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 How much talent do the Lions really have? 
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Post How much talent do the Lions really have?
I keep hearing how much talent the Lions have but I just don't see it.

They have two all-pros:
1. Calvin Johnson
2. Ndamukong Suh

They have two guys with pro-bowl talent but have been too inconsistent to be:
3. Matt Stafford
4. Nick Fairly

They have two guys make some great plays but just as many great mistakes:
5. Reggie Bush
6. Brandon Pettigrew - free agent

And they have one rookie who looks like future all-pro:
7. Larry Warford

Where is rest of the so called talent?

They also have a handful of decent starters like Quin and Sims but have many positions like wide receiver and cornerback which are massive black holes. And they still have zero depth. They don't even have a reliable kicker.

Last year I saw the Lions a .500 team and they finished one game below .500 - this year I see them losing a number of guys Nate Burleson (cap), Brandon Pettigrew (FA), Louis Demas (cap) and maybe even Young (FA), Raiola (FA) and Hill (FA) for cap reasons along with some other depth guys like Idonije and Mathis.

Unless this team has a great draft - I actually see them taking a step backwards next year and finishing under .500 again.

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January 18th, 2014, 12:18 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
Yeah. Your right. But, using an honesty assessment of the rest of the league, show me more than 4 teams in the with more than that. There may be other teams in the league that are just as talented. But, there is no-one with any more talent than the Lions. The Lions players only lack the, " between the ears stuff", from being considered just as elite as Seattle, San Fran, Denver, and New England.


January 18th, 2014, 1:11 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
No team has top tier talent at every position. It's impossible in the cap era. What they do have is above average talent at every important position sans CB, WR #2 and OLB. Yes depth at those positions are an issue as well, but depth now compared to a few years ago is night and day. Compared to other teams, we are much overall talented than most and .500 was a letdown.


January 18th, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
and if you only have 3-5 holes to fill, and you fill them properly, current starters can become backups, and voila, now you have a starter AND depth.


January 18th, 2014, 2:17 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
I think we have a handful of solid starters that are on par with the talent level around the league. They aren't superstars but not every player is going to be one. Riley Reiff, Ziggy Ansah, DeAndre Levy, Tulloch, Waddle, I think Slay will develop and Devin Taylor can be a good rotational pass rusher. We've got other good contributors like Bell, Fauria and Ross. The most important thing is getting them to play as a team and not having only 1 phase of the game going at a time. If you look at most teams they have 2-3 superstar players and then a handful of solid guys. We have to have a good draft and add 3-4 more starters this offseason.


January 18th, 2014, 3:30 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
Let's look what they have on offense:

QB - Stafford is the starter - talented but inconsistent - I believe that a lot of his inconsistenties are a result that he has been asked to more than most QB in the NFL. Hill is a free agent but a quality backup (not a starter) and Moore is nothing better than #3.

RB - Bush / Bell are an ok 1-2 punch but neither player did it against more than 6 man front. Riddick and Leshoure are nothing to write home about.

WR - Johnson and nobody. Literally nobody the Lions #2 receiver Durham was rated the 4th best #3 receiver in NFC North I'm guessing only by default.

TE - they have pass catching TE in Fauria and blocker in Williams and free agent in Pettigrew.

OL - Reiff, Sims, Raiola, Warford and Waddle. Did ok last year more talented the group that they had been marching out there. But they still need to improve their run blocking. I also think Raiola need to be replaced sooner than later. Hillard is the only depth guy with value.

All Pros - Johnson

Solid Starters - Stafford, Bell/Bush, Reiff, Sims, Warford and Waddle

Holes - #2 and #3 receiver, a multi-dementional TE unless Pettigrew is resigned, center and a fullback - yes a fullback time to add one back into the offense, depth.

The only real playmaker on offense remains CJ without him preforming at superstar level this offense is at best mediocre.

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January 18th, 2014, 4:24 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
Go through the Lion's starters.

Ask, would this guy start on more than 50% of the other teams in the league?

The answer, I think you'll find, is yes more than 80% of the time.

And I think that qualifies them as a very talented team.


January 18th, 2014, 4:47 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
I think the following players are valuable assets to the Lions, a lot of these you didn't mention:
Offense:
Johnson
Bush
Stafford
Warford (OROY)
Raiola (consistently voted top 5 center in the NFL)
and yes, Riley Reiff. He's a young LT that is at least as good as Backus in his first season as a starter. He would start on every NFL team that doesn't have a franchise LT.
Waddle also looks to be a very good starting RT with all of his best football years ahead of him. It's not a reach to say that Waddle would start on most NFL teams next season.
Joique Bell as the Paul Schaeffer to Bush's David Letterman. Every offense likes a down-hill punishing runner and Bell is exactly that.

Defense:
Suh
Fairley
Ansah
Levy
Quin (would start on teams without already elite secondaries and be productive)

Obvious cracks in the armor:
WR
CB
FS

So yes, the Lions do have some talent. Unfortunately, the areas they lack talent in are areas where games seem to slip away. Passing defense was as weak as I've ever seen it and leading the league in dropped passes doesn't happen to teams that go 10-6 and win playoff games. They are 7-9 because they couldn't stop opponents from gaining yards in the air when it mattered, they dropped passes that should've been caught, and Stafford looked like a past-his-prime Brett Favre.
If Caldwell can clean up Stafford, Mayhew can snag a CB that intercepts a pass once in a while, Slay progresses into the CB that they drafted and Mayhew can pick a WR that scares opposing teams, and somehow replace Delmas with someone - anyone - that can cover and make plays, then I'm making plans to see the Lions in the playoffs. With those things cleared up, I truly believe the Lions will be one of the most talented teams in the NFL.

Take those things, add the most unimaginative, uninspired predictable offensive playcalling and you have a 7-9 team. Talent for the Lions is feast or famine. Loads of young talent on that defensive line, not a speck of talent in that secondary. Loads of young talent on that offensive line. After WR1, not a speck of talent in that receiving corps. It's 8-8 or maybe 9-7 at best until some bandages are applied. I fully expect Mayhew to get these deficiencies corrected.


January 18th, 2014, 7:13 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
We make too much of 'talent'. Talent is nothing more than potential.

Year in and year out I have heard fans and sports writers talk about how talented the Lions are until the team fails and fans and sports writers alike then complain about the lack of talent until the next season when the farce begins again. It isn't about talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is about making the most of the talent. It is about being a player. Someone who knows their role, knows their assignment, who works at refining their technique, who gives consistent effort, is aware of the different situations and how that pertains to their assignments and most importantly, limits mistakes.

It is the between the ears stuff. Talent is easy to find. Finding talent that is willing to do the hard work twixt their ears and apply it consistently is a lot harder.


January 20th, 2014, 8:08 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
Jafo wrote:
We make too much of 'talent'. Talent is nothing more than potential.

Year in and year out I have heard fans and sports writers talk about how talented the Lions are until the team fails and fans and sports writers alike then complain about the lack of talent until the next season when the farce begins again. It isn't about talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is about making the most of the talent. It is about being a player. Someone who knows their role, knows their assignment, who works at refining their technique, who gives consistent effort, is aware of the different situations and how that pertains to their assignments and most importantly, limits mistakes.

It is the between the ears stuff. Talent is easy to find. Finding talent that is willing to do the hard work twixt their ears and apply it consistently is a lot harder.


I firmly believe the bolded part is the only difference between the Lions and Seattle.


January 20th, 2014, 8:22 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
BillySims wrote:
Jafo wrote:
We make too much of 'talent'. Talent is nothing more than potential.

Year in and year out I have heard fans and sports writers talk about how talented the Lions are until the team fails and fans and sports writers alike then complain about the lack of talent until the next season when the farce begins again. It isn't about talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is about making the most of the talent. It is about being a player. Someone who knows their role, knows their assignment, who works at refining their technique, who gives consistent effort, is aware of the different situations and how that pertains to their assignments and most importantly, limits mistakes.

It is the between the ears stuff. Talent is easy to find. Finding talent that is willing to do the hard work twixt their ears and apply it consistently is a lot harder.


I firmly believe the bolded part is the only difference between the Lions and Seattle.

I don't think that's true at all. I think a lot of it comes down to players that have "football instincts." If the former were true, then Marinelli would've coached a 16-0 team instead of an 0-16 team. Wasn't that guy always talking about working hard and "between the ears" stuff?
If it's not about talent, why the hell did the Fords fire Matt Millen? Were the Lions losing because Millen was crowding the talented roster with too much talent?
Of course it's about talent. It's about talent at every level of the game.
Coaching plays a much smaller part than one would think in professional football.
When players go into the locker room at halftime, do you think the head coach is giving inspirational speeches and motivating individual players? The players talk to their position coaches for a few minutes, maybe talk to the coordinators and maybe the HC says a few words. It's not like the movie Rudy in the locker room.
Halftime adjustments aren't made in the way that is romanticized on TV.

Either way, there is a major difference in talent between Seattle and Detroit. Detroit's strengths on offense are through the air, Seattle's are on the ground. On defense, Seattle is powerful in the secondary and Detroit is powerful on the line. Seattle isn't lining up a bunch of scrubs on their d-line like the lions are in the secondary either. Seattle is more talented, but not by leaps and bounds.

Pshhh. Talent is easy to find? Tell that to Matt Millen.


January 21st, 2014, 2:33 am
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
HechePipe wrote:
BillySims wrote:
Jafo wrote:
We make too much of 'talent'. Talent is nothing more than potential.

Year in and year out I have heard fans and sports writers talk about how talented the Lions are until the team fails and fans and sports writers alike then complain about the lack of talent until the next season when the farce begins again. It isn't about talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is about making the most of the talent. It is about being a player. Someone who knows their role, knows their assignment, who works at refining their technique, who gives consistent effort, is aware of the different situations and how that pertains to their assignments and most importantly, limits mistakes.

It is the between the ears stuff. Talent is easy to find. Finding talent that is willing to do the hard work twixt their ears and apply it consistently is a lot harder.


I firmly believe the bolded part is the only difference between the Lions and Seattle.

I don't think that's true at all. I think a lot of it comes down to players that have "football instincts." If the former were true, then Marinelli would've coached a 16-0 team instead of an 0-16 team. Wasn't that guy always talking about working hard and "between the ears" stuff?
If it's not about talent, why the hell did the Fords fire Matt Millen? Were the Lions losing because Millen was crowding the talented roster with too much talent?
Of course it's about talent. It's about talent at every level of the game.
Coaching plays a much smaller part than one would think in professional football.
When players go into the locker room at halftime, do you think the head coach is giving inspirational speeches and motivating individual players? The players talk to their position coaches for a few minutes, maybe talk to the coordinators and maybe the HC says a few words. It's not like the movie Rudy in the locker room.
Halftime adjustments aren't made in the way that is romanticized on TV.

Either way, there is a major difference in talent between Seattle and Detroit. Detroit's strengths on offense are through the air, Seattle's are on the ground. On defense, Seattle is powerful in the secondary and Detroit is powerful on the line. Seattle isn't lining up a bunch of scrubs on their d-line like the lions are in the secondary either. Seattle is more talented, but not by leaps and bounds.

Pshhh. Talent is easy to find? Tell that to Matt Millen.



I agree that it takes talent. We have talent now. We did not have talent when Marineli was HC.


January 21st, 2014, 10:21 am
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
I tend to believe that most things in life fall within the 80/20 rule to some extent. This is true of the Lions talent level as well.

In the NFL, 80% of clubs have about the same talent level which puts them around the 8-8 mark from a talent standpoint. Some fall a little short (think poor coaching, key injuries, a few bad calls), some exceed that level. But about 25 teams fall in this range. Living in Dallas, home of the 8-8 Cowboys the last 3 years - I see the roster similar to the Lions in terms of talent.

There are about 7-8 teams that fall outside of the 20%, this year that would be accounted for basically by the 4 teams in the conference championships. The talent level is a bit above the rest of the league, but the gap isn't all that great. On the flip side, see teams like the Bucs, Redskins, and Texans. But once again, the gap between them and the bulk of the league is rather slim and one good offseason (draft/FA) and that gap disappears.

If the rosters are fairly equal in terms of talent, it comes down to where on the roster that talent exists. Obviously, the QB spot is pretty important. Other positions seem to go in and out of vogue depending on the prevailing schemes within the league at the time. Coaching also plays a role to some degree.

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January 21st, 2014, 10:45 am
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
Leo, in honesty I think you are missing the point on the entire 'Lions have a talented roster' statements that have been made. In the past decade, this is the most talented the Lions roster has been. I don't know that I've heard anyone say that the Lions have MORE talent than anyone in the league. What I have heard, and I think it's true, is that the Lions now have the talent to compete with any team in the league. Are you trying to say that they don't? If so, I think you are short changing them.

One gap on offense is depth at receiver. In this age of the passing NFL, a team NEEDS to have at least three good to great receivers. The Lions have one that fits that requirement. Nate may have met that when he was signed here, but that isn't the case any longer. Still, he's the best outside of CJ this team has. That needs to be fixed.

Most NFL teams that rely on the passing game like the Lions have a tight end who is a receiving threat more than a versatile 'he blocks really well and is a good short range receiver' type. The tight end that can stretch the field and draw deep coverage as well as pull a linebacker out of his zone is almost a necessity today. Lions don't have that. Scheffler was close. Pettigrew and Fauria aren't it.

The Lions offensive line is actually very good. They kept Stafford pretty clean all year, while allowing Bush and Bell to account for more yards on the ground than we have seen around here in a long time. I'd say about 20-22 teams in the league would swap their starting o-line for ours in a NY minute.

Of course, it all hinges on the quarterback playing well. Matt has that potential, but his regression this season was noticeable from the first game, even if most didn't see it, or want to see it. His second half disaster speaks volumes to me about his mental make up. If he can't get his game turned around, this team is going no where fast.

Defensively the Lions have a solid group at players at DT, with Suh and Fairley being widely proclaimed as the best DT combo in the league. Whether true or not, they are definitely in the top 3 of DT starting duos. If Fairley can 'figure it out' and play more consistently, they'll be downright nightmarish for opposing teams.

The DE group will only get better, based on their relative youth. Willie Young played much better this season than last. Ziggy Ansah can only improve, and Devin Taylor surprised many with how well he played when pressed into duty. If Jason Jones can stay healthy, this will be a quality rotation.

DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch are respected starters, if not considered above average. Levy finally became the playmaker he was supposed to be. Tulloch is still a coverage liability, but plays the run as well as most. Ashlee Palmer was inconsistent and that may be the result of his coming off the field in nickel situations. We need a linebacker that plays coverage better than Tulloch and has better instincts than Palmer to play the outside position opposite Levy.

Our secondary is a mess, and that is no secret. Chris Houston apparently was injured most of the season, and that may be the reason he played so poorly. I don't see Rashean Mathis as the answer. Darius Slay improved in his last couple games, but it remains to be seen if that is something he will build on, or if it was simply his being the shiniest turd on the grass amongst the rest of our cornerbacks. Jonte Green and Bill Bentley are not starting material, in my eyes. Bentley is too short to cover most outside receivers, and Green is the model of inconsistency. He plays like Champ Bailey on one play, and then plays like Boss Bailey on the next. In a perfect world, we have two really good cornerbacks, and Darius Slay gets to develop while playing the nickel role his rookie season. It didn't happen that way, and now we'll be relying on Slay as a starter next season. This group needs definite help.

Safety wise, Glover Quin didn't play as well as I'd hoped he would. I expected more, and maybe that's me expecting too much. He just didn't flash all that much to me. Louis Delmas is no longer the player he was coming out of college, and I wouldn't be upset if the Lions drafted or signed another safety to replace him. Depth wise, I think we are pretty good with Carey and Wendling. Carey can play either safety spot, and Wendling is a good special teamer.

We have a really, really promising punter. Hopefully Jeremy Ross can continue evolving as a return man. We definitely need a kicker.

Personally, I don't think the Lions are in too bad a shape when it comes to talent. It's just that they haven't found a way to get past their own foolish mistakes. There have been other teams that had weak receiving corps and secondaries that have been able to play much better. Usually those teams have two things in common: A really good quarterback, and a coach who has the players all on the same page. The Lions haven't had that.

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January 21st, 2014, 10:37 pm
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Post Re: How much talent do the Lions really have?
Speaking of talent, if Darius Slay becomes a starter and Chris Houston recovers from whatever injury he had this year, think of the resources that could go to linebacker, receiver and safety. If that comes to fruition, the Lions can literally load up on offensive and defensive playmakers in both free agency and the draft. Without the immediate need for CB, the Lions could get really young at safety, linebacker and WR.


January 23rd, 2014, 5:29 pm
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