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 Lions, scouts pouring over draft data 
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Post Lions, scouts pouring over draft data
Freep wrote:
January 23, 2009

Lions, scouts pouring over draft data

By NICK COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

MOBILE, Ala. — Since president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew took over the Lions, they have talked about having a philosophy and a plan and a system. They have talked about sticking to them from the top of the organization to the bottom.

Now they feel they have found a coach who fits, Jim Schwartz, and Schwartz feels he has found a defensive coordinator who fits, Gunther Cunningham.

But it is still early in the process, and so when it came to scouting prospects this week at practices for Saturday’s Senior Bowl, the Lions were collecting data more than targeting players.

“When you talk about system-specific scouting, which is what we’re looking to do, it starts with the system,” Lewand said.

The Lions have a philosophy and a plan. But they don’t have their specific system yet.

“Getting the coordinators on board is a big first step towards that, and then you sit down and you talk about exactly what that system looks like in an ideal world,” Lewand said.

Schwartz said the Lions would have those conversations fairly soon, where they “sit around in a room and spend six hours talking about things, and then take pen to paper and sort of write it up in a real concise sort of vision, ‘Hey, look, this is what we’re looking for in an offensive lineman.’”

The Lions held a meeting Monday morning, and the scouting staff gave brief presentations on each player participating in the Senior Bowl so that everyone would have at least a little familiarity with them.

The scouts attended practice. Schwartz didn’t, so he could work on others matters, such as putting together his staff. But Schwartz attended some interviews with prospects in the evening.

“We’re just collecting the information on their character, who these guys are and that kind of stuff,” Mayhew said. “And who knows? It may be information that comes into play four or five years from now in free agency. We’re down here just getting as much information as we can get right now.”

Once everything is set, the Lions will take the next step in draft preparation. It is the step that hurt them under former president Matt Millen, when they made bad choices and failed to fit the pieces together.

Mayhew kept virtually the entire scouting staff together. He has said the staff has collected the right data and the Lions just need to make better decisions.

“The good thing is, our guys have done a lot of work already,” Lewand said. “They understand what’s out there, and they can put a filter on that information based on what our system is going to look like offensively and defensively. Hopefully the guys that fit that come out of the filter.

“I think that’s part of the challenge that lies ahead, but it’s not going to be a difficult one. These guys have gathered all the information. The way they do it allows them to be flexible. ‘OK, you’re not looking for this kind of guy anymore? No problem.’ It’s not like they went through the entire fall ignoring guys that didn’t fit the Tampa Two defense.”

http://www.freep.com/article/20090123/S ... draft+data

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January 23rd, 2009, 12:13 pm
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Mayhew kept virtually the entire scouting staff together. He has said the staff has collected the right data and the Lions just need to make better decisions.


I'd like to know WHAT F***ing DATA they had that EVER......EVER.....EVER, EVER, EVER made them think that Mike Williams was a good pick!!!

Was it his pedestrian 40 yard dash time......or his 240 pound weight???


That is what scares me when I think about the chances of the Lions actually selecting the right players in the draft. We have the SAME scouts that apparently ignored Harrington's low completion percentage and ignored the character flaws of Charles Rogers KNOWN before the draft.

Those are players that you can't BET the house on in the draft with a top 5 pick.

When is the last time that the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, or Giants took such a HUGE chance on a player in the 1st round???



I realize that Millen had the FINAL say on all draft decisions.......BUT.....the scouts had months to provide Millen with enough "DATA" to show him why those picks were HUGE gambles.

I like the first 2 moves that Mayhew has made.......but I don't BUY this act of throwing Millen under the bus like he was the ONLY reason that this organization failed in the past.


Quote:
“When you talk about system-specific scouting, which is what we’re looking to do, it starts with the system,” Lewand said.

The Lions have a philosophy and a plan. But they don’t have their specific system yet.

“Getting the coordinators on board is a big first step towards that, and then you sit down and you talk about exactly what that system looks like in an ideal world,” Lewand said.


I REALLY.....REALLY hope that Lewand is more of a "spokesman" than actually involved in finding the players. He is a BEAN COUNTER, not a personnel guy. The part that I really am irritated with is that he sounds arrogant. He sounds like he is preaching to others about the "right way" to build a franchise......when he has been a part of THE worst run franchise in pro sports from the beginning of the Millen era.


I just feel he needs to be a bit more HUMBLE when he is talking to the press.


January 23rd, 2009, 3:40 pm
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In all fairness, a lot of people in the media and on this board liked BMW.

See: http://lionbacker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1052

And Charles Rogers wasn't that big of a risk. His pot smoking was not that big of a deal (see Calvin Johnson) and it didn't ruin his career--his glass collarbone did.

As for Joey? A true reach, that's for sure.


January 23rd, 2009, 3:46 pm
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The only other thing I'd add is that there was an article not too long ago talking about the things Millen would do during draft day that had the scouts and coaches shaking their heads. Basically, the article said that they would go into the draft with a plan based on the information they had collected, and then somehow Millen would fall in love with a particular player and just select him. That was how the Mike Williams pick supposedly happened. If that is true, then it is Millen's fault. It's true that every scout will make mistakes, just as everyone involved in sports does. But from what I've read, it was mostly Millen's idiotic moves that were the problem.

This year's draft will show us whether or not that is truly the case.

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January 23rd, 2009, 4:04 pm
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Read just a bit between the lines here folks. Mayhew has said that the scouts did well, but the decisions were bad. That means 'Millen picked the guys he wanted despite what the scouts said'. He's saying exactly that, without spelling it out so plainly. Don't have any doubts about that.

If Mayhew really thought the scouts were bad, he'd have fired them. Just like the pseudo-coach he inherited. Mayhew's job depends on the performance of the scouts. He could have fired them all and no one would have batted an eye. He'd have political cover from the fans to do so. The fact that he didn't do it says that he thinks they provide what he'll need to get the job done.
Unlike us, Mayhew really does know what went on with Millen. So far, Mayhew has done quite well, in my estimation. I can't say I've been upset about anything he's had his hands on so far.

1 - Culpepper - a flyer, if he gets cut, it'll be fine
2- Roy - a trade I didn't initially want, but he got excellent value for the deal
3- Rod - Canned. Perfect decision
4- Coach search. Measured, professional, pulled the trigger at the right time.
5- Coach pick - I think its the best Lions coaching hire I have yet seen. He's quite different from the usual dorks we see in the job.

Based on these moves, I'd say if he wants to keep the scouts, he knows things I don't. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt right now, because I have yet to see him do anything remotely resembling stupid so far.

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January 23rd, 2009, 9:35 pm
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Blueskies wrote:
In all fairness, a lot of people in the media and on this board liked BMW.

See: http://lionbacker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1052

And Charles Rogers wasn't that big of a risk. His pot smoking was not that big of a deal (see Calvin Johnson) and it didn't ruin his career--his glass collarbone did.

As for Joey? A true reach, that's for sure.



Huh? :shock: :shock: :shock:

There is a HUGE difference between CJ being truthful and admitting that he once tried the hash..............compared to CRog being apparently so addicted to the Pinconning Paralyzer that he couldn't even stop smoking long enough to pass a drug that he KNEW was coming!!!

Also, let's not forget that Rogers had to sit out his Freshman season at MSU because of academics.....and I believe he already had 2 kids before the draft.

On their own........those are not character issues that may chase off most teams. Collectively....they present a MAJOR RED FLAG that should make ANY team nervous about taking him.

Also..........considering that Andre Johnson was there for the taking.....with nearly identical speed....and a much more PHYSICAL body to go with his talents, the Lions should have had enough "DATA" to choose the right WR.


FINALLY..............

Charles Rogers may have broke his collarbone 2 times......but I can't understand how that contributed to his 40 yeard dash time slipping from a 4.3 at the combine in 2003 to a 4.8 in tryouts with other NFL teams following his release by the Lions. There were about 3 other teams that tried him out, but all of them declined to sign him!

His "glass collarbone" may not have helped him.........but it HARDLY did as much damage to his career as his PATHETIC work ethic. :roll:


January 23rd, 2009, 10:29 pm
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Charles Rogers aka Ganja...................What a sad story. So much talent and potential but His Weak collarbone did him in.

Do you guys remember his second seasons Pre-season? Man he looked good.


January 23rd, 2009, 11:13 pm
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phunnypharm wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
In all fairness, a lot of people in the media and on this board liked BMW.


I was among the most vociferous supporters of drafting Derrick Johnson. At least he would still be a part of our team today. Instead, we signed Paris Lenon.

phunnypharm wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
On their own........those are not character issues that may chase off most teams. Collectively....they present a MAJOR RED FLAG that should make ANY team nervous about taking him.


So can we officially place a few flags on Andre Smith then? Seems like many pundits and posters on this very site are awfully comfortable with taking this guy first, when he had the some constructive knowledge that he needed to be careful when as a highly rated prospect he would be under the microscope. If nothing else, he is exceptionally stupid.

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Somehow landing the Ndamo-nator would be the second best day ever.


January 24th, 2009, 2:27 pm
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blueblood1 wrote:
phunnypharm wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
In all fairness, a lot of people in the media and on this board liked BMW.


I was among the most vociferous supporters of drafting Derrick Johnson. At least he would still be a part of our team today. Instead, we signed Paris Lenon.

phunnypharm wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
On their own........those are not character issues that may chase off most teams. Collectively....they present a MAJOR RED FLAG that should make ANY team nervous about taking him.


So can we officially place a few flags on Andre Smith then? Seems like many pundits and posters on this very site are awfully comfortable with taking this guy first, when he had the some constructive knowledge that he needed to be careful when as a highly rated prospect he would be under the microscope. If nothing else, he is exceptionally stupid.


The only flag on Andre Smith is the agent contact suspension a few weeks ago. If it was one of multiple issues like Charles Rogers, then it would be a concern. It looks like an isolated incident as Andre has been clean otherwise.


January 24th, 2009, 3:12 pm
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phunnypharm wrote:
Quote:
Mayhew kept virtually the entire scouting staff together. He has said the staff has collected the right data and the Lions just need to make better decisions.


I'd like to know WHAT F***ing DATA they had that EVER......EVER.....EVER, EVER, EVER made them think that Mike Williams was a good pick!!!

Was it his pedestrian 40 yard dash time......or his 240 pound weight???


That is what scares me when I think about the chances of the Lions actually selecting the right players in the draft. We have the SAME scouts that apparently ignored Harrington's low completion percentage and ignored the character flaws of Charles Rogers KNOWN before the draft.

Those are players that you can't BET the house on in the draft with a top 5 pick.

When is the last time that the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, or Giants took such a HUGE chance on a player in the 1st round???



I realize that Millen had the FINAL say on all draft decisions.......BUT.....the scouts had months to provide Millen with enough "DATA" to show him why those picks were HUGE gambles.

I like the first 2 moves that Mayhew has made.......but I don't BUY this act of throwing Millen under the bus like he was the ONLY reason that this organization failed in the past.


Quote:
“When you talk about system-specific scouting, which is what we’re looking to do, it starts with the system,” Lewand said.

The Lions have a philosophy and a plan. But they don’t have their specific system yet.

“Getting the coordinators on board is a big first step towards that, and then you sit down and you talk about exactly what that system looks like in an ideal world,” Lewand said.


I REALLY.....REALLY hope that Lewand is more of a "spokesman" than actually involved in finding the players. He is a BEAN COUNTER, not a personnel guy. The part that I really am irritated with is that he sounds arrogant. He sounds like he is preaching to others about the "right way" to build a franchise......when he has been a part of THE worst run franchise in pro sports from the beginning of the Millen era.


I just feel he needs to be a bit more HUMBLE when he is talking to the press.


You are right on. As we know, Millen spent his weekdays at his home in Pennsylvania. People had to be back in Michigan doing draft preparation to give Matt information necessary to make the bad choices he made. Martin Mayhew was the main guy as Assistant GM to do so. Thats why Matt Millen gave him the promotion in 2004. To work in personnel. Lewand himself said he was just a "bean counter to work in the business end" and he "wasnt a football guy". Now we are seeing his true colors. We'll see how far the buck is passed this time.


January 24th, 2009, 3:18 pm
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Quote:
People had to be back in Michigan doing draft preparation to give Matt information necessary to make the bad choices he made.


Quote:
I realize that Millen had the FINAL say on all draft decisions.......BUT.....the scouts had months to provide Millen with enough "DATA" to show him why those picks were HUGE gambles.


Am I to believe for one second that Millen didn't know of Rogers' jaded history? Or that Millen was ONLY shown the bright points of Joey Harrington's game?

I don't buy that. To not give him all pertinent information would have been negligent. I believe he knew full well what the highlights were, as well as the faults. With that information he made calculated risks, most of which did not fall in his favor. I am sure Millen knew Mike Williams 40 times and weight, so if that is reason for not picking him, then Millen is guilty more than the scouts. Hell, even I know 40 times of Lions prospects. Mike Williams was a mistake. Millen is at fault, but another team would've made that mistake a few spots behind us if we hadn't. It's just the way it works.

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January 24th, 2009, 6:16 pm
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blueblood1 wrote:
phunnypharm wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
In all fairness, a lot of people in the media and on this board liked BMW.


I was among the most vociferous supporters of drafting Derrick Johnson. At least he would still be a part of our team today. Instead, we signed Paris Lenon.

phunnypharm wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
On their own........those are not character issues that may chase off most teams. Collectively....they present a MAJOR RED FLAG that should make ANY team nervous about taking him.


So can we officially place a few flags on Andre Smith then? Seems like many pundits and posters on this very site are awfully comfortable with taking this guy first, when he had the some constructive knowledge that he needed to be careful when as a highly rated prospect he would be under the microscope. If nothing else, he is exceptionally stupid.


YES.

I think there are 2 red flags on Andre Smith.

#1.........his WEIGHT.

#2.........the incident with the agent.


I'm not saying these 2 red flags are EQUAL to Charles Rogers' character issues, especially since I don't know the whole story about the agent. I also don't know IF the Alabama coaches have to constantly work on him to lose a few pounds.....or if there are a few isolated times when his weight may go up in the offseason???

I AM SAYING that the scouts SHOULD already know a lot of these answers ahead of time.

Andre Smith didn't just magically appear on the radar like a Stealth Jet. In this day of technology, the scouts should be able to get film on him and compare how heavy he appears. Or......taking this even a step further......they may be able to get his body weights from the strength and conditioning coach at Alabama. I would want to know this "DATA" if at all possible on any player, but especially linemen. I would also want to see their strength/conditioning numbers, which should be tracked from their Freshman year until the draft.


There is too much MONEY on the line with a high 1st round pick to not look under every rock.......and IF I had a BILLION dollar franchise in the NFL.......you better believe I would have an enormous staff of scouts that would help prevent the BUSINESS from making poor financial decisions.


January 25th, 2009, 8:58 am
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phunnypharm wrote:
There is too much MONEY on the line with a high 1st round pick to not look under every rock.......and IF I had a BILLION dollar franchise in the NFL.......you better believe I would have an enormous staff of scouts that would help prevent the BUSINESS from making poor financial decisions.


Relax Man. The Fords have driven the value of this franchise into the ground right along with the rest of the team. LOL. It may be worth about $500M.


January 25th, 2009, 2:34 pm
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BillySims wrote:
phunnypharm wrote:
There is too much MONEY on the line with a high 1st round pick to not look under every rock.......and IF I had a BILLION dollar franchise in the NFL.......you better believe I would have an enormous staff of scouts that would help prevent the BUSINESS from making poor financial decisions.


Relax Man. The Fords have driven the value of this franchise into the ground right along with the rest of the team. LOL. It may be worth about $500M.


Not to hi-jack the thread but...
freep.com wrote:
Forbes: Lions lose money as well as games
BY SHAWN WINDSOR • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • January 25, 2009

Two years ago, the Lions lost $3.1 million, which, according to an editor at Forbes magazine who spends much of his year breaking down the worth of NFL teams, is not an easy thing to do.


Forbes' research found that the Lions were the only NFL team to lose money in the 2007 season.

The team also lost $1.8 million in 2006 (although it wasn't the only club to post a loss that year). Numbers for 2008 aren't out, but an 0-16 record, five games that didn't sell out and a slew of discounted tickets make it hard to fathom that the bottom line will be better.

So how does a team with a state-of-the-art stadium, an old-school brand and an exceedingly loyal fan base fail to make a profit during a 7-9 season -- its best in years -- in the flushest league in pro sports?

"Usually, the performance on the field indicates the performance off the field," said Mike Ozanian, Forbes' national editor.

In other words, he said, compiling one of the worst eight-year stretches in NFL history isn't a good way to make money, even in a league that encourages parity, institutes a salary cap and shares its massive television revenue equally among its teams. His research suggests that from the NFL's perspective, the Lions are one of the top underperformers.

For years, some fans have argued vehemently -- on sports-talk radio, through blogs and in print -- that the only way the Lions will improve is if owner William Clay Ford Sr. felt pain in the pocketbook, though it would be unfair to assume that Ford really wants to lose. The Lions declined to comment for this article.

Still, it's hard to imagine how much pain the operating losses could cause Ford, whose net worth Forbes placed at $1.2 billion in 2005.

The good news for the Lions, according to those who study the business of sports, is that a new coach and a high draft pick can put fans back in the seats and generate buzz, both of which increase revenue. The bad news is that the economy in Michigan is horrible.

Worse news?

"It would be wrong to just blame the economy," Ozanian said. "It is not an organization where everybody (has been) working in the same direction."

Last week, general manager Martin Mayhew said the coaching staff and the football management operations were never in sync during the Matt Millen era. Ozanian said when a team loses money, the problems on the field often mirror those in the financial offices.

Yet despite the operating losses in 2006-07, the value of the franchise continues to skyrocket.

When Millen took over after the 2000 season, Forbes estimates the club was worth $328 million. Eight seasons and 97 losses later, it's $917 million.

That staggering jump is a product of the powerful NFL brand and its revenue sharing, where the weakest teams receive the same amount of television money as the strongest. Try to imagine another business that easily doubles its worth even as it produces a shoddy product.

Credit the world of pro sports, Ozanian said, where the value of a franchise has little to do with its profits. This tidy little irony is why he sympathizes with fans in markets where teams perpetually struggle.

"Where is the incentive to put out a good product?" he said. "Or to be forced to be creative in marketing?"

It is something the Lions wouldn't discuss, citing the proprietary nature of their business.

Even without the explicit help of the franchises, Forbes has nevertheless managed to ferret out the worth of each NFL team and rank them the past 11 years. Ozanian said he and his researches used sources, such as bankers familiar with the teams, and some documents to get the financial picture. Sometimes sources within the teams help, too.

The latest rankings -- before the 2008 season -- list the Cowboys as the most valuable team at $1.6 billion. The Lions' worth of $917 million, no doubt helped by the opening of Ford Field in 2002, was good enough to rank 24th -- out of 32 teams.

What has become clear during Forbes' decade-plus of breaking down the numbers, Ozanian said, is that it is difficult to lose money. There are aberrations, of course, such as the old 49ers that skirted the salary cap to pay all those Super Bowl-winning players, or a team that got itself into a bad stadium deal, or a team with a one-time cost.

But, Ozanian said, "you generally have to be both horrible on the field for a consistent period of time and have given sponsors and corporate suite holders a very good reason not to buy signage and or premium seating."

For example, according to Forbes, in 2007 the Lions generated roughly $21 million from suite and club seat licensing revenue. By contrast, the Jacksonville Jaguars, a much newer team in a far smaller market, produced about $24 million in corporate sales.

While it is worth noting that the Lions must compete for a finite share of sponsorships with three other major pro sports teams in town -- the Jaguars operate in a one-team town -- Forbes said the Lions didn't compare well with other larger-market franchises, either.

Patrick Rishe, a professor of economics at Webster University in St. Louis who specializes in the business of sports, said in the Lions' case, a front man would help.

"You need" a face, "somebody that will convince the fans that change is on the way, that we are in this together," Rishe said. "Ownership has to take a vested interest."

He said Detroit's biggest problem was its lack of identity.

Ford, 83, is rarely seen in public. He talks with the media even less. After the season ended Dec. 28, he did not attend three news conferences meant to change the direction of the franchise he has owned since 1963. A day after the 2008 season, coach Rod Marinelli was fired. The next day, long-time employees Tom Lewand and Mayhew officially were introduced as president and general manager. On Jan. 16, Jim Schwartz took the podium at Ford Field as the Lions' 25th coach (and seventh this century).

Kevin King, chairman of Madonna University's sports management program, said a team's identity doesn't always have to come from the owner.

"A new coach can provide fans with optimism," said King, who once worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and interned with the Lions. "The thinking is: 'This time around, maybe the Lions got it right.' "

Rishe said normally the money from the national television contract (approximately $115 million a year per team under the deals that expire in 2011) was enough to cover the costs of running a franchise. But these are difficult times. Corporate money is drying up, particularly in places like Detroit. Add to that the 0-16 season and the economic outlook suffers.

For the first five seasons under Millen, the Lions put a bad team on the field and still made money. For the moment, that is no longer the case.

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January 25th, 2009, 5:38 pm
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CMWSR, thanks for posting. A very interesting read. It makes it apparent that WCF is getting hit in his ridiculously large wallet.

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Rishe said normally the money from the national television contract (approximately $115 million a year per team under the deals that expire in 2011) was enough to cover the costs of running a franchise.


I'm going to have to dispute the accuracy of this statement, though. Several teams have player salaries alone that exceed 115 million dollars. Add to that the cost of the stadium, coaches, and all related staff, and I'm certain 115 million dollars falls far short. But then you add in the revenue from ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, etc... and a team should be able to at least break even. Given the magnitude of the suckage and lack of attendance, I'm sure we lost quite a boatload of money in '08.

It makes me wonder if the changes made were mostly financially motivated. I also wonder if there is going to be pressure to pick certain players or positions to help sell tickets in '09. I believe you have to spend money to make money. We should spend the money on quality players and fill out the cap space somewhat. It costs money to bring in winning talent. I just wonder if Ford will be willing to invest MORE money into a franchise that is already losing.

-ILMP


January 25th, 2009, 7:50 pm
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