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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4/27/10

High Expectations for Lions?

Less than a week after the 2010 NFL Draft, the Lions fans seem to have high hopes. Just don't expect too much in the upcoming season.

The Detroit Lions are headed in the right direction for the first time in over a decade. Forget baby steps. The Lions have moved forward in leaps and bounds. It is almost shocking when you look at the additions in the last two off-seasons since the horrendous 0-16 season. Here is a quick look at the starters who did not play in 2008.

QB- Mattew Stafford
RB- Jahvid Best (R)
WR- Nate Burleson
TE- Brandon Pettigrew
TE- Tony Scheffler
LG- Rob Sims

DT- Ndamukong Suh (R)
DT- Corey Williams
DT- Sammie Lee Hill
DE- Kyle Vanden Bosch
LB- Julian Peterson
LB- Zach Follett
LB- DeAndre Levy
CB- Chris Houston
CB- Amari Spievey (R)
FS- Louis Delmas

That is 6 of the 11 offensive starters that are new and 9 of the 11 Defensive starters for a total of 15 of the 22 starters. That is 68% of the starters. All of them upgrades over their predecessors. SO it is very understandable if the fans are excited about the Detroit Lions now. But it is important to keep a level head in your expectations.

First off, you need to understand that 9 of those players have 16 games or less experience. With this many new players, they have not had a lot of time playing together so there is not the level of cohesiveness that is necessary for real good teams. As high as everyone is on Ndamukong Suh, as well they should be, he is a rookie and will likely not play at the level we want in his first season.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Stafford, as high as some fans are on him, has yet to show he can truly be a great quarterback. He was very inaccurate on short passes in his rookie season and rarely showed any touch on his longer throws. The fact that he was injured a third of the season also hinders his growth. So until he shows he can improve in certain areas, you cannot have too high of expectations on the offense.

The Lions are headed in the right direction. They have given the fans a reason to have high hopes for the future. It is even possible that future could happen this coming season, but in all likelihood, it will be another year before they take that step forward and become a playoff hopeful. Even so, one has to ask himself... Isn't it nice to have those hopes?

4/24/10

Lions 2010 Draft - Round 2 & 3

The Lions did not have a pick in the 2nd round due to moving up to the first round to get RB Jahvid Best. So the fans had to wait until the 66th pick of the draft (34th of Friday night) before the Lions were finally on the clock. With their 3rd round draft pick the Lions took Cornerback, Amari Spievey from Iowa.

Watching the forums, the initial reaction by many of the fans was more in the lines of "Who is he?" Trust me, even if we do not know him, the Lions brass has studied him well. Remember in 2009 when the Lions selected DeAndre Levy? I did not know him. The only reason I did not get upset was because he was a linebacker, which they needed. At least they addressed the defense I figured. It turns out that Mayhew and company knew very well what they were doing in selecting Levy, so now we need to give them due respect that they know what they are doing with selecting Spievey.

Keep in mind, whether you know him or not, he is a cornerback and that is a position the Lions needed badly. But it is not like they just selected a cornerback because they needed a cornerback. Spievey is actually quite a decent player from the sounds of it. Here is the basics of what CBS says about him.

Not overly fast as he ran a 4.53 in the forty yard dash and though he is a bit slow to recognize the rushing play or double move when they are coming, he is adequate at reading routes. He is best when reacting to plays in front of him as a zone corner. Spievey is strong enough to be good in the press coverage and is good at staying on the receivers hip down the sidelines but tends to lose track of the receiver some when he turns around to look for the ball. He is very experienced in the zone coverage and reacts to the ball thrown in any direction. Can use either hand to defend the pass and shows flashes of great hands to catch the ball. He flashes explosive tackling on the edge and plants running backs into the turf. He has matured and improved his work ethics and is not afraid of contact between the lines.

My simple opinion of Spievey is that it sounds like he is a good worker and a very good tackler. He shows some good hands and is good in the zone defense. He can stay with receivers down the line.

I think the Lions will give him the opportunity to play cornerback and if that doesn't work out, he may be moved to the swing safety to compliment Delmas. He has the size and the tackling ability to play the safety position as well as decent hands to take advantage of the position. Because he sounds like he is better reacting to plays in front of him, that sounds more like a safety as well.

I believe the Lions are sure they can use him and develop him into a starter in one of those positions but it would not surprise me if they went ahead and signed Pacman Jones after the draft to solidify things up in the secondary.

4/22/10

Lions 2010 Draft - Round 1

The beginning of the first round started as most fans expected and wanted as the Rams took quarterback Sam Bradford and the Lions drafted the defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Check out the Ndamukong Suh song "A Man Named Suh" near the top of this blog.

The Lions got the most Ndominating defensive tackle to come out of college in a long time and he should take the already improved and solid defensive line and make it a line for offenses to fear. With Suh and Corey Williams penetrating the middle on pass plays, the offensive lines will have a hard time stopping them and not allowing the defensive ends to get around the outsides as well.

The new and improved penetrating defensive line should make the whole defense a lot better as well as the cornerbacks will not have to cover as long. The linebackers will not have as many holes to fill on run stops and a blitzing linebacker will find more room to get through to the quarterback.

All and all, the Detroit Lions first pick of the 2010 year was a great choice and a possible gold mine. Yet, the Lions were not finished with the first round as they traded to move back into the first round. The Lions gave the Minnesota Vikings their 2nd round (#34 overall) pick and swapped 4th round picks for Minnesota's 1st round (#30 overall) draft pick. With the 30th overall pick in the draft, the Detroit Lions addressed their running back need with Jahvid Best.

Some fans are worried about Jahvid Best and his concussion that ended his season. It was a freak injury where he dove into the endzone and was hit while in the air. He flipped head over heels and landed on the back of his head and neck. The result was a bad concussion that hurt his draft value in many eyes. Before the injury he was ranked even with CJ Spiller who was drafted with the 9th pick of the draft. So as long as he does not get injured again, the Lions got a top 10 value with the 30th pick.

Some are afraid that he will have more concussions because it is believed that once a person has a concussion, they become more prone to them. Yet one only has to look to a player the Lions recently traded away to answer that. Ernie Sims had multiple concussions in college but after 4 seasons in the NFL, he has yet to have one concussion. If the same will happen for Jahvid Best, the Lions may have their franchise running back of the future and a running back with the speed to take one to the house on any given play.

4/21/10

NFL 2010 Mock Draft

I know what you are thinking. Just another NFL Mock Draft right? Well this one is slightly different. This is not just my opinion of who each NFL team will take. I know I dont know the minds of every teams brass in the league. I dont believe anyone does. No not even Mel Kiper knows every team that well. So I got to thinking. Who does know better than any expert what the teams general managers and coaches will do? The answer is simply, the fans!

The fans hear every remark from their teams management. They know their teams habits. They know what their teams have done in the past. Not every fan knows their team well or is intelligent enough to figure things out, but the consensus of their fans will know their teams far better than any expert would.

So I went into some forums for each team and took a poll on who they think their team will draft in the first round. The following is how it ended up. Keep in mind however that this is strictly what the fans thought their team would do. I did not veto any picks no matter how much I disagreed with it. This was also done without any trades.

1) St.Louis ......... QB .... Sam Bradford
2) Detroit .......... DT .... Ndamukong Suh
3) Tampa Bay ........ DT .... Gerald McCoy
4) Washington ....... OT .... Russell Okung
5) Kansas City ...... S ..... Eric Berry
6) Seattle .......... DE .... Derrick Morgan
7) Cleveland ........ CB .... Joe Haden
8) Oakland .......... OT .... Trent Williams
9) Buffalo .......... OT .... Brian Bulaga
10) Jacksonville .... ILB ... Rolando McClain
11) Denver .......... DT .... Dan Williams
12) Miami ........... S ..... Earl Thomas
13) San Fransisco ... RB .... CJ Spiller
14) Seattle ......... QB .... Jimmy Claussen
15) NY Giants ....... DT .... Brian Price
16) Tennessee ....... DE .... Jason Pierre-Paul
17) San Fransisco ... OG .... Mike Iupati
18) Pittsburgh ...... CB .... Kyle Wilson
19) Atlanta ......... OLB ... Sean Weatherspoon
20) Houston ......... RB .... Ryan Mathews
21) Cincinnati ...... S ..... Taylor Mays
22) New England ..... WR .... Dez Bryant
23) Breen Bay ....... OLB ... Brandon Graham
24) Philadelphia .... CB .... Kareem Jackson
25) Baltimore ....... TE .... Jermaine Gresham
26) Arizona ......... OLB ... Jerry Hughes
27) Dallas .......... OT .... Anthony Davis
28) San Diego ....... DT .... Jared Odrick
29) NY Jets ......... DE .... Everson Griffin
30) Minnesota ....... CB .... Devin McCourty
31) Indianapolis .... OT .... Bruce Campbell
32) New Orleans ..... C ..... Maurkice Pouncey

The Trading of Ernie Sims

In case you have not heard yet, the Detroit Lions traded away OLB - Ernie Sims in a three way trade. On Monday, the Lions sent Ernie Sims to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles sent a 5th round draft pick to the Denver Broncos, and to complete the triangle, the Broncos sent TE - Tony Scheffler and a 7th round pick to the Lions.

At first glance this is a confusing trade, and not because it is a three way deal. It is confusing because the Lions seemed set with their linebacker unit in place and did not seem to need a tight end with Brandon Pettigrew healing on pace. Now the Lions have two star potential tight ends and a glaring hole at the outside linebacker position.

First of all, the addition of Scheffler should help the Lions offense considerably. With two very good tight ends, they should not be using the two tight end set far more often. With either tight end able to go out for the ball, defenses will have a hard time figuring out which one to cover. This in itself will cause defenses to worry about them and not be able to double and triple cover Calvin Johnson so readily. In the running game this will help because the tight ends will help with the blocking schemes to open holes for the running backs. Another reason defenses will have to stay more honest.

So the addition of Scheffler makes sense. The problem lies with the loss of Ernie Sims. There is a difference in opinion on Ernie Sims as many fans did not think he was very good and some liked him. I am of the latter's opinions.

In his first three seasons, Sims had 371 tackles. Some fans do not like that he has rarely had a sack but that fault may not be his. He was out most of last season with an injury and before last season it was a rare thing for the Lions to blitz. When they did blitz, it was easy for offenses to pick the blitz up because the Lions defensive line never drew double teams. So it would not be expected for a linebacker to get many sacks when they are rarely sent in on the blitz and more understandable when the D-line is as bad as it has been in Detroit. So I cannot help but to wonder if the Lions might have sent away a much better linebacker than the stats appeared.

The replacement for Sims however may already be on the team. Gunther Cunningham has already said he will give Zach Follett, a rookie in 2009 a shot at the starting position and expects him to be able to handle the job. Follett, start 2009 on the practice squad even though he was a fan favorite from the day he was drafted. His highlight reel with the shots of knocking the helmets off of players had the fans excited. As the season continued however, Follett fought his way onto the Lions roster and by the end of the season he was seeing a lot more playing time.

Follett is a hard hitting linebacker with decent speed. He shows no fear and loves to lay the wood on players. He is very good in run coverage but there are some fears by fans that he may not be ready to handle the starting job. I hope he is!

So if Follett can handle the starting Job, the Lions will have added a good tight end who will give the Lions offense a lot of help and gave up a player who is already replaced by a player on the roster.

4/20/10

Detroit Lions Schedule 2010

Away ....Sun ....Sep-12.....Chicago Bears......... L 15-19
Home ....Sun ....Sep-19.....Philadelphia Eagles... L 32-35
Away ....Sun ....Sep-26.....Minnesota Vikings..... L 10-24
Away ....Sun ....Oct-03.....Green Bay Packers..... L 28-26
Home ....Sun ....Oct-10.....St.Louis Rams......... W 44-06
Away ....Sun ....Oct-17.....New York Giants....... L 20-28
OFF .....Sun ....Oct-25.....Bye Week
Home ....Sun ....Oct-31.....Washington Redskins... W 37-25
Home ....Sun ....Nov-07.....New York Jets......... L 20-23
Away ....Sun ....Nov-14.....Buffalo Bills......... L 12-14
Away ....Sun ....Nov-21.....Dallas Cowboys........ L 19-35
Home ....Thu ....Nov-25.....New England Patriots.. L 24-45
Home ....Sun ....Dec-05.....Chicago Bears......... L 20-24
Home ....Sun ....Dec-12.....Green Bay Packers..... W 07-03
Away ....Sun ....Dec-19.....Tampa Bay Buccaneers.. W 23-20
Away ....Sun ....Dec-26.....Miami Dolphins........ W 34-27
Home ....Sun ....Jan-02.....Minnesota Vikings..... 1:00 PM

4/19/10

Ndamukong Suh or Russell Okung? Who Should the Lions Draft?

This is one of the most heated debates in any Lions forum these days. As we draw closer to the 2010 NFL Draft, it will likely heat up to another level. Yet when one looks at all of the facts, it really is not worthy of a real debate.

If you haven't read my earlier article, "Left Tackle or Defensive Tackle - Which is More Important?", go read it before reading this one.

As I pointed out in the article mentioned above, to the contrary of common belief,the defensive tackle is actually more important than the left tackle on an NFL team. So this already gives Ndamukong Suh a head start over Russell Okung. Now let us look at other facts.

TALENT LEVEL
I have read many forums postings by fans and I have read plenty of articles in blogs and major sporting websites. This is what I find....

Russell Okung - Many believe he is the best left tackle in this years draft. Yet there are some articles that say he is more polished than Trent Williams, but Williams may be the better talent for the long term. So Okung is POSSIBLY the best left tackle in the 2010 NFL Draft. No where have I read anyone saying he is the best left tackle to come out of college in recent years. No place have I read that he is ranked with Jake Long coming out of college. He is only stated as the best left tackle in this years draft alone. And a few even argue that point.

Ndamukong Suh - The most common belief by the experts is that Suh is the best defensive tackle to come out of college in the last ten years. He is widely considered to be a "Once in a lifetime" type of player. His college stats back that up.

There are a few who rate defensive tackle Gerald McCoy as high as Suh and fewer still who think McCoy is better. Their arguments have little ground to stand on. In college, Suh's stats destroys McCoy's in every category. Suh's 12 sacks in 2009 alone are the equal to the 12 sacks McCoy had in 2008 and 2009 added together. Yet it was McCoy and not Suh who played in the one-gap defensive scheme that is meant for attacking the quarterback. Suh played in a stop the run first defense.

INTANGIBLES
A quick look at some of the non statistical points why they may fail in the NFL.

Russell Okung - The biggest one is that he payed on a spread offense scheme. In the spread offense the linemen are not expected to hold their blocks for as long because the plays are meant for the quarterbacks to get rid of the ball much quicker. In every position, players coming from the spread offense into the NFL have a much higher bust rate. The ones who are talented enough to become good players in the NFL often take a longer time to adjust to the NFL schemes before they actually start to play up to par. This is a very strong reason not to draft Okung in the first round.

Ndamukong Suh - The only knocks I have seen against him are the fears of his two knee surgeries. Understandably this is a good reason to worry. But it turns out that both of those surgeries are considered minor surgeries, so there is little fear they will blow out at any time. Plus, since his last surgery, Suh has had two extremely high performance seasons in a row without a problem. So it does not look as if his knees should be a problem.

My Opinion
The Lions are not a team that has been close to the Superbowl and needs to worry about specific positions. A team like the Lions have to follow some strict rules in drafting.

1) Draft the player who has the best chance of being a star and not a bust. They cannot afford to take chances on high upside in the first round or two. They need to minimize their risk of failure. IMO, Ndamukong Suh has a much better chance of being a star and Okung has a better chance of being a bust due to his coming from a spread offense.

2) They need to add real play makers in the early rounds. As a team gets better, they will begin to draft later in the drafts. The chances of adding a true play maker is not as high. Great teams look to add one good play maker every year and maybe get lucky if a second player works out. But that is all a good team needs to fill each year. A team like the Lions have a need for several play makers and thus it is important to address that early in the drafts. IMO, Ndamukong Suh is a much higher play maker than Okung. Okung will not make game changing plays. Suh will.

3) Take Best Player Available in positions of need! Usually there are a whole lot of positions of need, so that part is not an issue. Unfortunately in this case, the Lions are not as destitute. They do not have a need for Linebacker very much. They have addressed the left guard position and believe Backus is a good left tackle. Many if not most fans disagree with that but it doesn't change the fact. As bad as Backus has looked, he only gave up 2 sacks in his last 9 games and the left guard has been so horrible it has hurt the players around it. If the Lions draft Okung, in his first year he may not be any better than Backus. Suh on the other hand would make the defense all around him much better. Suh is the better player and he is in a position of higher need.

Conclusion
However much you think it is important to protect Stafford, it makes more sense to draft Ndamukong Suh in the first round. Suh is a greater talent in a position of as much need if not more need and has less chance of being a bust.

Suh is not just the best DT in this years draft, he is the best in the last decade. You do not pass up on a once in a lifetime type of player just to take a player the likes of which you see in the draft every year.

If you draft Suh #2 overall, you can still draft a LT later who can be groomed into a good LT and very much improve your offensive line. If you draft Okung, there is not another DT you can take later who will be much more than added depth to the defensive line. If he does improve the line, he certainly will not make it a fearsome line as Suh would do.

If one thinks only with their heart and worries about protecting Stafford, then Okung is the pick. But if one looks at the whole story, all of the evidence and tangibles, then Ndamukong Suh becomes the clear choice.

4/16/10

Left Tackle or Defensive Tackle - Which is More Important?

Left Tackle or Defensive Tackle - Which is More Important? This is one of the most common misjudgments in the NFL today.

There are those who believe that Matthew Stafford is the franchise future and that he needs to be protected at any cost. They say the Left Tackle is the most important position on the offensive line because he protects what is usually the quarterbacks blindside. If a defender breaks free on the right side, a right handed quarterback can see him come at him and thus has time to avoid the rush or throw the ball away. However, if the defender comes free from the left side, a right handed quarterback does not see him so easily, resulting in what is often a free shot on the QB by the defender. Often this causes the quarterback to fumble the ball and in worse case scenarios, to be injured. But how much impact does a Left Tackle make on the offense?

Of any group of positions in any sport, it is the most important for the offensive line on an NFL team to play as a unit. Four of the linemen can all make perfect blocks, but if any one of them fails at his job on any play, it can cause the whole play to fail. Only one man needs to miss his assignment and a defender will break through and go after the quarterback. The left tackle can make his block on a run play but if the left guard misses his, the play will be broken up unless the ball carrier makes an outstanding play to avoid the defender. It takes five guys to block for the quarterback and sometimes a fullback or tight end is added into the mix because five guys may not be enough.

The best left tackle in the game will keep the quarterback from being hit as often in the back, but the offense is only going to be as good as the five offensive linemen are together. For this reason, the offensive line only needs to have five good players who play well as a unit to be great rather than have star players on it. There is proof of this fact in the stats.

In 2009, of the four offensive lines who gave up the least amount of sacks, only two of them had even one player who was a first round draft pick. Only one of those was a left tackle. Of the seven best offensive lines, only two of them had left tackles drafted in the first round. Only one had more than one player drafted in the first round. Of the top four lines (20 players), there were only 7 players drafted in the 3rd round or earlier. 13 of them were drafted in the fourth round or later. Three of those were undrafted.

The defensive tackle on the other hand is not like that. The defensive linemen all will feed off of each other, but they are not dependent upon each other. In a 4-3 scheme, if three of the defensive linemen fail in their jobs, the fourth can still break through on his own and sack the quarterback, cause a fumble and make a game changing play. For this reason it is more important to have a great player on the defensive line, because he will need to make more plays on his own.

Of the 3 or 4 defensive linemen used in an NFL scheme, the defensive tackle is the most important. There are many who would argue this point because they see two facts. 1) The defensive ends get far more sacks. 2) The defensive ends usually get paid more. ... The reason for both of these is because people tend to view the flashy stats rather than look at the who scenario.

It is seldom that a defensive end is so good that he can rack up a lot of sacks in a season without strong defensive tackle play alongside of him. It is far more often the defensive tackle drawing a double team that allows the defensive end to get open and make plays. Yet the defensive tackles will make the whole defense better. Not just the defensive ends.

A great defensive tackle will control the interior of the line during running plays, giving the linebackers fewer lanes to fill to stop the run. This will often force the running backs to bounce the play outside towards the defensive ends or out of bounds. When a running back has to turn it outside because there is nowhere to go on the inside, it also gives the defensive backs more time to make their adjustments and come in to make the tackles. During pass plays the defensive tackles pressure up the middle will close up the pocket so the quarterbacks cannot step up, leaving them in the open as targets for the defensive ends or blitzing linebackers. Pressure on the quarterbacks will force them to get rid of the ball sooner than they would like, making it so the defensive backs do not have to cover the receivers for so long.

The play of a great defensive tackle will make the jobs of every other player on the defense much easier. He will open things up for the other players to make the flashy game changing plays like sacks and interceptions. He does all of this and that is when he is not actually breaking through and making some plays himself.

While the left tackle is important, a decent one will look good if the whole offensive line works as a unit. He does not however, make the whole offense better. He does not make any game changing plays. All he can do is give the quarterbacks and receivers more time and the running back a little more room. But that is only if the rest of the unit plays as well as he does.

The defensive tackle makes the whole defense better. He makes all of the other defensive players jobs easier. He can also make plenty of game changing plays of his own.

The defensive tackle may not usually get the big contracts like the left tackles or the defensive ends will, but a great defensive tackle will still do a lot more for the team than the other positions will.

4/11/10

Mayhew's Worst Nightmare

Taking a last sip from his wine glass, Martin Mayhew holds it up and stares through the crystal at the reddish glow. The glass is empty, the glow coming from his high rise window. The red and orange hues of the deepest sunset he had seen in his entire life. Setting the glass gently on his desk, he turns his wrist so he can see his watch. Only quarter after five.

With a slight groan, he gets to his feet and crosses the room to the windows and stands by Williams Clay Ford senior. Neither man says a word for a long moment as they stare out the windows in resignation. The reddish glow is not from a sunset. It is from the thousands of torches being held by the descending Lions fans outside the building.

"It was a stupid mistake you know. You should have known better." Ford says just before going into a coughing fit as he clears a wad of phlegm from his throat.

The look that Mayhew gives the ancient man is one of pure hatred mixed with a shock of wonder. A stupid mistake? That bastard made the mistake! Mayhew wanted to do the sensible thing, but it was the old man who insisted on doing things his way. Mayhew considered the idea of throwing the old fart to the wolves. Let the fans below have the blood they want. If he thought it would save him, he would do it. It wouldn't though. The fans would never believe him. Turning back to the torch carrying fans below, Mayhew let his thoughts fall back to the moment everything went to hell.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had just scored a long touchdown after the Lions defense failed to put any pressure on the quarterback. Four seconds, five seconds passed by and the Bucs quarterback still had not had to scramble. Then he finally cocked his arm back and let the ball fly, forty-seven yards in the air to a wide open receiver who ran another twenty yards for the score.

Now it was the Lions chance to even things up and Matthew Stafford took the snap and dropped back in the pocket. Then the unthinkable happened.

Ndamukong Suh shot out of his stance like a blood thirsty beast and ran a stunt to the left side, put his hands on the chest of the Lions star rookie left tackle, Russell Okung, and shoved. The ease in which he tossed Okung to the side was as if he was handling an unruly child then he was into his sprint. In exactly one point five seconds Suh was driving his shoulder into the back of Matthew Stafford. One tenth of a second later the sound of the young quarterbacks back snapping echoed through the stadium.

As Ndamukong Suh jumped up and began waving the medical team over, the 55,000 fans went silent. Their highly loved franchise quarterback laid their unmoving because the player the Lions drafted could not stop the player who eighty percent of the fans had wanted.

Mayhew knew that Suh was the right draft pick. He knew that when he caved into Ford's pressure to protect his quarterback, the decision would come back to bite him. He just never imagined it would be a rabid wolf that bit him. In his wildest nightmares he never would have thought it would be nearly a million of those rabid wolves coming for him.

A commotion in the mob below drew his eyes and he watched with a solemn horror as the gates caved in and the angry fans surged into the building. It wouldn't be long now he thought. Looking at old lord Ford, he fantasized wrapping his hands around the old geezers throat. If he was going to die, maybe he should allow himself that one last pleasure of knowing it was him that finished the old fart and not the fans.

The sounds of the fans screaming for blood somewhere in the building floated to his ears. Giving the old man another tempting glare, Mayhew walked back to his desk and sat down. He did not blame the fans actually. They had gone so long without seeing a competitive team on the field and when they finally had signs of getting one, it all fell apart because of one bad decision. He should have taken Suh. Whatever the old man said, he should have taken Suh. He was the better player. He was the better choice for the success of the team. Suh was the right draft pick. But Ford wanted Okung and he had caved in to the old man's desires. Now he would die for it.

The screams suddenly grew much louder and he knew the mob had made it onto his floor. Mayhew hardly had a chance to rise from his desk before the doors crashed open and the fans came rushing in. They filled the room to bursting and he began to scream as their hands fell upon him. They pulled him in different directions and he screamed again as he felt his hair being yanked out of his head. Then his eyes fell on the old man.

Old Lord Ford was fairing no better, but Mayhew could not help but to wish he was doing much worse. "It was your choice old man!" Mayhew shouted. "Your choice! I should never have listened to you! Do you hear me? I should never have...."

Mayhew sat up straight in his bed as he screamed the last words. "... listened to you!" Realizing he was no longer being torn limb from limb he looked around. He was in his own bed, the sheets soaked with his own sweat. In his right hand he held a lock of his own hair.

Gathering his wits, Mayhew whispered a promise. "I won't listen to you old man!"

4/9/10

Lions Fans Having Emotions Thought to be Long Lost

It has been a long time. A long time since the Detroit Lions fans have had reasons to feel the way they do now. It is a feeling that has been missing for so long they have forgotten what it even feels like. It is a feeling of hope.

Hope had been fading year after year since the Lions lost to the Washington Redskins 41 to 10 in the NFC Championship in 1991. A large chunk of hope was lost in 1999 when the fans learned Barry Sanders, the most electrifying running back in NFL history decided to retire. The last threads of hope faded away as Matt Millen repeatedly drafted players who would end up as busts in the NFL and then in 2008, when the Lions became the first team to ever finish the season winless (o-16), hope was something many thought would never exist again. Not for a Lions fan.

One of the more common sayings I have heard from those fans without hope was... "The Lions are bad, they have always been bad and they always will be bad." There were calls from radio stations for fans to choose a new team to be their favorite teams.

I cannot count how many times I have had to laugh along with someone making fun of the fact I would wear a Lions coat and a Lions hat. They would be amazed to find out I never liked the hats I found, so I had one made up in the style I liked. I was not one of those who believed the Lions would never be good. I always believed that someday they would be great, but I feared it would not be in my lifetime.

Today there is hope again. The fans are feeling more excitement than they have in decades and the Lions havent even played one preseason game yet. That hope comes from the aggressiveness that GM - Martin Mayhew, and coach Jim Schwartz has shown in the off-season with free agents.

On the first day of free agency the fans learned of the Lions acquiring DE, Kyle Vanden Bosch and WR Nate Burleson, along with the trade to get DT Corey Williams and a 7th round pick for a 5th round pick. Not too many days later the Lions signed CB Jonathan Wade, a fast player who will help with depth in a position the Lions were hurting in. Then they gave the Falcons a 5th and a 6th round pick for CB Chris Houston and a 5th round pick. Chris Houston is expected to be a much faster CB who will start for the Lions.

Soon after, the Lions addressed their back-up QB spot by trading with the 49ers. The Lions gave them a 2011 7th round pick for Shaun Hill.

Recently the Lions gave up a 5th round pick in this years draft to the Seattle Seahawks for LG Rob Sims.

In a couple of short weeks the Lions have acquired two starting Defensive linemen, both who have a history of double digit sacks, a wide receiver who might open things up for Calvin Johnson, a starting cornerback with speed and a left guard who should stabilize the revolving door at the position in recent years, and added a decent back-up quarterback.

This coming on the heels of a 2-14 season that had the bright spots of two rookie defensive players, S- Louis Delmas and MLB- DeAndre Levy, who both showed signs of greatness. Along with Delmas and Levy were three other rookies who showed flashes they could all be very good in the near future. QB- Matthew Stafford, TE- Brandon Pettigrew and DT- Sammie Lee Hill.

Now the Lions are heading into the NFL Draft with the #2 overall pick. With the Rams releasing of Mark Bulger, it is all but definite that they will draft QB- Sam Bradford, leaving the Lions with what most experts believe is the best defensive tackle to come out of college in may year, Ndamukong Suh. Adding Suh would likely give the Lions one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and a huge improvement in the pass rush.

The 2010 draft is one of the deepest drafts in memory and the Lions should be able to fill a few of their holes with quality players.

Any way you look at it, the Detroit Lions are already a much improved team on paper and Mayhew has shown he knows how to judge talent as well as make trades that cost the Lions very little.

The Lions may not be good yet, but the moves the Lions have made have given fans a reason to hope. To hope that the future may actually be brighter than we have seen in a long time.

4/6/10

Lions Add a Left Guard

The Detroit Lions traded with the Seattle Seahawks, giving them Robert Henderson from their practice squad and a 5th round draft pick for Seattle's 7th rounder and LG- Rob Sims.

This fills the hole at Left Guard the Lions have had vacant for far too many years. It may also end the on going debates over if the Lions will draft Ndamukong Suh or Russel Okung.

Simple logic states that if you are happy with a player, you do not use a first round pick to draft a player to replace him. Schwartz has said he thinks Jeff Backus is a very good Left Tackle and has even said he should have gone to the pro-bowl. The argument before was that if the Lions drafted Okung, a LT, then Backus would have moved over to play Left Guard. Now the Lions have added a LG in Rob Sims. With both, the LT and LG position set, it is much more unlikely the Lions would spend their first round pick to add Okung.

However, it is not the same with Defensive Tackles. As it stands, the Lions have two solid DTs in Sammie Lee Hill and Corey Williams. Hill was coming on strong at the end of last year, but still is not5 considered dominant. Williams has had a couple of dominant seasons, but was then moved into a DE position and did not perform. Moving back to DT should help him return to form but until he does, he is not considered dominant.

In the NFL, an offensive lineman is expected to play most of the snaps. The defensive tackles however are rotated in to keep them fresh. With two solid DTs, the Lions still need one more. They have a couple guys in place who could fill that spot, but they are considered nothing more than depth guys right now. Schwartz has stated he wants a dominant defensive line. If you want a big pass rush, you need dominating defensive tackles to draw double teams and open things up for the defensive ends. The Lions needing another DT who will be a force, makes it still likely they will draft Ndamukong Suh.

And that my friends, is a very good thing!