I AM BACK!!!!!

In the past, I tried to do too much with this site with way too little time. Yet, I have been feeling a need to write about the Lions lately. So I have decided to change the Detroit Lions Observer to a few basic things. Writing articles when I feel a need to, keeping track of their wins and losses, and I am still deciding if I will go through and update Ndamukong Suh's Sack List.
Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
Keep track of which quarterbacks Suh has faced and which ones he has taken down.

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12/31/09

Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears in Week-17

The Detroit Lions will look to make one last effort to get their third win of the season when the Chicago Bears come to Ford Field this Sunday. The game was sold out and the Lions will be on television one last time in 2009. For some reason, I am expecting there will be a whole lot of Bear fans in the stands.

Jim Schwartz has not said whether he will start Stanton or Culpepper at quarterback this Sunday. It is believed by the media that Culpepper will get the call. Last week he gave Stanton his first start of his career and it was a dismal performance. Not that Culpepper has looked any good since Stafford went down. This is a prime example of one of Schwartz' major failings. All he cares about is winning one more game. Not a person alive will think any different of the Lions or Schwartz if the Lions win three games rather than two games. The win does nothing for the Lions. Winning the last game of the season does not give the players any confidence in the next year. Daunte Culpepper's contract is up and he will be a free agent next year. The Lions are not going to resign him if he plays well this one game. So what does it help to play him? Drew Stanton on the other hand is a different story. Stanton is signed through next year, so he will likely still be a back-up next year. He has only started one game in his career. Yes it was bad, but isn't it possible he was just overwhelmed in his first start? Likely that is not the case, but it is possible. What if Stanton started and he actually played well? A young QB with a decent arm and plays well in only his second start? Do you think he might fetch the Lions a mid to late round draft pick then? As I said. It is all highly unlikely, but so long as the possibility is there, you should take the chance and start him. Starting Culpepper gives the Lions nothing in return.

Schwartz has said that he will play whoever he feels gives the Lions the best chance to win. He has said straight out that he will not play a player just to see what he has got. He does not look to the future. He ONLY looks toward the next game. That is a very bad thing. If the Lions had a winning team, then maybe that would make sense. The Lions are once again one of the worst teams in the NFL. The future us what needs to be considered far more importantly than one last game in a losing season. But Jim Schwartz does not care about the future of the team. He only cares about the last game when the Lions are 2-14. This is why he will once again start Maurice Morris and not even look at what Aaron Brown might do with a heavier work load. Even though Morris reverted to his true form and only gained 37 yards on the ground last week. Even though he only averaged 2.7 yards per carry. In a bad week for Morris, Schwartz only gave Aaron Brown one carry. For the most part, even though Brown has been nothing but average as a return man, he has done the most with what few chances he has had as a running back. He has a good yards per carry average and has a few decent runs. It makes absolutely no sense to continue to play a veteran who is nothing better than average and not even look at a rookie running back who has a lot of speed.

As disappointing as the Lions offense is bound to be yet again with Schwartz ridiculous decisions to play average veterans over rookies with possible talent, the Lions defense is another story.

Rookie linebacker, DeAndre Levy will once again play the middle position and make all of the defensive play calls. I read one article on MLive, that talked about Levy's ability as a leader on the team. In a practice when a defensive lineman was jawing at the offensive players after a good defensive play, Levy grabbed the veteran by the pads behind his neck and told him to shut up and listen for the play call and be ready. This is not something a rookie does very often in the NFL and it shows a lot for this young linebackers leadership ability.

Rookie Free Safety, Louis Delmas has been calling all of the secondary plays for the last couple of games. He has backed up the responsibility of calling plays with very good quality play of his own. He has been one of the few bright spots in another disappointing Lions season and is second on the team in tackles behind veteran linebacker Larry Foote.

The Chicago Bears have not been playing the best of football in recent weeks. Last weeks overtime win was their first game scoring more than 14 points in over a month. If the Lions offense was not such a mess at this time, I would say the Lions could actually win this game. The Lions offense is bad though and however much better the defense has been playing lately, you cant win if you cant score.

Bears 23
Lions 17

12/25/09

Lions vs 49ers - Pregame Week 16

Throughout the year there have been some fans who griped about the Lions never giving quarterback Drew Stanton a chance. This weekend those fans will finally get to see why he has never gotten a start before. Against the San Francisco 49ers, Drew Stanton will get his first start as the Detroit Lions quarterback.

Do not expect too much from him. As I pointed out in another article, on a team as bad as the Lions and behind an offensive line as bad as what the Lions put on the field, no QB can be expected to play well in his first couple starts. Here in the 16th week of the NFL season, Stanton is getting his first week of practice with the 1st stringers. To make things even more difficult, he will be facing a very good San Francisco defense.

Maurice Morris had a strong game last week against the Cardinals. In almost 8 full seasons, it was the best game of his career, so it is not expected to happen again. Unfortunately, it was still good enough and the timing was perfect to cement him as the Lions starter, which will keep the Lions from giving Aaron Brown a chance. With his speed, I have not been able to understand why the Lions wont give him a chance to see what he can do with any real work load.Recently someone told me he was too small. If 6'1" and 208 pounds is too small then why is the 5'11" 216 pound Morris big enough? Personally I would much rather have break away speed than an extra measly 8 pounds on a running back.

The Detroit Lions yielded 110 yards and a touchdown to Chris Wells. They gave up 166 yards and a TD to Ray Rice. What should we expect Frank Gore to do?

The Lions defense actually played fairly well at times last week against the Cardinals. Believe it or not, this might not have been a fluke. It was the first game in which rookie Louis Delmas called the plays for the defense and it was the first game in which the Lions had a decently aggressive blitzing game. If they play as aggressive this week and Delmas does as good of a job calling the defense, they may just surprise the 49ers.

After last weekend, the Lions moved into the 2nd pick overall in the 2010 draft. Though most people expect the Rams to take the super defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, there are plenty who believe the Rams will not pass up on a much needed franchise quarterback. As things stand right now, I would give the Lions a 20% chance of getting Suh. It would not totally surprise me if the Lions won this week and ruined that 20% chance.

Although it wouldn't surprise me if the Lions won this week, I still cannot call for the win. For the Lions to win, it would mean their offense scoring more than their defense gives up. If the Lions defense gives up 17 points, I fear it would be too much.

49ers - 27
Lions - 13

12/21/09

Lions Lose to Cardinals in Week-15

It was not such an embarrassing loss as most thought it would be. It was still a loss and bad enough as the Lions dropped another one 31 to 24.

I must apologize early for any inaccuracies this article may have. With the game not on television, I was forced to listen to it on the radio and trust what the commentators said as well as look over the stats rather than see it with my own eyes. I have come to realize just how often I will hear a commentator say one thing when I just saw something different with my own eyes.

With less than four minutes left in the game, the Lions had the score tied at 24-24. It looked like the Lions would pull a stunt that we would only expect from... well, the Lions. With Tampa Bay and Cleveland both winning this week, the Lions moved into the 2nd overall draft pick for 2010. A win would have kept them in 4th or 5th overall. A win would have done nothing but hurt their draft position. The only team with a worse record now is St.Louis and it is not impossible for them to draft a QB 1st overall. That would leave the super Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh for the Lions to draft. A player like Suh could make a world of a difference for the Lions defense.

Culpepper did not play well. I did not expect him to. I still believe the Lions would have been better off starting Culpepper to begin the season and let Stafford learn on the bench first. I think Culpepper was better prepared to start the season and would have given the Lions a better chance to win games. But after not playing with the starting unit for most of the season, I will not expect him to play well with them now. He no longer has the timing and cohesion with them that he had in the preseason. On a good team a veteran quarterback can step in and look good, but it usually wont happen on a team as bad as the Lions.

Maurice Morris had a good game in his first start with Kevin Smith out. 126 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries are stats that do look good. Better than Kevin Smith has been getting. One impressive factor was Morris' 64 yard scamper for the TD. In two seasons, Smith's longest run was 50 yards and it was not a TD. Yet I cannot help but to be skeptical that Morris can do it again any time soon. He had a very good game but believe me, he is not as good as he looked in that one game. If he was, he would have shown it at one point in his first seven seasons. By the way, before that 64 yard run his longest was 49 yards only.

12/19/09

Lions vs Cardinals - Pregame Week-15

Arizona Cardinals - Great, experienced quarterback, very good running backs, three great receivers and a very good defense.

Detroit Lions - Injured rookie quarterback, one good receiver who has a bum knee, injured running back, horrid offensive line and an even more horrid defense.

Who do you pick to win?

Arz - 41
Det - 13

Seriously, if you actually are willing to bet on the Lions in this game, you should check yourself in right now. Do so before you spend the money on that bet. If you are self admitted, you always have the option of leaving at your own timing.

I would love to sit here and write how the Lions would have a chance if they did this or that. Let us face the facts this week. It does not matter what the Lions do, they will not beat the Cardinals! If they blew up the hotel the whole Arizona team was staying in, they still wont win. Likely Arizona would send up the best scab team they can scrounge up in short order and still beat the Lions by a touchdown.

Take my advice. Listen to the game on the radio, cheer them on and be glad when they lose because you will know they didn't make the draft prospects any worse.

12/15/09

Kevin Smith Injury Could Be Blessing in Disguise

The Detroit Lions placed Running Back, Kevin Smith and Tight End, Casey Fitzsimmons on IR. Many are talking like this is a bad thing for the Lions. I believe it may turn out a blessing in disguise.

To understand my point of view, first you need to acknowledge one fact. The Lions season is over! They cannot make the play-offs. To win a game now will only harm their draft position. It will do no real good except to make the players feel good about themselves for one week. Since the Lions really have nothing good to play for, this is the time to find out what they have in younger players.

Jim Schwartz said in a conference recently that he does not consider playing a player to see what they have. He said he will play the players who gives him the best chance of a win and to do otherwise would be detrimental to the team and its players. I say to not look at younger players and develop those younger players is detrimental to the teams future.

Casey Fitzsimmons has been on the Lions for seven seasons now. It is obvious that he will never be a star Tight End. In two seasons with the Lions, Kevin Smith has proven himself to be an adequate running back but nothing to get excited about. He runs hard but is not a true power runner who can drag defenders with him. He is too slow to be a home run threat and reach the edges with room to run. Neither of these players are anything more than average in their positions. To play them now would not help the Lions prepare for their future and yet, if they were healthy, Schwartz would keep on playing them rather than see what the young guys can do.

Now both players are injured and the Lions hands are forced.... to a point. The Lions went out and signed free agent Tight end Michael Matthews and promoted Running back Cedric Peerman from the practice squad.

Now I do not expect Matthews to step up and be a great tight end that nobody saw in him. The odds of that are extremely slim. But just because the odds are so slim does not mean it is impossible. We know that Fitzsimmons was not a star tight end. That we do know! So the Lions essentially have nothing to lose by using Matthews. Michael Matthews is like finding a mega millions ticket on the road for an upcoming drawing. The chances of it winning are very unlikely but hey, you just never know. One thing for sure, you don't throw that ticket away before you check to see if it wins.

With Kevin Smith going down it is a different story. Unfortunately for the Lions fans, Jim Schwartz hands are not entirely tied. What would be the best for the Lions future would be to play rookie Aaron Brown and see what he can do with his speed if given any real work load. Again, they have nothing to lose in seeing what he can do. Sadly however, Schwartz is far more likely to turn to Maurice Morris to start now, and that does not help the Lions future. This is Morris' 8th season in the NFL. If he had an upside to reach, he would have reached it by now. Morris is nothing more than another average running back who is just one step under what Kevin Smith was. It would be so much more beneficial for the Lions future to see what Brown can do, but Schwartz doesn't look at the Lions future. He has eyes for the upcoming game only. Since he has some small faith in Morris and because Aaron Brown seems to be in the dog house, it is likely we will see Morris carry the workload.

The Lions should play to win. I do not doubt that analogy. There is never an excuse for any pro team, player or coach to not try and win each and every game. But it is also the time to look at the future of this franchise. It is time to give the younger players some time. Other teams do it every year. Once their season is over, they often will try playing younger quarterbacks to get them some time on the field. Why not with running back?

12/13/09

Lions Lose to Ravens in week-14

48-3 ... That was the score of the Detroit Lions latest embarrassing loss. The Ravens have a good defense but only an average offense, yet today the Lions made them look like a Superbowl contender.

For the last several games, Joe Flacco has not played all that well. Running back Ray Rice has become the Ravens big threat on offense. The constant down pour throughout the game screamed that the Ravens would have to depend on Rice to be most of the offense as the ball was slippery and wet. However I try to look at it, I see everything set up for a running game against the Lions. That must be why the Lions played a pass defense for most of the game.

Rarely did I see an eight man front. Even more scarce was the blitz. Often the Lions defense would show a blitz then drop back into coverage. On a rainy afternoon, against a run oriented offense, the Lions played to stop the pass and force the Ravens to beat them with Ray Rice.... Their best player! By the way... Rice ran for 166 yards and a TD on only 13 carries. That is 12.8 yards per carry.

Culpepper did right in throwing often to Calvin Johnson. He had no fear of throwing the ball deep to Calvin even when the receiver looked covered. His only problem was that he often under threw the Lions top player by 5 yards.

Kevin Smith ran well for a short while. Until, that is, the Ravens realized that Culpepper couldn't get enough on the ball when it was wet to reach his receiver. Smith ended with only 69 yards on 21 carries and left early with what looks like it could be a serious knee injury. The Lions replaced him with Maurice Morris who is averaging only 3.7 yards per carry this season. Aaron Brown who is averaging 4.4 yards only carried the ball one time in the game. He took it for 12 yards. The Lions just don't seem to want to take advantage of the players who have speed.

As bad as the 43 to 3 score looks, the play was worse. The tackling was as bad as any game I have ever seen, including last year, and maybe worse. Defensive players are lazily reaching with their arms rather than moving on the balls of their feet to make the tackles. The receivers do not seem to be hustling through their routes. The most energy I saw on the field for the Lions was when Jim Schwartz was yelling at his players. It was an impressive tirade but I fear it falls on deaf ears. The Lions players are lacking talent and to make things worse, they are not put in a place to succeed.

Next week the Lions play the Cardinals fast striking offense. That thought really gives a Lions fan a lot to look forward to doesn't it?

12/12/09

Lions vs Ravens - Pregame Week-14

Daunte Culpepper will have his chance to audition for his future this Sunday as he replaces the injured Matthew Stafford at quarterback for the Detroit Lions.

The best thing the Lions offense could do is to throw a lot of quick slants. Plays that are designed to get rid of the ball fast and hit the receiver moving forward. However, likely they will stick to their usual plans. The same plays they have called through several quarterbacks, multiple coaches and decades of losing seasons. Screens, dumps and simple plays that hit a receiver or running back while standing still, waiting for the defender to come for the hit as he gets the ball. Along with those, the other pass plays will mostly be plays that take a deep drop and wait for the play to develop while the offensive line desperately flails at defenders running by them. The worst part is that that is not what they really need to worry about. The Lions defense is far worse than their offense.

Joe Flacco is not having the season he had last year. Even so, he has only had three games with a completion percentage of less than 60%. What will he do against a Lions defense that often allows average quarterbacks to complete over 70%? How are the Lions defense going to stop Ray Rice when he has run well against much better defenses?

Could this be the week the Lions actually live by the blitz? Could they finally realize that they get burnt often when they play the lousy zone defense and rush with four linemen? Flacco is one quarterback they could rattle with the blitz. Get to Rice in the backfield before he gets any speed going and they might have a chance. Likely the Lions will play the same defensive style we have watched every year since I have been a fan. Rarely blitzing, soft zones and allowing teams to consistently move the ball.

Ever watch a good team play? Ever get upset that a team holds their opponent to a minimum all game long then in the waining minutes they change to the zone defense and allow a team to move the ball down field? The difference is that the good teams only get stupid and go to the soft "Bend but don't break" defense at the end of the games when they just don't want to give up the big play. The Lions live by it!

I honestly believe that if the Lions played aggressive football this week, they could actually beat the Ravens. I truly believe it is a good match-up for them if they blitzed and called aggressive plays. That would be against the Ford style Lions though.

Ravens 24
Lions 13

12/9/09

Lions Lose to Bengals in week-13

Sorry this article comes so late. The way this season is going, it really begins to feel like every article is nothing more than a rerun of the weeks before. It would be so nice if the Lions would give us something worthy of writing more often. The Detroit Lions cant stop a pass. The Lions cannot stop the run. They cannot run the ball and Stafford has another bad game. All too often it is the same thing.

How many times are we going to watch Stafford completely miss wide open guys when he does have time to throw and all the while the announcers are praising him? I am tired of hearing the comparisons of Stafford to Manning. Let me tell you, Stafford is no Manning! Stafford may throw around the same amount of interceptions as Manning did his rookie season, but he will not throw near as touchdowns. Manning had 26 TDs and 28 ITs. Stafford is on pace for 17 - 27 respectively. Manning also didn't suffer a dislocated knee and a dislocated shoulder in his rookie season.

Kevin Smith actually found some room to run against the Bengals. Gaining 75 yards on the ground, his longest gain was a 17 yards scamper. His longest run this year is 31 yards. His longest in the two years is 50 yards. Other than that one 50 yard run, his longest is 32 yards. It is obvious that Smith is not the threatening running back of the Lions future. With Aaron Brown having a lot more speed, and the Lions with nothing to lose, isn't it time to let Brown feature for a couple games just to see what we have?

The Bengals have one man who is any real threat in the passing game. Chad Ochocinco! Coles is a decent receiver but he is no star. Chad is the big guy on campus. Can someone tell me how he finds himself so wide open so often? With only one receiver you really have to stop, how does he end up with 137 yards and a TD? There are two reasons why. The Lions play a soft zone defense too often and they put no pressure on a quarterback. Mr.Schwartz, you cant get to the QB with your front 4. It is time to blitz a lot more!

Well only three more games of the Lions torture left for us to endure. Then it is another 8 months of torture because we don't have the Lions to watch. Detroit is a torturous city to live in.

12/5/09

Lions vs Bengals - Pregame Week-13

Sometimes I get overly upset with the Detroit Lions. I love the Lions and there is not many things I would wish for more than for the Lions to have that magical season. Today one of those few things smacked me in the face. My dad had his fifth heart attack.

Before I go on, I will say now that he is doing okay, but it still hits you with a lot of scary thoughts. Other than the obvious that you have to wonder how many more he can handle before its the last one, there are many other fears. My Mothers livelihood, how my brothers would take it, etc...

The problem is that he is retirement age and has to work to survive. Yet it is that work in a machine shop every day that could kill him. My career is dead and my wife and I are barely surviving as it is, so we cannot do anything for them. Hell, we are worried enough about even buying my wife's kids some Christmas presents which is a whole different set of stress!

I know we are not the worst off in Michigan, or any other state, but it always hurts more when it is you going through the problems. One thing I realized is that between my dad's health and my own financial struggles, the Lions problems just don't seem so bothersome.

Sunday the Detroit Lions will play the Cincinnati Bengals and quite frankly, they don't have more than a miracle prayers chance for a win. The Lions have been stomped on by all but two teams this season. One of the teams they beat were the Browns and they just barely got away with a win against them.

There has been some ongoing questioning about whether Louis Delmas will talk any trash to Chad Ochocinco. I really hope not. I truly hope that he is smart enough to leave his mouth at home. First off, there is nobody on the Lions who should talk trash to anyone. They have not won enough to gain that right! Louis Delmas talking trash to anyone on the Bengals is near to Roy Williams giving the first down signal when the team is down by three touchdowns! Secondly, the Lions really do not need to give a good receiver any more incentive. The Lions have not stopped a passing game yet in 2009 and in fact, most receivers have made the Lions look like amateurs. Do they really need to give a very good receiver a reason to play hard?

The Bengals defense has been very solid this year. Far better than most anyone expected before the season started. The Lions offense is actually worse than I thought they would be and I did not expect too much. Stafford has yet to put together any kind of string of good games. Only once has he played well two games in a row. Kevin Smith being slow to begin with, is a joke behind the Lions offensive line. Pettigrew is done for the season and Calvin Johnson is banged up.

Bengals - 34
Lions - 17

The worst part about the Lions season right now is that the fans don't seem to care as much as they once did. As always the Lions have gone against sound judgement in most all of their moves and they have no right to wonder why they are not selling tickets.