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 Assessing where the Lions are at 
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Post Assessing where the Lions are at
So with the first week of free agency done, where are the Lions at compared to how they finished the season?

My thoughts:

1. They don't seem to have got any worse through FA. Wright has been the only major loss, Lacey has come in as a replacement. That may be a downgrade, but I don't expect it to be much.

2. Equally, they don't seem to have got any better through FA - they've essentially resigned their own main free agents (with the exception of Wright).

3. Other areas where the team can improve over what we had last season:

a. we still have the draft to come - hopefully we'll get a starter and a couple of quality depth players out of that;

b. some lower priced later FAs could come in and sign;

c. we could do some trades for low round picks - on both this one, and b, Mayhew's record with "reclamation projects" has been excellent;

d. our run game has a chance at getting better - if both Best and Leshoure aren't serivcable for the season, we're in pretty much the same position as last year, if we get decent production out of either of them then we have improved;

e. Titus Young, Willie Young and SLH will hopefully continue their upward curves;

f. Fairley's foot will hopefully not be a factor this season; and

g. Stafford in his second full season may be even better than the 5k+ passer we got in '11.

4. Areas where we might regress include:

a. left tackle - whilst we're returning the same player, in Backus, he'll be 35 and coming off injury: will he be able to keep up the standard of play he achieved last year (which I would consider to have been average) or will he regress to a below average tackle?

b. KVB - (whilst still a very productive, quality, player) looked like the years were starting to catch up with him last season, that can only go in one direction?

Let's not forget that this was a 10 win, playoff caliber, team last year. Whilst we may not have moved forwards in FA, we've not gone backwards either and we've locked up our best player for the remainder of his career.

The other potential positives (vs last year) for this team, IMO, also outweigh the potential negatives (vs last year). So I think there's reason to hope that the '12 Lions will be better than the '11 Lions. Pass the Kool Aid!


March 21st, 2012, 7:31 am
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
I agree with what you've said, but would like to add this caveat.

Do you think that there is a possibility that our HC, and FO think that we are so close to where we need to be as a team that chasing the names was counter productive?

Chicago desperately needed a receiving corps. Where we just needed injured players to come back, and to return our core. I haven't heard much in the way of FA moves from the likes of GB, NE, or NO. These were top contenders last year, and the most that I have heard has been GB's release of their back up QB, and resigning Finley.

I am not saying that our defensive backfield doesn't need addressing, or our LB corps, but like many here, I don't want to chase names with a limited cash flow. I am of the same opinion that someone else shared concerning the job that Mayhew is doing. He's worked wonders with less, and made moves that have surprised this fan base and gotten us on the right track. So I choose to trust him in the leadership of the team, and hope that we can get a potent run game to go with our stellar passing game.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:23 am
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
WarEr4Christ wrote:
I agree with what you've said, but would like to add this caveat.

Do you think that there is a possibility that our HC, and FO think that we are so close to where we need to be as a team that chasing the names was counter productive?

Chicago desperately needed a receiving corps. Where we just needed injured players to come back, and to return our core. I haven't heard much in the way of FA moves from the likes of GB, NE, or NO. These were top contenders last year, and the most that I have heard has been GB's release of their back up QB, and resigning Finley.

I am not saying that our defensive backfield doesn't need addressing, or our LB corps, but like many here, I don't want to chase names with a limited cash flow. I am of the same opinion that someone else shared concerning the job that Mayhew is doing. He's worked wonders with less, and made moves that have surprised this fan base and gotten us on the right track. So I choose to trust him in the leadership of the team, and hope that we can get a potent run game to go with our stellar passing game.


I think Schwartz and Mayhew just realized that they couldn't realize any 1 position(be it DE, MLB, LT, etc) and still afford to keep everyone around. They just chose to keep everyone instead of improving 1 spot while hurting another.

I agree with the OP, we are in a much better spot than last year. We basically have the same team as last but I see that as a good thing. We are young in key spots so there should be improvement just from the kids getting better. Plus we still have the draft to fill in spots for depth. If a rookie can steal a starting job, that just means we got even better.

I am getting excited for the year!


March 21st, 2012, 9:33 am
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
LioneeR wrote:
WarEr4Christ wrote:
I agree with what you've said, but would like to add this caveat.

Do you think that there is a possibility that our HC, and FO think that we are so close to where we need to be as a team that chasing the names was counter productive?

Chicago desperately needed a receiving corps. Where we just needed injured players to come back, and to return our core. I haven't heard much in the way of FA moves from the likes of GB, NE, or NO. These were top contenders last year, and the most that I have heard has been GB's release of their back up QB, and resigning Finley.

I am not saying that our defensive backfield doesn't need addressing, or our LB corps, but like many here, I don't want to chase names with a limited cash flow. I am of the same opinion that someone else shared concerning the job that Mayhew is doing. He's worked wonders with less, and made moves that have surprised this fan base and gotten us on the right track. So I choose to trust him in the leadership of the team, and hope that we can get a potent run game to go with our stellar passing game.


I think Schwartz and Mayhew just realized that they couldn't realize any 1 position(be it DE, MLB, LT, etc) and still afford to keep everyone around. They just chose to keep everyone instead of improving 1 spot while hurting another.

I agree with the OP, we are in a much better spot than last year. We basically have the same team as last but I see that as a good thing. We are young in key spots so there should be improvement just from the kids getting better. Plus we still have the draft to fill in spots for depth. If a rookie can steal a starting job, that just means we got even better.

I am getting excited for the year!



I agree.
Im very excited to see last years rookies play again. And as much as im hoping LeShoure is gonna be healthy too, I REALLY want to see Fairly play healthy and see what he can do. Because during the New Orleans game where he was healthy, he played lights out....(then got hurt :x ).

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March 21st, 2012, 9:36 am
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
To me, the fact that the Lions weren't major players in FA (at least not with any big names) is a good sign. Rarely does a big name free agent work out, and almost all successful teams build through the draft. The Lions are now in a position where they are able to do that. They essentially have their foundation set (especially on offense), and now they look to build through good drafts. If they get a solid starting CB or a future LT in the upcoming draft, the team will be improved. I just scrolled through the team contract data, and next year they won't have any big name guys with expiring contracts (except Avril who I think they will sign long term). So, at that point they should be looking pretty good, with a solid foundation, (hopefully) another good draft this year, and building towards the future.

TL;DR - The team is in a good position to build towards future success.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:44 am
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
I'm still concerned about the Lions ability to run the football and sustain drives. Then again, if the offense morphs into a Eagles/Colts type of offense, that concern would be eliminated. Meh, who knows. I just hope whatever you guys do as a system fits the personal you have on board.

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March 21st, 2012, 10:48 am
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
The big wildcard for me is that, frankly speaking, the lions had a lot of luck on their side last season. If they don't get those breaks and only win 8 or 9 games next season I won't be shocked. Disappointed, but not shocked.


March 21st, 2012, 11:30 am
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
I don't have a problem with the Lions not signing any "name" free agents, but would like to see just a tad more urgency to at least get players to visit quicker. The Lions had a visit scheduled with LaRon Landry, but lost him before he even got here.

There are three areas that need to be addressed, not necessarily in this order, but I see them in this order as the most crucial to less crucial.

1. Safety - Amari Spievey and Erik Coleman aren't starters. Why the Lions signed Coleman for another year is beyond me. I think it was just with the idea that if we get an upgrade over Spievey, we can just cut our losses and give Amari the heave-ho. Whatever the case, the Lions MUST address the spot next to Delmas with some better talent. It was the teams Achille's Heel in pass defense last season.

2. #2 Corner - Losing Eric Wright is not that big of a deal. Jacob Lacey being added means that Alfonso Smith will likely be released either just before, or just after the draft. Lacey and Berry are OK, but not ready to be starters on this team. The Lions need to strongly consider adding a vet CB who won't be too demanding. Tracy Porter could be a solid #2. Shawntae Spencer was released, and could also be looked at for the right price. FA corners are not sticking on the market, but getting signed quickly.

3. Right Guard - Peterman must go, and that's all there is to it. The Lions shouldn't have to sign a former All Pro player (Leonard Davis) to push him to become a better player. Eric Steinbach was released and is on the market. I think he'd be a big improvement over Peterman. But what's his asking price? The Lions brought in Geoff Schwartz for a visit, but nothing came of it. One has to think they are waiting until after the draft to address this need.

As for the concern about left tackle, I understand the feelings. Backus can be improved upon, and the Lions have failed the past few seasons to groom his replacement, or sign one. Jason Fox was thought to be the guy, but he gets hurt walking onto the practice field, so that seems to be a fail. The Lions can't afford to continue leaving the protection in the hands of Backus, but I think he's a better option than giving it to a rookie. My bigger concern is Cherilus. He should be at 100% now from his microfracture surgery. Last season he struggled with it early in the year, and although he got better later on, is still as dumb as a box of tampons.

Finding an eventual replacement for KVB is not that big a deal from my standpoint, unless we lose Avril. LoJack does a pretty solid job as the second RDE for KVB, and Willie Young could be used there too. I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions add another talented pass rusher, but we'd be squeezing out either Jackson or Young, which I wouldn't be comfortable with. If we can't come to terms with Avril and end up trading him as a result, then getting another DE becomes a big priority.

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March 21st, 2012, 12:00 pm
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
I agree with most said so far assessing where the Lions are at.. however.. I would do one thing that I haven't seen discussed much if at all....

I'd let Avril go... draft a DE this year that can play in the roatation of KVB, LoJack, & Willie. With the re-signing of Fluellen who can play both DT and DE.. we are set.. save that money we'd pay Avril and put that in our secondary instead or shoot.. find a replacement for Peterman or Backus.

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March 21st, 2012, 12:09 pm
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I agree with most said so far assessing where the Lions are at.. however.. I would do one thing that I haven't seen discussed much if at all....

I'd let Avril go... draft a DE this year that can play in the roatation of KVB, LoJack, & Willie. With the re-signing of Fluellen who can play both DT and DE.. we are set.. save that money we'd pay Avril and put that in our secondary instead or shoot.. find a replacement for Peterman or Backus.

I really don't understand the mentality of letting a double digit sack guy go. There's a reason those guys get paid well: they are hard to find! I saw someone else posted elsewhere that if it were just about having good DTs to play with that makes Avril successful, why didn't KVB have double digit sacks too?

Avril is a good, young DE and the Lions would be foolish to let him go.

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March 21st, 2012, 12:31 pm
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I agree with most said so far assessing where the Lions are at.. however.. I would do one thing that I haven't seen discussed much if at all....

I'd let Avril go... draft a DE this year that can play in the roatation of KVB, LoJack, & Willie. With the re-signing of Fluellen who can play both DT and DE.. we are set.. save that money we'd pay Avril and put that in our secondary instead or shoot.. find a replacement for Peterman or Backus.

I really don't understand the mentality of letting a double digit sack guy go. There's a reason those guys get paid well: they are hard to find! I saw someone else posted elsewhere that if it were just about having good DTs to play with that makes Avril successful, why didn't KVB have double digit sacks too?

Avril is a good, young DE and the Lions would be foolish to let him go.


I understand where you are coming from.. but IMO.. I can see that money spent elsewhere to make the team better.

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March 21st, 2012, 12:36 pm
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I agree with most said so far assessing where the Lions are at.. however.. I would do one thing that I haven't seen discussed much if at all....

I'd let Avril go... draft a DE this year that can play in the roatation of KVB, LoJack, & Willie. With the re-signing of Fluellen who can play both DT and DE.. we are set.. save that money we'd pay Avril and put that in our secondary instead or shoot.. find a replacement for Peterman or Backus.

I really don't understand the mentality of letting a double digit sack guy go. There's a reason those guys get paid well: they are hard to find! I saw someone else posted elsewhere that if it were just about having good DTs to play with that makes Avril successful, why didn't KVB have double digit sacks too?

Avril is a good, young DE and the Lions would be foolish to let him go.



I understand what you're saying. What I dont like is the fact that he might hold out. I dont care what anyone says..that is putting yourself before the team. There is no loyalty there. Sure theres the argument that its different for them...I dont wanna hear it. His franchise salary 12.whatever million dollars is enough for him to retire plus some. Go out, prove that your are a CONSISTENT 11+ sacks/year guy, and then they should talk numbers. If you think just cuz youre a DE that just had his PERSONAL best year and now you need to break the bank, TRADE HIM for someone that wants to be a team player.

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March 21st, 2012, 12:38 pm
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
kdsberman wrote:
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I agree with most said so far assessing where the Lions are at.. however.. I would do one thing that I haven't seen discussed much if at all....

I'd let Avril go... draft a DE this year that can play in the roatation of KVB, LoJack, & Willie. With the re-signing of Fluellen who can play both DT and DE.. we are set.. save that money we'd pay Avril and put that in our secondary instead or shoot.. find a replacement for Peterman or Backus.

I really don't understand the mentality of letting a double digit sack guy go. There's a reason those guys get paid well: they are hard to find! I saw someone else posted elsewhere that if it were just about having good DTs to play with that makes Avril successful, why didn't KVB have double digit sacks too?

Avril is a good, young DE and the Lions would be foolish to let him go.



I understand what you're saying. What I dont like is the fact that he might hold out. I dont care what anyone says..that is putting yourself before the team. There is no loyalty there. Sure theres the argument that its different for them...I dont wanna hear it. His franchise salary 12.whatever million dollars is enough for him to retire plus some. Go out, prove that your are a CONSISTENT 11+ sacks/year guy, and then they should talk numbers. If you think just cuz youre a DE that just had his PERSONAL best year and now you need to break the bank, TRADE HIM for someone that wants to be a team player.

Well, by all accounts he is a good team guy. Everything I've read about him says that he is a good locker room guy and his teammates love having him around. As for loyalty, sorry I don't think there should be any. Sure I'd like players to be loyal to the Lions, but if I'm in their shoes, I realize that teams will let me go at any moment, and I have to do what's best for me. It is a business at the end of the day. As fans, we have an emotional attachment that most players don't (and in my opinion shouldn't) have. See Peyton manning being let go for the latest instance of nfl "loyalty".

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March 21st, 2012, 12:41 pm
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
kdsberman wrote:
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I agree with most said so far assessing where the Lions are at.. however.. I would do one thing that I haven't seen discussed much if at all....

I'd let Avril go... draft a DE this year that can play in the roatation of KVB, LoJack, & Willie. With the re-signing of Fluellen who can play both DT and DE.. we are set.. save that money we'd pay Avril and put that in our secondary instead or shoot.. find a replacement for Peterman or Backus.

I really don't understand the mentality of letting a double digit sack guy go. There's a reason those guys get paid well: they are hard to find! I saw someone else posted elsewhere that if it were just about having good DTs to play with that makes Avril successful, why didn't KVB have double digit sacks too?

Avril is a good, young DE and the Lions would be foolish to let him go.



I understand what you're saying. What I dont like is the fact that he might hold out. I dont care what anyone says..that is putting yourself before the team. There is no loyalty there. Sure theres the argument that its different for them...I dont wanna hear it. His franchise salary 12.whatever million dollars is enough for him to retire plus some. Go out, prove that your are a CONSISTENT 11+ sacks/year guy, and then they should talk numbers. If you think just cuz youre a DE that just had his PERSONAL best year and now you need to break the bank, TRADE HIM for someone that wants to be a team player.

Well, by all accounts he is a good team guy. Everything I've read about him says that he is a good locker room guy and his teammates love having him around. As for loyalty, sorry I don't think there should be any. Sure I'd like players to be loyal to the Lions, but if I'm in their shoes, I realize that teams will let me go at any moment, and I have to do what's best for me. It is a business at the end of the day. As fans, we have an emotional attachment that most players don't (and in my opinion shouldn't) have. See Peyton manning being let go for the latest instance of nfl "loyalty".


Completely different story with Manning. You do have a point about Avril, I just dont agree with the potential holdout idea, and think thats BS.

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March 21st, 2012, 12:50 pm
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Post Re: Assessing where the Lions are at
You know 9rs, the Lions and 9rs would have been the same team last year except we had the QB and you had the running game in Gore. If Leshoure comes in and is 100%, the Lions will be a little ahead, mainly because Stafford has the better arm and accuracy. But Smith is NO JOKE, he manages the game well, and you don't need to get 70 yard plays, but just 10 yards at a time till you score.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:18 pm
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