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 Examining the Lions Draft Profile 
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Post Examining the Lions Draft Profile
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Here is a look at the factors that will come into play in the Detroit Lions draft room:


Detroit Draft Needs (in order of importance)
QB NT DE DT TE CB MLB OL


Decision Makers
Lions' fans are hoping that they finally have a front office that they can trust after years of bad personnel decisions. They have a new coaching staff and a rebuilt front office, so better days may be ahead. Former interim general manager Martin Mayhew now has the job full time and he is a hard working guy, who will likely make safer decisions than in the past. He will likely be attracted to blue collar players who make plays and display good character. President Tom Lewand has a lot of power, but he will likely defer to Mayhew and his staff on a lot of day-to-day decisions. New head coach Jim Schwartz and his staff will have considerable input, but not a lot of say in final decisions. The Lions have also hired former Jacksonville vice president of player personnel James Harris as senior personnel executive and he can be a huge help to Mayhew as this front office develops its identity.

Offensive Philosophy
New coordinator Scott Linehan is usually very good at recognizing his talent on hand and then adjusting his schemes to fit that talent and that will be his challenge in Detroit. This will be a run-first offense in the early going due to a questionable quarterback situation. We also won't likely see a lot of exotic schemes, even though Linehan has a reputation as a good play caller and he identifies matchups well. We will likely see some shifts and motions to find these matchups with a lot of precise timing routes in the passing game. However, with the emphasis on the run there may be quality play-action opportunities on some deep balls to their best playmaker, wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Defensive Philosophy
New coordinator Gunther Cunningham most recently ran a Cover 2 in Kansas City, but in Detroit, under Jim Schwartz, he will switch to a 4-3 attacking defense, which Schwartz ran in Tennessee. They want their defensive line to excel at one-gap, penetrating schemes -- which allows their linebackers to flow and fill. The guys on the backend will play a lot of zones and they must step up and tackle versus the run. This is a sound defense that won't give up a lot of big plays, but the Lions must get more physical up the middle.

Gary Horton is a pro scout for Scouts Inc. and has been a football talent evaluator for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years in the NFL and 10 years at the college level before launching a private scouting firm called The War Room.


Just another perspective on what scouts are calling our needs; also adds in a little scheme talk for those that aren't familiar with what we will probably be running with.


April 17th, 2009, 10:04 pm
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Nice post. Thanks for that.

Here's my take on offense versus defense, drafting wise.

The Lions have said they want a run oriented offensive attack. That's good, I'd like to see that. But, do we get that with the defense we have? No, not like we should. Last year we couldn't establish a running game most of the time, because you don't run the football when you are 21 points behind in the second half of the game. And if you are behind that much, then the other team is going to keep your offense off the field, and as such you don't wear down their defense. The running game simply won't work.

That all being said, IF the Lions truly want to establish and maintain a solid running game, they MUST address the porosity of the defense. Getting players like Buchanon, Jackson and Peterson have helped, but it certainly has not gotten them all the personnel they need to even make this defense respectable.

IF the Lions draft Stafford, so be it. But in the long run I think you help that young man more by getting a good core of defensive players now, allow them to work together and let our running game establish itself more prominently as a result. Then, next year you can bring in Matthew and give him the same advantages that Ryan and Flacco had. While Atlanta's defense wasn't spectacular, it was improved. But their running game was off the charts, and their defense wasn't giving up record points like the Lions were. Their strong running game helped the defense, and the defense helped the strong running game, and Ryan wasn't forced to win ballgames on his own by having to heave the ball 50 times a game. Same thing in Baltimore. Flacco prospered due to a good running game and a strong defense.

While I completely agree we need to get a tight end, a better LT and a better run blocking center, those things can be had either in later rounds this year (TE and OC especially) or next year.


April 17th, 2009, 10:18 pm
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Linehan is a pass happy guy, and always has been. He certainly isn't Martz, but he doesn't run smash mouth football style.


April 18th, 2009, 6:05 am
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Blueskies wrote:
Linehan is a pass happy guy, and always has been. He certainly isn't Martz, but he doesn't run smash mouth football style.


I don't know what your intent is, but if you're trying to frame this into some kind of argument that we are going to have a pass-oriented offense because of Linehan, it's wrong on two counts.

1) Linehan was brought in to run the 'Detroit Lions Offense' as directed by Schwartz. They were not bringing him in to have free reign at an offense of his design. And from the onset of Schwartz and Mayhew's regime, the directive was pretty clear, run hard and pound teams late into the year.

2) You make it sound like Linehan is weighted heavily on the pass side of the pass/run ratio. This isn't true. He is quite balanced and has always had good running teams.

Quote:
Although Linehan is known as being an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, he attention to the run game is what surprises most.

In St. Louis he helped Stephen Jackson develop into one of the most complete running backs in the NFL. Under Linehan the Rams fed Jackson the ball 346 times and he piled up over 1,500 yards on the ground and over 2,300 total yards.

___

Linehan then left Minnesota and went to help out Nick Saban with his bid to become a career head coach. Linehan took a Miami offense that was ranked 29th overall, 31st in the run, and improve it to 14th overall, 12th in the run.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1150 ... oordinator


Not to mention he's always had a good running game in Minnesota with average backs.

The guy just knows how to use his weapons, and use them well.

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April 18th, 2009, 3:22 pm
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Quote:
1) Linehan was brought in to run the 'Detroit Lions Offense' as directed by Schwartz. They were not bringing him in to have free reign at an offense of his design. And from the onset of Schwartz and Mayhew's regime, the directive was pretty clear, run hard and pound teams late into the year.


Schwartz is young and knows nothing about an NFL offense. Linehan has extensive experience, as well as a former head coaching gig. Somehow I feel like Schwartz will defer to Linehan.

Quote:
2) You make it sound like Linehan is weighted heavily on the pass side of the pass/run ratio. This isn't true. He is quite balanced and has always had good running teams.


In Minny he was pass first and got his runs in after. His brief stint in Miami was run orientated. When he got to STL he returned to form as a pass first guy. Looking up individual running back stats is not indicative of anything--Faulk had amazing stats under Martz. Look up offensive rankings for a better idea:

2004 (Min): Passing 2nd Rushing 18th
2005 (Miami): Passing 16th Rushing 12th
2006 (STL): Passing 4th Rushing 17th
2007 (STL): Passing 19th Rushing 25th

So the pattern seems to be that if he has a capable QB, he will throw a lot of passes. Thus, if Daunte is really back to form, or the Lions draft and develop Stafford, then the offense will be throw often.

Quote:
I don't know what your intent is, but if you're trying to frame this into some kind of argument that we are going to have a pass-oriented offense because of Linehan, it's wrong


I'm trying to show that the Lions are not going to have a run-first, run-often offense with a blend of play action. It's not going to happen. They will more than likely have a balanced offense. (which is actually the better approach anyway) And should they draft Stafford and he actually becomes something, then Linehan will be throwing all day.


April 19th, 2009, 3:54 pm
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If you are correct, Schwartz will lose major credibility considereing he is saying the exact opposite or what you are saying is going to happen.

Build from the trenches. Smashmouth football. RUn First and Often. Wear down opponents. Strong Defense.

Of course he could just be lying to everyone about the direction he wants to take the team, but it doesnt make any sens as to why he would.


April 19th, 2009, 8:28 pm
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Blueskies wrote:
Quote:
1) Linehan was brought in to run the 'Detroit Lions Offense' as directed by Schwartz. They were not bringing him in to have free reign at an offense of his design. And from the onset of Schwartz and Mayhew's regime, the directive was pretty clear, run hard and pound teams late into the year.


Schwartz is young and knows nothing about an NFL offense. Linehan has extensive experience, as well as a former head coaching gig. Somehow I feel like Schwartz will defer to Linehan.


One of the dumbest things ever written. To know how to stop an offense, you have to know NFL offenses. Inversely, to know how to attack a defense, you have to know the defense. That is game planning. That being said, with Schwartz being as much a student of the game as he is, I believe he has forgotten more about NFL offenses than you or I could ever hope to know.
Blueskies wrote:
Quote:
2) You make it sound like Linehan is weighted heavily on the pass side of the pass/run ratio. This isn't true. He is quite balanced and has always had good running teams.


In Minny he was pass first and got his runs in after. His brief stint in Miami was run orientated. When he got to STL he returned to form as a pass first guy. Looking up individual running back stats is not indicative of anything--Faulk had amazing stats under Martz. Look up offensive rankings for a better idea:

2004 (Min): Passing 2nd Rushing 18th
2005 (Miami): Passing 16th Rushing 12th
2006 (STL): Passing 4th Rushing 17th
2007 (STL): Passing 19th Rushing 25th

So the pattern seems to be that if he has a capable QB, he will throw a lot of passes. Thus, if Daunte is really back to form, or the Lions draft and develop Stafford, then the offense will be throw often.

Quote:
I don't know what your intent is, but if you're trying to frame this into some kind of argument that we are going to have a pass-oriented offense because of Linehan, it's wrong


I'm trying to show that the Lions are not going to have a run-first, run-often offense with a blend of play action. It's not going to happen. They will more than likely have a balanced offense. (which is actually the better approach anyway) And should they draft Stafford and he actually becomes something, then Linehan will be throwing all day.


It all depends on the defense. If our defense can't stop anyone, ala last season, then it will be a pass happy offense out of sheer necessity. With our checking out the stats of the teams Linehan was running the offense for, you may want to check how good their defense was as well those years. Your defense will dictate much of what your offense is forced to do, or has the option to do, depending on the circumstances.


April 19th, 2009, 10:16 pm
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I believe we will be committed to the run, but don't necessarily think that it will be unbalanced in that way. I see that moves are being made, and expect more to be made in the draft to ensure a competency in that area. We will be able to run when we want to; when we need to.

Commitment to running starts with the right personnel and the right scheme. We've brought in big lineman. We've worked out all 3 top center prospects and fully expect Wood or Mack if they are a 33. Unger may not fit our power scheme.

When it comes to the scheme, it is not unthinkable that the coordinator will defer to the coach and implement his desired style. Look no further than Gunther at his last stop, using a T2 out of loyalty to Herm Edwards, despite his own disdain for it.

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April 19th, 2009, 11:12 pm
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Quote:
One of the dumbest things ever written.


:roll:

Quote:
To know how to stop an offense, you have to know NFL offenses. Inversely, to know how to attack a defense, you have to know the defense. That is game planning. That being said, with Schwartz being as much a student of the game as he is, I believe he has forgotten more about NFL offenses than you or I could ever hope to know.


Good points. When I said Schwartz knew "nothing about NFL offenses" I, of course, exaggerated.

Of course he knows about NFL offenses. What he doesn't know is how to run them. If he did, he would be an offensive coordinator--not a defensive one.

How many good home run hitters are also pitchers? How many NFL coaches/coordinators make the switch from being offensively orientated to defensively orientated? How come Tony Dungy, considered to be one of the greatest defensive minds in the modern NFL, always fielded Tampa Bay teams with terrible offenses? How come offensively oriented HCs will hire well known DCs or vice versa instead of simply running the other side of the ball themselves?

These answers should be apparent. Knowing your enemy does not mean also being able to replicate their actions as well or better than them.

Bottom line: While no one on this forum knows more about offensive schemes than Schwartz, Linehan most definitely does. And thus, it seems logical to me to conclude, that Schwartz will defer to Linehan on most of the issues relating to the offense.

If you disagree, please explain to me why Schwartz brought in a big name OC instead of simply hiring a lackey.

Quote:
Your defense will dictate much of what your offense is forced to do, or has the option to do, depending on the circumstances.


2004: 28th
2005: 18th
2006: 23rd
2007: 21rst

The 2004 stats definitely lends credibility to your argument, however, remember that the argument is largely circular: a team that does not run will tire out its defense and thus have a bad defense. A team that has a bad defense will not be able to run. Its kind of hard to judge which one is the case based purely on the numbers.

However, from what I've read on other forums written by fans of other teams, Linehan is a pass orientated guy that will opt to pass if he can. He isn't a pass first, pass always nut like Martz, but he definitely leans that way. The offense rankings seem to back that up.

Of course if your best player is a wide receiver with potentially HOF talent and you invest a first pick and $40M in a QB, you should be throwing quite often anyway.

Quote:
If you are correct, Schwartz will lose major credibility considereing he is saying the exact opposite or what you are saying is going to happen.

Build from the trenches. Smashmouth football. RUn First and Often. Wear down opponents. Strong Defense.

Of course he could just be lying to everyone about the direction he wants to take the team, but it doesnt make any sens as to why he would.


If you remember, Rod said the same thing when he came in here.


April 19th, 2009, 11:17 pm
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True but youc ant compare rod and his rehtoric to someone with actual Coordinator experience. Thats what rod wanted, but because of lack of experience he did go out anfd get a Coordinator he was willing to turn over all control to... and it failed because of it.

Schwartz said he hired linehan specifically because he b3elieves linehan can successfully use the talent they have to work around a flexibable balanced scheme that starts with a power/run first mentality.

Are we to assume this was merely rhetoric , or lying.. or that He changed his Mind about how he wants to build his team, just because in the past Linehand was a tad more pass than run oriented?


April 19th, 2009, 11:44 pm
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Blueskies wrote:
Quote:
1) Linehan was brought in to run the 'Detroit Lions Offense' as directed by Schwartz. They were not bringing him in to have free reign at an offense of his design. And from the onset of Schwartz and Mayhew's regime, the directive was pretty clear, run hard and pound teams late into the year.


Schwartz is young and knows nothing about an NFL offense. Linehan has extensive experience, as well as a former head coaching gig. Somehow I feel like Schwartz will defer to Linehan.

Quote:
2) You make it sound like Linehan is weighted heavily on the pass side of the pass/run ratio. This isn't true. He is quite balanced and has always had good running teams.


In Minny he was pass first and got his runs in after. His brief stint in Miami was run orientated. When he got to STL he returned to form as a pass first guy. Looking up individual running back stats is not indicative of anything--Faulk had amazing stats under Martz. Look up offensive rankings for a better idea:

2004 (Min): Passing 2nd Rushing 18th
2005 (Miami): Passing 16th Rushing 12th
2006 (STL): Passing 4th Rushing 17th
2007 (STL): Passing 19th Rushing 25th

So the pattern seems to be that if he has a capable QB, he will throw a lot of passes. Thus, if Daunte is really back to form, or the Lions draft and develop Stafford, then the offense will be throw often.

Quote:
I don't know what your intent is, but if you're trying to frame this into some kind of argument that we are going to have a pass-oriented offense because of Linehan, it's wrong


I'm trying to show that the Lions are not going to have a run-first, run-often offense with a blend of play action. It's not going to happen. They will more than likely have a balanced offense. (which is actually the better approach anyway) And should they draft Stafford and he actually becomes something, then Linehan will be throwing all day.


Seems like you don't quite have a pulse on Schwartz and the team and organizational philosophy.

Schwartz on Linehan

Quote:
“He’s always run the ball very well and he’s used (his) weapons very well – he’s good at attacking defenses,” said Schwartz. “Quite honestly, we’re not hiring a scheme; we’re not hiring a philosophy. The philosophy is going to be set and Scott understands that and he’s going to do a good job of executing that philosophy.

“That (philosophy) might change from week-to-week. There might be some games where we’ll have to throw it more, some games, by necessity, we’ll have to run it more.”


Schwartz on that scheme or philosophy that Linehan will execute

Quote:
"We don't plan on being 'The Greatest Show on Turf'; we're going to build it like an outdoor team," Schwartz said. "We're going to be a big, physical team that can run the ball and stop the run.
"We need to be built to have to go up to Lambeau Field in late December and win a game. We have to be built to go into Soldier Field and win a game in December or January that could mean the division. The best way to do that - when the weather gets bad and the wind gets blowing - you have to be able to run the ball and stop the run.

"The one lesson I learned from Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher is that if you can run the football and stop the run - if you're strong up front on the offensive line and the defensive line - you'll be consistent from week to week."


I also think it's pretty ignorant to describe Schwartz as being young knowing nothing about offense. I obviously have a lot more respect for him than you do, so I will come to his defense. Schwartz is not young for a NFL coach, not when the Broncos and Bucaneers have 31 year olds running their teams. Rather I think he's been the most prepared for the head coaching gig of all the recent hires.

Schwartz also reportedly spends equal amounts of time on offense as he does in defense during the mini-camps. Contrast that with Marinelli who was 95% defense, and I'm sure guys like Rex Ryan and Spagnuolo will be the same. Schwartz has stated that his role is to manage all facets of the game. And he takes a keen interest in the offense.

Quote:
"I'm itching to get on offense. I have a lot of stuff that I want to try out that I've had to defend all these years,'' Schwartz said.


So unfortunately, these visions of drafting Stafford for the next Greatest Show on turf is nothing but a dream.

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April 20th, 2009, 5:50 am
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Quote:
“He’s always run the ball very well and he’s used (his) weapons very well – he’s good at attacking defenses,” said Schwartz. “Quite honestly, we’re not hiring a scheme; we’re not hiring a philosophy. The philosophy is going to be set and Scott understands that and he’s going to do a good job of executing that philosophy.

“That (philosophy) might change from week-to-week. There might be some games where we’ll have to throw it more, some games, by necessity, we’ll have to run it more.”


Thanks for the quote. It fits my argument perfectly. Schwartz even admits that they won't always look to just run the ball.

Quote:
"We don't plan on being 'The Greatest Show on Turf'; we're going to build it like an outdoor team," Schwartz said. "We're going to be a big, physical team that can run the ball and stop the run.
"We need to be built to have to go up to Lambeau Field in late December and win a game. We have to be built to go into Soldier Field and win a game in December or January that could mean the division. The best way to do that - when the weather gets bad and the wind gets blowing - you have to be able to run the ball and stop the run.

"The one lesson I learned from Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher is that if you can run the football and stop the run - if you're strong up front on the offensive line and the defensive line - you'll be consistent from week to week."


If you actually read his quote, you'll see that he merely says he wants the team to be able to run the ball and stop the run. Not that the offense will be run orientated.

Quote:
I also think it's pretty ignorant to describe Schwartz as being young knowing nothing about offense. I obviously have a lot more respect for him than you do, so I will come to his defense. Schwartz is not young for a NFL coach, not when the Broncos and Bucaneers have 31 year olds running their teams. Rather I think he's been the most prepared for the head coaching gig of all the recent hires.


Did you see my last post in this topic? Obviously not. Yes, my previous characterization of Schwartz was both unfair and exaggerated. I admit that.

Quote:
Schwartz also reportedly spends equal amounts of time on offense as he does in defense during the mini-camps. Contrast that with Marinelli who was 95% defense, and I'm sure guys like Rex Ryan and Spagnuolo will be the same. Schwartz has stated that his role is to manage all facets of the game. And he takes a keen interest in the offense.

Quote:
"I'm itching to get on offense. I have a lot of stuff that I want to try out that I've had to defend all these years,'' Schwartz said.


First, I would actually put forth the idea that Schwartz should be spending at least 90% of his time with the defense. That unit needs 90% of the work.

Second, the idea that he spends equal time with both offense and defense is probably being reported on by the media simply to provide a contrast between Rod and himself. "See! This guy is different than Rod!" Rod is viewed as a failure, so any difference between the two will be expounded upon to create hope in the fan base.

As for the quote--again, why would he bring in a well known OC and former HC in Linehan if he intended to run the show offensively?

Quote:
So unfortunately, these visions of drafting Stafford for the next Greatest Show on turf is nothing but a dream.


I never said that. In fact, I explicitly stated multiple times that Linehan is not as extreme as Martz.

My point is that people seem to have this grand notion that the Lions will be practicing old school UMichigan offense of three yards and a cloud of dust. It's embodied in articles like this as well as others, and posts around this forum.

That notion is simply false. In fact, I would wager a dollar that every season, as long as Linehan is OC, the Lions pass on at least 55% of the offensive downs.


April 20th, 2009, 6:48 am
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Quote:
And should they draft Stafford and he actually becomes something, then Linehan will be throwing all day.


You did say it. Why are you allowed hyperbole, and I'm not? You're just Wrong. Fudge it all you like, like you've done with the quotes. You simply don't get what Schwartz and the team is all about.

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April 20th, 2009, 7:58 am
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