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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3/19/10

A Look at the Lions Present Needs 3-19-2010

The Lions have made some big additions in the free agent market and are still looking at players. For the first time in years the fans have hopes of seeing a decent product on the field, but are those hopes justified?

Quarterback
Matthew - Stafford showed some flashes of greatness as a rookie as he hit some deep passes and threw the touchdown with a separated non-throwing shoulder. The young gun slinger also showed plenty of mistakes that comes with a rookie growing into his position. There are two worries on Stafford. One is that he suffered two different injuries in his rookie season making one question if he can hold up to the NFL punishment. Hopefully the Lions will help him out and address the offensive line woes this year. Secondly, Stafford had a problem with accuracy on short routes. With no pressure on him, he often threw behind or over wide open receivers.

Shaun Hill - has been signed to be Stafford's main back-up and it was a good choice by the Lions. Hill is not set up to be a starter a team can count on but he is a veteran who can step in and play fairly well if needed.

Conclusion = This position is set for 2010

Running Back
Kevin Smith - is still recovering from a serious knee injury. It doesn't matter because he was not a good enough starter to begin with. He ran with the speed and mind set of a power runner but was not big enough to break through or carry tacklers.

Maurice Morris - Had a couple of pretty good games in 2009 after Smith went down but he also had a bad game in between those games. Morris is nothing more than an average running back who has never had a very good season in his 7 or 8 year career.

Aaron Brown - Has the speed to break some long ones, but made enough rookie mistakes in 2009 to get into Schwartz doghouse. After Smith went down with injury, it was time to see what Brown could do but he was never given a chance. If Schwartz wasn't willing to see what he had when the season was lost, I do not see him handing over the reigns to start a fresh season.

Conclusion = The Lions have a couple other RBs on their roster, but none who will make any kind of splash. This is one position they really need to address yet.

Receiver
Calvin Johnson - Nicked named "Megatron" for good reason. Standing 6' 5" tall and weighing 236 lbs, Johnson is one of the more imposing WRs in the NFL. However, he has faced double and triple teams most of his career and has played injured much of that time. It was reported that Calvin Johnson has been working with a special trainer to strengthen up the muscles around his joints to help prevent injuries to the knees and elbows and such. If he can find some room and he is healthy, Johnson can be one of the best in the NFL.

Nate Burleson - Signed to replace Bryant Johnson as the guy opposite Calvin Johnson, he should do a better job of taking advantage of the single coverage. He is not overly fast but he has decent speed and is very quick. With sure hands, Burleson plays hard every play.

Derrick Williams - Struggled to pick up the playbook and routes in his rookie season and soon lost some favor with the coaches. With another year to learn it all, one can only hope a light switch turns on in his head and his speed comes in to play more often.

Conclusion = If the Lions can add another solid receiver, it would help but it is a secondary need at this time.

Tight End
Brandon Pettigrew - Was just truly turning things on when he went down with an injury in his rookie year. With a year behind him and his health back, he should be a force at TE for years to come.

Will Heller - Does not have great speed, great hands or exceptional quickness, but he is solid in every area making him a prime second TE to have on the roster.

Conclusion = This position is set for 2010

Offensive Line
After three consecutive seasons of allowing 50+ sacks, they settled down in 2009, sort of, and gave up only 45 sacks.

Jeff Backus (LT) - At the ripe age of 31 years old, Backus actually showed signs of learning how to play in 2009. The first few games were rough for him but then he settled down and his name was rarely called off for penalties or mistakes the rest of the season. Most fans hate Backus but I am of a different opinion. The worst position on the Lions offensive line is right guard and its extremely poor play can make its surrounding players look worse than they are. Backus may not be a great Left Tackle but he is serviceable and could be better if he ever had a good left guard beside him. Unfortunately he may not have many more seasons to get that chance.

Dominic Raiola (C) - Raiola, of an age with Backus, is not so bad at pass blocking. He is quick and it is said that he is very good at reading defenses. He may be but if the players along sidfe of him don't do their job, he will look bad. The problem with Raiola is that he does not have the lower leg power to drive defensive tackles backwards. Instead, he is pushed back himself in short yardage situations.

Dylan Gandy (RG) - Started the last 5 games of 2009 at right guard. At this time it is not known if he will perform well or not as he has not a lot of experience. My belief is that he will be nothing more than an average guard at best.

Gosder Cherilus (RT) - At 6'7" and 325 lbs, Cherilus is a beast on the offensive line. He has talent as his first round draft status in 2008 should suggest. The problem is that he gets caught up mentally. When the Lions are losing, he loses focus and often begins to commit penalties. If he ever matures, he could become a solid figure at the right tackle position.

Conclusion = Left Tackle or Left Guard are immediate positions of need. If the Lions get a left tackle, it is accepted that Backus would move over and play the left guard position. If they get a left guard, Backus would stay where he is. Either way, they need to fill one of those positions immediately and with Backus and Raiola growing older, they will both need to be replaced in the near future.

Defensive Tackle
Sammie Lee Hill - A rookie in 2009, Hill began to play stronger late in the season. Though he is not a huge pass rusher, he will be strong in stuffing the run and filling running lanes. If Hill continues to grow into the position, he could become a solid defensive tackle for many years.

Corey Williams - The Lions got Williams in a trade on the first day of free agency and he may be a very good addition. After two consecutive seasons of 7 sacks with Green Bay, Williams was traded to the Browns who used him as a defensive end. The change to the outside of the line never agreed with him. In Detroit it is expected he will move back to the inside and hopefully return to form.

Conclusion = Andre Fluellen and Landon Cohen are nothing more than back ups. Hill and Williams should be good defensive tackles but while one is a pass rusher the other is a run stuffer and they should compliment each other. This could be a pretty solid unit but nothing for opposing defenses to fear.

Defensive Ends
Cliff Avril - Has fought through injuries as well as lousy talent along side of him and has had 5 and 5.5 sacks the last two seasons respectively. In 2009 he had three of his sacks in the last five games, which could be a sign he was getting things together. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a decent interior to the defensive line to open things up for him some.

Kyle Vanden Bosch - Going into his ninth season, Vanden Bosch is near the end of his career, but the thinking on him is that he has a motor that plays hard every down and he needs a good interior to the defensive line to get him loose. When he had a good line around him a few years ago he had two seasons of 12 sacks each.

Jason Hunter - With 5 sacks in 2009, Hunter showed he does have some talent, but that being his best of 4 seasons doesn't say a lot for him. He is a good enough player to add decent depth to the position.

Conclusion = Vanden Bosch and Avril have some talent, but they are not dominant players. They need the Defensive tackles to create some havoc for them to get open and get to the quarterbacks. The Defensive Line as a whole is a very solid line and far better than any the Lions have fielded in some time now. They are not great though and if the Lions pass up on drafting Ndamukong Suh with the #2 overall pick, the defensive backs will be forced to play much better to make up for the lack of domination in the line.

Linebacker
Julian Peterson - He is getting older but he is still a solid outside linebacker who will only look much better playing behind a strong defensive line. His ability to rush the quarterback makes him a solid asset.

DeAndre Levy - One of the better surprises of the 2009 rookie class, Levy ended the season playing middle linebacker and calling all of the defensive plays on the field. If he continues to grow into his position, he could become one of the better inside linebackers of the NFL.

Ernie Sims - Injured early and seeming a little lost in the new defensive scheme, Sims began picking it up in the latter part of the year. He has decent speed and loves to hit. Sims could still become a very solid outside linebacker with a good supporting cast around him.

Zach Follett - Great on special teams, Follett could yet develop into a very good linebacker. He has the ability to rock a ball carrier out of his shoes; a talent that cannot be ignored if a team wants to place some fear in offenses.

Conclusion = The Lions Linebacker unit is solid and set for 2010

Cornerback
Chris Houston - In three seasons, Houston started 37 of 44 games he played in for the Atlanta Falcons. He is young (25), healthy and has decent size at 5'11". I recently saw a Falcons fan comment in a forum that he is glad to be rid of him because Houston never learned to turn around and face the ball when defending a pass. This would say to me that he was at least with the receiver that he would be in that predicament. Hopefully with new surroundings he can be taught to turn and defend the ball.

Conclusion = As things stand, Houston is the Lions only viable starter at cornerback. It is a position of dire need in the upcoming draft, though as I write this the Lions are looking at Adam Pacman Jones. If they sign him to a one year deal, this could set the starting unit for the upcoming season.

Safety
Louis Delmas - The best rookie of 2009 for the Lions. Delmas ended the season making the secondary call for the defense. He has speed and is not hesitant to charge in and make a tackle rather than shuddle stepping and waiting for the ball carrier to make the first move.

Conclusion = Whoever is the other starting safety on the team now, he can definitely be upgraded. It is not as important to address as the RB, CB or LG, but far more important than other positions.

Overall Conclusion = The one upgrade the Lions can make in the draft is to get Ndamukong Suh. The pressure he would place on a QB would make the rest of the defense much better. The other defensive linemen would have easier times breaking lose. The young CBs would not have to cover nearly as long. The safeties would be freed up to play the ball more rather than worrying about supporting the run quite as often. The Linebackers would have fewer lanes to fill on run plays and have more room to run on blitzes.

After Suh (DT),the Lions must address the running back, Left guard, and Cornerback positions and add a good safety to compliment Delmas if they can. That is five spots that need to be addressed and in a deep draft they should be able to do all five.

2 comments:

  1. good blog, read the whole thing, i dont know why they didnt go for Thomas Jones, i agrre withyou thoughts

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  2. I couldn't agree more they can take Suh 1st, A LG or LT 2nd, M. Rolle 3rd, And pick up they rest of there needs later this would put them in a position to win and really get better. Taking Okung with dat first pick does nothing to impact the team yea they would feel a need but to really impact the team take Suh cause there are alot of LT and LG&RG's in this draft. it dont take no real science to make the right call if they afraid of the bust ratio then they dont need to be in the draft they saw the tape take SUH

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