as lowly Houston Texans (1-4).  This game is a must win for the Lions because the rest of the schedule is a nightmare.  Every remaining game after Week 7 features an opponent is .500 or better.  Without a win this week there could be talk of chasing the 0-16 in the media.  I don’t want to listen to all that garbage.

The Offense is the key is this one…

Getting the offense clicking after the trade of Roy Williams is the key to this game.  A strong performance will keep all the critic quiet and let the Lions focus on the rest of the season.

The O-Line needs to contain Mario Williams.  Orlovsky needs time to get the ball out.  Williams is the sack leader (tied) since 2007. 

Life after Roy Williams is pretty good in the Wide Receiver core.   I am not worried if the wide-outs can get the job done. 

  • Calvin Johnson is a top 3 pick in the draft who is an incredible athlete.  He now has the chance to stand-up as the leader of the WRs.  Known as Megatron, he is a huge presence which will always demand double coverage.
  • Mike Furrey caught just under 100 passes 2 years ago.  He is a tough slot receiver who can take a hit and get up.  The passing game is going to change without Roy William which will benefit Mike.  10-12 yard passes are his comfort zone so Jim Colletto should take advantage of this.
  • Shaun McDonald is an elite WR in the waiting.  He is consistent with alot of heart.  He plays a similar game to Mike Furrey which should make him and Mike a very credible slot threat.  With Shaun McDonald he give Jim Colleto the option to spread the ball around.

As of this blog Dan Orlovsky is listed as the starter on the Lions unofficial depth chart.  You are going to see a different Dan O. this week because he has gotten the first game jitters out and he will not be facing the league’s top defense this week.  Week 7 will be a good indicator of Dan O’s future as the Lions starter.  Drew Stanton are waiting in the wings which will be an excellent motivator for Dan.

Defense needs a repeat performance…

The Lions D played awesome last week.  They were hungry.  Joe Barry call a hell of a game with no glaring mistake.  His defense held the Vikings to only 10 points until the refs decided to take the game from the Lions. 

Shutting down Andre Johnson is critical.  He is a phenom receiver so Leigh Bodden will need to repeat last weeks stellar game.  It won’t be easy but this is Leigh’s chance to show the league that he was worth the Shaun Rogers price the Lions paid.

Keep the referees out of the game…

Yes I will say it, that loss to the Vikings was the refs fault plain and simple.  The offense needs to get the defense some padding so blatantly blown calls will not effect the outcome of the game.  If the defense can hold the Texans to field goals, 21 point out of the offense should be enough to win this game.

Prediction:  Lions 23 Texans 20

Fantasy Picks for this game: Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, and Steve Slaton.

Roy Williams Wanted Out?

Did Roy Williams want out of Detroit?  He stated a number of time publicly that Detroit was where he wanted to be.  According to Drew Stanton’s blog, Roy Williams wanted out of Detroit.

Plain and simple, Roy did not want to be here any longer and was going to demand an insane amount of money if there was a chance of him staying.

This is not much of a surprise since Roy had to know that Calvin Johnson is the future of the Detroit Lions wide receiver core.  Calvin has the raw talent that could push the Lions and a young QB to the next level.

Roy Williams also is from Texas.  He has roots there so it is not a stretch to say he would be happy to return to the area.

With all that being said, I wish Roy good luck in Dallas.  Roy was entertaining in Detroit and will probably take his career to a new level. 

As for Stanton’s view on the trade:

I think that trade worked out great for everyone involved. We ended up picking up essentially a first- and third-round pick, Roy got to go back to Texas, and the Cowboys got a great talent at wide receiver.

It is good to see forward thinking from a young QB. You can read Stanton’s blog here

Roy Williams is a Cowboy

It is official Roy Williams is a Dallas Cowboy.  I blogged last week that there was more benefit to shopping Roy than keeping him.  It is nice to be right once in awhile.

The trade details are as follows:

Dallas gets: Roy Williams & 7th Round Pick (2009)

Detroit gets: Round 1, 3, and 6 picks (2009)

This is a blockbuster deal.  The Detroit Lions made out very well on this trade as we can use the picks (and the money Roy would sign for) to rebuild both sides of the ball.

Dallas has had several set backs in the past 24 hours.  Injuries to Tony Romo, Felix Jones, and Terrance Newman will hurt the Cowboys.  The suspension of Adam Jones will be another unnecessary distraction.  Jone is out for at least 4 weeks.  This actually benefits the Lions because the worse the Cowboys do, the better the pick will be for the Lions next year.

Another blockbuster aspect of this trade is the extra draft picks may entice a new GM.  Detroit will need to attract the best possible GM if we are going to rebuild successfully.  This trade will only help things.