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 Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams 
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Post Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
PFW wrote:
Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
By Dan Arkush
10/8/2012

Could it be possible that the greatly disappointing Lions, losers of three of their first four games, were never all that special a team to begin with?

In their last 16 games dating back to last season, after all, Detroit is a very suspect 6-10, including its 45-28 wild-card meltdown in New Orleans that brought a 2011 campaign that couldn’t have started off any better (5-0) to an abrupt halt.

One thing that has become undeniably clear the first month of this season is that the Lions’ special teams have been especially abysmal, as evidenced by the fact they have given up both a kickoff and punt return for TDs in each of their last two games — the first time that has happened in the NFL since at least 1940.

“We’ve got two weeks to get it right,” Lions veteran PK Jason Hanson said early in the team’s bye week in advance of a daunting five-game stretch that will include four games on the road. “We can’t do what we’re supposed to. I’m saying everyone.”

But a canvassing of league executives and close team observers by PFW suggests that the Detroit’s dismal special-teams play might be indicative of a deeper problem just beneath the surface.

“Special teams comes down to attitude and no one on the Lions wants to be on special teams and this is the result," former Lions special-teams ace Zack Follett wrote on Twitter during Detroit's 20-13 loss to Minnesota at Ford Field.

The way we hear it, the collective attitude of a roster laden with character risks could be what’s really ailing the Lions, although team president Tom Lewand would definitely beg to differ.

“This is not where we expected to be one quarter of the way into the 2012 NFL season,” Lewand said in a public appearance last week in Windsor, Ontario. “But we also know it’s a different 1-3 than we’ve experienced in the past.”

Not according to one rival GM.

“The one thing that is clear – they are not as close as people have tried to make it seem,” the GM told PFW. “They are a one-dimensional offensive team that if the quarterback (Matthew Stafford) is not on, people are figuring it out. If you take (WR Calvin) Johnson out of the game (one TD through four games, compared to eight TDs at the same stage last season), who else do they have that can beat you?

“They are not a team that I think is ready. If I am going there to take over the job, I am not thinking that is a quick fix.”

A lack of on-field leadership and locker-room chemistry — in part because of the character gambles taken by GM Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz in the draft — has been noticeable to more daily team observers than just Follett.

“Nick Fairley, Titus Young, Mikel Leshoure, Johnny Culbreath … they have targeted a lot of issue guys, more so in Schwartz’s first few years,” one league talent evaluator said. “A big problem (in Week Four) was that their leaders were not leading by example. Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew were uncharacteristically making drops. (DT Ndamukong) Suh disappeared.”

To his credit, Lewand didn’t shy away from a few of the Lions’ specific failings in his public appearance.

“I would say that Matthew, in particular, is capable of playing better (3-4 TD-interception ratio). I think he’ll be the first to tell you that,” Lewand said. “We’ve got a guy like Brandon Pettigrew, our young tight end, who is capable of playing at a higher level than he’s played. He’s dropped some passes, including one on Sunday that cost us a touchdown.

“Those are the kinds of things we have to look at.”

According to the people PFW talked to during the Lions’ bye week, however, the team has a lot more problems than just Stafford and Pettigrew.

“They don’t have enough good players, and the players they think are good are not that good,” the GM said. “Suh belongs on the All-Hype team. (DE Cliff) Avril is not that good — put on any game and you can watch him get blocked time and time again. Corey Willliams is solid, but nothing that wows you or makes you wonder how you are going to block him. The other guy (DE Kyle Vanden Bosch) is a try-hard guy getting up in years that does not really threaten you. For as much as people talk about that D-line and all its depth, where are all the players?

“I have listened to the media hype about Suh since he got in the league — what has he done? Even the year he had all those garbage sacks, the guy took a million plays off and got pushed around in the run game. I have never thought he was a very good pro player. I liked him coming out and thought he had a chance. But I also never thought he was going to be the second coming that he was labeled. I am not sure who bestowed that on him, but it is kind of a joke.”

How much should Mayhew and Schwartz be held responsible for the Lions’ lethargy in the season’s first quarter?

“They’re both overrated,” the GM said. “What has he (Mayhew) really accomplished? Matt (former Lions GM Matt Millen) never said he did a good job — he was not ready for it. He did not have enough good people around him. There were things that if he had to do it again, he would not do. And he did not have the experience or the right people around him to get it done.

“So much of this is having the right people around you — I don’t know that Detroit has all the pieces in place like they think they did, and people are starting to see the cracks.”

http://www.profootballweekly.com/2012/1 ... ecial-team
Yikes if true :shock: ](*,)

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October 8th, 2012, 4:05 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
Any report that cites Zack Follett as an authority loses credibility instantly with me.

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October 8th, 2012, 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
Zack Follett knows many of the guys on this team, and while I wouldn't simply take him at his word, the lack of determination , drive, and competitiveness the Lions have shown this season falls right in line with his comment.


October 8th, 2012, 5:51 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
It would be nice to know which GM this is but in reality he seems pretty on point with what we are seeing on the field. The start to last season was pretty magical and carried them through the year but they weren't as good as their record reflected.

It was like when we started 6-2 in 2007 under Rod, however, we were not nearly as good as the record indicated at that point. We only won one more game that season and everyone knows what happened the next season.

If you really break things down the Lions are basically a .500 team. Good news is I don't think we are as bad as our current record. Bad news is I don't think we are that good to overcome a bad start. To fans, used to looking at teams well below .500, a .500 team might also look better than what it really is.

That said, in this league you just need to get hot and into the playoffs and anything can happen. I really don't have much issue what this "GM" is saying about the Lions.

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October 8th, 2012, 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
mwill2 wrote:
Any report that cites Zack Follett as an authority loses credibility instantly with me.


First off, it was simply a quote from Follet. It never mentioned him as any sort of authority. Secondly, tell me Follet is wrong...I DARE you. Follet was physically limited, but more than made up for it with heart. When he was playing on our ST, I don't recall teams running all over us. I think some of you are experiencing cloudy vision based on Zack being open about his faith, and fail to see just how much heart he played with.

I think that the GM they spoke to had some good points, but I also think he was off the mark on a few other points. Whatever the case, four ST TDs against us in two games means that Follet didn't say anything wrong. Quite the opposite, I think. We have all these guys that were supposedly brought in to shore up the special teams. Well, where the f**k are they?

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October 8th, 2012, 5:56 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
m2karateman wrote:
mwill2 wrote:
Any report that cites Zack Follett as an authority loses credibility instantly with me.


First off, it was simply a quote from Follet. It never mentioned him as any sort of authority. Secondly, tell me Follet is wrong...I DARE you. Follet was physically limited, but more than made up for it with heart. When he was playing on our ST, I don't recall teams running all over us. I think some of you are experiencing cloudy vision based on Zack being open about his faith, and fail to see just how much heart he played with.

I think that the GM they spoke to had some good points, but I also think he was off the mark on a few other points. Whatever the case, four ST TDs against us in two games means that Follet didn't say anything wrong. Quite the opposite, I think. We have all these guys that were supposedly brought in to shore up the special teams. Well, where the f**k are they?


they have problems besides special teams but with even average special teams this is a 3-1 not a 1-3 team. special teams is the biggest problem and probably the easiest to fix. fire the sp teams coach, get someone that can motivate a guy or two, draft a punter and a return guy and PS Jonte Green in favor of a veteran that can keep outside contain


October 8th, 2012, 6:00 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
The Legend wrote:
m2karateman wrote:
mwill2 wrote:
Any report that cites Zack Follett as an authority loses credibility instantly with me.


First off, it was simply a quote from Follet. It never mentioned him as any sort of authority. Secondly, tell me Follet is wrong...I DARE you. Follet was physically limited, but more than made up for it with heart. When he was playing on our ST, I don't recall teams running all over us. I think some of you are experiencing cloudy vision based on Zack being open about his faith, and fail to see just how much heart he played with.

I think that the GM they spoke to had some good points, but I also think he was off the mark on a few other points. Whatever the case, four ST TDs against us in two games means that Follet didn't say anything wrong. Quite the opposite, I think. We have all these guys that were supposedly brought in to shore up the special teams. Well, where the f**k are they?


they have problems besides special teams but with even average special teams this is a 3-1 not a 1-3 team. special teams is the biggest problem and probably the easiest to fix. fire the sp teams coach, get someone that can motivate a guy or two, draft a punter and a return guy and PS Jonte Green in favor of a veteran that can keep outside contain


I am wondering if Jonte Green will be waived and put on PS when Chris Greenwood comes off PUP. I don't know that the Lions have the money to PS Green (whose salary is guaranteed for the season) and sign a vet DB to take his place.

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October 8th, 2012, 6:16 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
Quote:
But a canvassing of league executives and close team observers by PFW suggests that the Detroit’s dismal special-teams play might be indicative of a deeper problem just beneath the surface.


That statement makes it sound like they talked to a lot of people. But then they started with Follett's tweet, and then followed up with an anonymous rival GM. No GM is going to go on the record, but rival limits it down to 3 people. And knowing that this would be out there, you honestly think they'd speak honestly?

Consensus around the league is that Suh is playing back to old form after a down year last year. The line overall isn't getting pressure, but they're playing better against the run and can still get periodic pressure. But disappeared? This is someone just taking digs.

The off the field issues were limited to 4 players, 2 of whom were cut. It wasn't all 90 players in camp and 53 on the roster now. Talk about painting with a wide brush.

Follett was absolutely right. It's attitude. If Delmas is healthy, expect Wendling back on ST. Let's see how the players respond. Osgood was fired up after the last game, so let's see if that spreads. Desean Jackson is just as dangerous as anyone in the league. It either gets fixed this week, or it will be glaring that the issue still exists.

The Lions definitely have issues. Play calling, fundamentals, and attitude. And yes even some holes still on the Oline and safety. But for a GM of either the Vikings, Bears or Packers to suggest they don't have the same problems the way the sacks are piling up, is just ridiculous. It's easy as us or a GM to look at another team and see what we think are holes without knowing the whole situation. It's the same thing in this piece. Shoddy journalism at its best.


October 8th, 2012, 6:39 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
The Legend wrote:
m2karateman wrote:
mwill2 wrote:
Any report that cites Zack Follett as an authority loses credibility instantly with me.


First off, it was simply a quote from Follet. It never mentioned him as any sort of authority. Secondly, tell me Follet is wrong...I DARE you. Follet was physically limited, but more than made up for it with heart. When he was playing on our ST, I don't recall teams running all over us. I think some of you are experiencing cloudy vision based on Zack being open about his faith, and fail to see just how much heart he played with.

I think that the GM they spoke to had some good points, but I also think he was off the mark on a few other points. Whatever the case, four ST TDs against us in two games means that Follet didn't say anything wrong. Quite the opposite, I think. We have all these guys that were supposedly brought in to shore up the special teams. Well, where the f**k are they?


they have problems besides special teams but with even average special teams this is a 3-1 not a 1-3 team. special teams is the biggest problem and probably the easiest to fix. fire the sp teams coach, get someone that can motivate a guy or two, draft a punter and a return guy and PS Jonte Green in favor of a veteran that can keep outside contain


Exactly. Take those special teams plays back and the Lions are 3-1 with a loss against a great SF team. This article would've never been written.

That said, I agree that the Lions are fairly one dimensional and they are far from a great team.


October 8th, 2012, 6:56 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
m2karateman wrote:
mwill2 wrote:
Any report that cites Zack Follett as an authority loses credibility instantly with me.


First off, it was simply a quote from Follet. It never mentioned him as any sort of authority. Secondly, tell me Follet is wrong...I DARE you. Follet was physically limited, but more than made up for it with heart. When he was playing on our ST, I don't recall teams running all over us. I think some of you are experiencing cloudy vision based on Zack being open about his faith, and fail to see just how much heart he played with.


I'm not defending the Lions' special teams play or anything else this year. The 1-3 record speaks for itself. I'm simply saying that Follett is a no-talent idiot with a big mouth.

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October 8th, 2012, 8:35 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
The one thing I can agree with (with the GM) is, well, everything, except for the Suh comments. I think Suh is a very good player and someone that offenses have to account for on every play. And "took a millions plays off"? What games was he watching?

Other than that, unfortunately, he is spot on. Is it that we think some of these guys are really good because we're so used to seeing crap for talent on this team? I dont know. I hope not. All i know is so far this team hasnt shown anything different.

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October 8th, 2012, 9:05 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
i agree with some of what he said but that wizard of oz sh*t is cowardly.

ITS TIME FOR THIS TEAM TO STOP PROVING EVERYBODY RIGHT.

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October 8th, 2012, 10:47 pm
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
njroar wrote:
This is someone just taking digs.

Spot on. Whilst there was some truth to what was said, so much of it was so obviously extreme it's pretty obvious they were just taking digs.

Still, I hope someone shows those comments to some Lions players ...


October 9th, 2012, 7:35 am
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
UK Lion wrote:
njroar wrote:
This is someone just taking digs.

Spot on. Whilst there was some truth to what was said, so much of it was so obviously extreme it's pretty obvious they were just taking digs.

Still, I hope someone shows those comments to some Lions players ...


Yeah, that stuff he said about Suh was just garbage.

And I agree what was said erlier, take away the bad special teams and we are 3-1 and that article is never written...


October 9th, 2012, 8:43 am
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Post Re: Lions' problems much deeper than awful special teams
This writer's dad is the Bears equivalent of Killer. Phil Emery used to work under Scott Pioli, and we know how he and Mayhew get along.

Arkush Sr. has also said he's close friends with Rick Spielman with the Vikes. It almost sounded like the anonymous GM had watched tape of the game.

Either way, I'd blow all of these articles up in huge fonts and post them all over the practice facility. If they get me riled up, they sure as hell better get the players worked up.

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October 9th, 2012, 10:08 am
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