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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8/30/10

Lions Preseason Week-3 in 2010

Sorry for the late posting. It has been a hard week and since I don't make any money writing, working on getting a new career has to come first. In this economy, I am sure many Detroit Lions fans can understand this.

On their way to a 35 - 27 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, the Lions gave the fans some mixed feelings. I will try to touch on them and give my unprofessional opinions.

The Browns offense came out with quick passes, leaving the Lions new Defensive line useless. The Browns continuously moved the ball and gained 26 first downs, most of which were against the starters. Many fans are very concerned about the Lions defensive backs as they could not seem to cover at all. Though there is reason to be concerned, I would not be overly worried yet. I definitely would not panic yet. Though it can be hard to do, it is important to remember that this was indeed just a preseason game. For one, if this was a real game, and the Lions defensive line could not put pressure on the opposing quarterback, I am sure they would have run more stunts or blitzed more. However, the Lions did neither very much at all. The defensive line ran a straight up, beat your man, type of scheme all night. Secondly, the whole defensive back unit was not as bad as it might seem. Particularly, it was one player who was horrible. Eric King.

For two weeks in a row, opposing QBs have picked on King and I am expecting them to do so in the 4th game as well. If there is one thing everyone can agree on about King, it is that he can run with the receivers. He does not get beat very often. His problem is that he just cannot seem to figure out how to play the ball as well. Every time his receiver catches a pass, King is right there, but he is always turned away from the ball. He never knows the ball is coming until its too late. I think Schwartz sees this and is giving him every opportunity to get things figured out. You can teach a player to play the ball and adjust to the ball. You cannot teach him the speed and quickness it takes to stick to a receivers hip. IF King can figure out how to play the ball, he can be a very good cornerback. If he cannot, Schwartz will cut him. But until he has no other choice, Schwartz will give King every chance to figure it out. If King cannot figure things out in the next game, I would expect him to be cut and Dre Bly to be the starter.

Jahvid Best only played a few downs before he left with tightness. Don't worry! In the short time he played, he caught a pass and ran a hand off for 51 yards. If he really did feel some tightness, it was minor and knowing he is a star in the making, Schwartz was not going to take ANY chance it could get worse if he continued. There is even a chance that Schwartz decided he showed enough and made up the tightness excuse to remove him from the game. In the preseason, nobody ever knows.

Everyone seems to be talking about Suh's aggressiveness. After breaking through the line and pressuring Delhomme, Suh grabbed him from around the head, wrapped his arms around his mid section and lifted him up before whipping him to the ground. After Delhomme already threw the ball. Some say he should be fined. Some people say he should be suspended. Still others say he should have gotten the penalty he got and nothing more. The fact is, whether we like the rules protecting the quarterbacks or not, they are still there and enforced. For that reason, I would say Suh rightfully has a fine coming to him. As for a suspension, since Delhomme was not injured, or even shaken up, and it is a first time offense, I would not expect anything more than the fine.

I have heard some people say that Suh is dirty for that. The guy is not considered a dirty player. He is a rookie and got frustrated when he finally got his hands on the QB and failed to get a sack. he will likely be fined, and he is intelligent enough to learn from that. If he continues to do these things, then you might have a reason to think him a dirty player. For now it was one play he got carried away on.

8/22/10

Lions Preseason Week-2 in 2010

The Detroit Lions beat the Denver Broncos 25 - 20 in their second preseason game of the 2010 season. The win came from an unexpected source. With 3:19 left to play, Drew Stanton ran a quarterback draw and took the ball 25 yards for a touchdown.

This was the game I was looking to for the first real test for the new defensive line and they did not disappoint. With the Lions up, 3-0, Denver drove down to the Lions 26 yard line before Dre Bly intercepted a pass and returned it to the Denver 27 yard line. Though the Broncos were driving down the field, they should have gone three and out to start the drive. On 3rd and 6 at their own 24 yard line, Orton completed a pass for no gain and what should have been a punt coming up turned into another 3rd down try because of a Denver illegal formation penalty. Again, Orton's pass only made it to their 24 yard line again, but this time Vanden Bosch hit a pile too late and got a personal foul and gave the Broncos a 1st down. Then on another 3rd down attempt, an incomplete pass turned into a 1st down on a pass interference call on Chris Houston.

The Lions starting defense blanked the Broncos starting offense out until the 2nd quarter when they gave up a touchdown, making the score 13 - 7 and cutting the Lions lead to 6 points.

Ndamukong Suh looked good once again though his stats don't show it. Again, he was double teamed constantly and still managed to force the running back to change course and knocked down one pass. Kyle Orton was feeling pressure during much of his time on the field.

Stafford once again looked good, but still shows some lack of accuracy at times. There were passes that receivers had to reach behind them to haul in as well as his misses. But in the end, he still completed 13 of 18 attempts and had a touchdown with no interceptions.

All in all, the Lions are looking impressive in the preseason. They are giving fans a lot to get excited about. I want to warn you to back off of that excitement a little. Don't let yourself get too caught up in a team that is looking good in the preseason. After all, it is just that. Meaningless preseason games where teams are not game planning to beat an opponent but to test players in situations. .... But the fact is, how can I tell you not to get excited when I am getting excited myself?

I still am only calling 6 wins at this time, but the more I watch Stafford control the offense, Best turn on speed and change directions and the D-line attack the quarterback, the more I am starting to believe they can do better.

8/14/10

Lions Preseason Week-1 in 2010

I know. The preseason doesn't count. It does not matter if the Lions win or lose each game in the preseason. But the truth is, the preseason is not necessarily pointless.

There are things one can take out of the preseason games. We can get a flash peek at certain individuals. A small look at particular units. This is what I saw in the game. At least up until CBS lost its signal. Which was before the lightning postponed the game.

Matthew Stafford gave me hope. There were again some short routes he was off on. One of which was thrown too high to Jahvid Best and ricocheted off of the rookie running backs hands for an interception. Twice he under-threw Calvin Johnson in the endzone and forced the giant receiver to play defensive back to save him from interceptions. Yet for the most part, Stafford showed decent touch on his passes and accuracy. If he continues to play this way, he just may turn out to be as good as hoped.

Jahvid Best gives me hope. With 7 carries in the first quarter, Best racked off 36 yards. That is more than 5 yards per carry. He showed his speed as he sped around the corner for over ten yards on one particular run. Yet his most impressive run was a run between the tackles. After taking the hand-off, Best found himself face to face with two Steelers and came to a dead stop, spun away and ran away from them. A play in which he should have been dropped for a loss, he took for a few yards gain.

The receivers all did well. Calvin Johnson showed his usual great abilities and brought in a touchdown, but it was the consistent production from Bryant Johnson and Nate Burleson that made me smile.

Though, if you want to talk about reasons to smile, lets mention that the cornerbacks and linebackers were almost invisible to me. The reason that is worth smiling about is it means the Detroit Lions defensive line looked as impressive as expected. More so.

After the Lions went 4 and out in their first drive, the Steelers started at their own 49 yard line. From that point on, the Detroit Lions defensive line controlled the game while their starting unit was on the field. Suh was taking on double teams while Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril were all over the quarterback. If this was a preview of what we can expect from the front line, the Lions defense will be a fun one to watch this year.

Again, this could be just a flash in the pan, but it is hard not to get excited when they play as well as they looked today.

8/9/10

Barry vs Emmitt

So Emmitt Smith is now in the Hall of Fame and the ongoing debate is once again brought to the surface. Who was better, Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith? Recently at Mlive.com, I came across an article saying that Barry Sanders was the best to those who live in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Michigan. The fact is, Barry was the better of the two simply because he was better than Smith. No other reason!

So Smith holds the record with 18,355 yards in his career. So what? This means he had to play five more seasons than Sanders did to get a measly 3,086 yard more than Barry's 15,269. Let us continue to compare Emmitt's 15 years as a running back to Barry's 10 years. Emmitt averaged 1,223.66 yards a season. Sanders averaged 1,526.90 yards. Receiving yards? Emmitt averaged 214.93 yards and Barry averaged 292.10 yards. With 5 more seasons than Barry, Emmitt never hit the 2,000 yard plateau, but Sanders did once. Both of them broke the 1,700 yard marker twice. In 15 seasons, Smith went over 1,400 yards 5 times. Sanders did it 7 times in only ten seasons. In fact, the only place Emmitt actually outshines Barry as a running back is in touchdowns. Emmitt averaged 10.9 rushing TDs a season. Sanders averaged 9.9 TDs. Only a one touchdown difference each season and Emmitt was on a Superbowl caliber team and the Lions did not use Sanders in goal line situations out of fear he would get hurt.

What did Emmit Smith have to work with? Emmitt Smith always had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL in front of him. Go watch tape of Smith and you will often see him running through holes that Oprah could run through without being touched. Emmitt also had Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin keeping defenses honest.

What did Barry Sanders have to work with? Barry had QB's who were never known as special and one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL when he played. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people try to say that the Lions line was pretty good then and they would state how many yards Sanders got as proof. Let me make this clear folks. That is a line of pure unintelligent crap! I watched every game through Sanders entire career. I remember very well how bad that line was. People try to blame Sanders for the multiple one yard losses he had, but it was the fault of his offensive line. I cannot tell you how many times I screamed at that TV because Barry was being hit as he was taking the hand-off. Barry did not have a habit of dancing around when there was a hole to take. No, instead, Barry often had to find his own hole that to the normal eye did not exist. Every game you would hear the announcers exclaim how Sanders literally found a sliver of an opening in the line and got through it. Barry often had to make tacklers miss before he even reached the line of scrimmage.

Seriously, if there was ever a legitimate case in the NFL of a single player carrying a team on his back, it was Sanders. If there was ever a case of a running back who had to gain his yards on his own, it was Barry Sanders. He had a terrible team around him, he had an awful offensive line and yet his numbers per season blows Emmits out of the water.

But Emmitt Smith won three Superbowls! Um, yeah. That's exactly my point! Emmitt had a great team around him. Barry had a bad team around him and still had better numbers than Emmitt.

I recently heard someone on 97.1 the Ticket saying he would rather have Emmitt because when it came to that one yard for a first down, you could count on Emmitt getting it and Barry would often lose a yard. Again, unintelligent crap! Do you really think that if Barry's offensive line opened up a hole for him, that he would still lose the yard? Does anyone truly believe that Smith would have been dependable in short yardage if he was behind the Lions line? If someone was to say that they would rather have had the Cowboy's offensive line than the Lions line, I would say that was right spot on. There, you would have a case. But to give Smith all the credit for what his line did is ridiculous. To blame Sanders for his bad offensive line is ridiculous. If we could go back and switch the two players around, where Sanders played for the Cowboys and Smith played for the Lions, what do you think would happen? Do you still think that Smith would have three Superbowls? Without his great offensive line, I would not place money down that Smith would even win one rushing title in his career. Not if he had the Lions offensive line blocking for him. What about Sanders? Seriously, if Sanders had the holes to run through that Smith always had, I would not doubt that he would have had at least two more 2,000 yard seasons.

The fact is, Emmitt Smith was a very good running back and maybe even a great one. But with a much more superior team and blocking line in front of him, he still did not out perform Barry Sanders who had a terrible line and team around him. There is just no way that anyone can argue that Emmitt Smith was a better running back and use any real stats to back his argument up. I'm sorry! You can love a player all you want, and that gives you the right to believe he is the best, but if you really want to argue it, then you need evidence, and the numbers back up Barry Sanders!

It is not because I am a Detroit Lions fan that I say this. Trust me, I have no problem stating that other players are better than what we have had here in Detroit. The ONLY reason I will say that Barry Sanders might have been the best running back of all time and was absolutely head and shoulders better than Emmitt Smith, is because he did more than Smith with less around him.

8/3/10

Suh and Lions Agree To Terms

Finally! Though it has only been three days, they have been three of the longest days I remember as a Lions fan. Three days Ndamukong Suh held out as his agents Parker and Barnes dealt with the Lions brass, and finally they have come to an agreement. Finally, tomorrow, Ndamukong Suh should truly begin his career as a Detroit Lion.

Whether it was Suh wanting to be paid more than Bradford, his agents wanting their client to be paid, Suh telling his agents to quit messing around and get a deal done, or whatever, we may never know. It does not matter. Ndamukong Suh was paid handsomely with a 5 year contract worth 60 million and 40 million dollars guaranteed. With added incentives, Suh's contract could reach a ceiling of 68 million dollars. But now the money does not matter either.

All that matters now, is that the rookie defensive tackle can get into camp and start practicing with his teammates. The next time they have a practice in full pads, Suh will be a part of it. When the Lions open the preseason, Suh should be up to par with his teammates and ready to play. The fans can put the money issues behind them now and get behind their beloved Lions.