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Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
Keep track of which quarterbacks Suh has faced and which ones he has taken down.

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Mayhew and the NFL Drafts: How Good Is He?

In 2009, Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz began drafting for the Detroit Lions. Last year the Lions won 10 games and made the play-offs. But is their drafting a bit misleading?

2009 - The first year was easy for them. They took over a team with no talent and they went into the draft with one goal. Add star athletes, no matter their position. In came Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, and Louis Delmas in the first three pick and two rounds. After that, they added DeAndre levy in the third, and Sammie Lee Hill in the fourth. With 10 picks in 2008, 5 of them are starter worthy and still on the team as strong contributors.   Grade = A

2010 - The Draft started off as easy as it gets. It was obvious the Lions had only one choice they could make with their second pick over all. If they would have taken anyone other than Ndomukong Suh, it would have been the worst pick in the draft. Suh was a once in a lifetime player to draft at DT and simply put, a no-brainer. When the Lions moved back into the 2nd round to take Jahvid Best, it was a gutsy move to get a superstar talent at RB. With his concussion suffered the year before, the pick was a little dangerous, but one that was worth doing at the time. In the third, they drafted Amari Spievey, knowing he was not going to be a very good CB. It didnt matter. They had intentions to turn him into a Safety. Spievey has shown some ability but has yet to prove he can be a worthy every day starter. This pick is still questionable. In the 7th round, they added Willie Young, who is turning into a decent contributor and someday may be a solid every down player.

With 2 players (Suh & Young) looking good, 2 players (Best & Speivey) who are questionable, and 2 other players (Fox & Toone) who look to be busts, the Lions draft was not as successful as the previous year. The only reason they get a good grade is because one of their good picks came late in the draft.
Grade = B-

2011 - The drafting of Mayhew and Schwartz took a bit of a down turn with this draft. The Lions defense had a very glaring weakness at CB and there were very good CB's available when their pick came. They ignored need and went with BPA to take Nick Fairley, a Defensive Tackle. With three good DTs on the team already, it was not a needed move and not a pick that would improve the team very much. The only reason they get a pass is because they did get a great talent... supposedly.  In the 2nd round, they took Titus Young, a WR to compliment Calvin Johnson and Burleson. So far this looks like it may have been the best pick of that draft. The Lions moved back into the 2nd round and once again, continued to ignore the weakness on the team at CB and took Mikel LeShoure, another RB.

So far, only Young has shown he can play. Fairley has seen little action due to an injured foot and LeShoure has yet to play due to a serious achilles injury and will miss games this year due to off field problems. The only other picks were LB- Doug Hogue, and OT- Johnny Culbreath, who was recently cut.
Grade = C-

2012 - Once again the Lions most glaring weakness was CB. Once again there were a couple very good CBs available when their pick came. Yet again, the Lions ignored the need. In the first round they took OT-Riley Reiff. Did the Lions need to start addressing the offensive line for the future? Sure. But they needed a CB far more than they needed a Tackle. When the 2nd round came, did they address the CB position? They took a Wide Receiver. With one of the best passing games in the NFL and three good receivers already on the team, they took another WR. That reasoning alone makes this pick very questionable. Add to that, the WR they took, Ryan Broyles, recently suffered a major knee injury and will not even be ready to play when the season starts, and it is not guaranteed he will ever be 100% again, this pick is nearly laughable. After that the Lions drafted three CBs and three LBs. This move screams a couple things to me. They knew very well how importantly they needed to address the secondary before, and chose to ignore it for BPA, and they do not have faith in any of these draft picks to start, otherwise they would not have drafted three of them.

With a slight improvement on the offensive line, they added an injured WR to a good WR crew, and tossed in three CBs and three LBs hoping they get lucky with one of them.
Grade = D-

My Opinion - Mayhew and Schwartz are good at picking talent. There is no doubt they know talent. So when the team was void of any talent, they had an easy time of drafting talent to add to it. Then the team got better and they had to pay some attention to making a good team better. It should have been time to let go of the Best Player Available draft theory and start finding the Best Players that fill Needs. They did not do that and their drafting has steadily gotten worse.  Because of this, the Lions, who won ten games last year, will be entering the new season, not with a better team than last year, and not with the same team, but with a team that is not as good. And they will be facing a tougher schedule.

Schwartz ans Mayhew know talent. What they have not shown however, is the knowledge on how to build a great team. They continue to draft talent and not care about addressing needs. So they continue to build up certain areas of the team while going into new seasons with the weaknesses getting worse.
Mayhew & Schwartz Grade = C


Should Aaron Berry be Cut?

With his second arrest in less than a month's time, that has become the big debate. Should Aaron Berry simply be cut by the Detroit Lions to set an example?

Detroit Lions Aaron Berry Arrested
Should Berry be cut after latest arrest?
Before the Lions make any move, it is important for them to wait out the process. Learn all there is to learn. As crazy as it may sound, there is always a small possibility that Berry may have had a reason to do what he did, or the charges may be bogus to begin with. Since that is unlikely, however, let us pretend the charges are good and Berry is charged with the multiple charges of simple assault, and brandishing a firearm.  What should the Lions do then? As much as it saddens me to say it, the Lions need to cut Aaron Berry, or trade him. In fact, the Lions should come out right away and announce what they will do ahead of time. Come right out and say, "If Berry is found innocent, we will move on, if he is found guilty, he will be cut immediately. We will allow no more of this undisciplined behavior."

In 2011, the media had a field day making the Detroit Lions out to be a bunch of undisciplined neanderthals for their penalties on the field. Players were taking swings at other players, stomping on opponents and even shoving refs. For a time last season, the Lions were about as undisciplined a team as I have ever seen. I believe that a discipline athlete will be a disciplined player. I also believe an undisciplined athlete, will be undisciplined on the field as well. Playing disciplined football is a product of players having their emotions under control, and being accountable for their actions. That mind set starts in the players every day life and is carried onto the field. If they are not accountable for their actions in real life, they will not be accountable for what they do on the field either.

The Lions are often an undisciplined bunch on the field. Whether it comes out in players not sticking to their assignments, to letting themselves get carried away in a play, or taking stupid penalties after the play, they are often undisciplined. If the coaches wish to get that under control, they need to start making the players accountable for their actions off the field as well as on the field.

Aaron Berry is supposed to be fighting for a starting position in the upcoming season. He made a mistake and was arrested for a DUI in the off-season, but that is forgivable. He was apologetic (to a point) and made the statement that we should not judge him from that mistake, but from what he does after that. Well, he was arrested again. Only around a month later. It is time to make him accountable for his actions.

If the Detroit Lions do not discipline him hard enough, it will tell the other players, and the fans, that the players do not have to be accountable for their actions. It will be letting them know that they can do what they want and only get what the NFL dishes out to them. It tells them that they do not need to be disciplined and they do not need to respect the team. It will tell the fans that the Lions are not serious about winning. Because to win in the NFL, it takes discipline as well as talent.

Yet if the Lions were to cut Aaron Berry, what would that say? It would make a statement to the rest of the team that they are now responsible for their actions! It would say that the Lions are serious about becoming a great team on the field as well as on paper. It would tell players that they are representatives of the Detroit Lions, not just their own name, and if they want to play for the Lions, they need to show it in their every day life.

So what if Stafford was to get in trouble? Do we cut him too? Absolutely NOT!  Call it double standards if you wish, but the fact is, the more you bring to the team, the more valuable you are, and the more they can tolerate insolence. Players like Suh, Stafford and Calvin are mega-stars for this team. They have the talent to win games and more importantly to the front office, they bring in fans. People dont buy tickets to go watch Aaron Berry play. They buy them to watch Stafford and the other stars. If the Lions cut Berry, they send a message and it really doesnt cost them much. Berry is not the talent to shut down passing games. He is not the guy who will make the plays to win games on a consistent basis. He is not bringing fans (and their money) into Ford Field. Cutting Berry does minimal damage to the product we go to see. Yet it sets an example to try and stop this foolishness from continuing. In fact, not cutting Berry might be harmful to ticket sales. Like it or not, there are a lot of fans who will be less likely to go to a game if the Lions lose a couple games and field undisciplined players.

The drop off in talent from Berry to the next CB in line is very little. In fact, it might be none at all because he is only supposed to fight for a starting spot. He might not even be the starter. He does not bring in fans. In other words, Berry is expendable. Those are the players you use to set examples and the Detroit Lions, who continue to have a player arrested at almost one a month, desperately needs to set that example.


Are We Too in Love with the Passing Game?

I have heard the same arguments over and over. Today's NFL is a Passing NFL. Teams like the Packers, Patriots and Giants don't have good running games and they win Superbowls. ..... But does that really mean the running game doesn't help?

The Giants had a bad running game if you look at the stats. You know what they did have? A running game that could gain the one or two yards to extend drives. They also had a good defense.

The Packers may not have had the good running game, but they did have a good defense when they won the Superbowl.

Where are the Lions two weakest positions? The Running game and the Defense. Specifically the CBs!

Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards last year. He had one of the best seasons by an NFL quarterback, ever! Calvin Johnson was awesome. Can they repeat that again in 2013? Sure they can. Should we expect it? Absolutely not!

Last year was not a great year. It was an awesome year for the Stafford to Calvin hookup. But realistically, you have to expect they will not be quite as good this year. They will still be great, but it is too much to expect them to put up a top ten season ever in the NFL year after year. Likely, there will be a slight settling back to Earth and we need to be ready for that.

The Lions will be playing a tougher schedule this year. This means that the Lions will have to improve somewhere to have another play-off birth. If they stay the same, and they play a tougher schedule, they will win less games.

Can we expect their defense to be much better?Frankly, I don't see it. They are replacing their second best CB with a 3rd round rookie. They have not made any improvements at Linebacker or Defensive Line. If anything, I see a better chance the Lions defense will not be as good as last year, and that is a scary thing to ponder. If they were to change their scheme away from the Wide-9 Defense except on passing downs, they might be better. I don't see them doing that, and I have not heard anything about them looking to do that.

The running game might be better. They have added Riley Reiff and though I expect rookie mistakes from a rookie lineman, he may help the most in run blocking. Then there is the fact that Jahvid Best and Leshoure will be healthier this year. That might be a stretch however. Can we expect LeShoure to be 100% this year? After his injury, I don't see it. At least not until the second half of the season, if this year, if ever. We all know well that Best could be lost for the season the first time he bumps his head.

Still, we have to be realistic here. The Lions love to use the Shotgun offensive scheme. They will run half of their running plays from the shotgun draw. The other half the running plays will still be from a single back set. Ask yourself, how many running backs, other than Chris Johnson, can you expect to have good years without a lead blocker? Now remind yourself that last year, even Chris Johnson was not great looking.

For the Lions to have a good running game, or even a decent running game, using the single back set and from the shotgun half of the time, they will need a lot to go right. They will need Best to stay healthy all year. They will need some power from LeShoure. They will need Reiff to play well in his first year in the NFL. I just think that would be expecting too much to go perfect.

The Lions one hope is to start using a lead blocker. Best running left or right in a two TE set, does not help the running game much. Any TE on the other side of the line from where he runs would become a moot point. Useless! If they line both TE's on the same side, they telegraph where the running game is going. Especially since the Lions never use misdirection play. No, what they need is for the Lions to open a hole, which it does far more often than we give them credit for, and then for a Fullback to clear the Linebacker or Safety out of the hole to spring the running back free.

Get some semblance of a running game.... a real running game .... and then opposing defenses will have to defend that. In turn it will help the passing game stay open and free. On short yardage downs, with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Burleson, and Pettigrew, the defense will be afraid to sell completely out to stop the run and the better running game could then extend the drive.

A better running game does absolutely NOTHING, other than help the Lions become a better team! Will Stafford throw for another 5'000 yards? Likely not, but it would be better to have 4,000 yards passing and 1,500 yards running, than to have 5'000 yards passing, and 500 rushing.


Are Lions an Undisciplined Team?

With the recent arrest of Aaron Berry, there are once again, ramblings of the Detroit Lions being an undisciplined team. Some place the problems on Schwartz and others put it on Mayhew for drafting these players. A few even blame the leaders of the Lions locker-room for not doing their jobs. I say it is time to take a deep breath and stop worrying about that.

Is it Schwartz, not keeping a disciplined team in order? No! If it was the veterans of the team having these problems, then I might say to look at Schwartz. Its not the veterans. It is the youngest of the players and there is only so much a coach can do to keep tabs on players he is not around in the off-season.

Maybe we should look at Mayhew then. Is he doing his homework on these players before he drafts them? Trust me. Martin Mayhew is doing everything he should be doing. He is not drafting trouble makers. These guys are not going out and shooting guns in nightclubs, getting into brawls, or getting busted for any heavy drugs. They are getting arrested for drinking and driving and having weed on them.

Dont get me wrong. I am not meaning to make out DUI's and Smoking pot as minor things. These are bad things and they should be disciplined for it, but they are also the troubles that come from being irresponsible. Not from having a bad attitude or a criminal mentality.

So what about the leaders of the Locker room? Are they not doing their jobs in leading these young kids? I will answer that with another question. Are these players getting into repeated trouble since they have been on the team? A leader's job is not to hold the younger players hands and walk them around to make sure they do not get into any trouble. They are to be there to guide these kids after they get into trouble so they do not continue to get in trouble. So far, each player that has gotten into trouble, has not done anything else after the veterans have had their talks with them.

The problem here is more of a case that these players are not mature enough yet, to handle themselves with the kind of money they are making. Often, they are players who have never had a lot in their lives and suddenly find themselves with all the money in the world. Then in the off-season, they have all of the time in the world as well. They are young, in excellent health and full of energy, and have the money to find ways to have fun and use up the excess energy. Unfortunately, this often leads to partying. Where partying is involved, there is bound to be a few who drink and drive and a few who smoke weed. Sometimes you will even have a player who thinks he is God's gift and is above the rules, and that attitude amplifies when they are partying.

It is unfortunate that this happens. It is sad that it has happened so much to Lions players this year. It is coincidence that it has happened to the Lions after a season where they went through their share of troubles of undisciplined play on the field. But until it starts happening to the veterans, or these younger players continue to get in trouble multiple times, I will not blame Schwartz, Mayhew or the teams leaders. For now it is a case of young players having too much money, too much time, and not enough maturity.