Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hopefully My Last Post About How Awesome Aaron Curry Is

Final argument why the Lions need to take Aaron Curry with the first overall pick in this Saturday's NFL Draft.

  • He is a class act. A lot is being made about the character issues in the NFL nowadays from T.O. to Chad Ocho Cinco to Vernon Davis. Percy Harvin and Brandon Tate tested positive for marijuana at the combine and will see a higher draft slot and all that money slip away. Aaron Curry said he would take less money than last year's first overall pick Jake Long. He is bringing a leukemia patient to the draft weekend. He is going to use his new contract to buy his mother, who worked so hard in a crime infested area to get him the best chance at success, a new house. I know the NFL isn't a nice guy league, but it means something.
  • He would have an instant impact on the team. The Lions would have him, Julian Peterson and Ernie Sims at linebacker. We would have solid depth at linebacker and could groom Curry to play Middle Linebacker if we saw fit. With the Lions defense being so awful last year, we could have an immediate upgrade while Culpepper starts next year, and either we use our high draft pick for a QB next year (in a rich talent pool of QBs) or see if maybe Drew Stanton could be a starter in this league.
  • We don't need Stafford. We need defense. Martin Mayhew said he would only make a pick if he and Jim Schwartz were in agreement. Hopefully our new draft staff of Mayhew, Schwartz and James "Schack" Harris (formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars) can make the right pick.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Detroit Lions New Logo Unveiled, First Overall Pick Still Undecided?

  • The Detroit Lions unveiled their new logo and uniform today less than a week before the NFL Draft. It is nice to see a meaner, more modern version of Bubbles, and to see the uniforms not get too radically changed. I would like the Lions to get rid of the black on their uniform, because everybody does it now.
  • Daunte Culpepper is in such good shape and looking so impressive that the Lions might consider taking Jason Smith or Aaron Curry with the top pick. I would love this decision, build with Lineman or Defense than Matt Stafford, who doesn't look like a surefire top pick anyway. It could really help the Lions rebuild if they go elsewhere than QB with the first pick. We just have to hope Mayhew and Schwartz are smart enough.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thoughts From My Desk April 19th Edition

  • One of my favorite Lions blogs Pride Of Detroit made a great find with an article summing up how I feel about Mel Kiper Jr. and how "great" he is.
  • The Cubs won in come from behind fashion against the Cardinals 7-5 in extra innings. Its great to see Aramis Ramirez get off to a great start and hit a clutch homer. Once again the Cubs are on Sunday Night baseball tonight against the Red Birds, and were Fox's game of the week on Saturday.
  • The Tigers are really putting it together I think. Edwin Jackson pitched a gem and Rodney nailed down another save. The hitting will be there but if the bullpen can solidify and the starters can play to their potential, the Tigers could be contenders in the AL Central.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stuff You Should Know April 18th Edition

  • Daunte Culpepper looks to be in great shape in Lion's Mini Camp. He weighs less than what he did when he was rookie out of Central Florida in camp for the Vikings. I might be drinking a little Kool-Aid, but with him in the best shape of his life, a good wide receiver crew and being reunited with the Offensive Coordinator that helped him be an Elite quarterback in this league, he might have a good season. Although it looks like the Lions are going after a QB with the first pick, Culpepper could be a solid with less weight on his repaired knee and a whole off season with a team. It couldn't hurt to have a solid veteran on the depth chart.
  • Offensive Tackle Jason Peters was traded for a first round pick, a fourth round pick and a sixth round pick next year to the Eagles. The Bills put him on the market not too long ago and the Lions were a team in the running. I wish we pulled the trigger on this deal because we have an extra first rounder and plenty of other picks. We need a Left Tackle anyway and could get a young proven winner to anchor the line. Maybe this means the Lions want to draft QB and defense in the first round.
  • Greg Paulus rumors have ceased in Ann Arbor. It seems he is no longer being courted by the Corn and Blue. I think it would have been helpful for both parties if he joined the team as a backup. He could have gotten a year of practice and probably a few snaps under his belt and ANOTHER free year of college (that only matters to me because of the fact I am in college) and Michigan could have gotten some depth. Paulus was getting looks from the Packers for a career in the NFL, and a year with a D-1 program would have helped his stock. Front runner for the QB job Tate Forcier wasn't happy about this and shouldn't have been. I know RichRod tells less than the truth a lot, like not leaving hometown WVU, not (allegedly) cheating on his wife and to obviously Tate. I knew they would start a freshman at QB to fit Rodriguez's system and anything otherwise would be detrimental to their development as a team. You think this will hurt recruiting for the Wolverines?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Franzen Re-signs with The Red Wings

  • Ken Holland has done it again. He has locked up Forward Johan Franzen for the next 11 years for less than 4 million against the cap per year. I am ecstatic for this deal. If I had to choose one player to re-sign, honestly I would take Franzen. His hands and size are amazing and has the knack to make big goals in big situations.
  • The Tigers have righted the ship returning to .500 with a win over Texas. Verlander had a solid start with 8 strikeouts in 5 innings. To shut down the best offense in baseball is impressive as the pitching is coming around. Miguel Cabrera is on fire and is continuing to play as well as he did at the end of last year.
  • The Cubs wasted a great start by Rich Harden losing to Milwaukee 4-3 yesterday in Miller park. Harden had 10 strikeouts in 6 innings (the prototypical Harden start) as the bullpen could not shut down the Brewers. Kevin Gregg has looked shaky at best as the closer, but I am not calling for Carlos Marmol to close....yet.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Quick Hits April 10th Edition

  • The Cubs open Wrigley Field Monday afternoon against the Rockies. First the play the Brewers in Milwaukee this weekend at Wrigley North. The Sunday match up will be Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.
  • The Red Wings play a home and home series against the Blackhawks to close out the regular season. The Sunday game is the Game of the Week. It is a good way for the Wings to close out the season. They play a good team (possible playoff preview) don't travel much and can play their lineup accordingly. I wonder who will get the starts in net this weekend?
  • The NFL draft is two weeks from tomorrow. Anybody else have a countdown going?
  • Geovany Soto could be on the DL for the Cubs. They are seeing if a few days off could do him better. This could really slow down the Cubs in the beginning of the year for offense and defense. Koyie Hill should fill in for now. He has been bouncing around the big leagues for a few years, and beat out Paul Bako this Spring. He is good defensively but could hurt the offense. It will be the Cubs first challenge this year. Let's see how they respond.

How Good are the Red Wings?

This years edition of the Detroit Red Wings are an enigma. How could the goaltending be so bad? How many points could we score in a 7 game series? Can we outscore teams to win the Cup?

Well, the answers to those questions will be revealed to us shortly as the Wings enter the marathon for Lord Stanley's Cup. I think the Wings are getting healthy at a good time. Zetterberg's back has been fairly strong this year and Rafalski is coming back at the right time. I think Mike "Best Hair in Hockey" Babcock will go with Osgood in the playoffs but we could see Conklin quick as we did last year. Hasek was pulled midway through the series against Nashville in favor of Osgood. Osgood has 2 cups in his pocket but has played terrible this year. A microcosm of that was last night's loss to Nashville, where he imploded just in time for the Preds to tie it up.

The offense will be solid, and usually Babcock has stellar special teams. But goaltending could do the Wings in. Unless Osgood or Conklin find some April magic it could be a quick exit for the defending champs.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lions Lock in on Stafford, Baseball Season Underway

  • The Lions have appeared to brushed away other choices for the Number 1 overall pick in favor of Georgia QB Matt Stafford. I have accepted the fact that we are going QB number 1 after we lost the Cutler sweepstakes and now hope the pick that defines Schwartz pans out unlike other QBs we have taken high in the draft. Personally I would prefer Sanchez's mobility, cannon arm and accuracy. Maybe the rest of the draft we can fill in the rest of our holes.
  • Maybe Culpepper can be decent this year. He is under his old Offensive Coordinator in Scott Linehan and has lost a lot of weight (currently around 30 pounds off his frame) and has a full season of training camps and working with the offense under his belt. I'm not saying he will return to MVP form, but could be a good stopgap till Stafford can step in.
  • The Cubs won their first series against Houston, with pitching and hitting stepping up when needed. Our starters played well with the bullpen being underwhelming. I kinda like the move Sweet Lou did with Kevin Gregg closing down games for now. I don't like Marmol starting the season closing anyway, he has electric stuff but it takes a special person to be a closer.
  • The Tigers looked flat and didn't deliver in Toronto. Inge is stepping up despite being treated poorly by Tigers staff these last few years. I am a fan of a guy who hits in the low .200s and slugs 25 homers. Verlander looks awful and after that, it isn't too much hope in the Motor City. Unless Verlander gets back to his old form or Willis stops his "anxiety disorder" problems (I'd have anxiety if I was an overweight bust who couldn't hit the strike zone) this could be a long season for Detroit.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Michigan State Disappoints Fans, State in Embarrassing Loss

Michigan State lost in a game that was never close tonight losing the National Title to UNC. Suton looked great like he has been this whole tournament. The 60,000+ fans clad in Green and White saw the Spartans be incredibly sloppy with the ball and struggle to get their offense going in the first moments of the game. Allen couldn't hit anything tonight, Lucas struggled and the entire team could not answer UNC's suffocating defense. The physical presence of the Tar Heels was too much for MSU. The Spartans are young and talented for next year but lack a dominant big man or defender with Suton and Walton going. Great run that just came up short.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thoughts From My Desk April 3rd Edition

• First off I’ll express my feelings toward the Jay Cutler trade. It really hurts the Lions that we probably could have gotten him. The Bears gave up the 18th pick, Kyle Orton and next year’s first rounder. In return they get Jay Cutler and a 5th round pick. The Lions could at least have matched that. The 20th overall pick is not much worse than the 18th, and the Broncos are almost guaranteed a better pick than what Chicago could have offered next year because even with Cutler the Lions wouldn’t have matched what Chicago will do this season. Culpepper or Stanton would be equivalent to Orton and the Lions could have not taken the 5th rounder Chicago received. This either show the Lions belief that Stafford is the real deal and want fill the other needs with more picks, or that the new regime isn’t much different than the old one. For the Broncos, Kyle Orton could step in a flourish in McDaniel’s system. I think the Broncos are more into Simms winning the starting job, but the open competition should show if he is capable of playing at a NFL level. In addition to that, the Bears sign Orlando Pace to shore up their offensive line. He is only 33 and besides last year, he started 154 out of 158 games in his career. He still has a world of talent and will protect Cutler. Do the Bears go after Torry Holt now and get a real number one option at wide receiver? That could propel the Bears into Super Bowl Contenders.
• For my picks in the Final Four, I have to go with MSU in a physical battle over UConn and UNC over Villanova for a Ford Field rematch in the National Championship game.
• Plaxico Burress got released by New York and Michael Vick could be back in the NFL this season. Adam Jones is still unsigned. Wouldn’t that make an amazing Prison League team?
• Washington beat Cleveland to snap a 13 game winning streak. LeBron played well but wasn’t enough to stop the resurgent (and healthy) Wizards.
•The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to Manatee Community College in a Spring Training game. Ouch. I usually pity-root for the Pirates because they are hopeless like the Lions. I do root hard for the Chicago Cubs, but the Pirates are harmless. Are any of the guys going to transfer to App St?
•In the Jayne “J-Money” Corbitt’s segment in today’s blog talks about the modern athlete. “I am sick of athletes nowadays screwing up and getting second and third and twentieth chances.” She follows up with, “People know the rules when they go into the sport, the same way Pete Rose knew that betting on baseball would keep him out of the Hall of Fame. Michael Vick knew that dog fighting was illegal and could go to jail. Some of the Sports figures have inflated sense of entitlement because they keep getting chance after chance. They are treated like a 3 year old getting a time out in the corner then getting to go back and play with the kids. If you’re blessed with the gift of being an outstanding athlete then maybe you’re capable of being an outstanding human. There is a reason they call it right and wrong.”

Breaking Down MSU vs UConn Part 5

  • For the last part of the series I will look at the coaches going head to head Saturday night at Ford Field. This match up involves two hall of famers, and both have Final Four experience. Izzo has been to five Final Fours in the last eleven years, turning Michigan State into the most consistent Big 10 powerhouse. Calhoun is an amazing coach who wins with the amazing talent he brings in to UConn. I won't mention the recruiting scandal since it is so new and we don't know all involved and all the details. To get far in the Big East was difficult and he should get a lot of credit. But as we look at coaches we must look at philosophy. MSU teams under Izzo have an identity. They rebound well, shoot free throws well, are physical and play defense. You can't really say that about Calhoun. His teams are talents, but we all know what happens when high-flying Big East teams play a team who has a dedication to defense (watch highlights of MSU's beat down of Louisville last week). Defense takes effort and coaching and for MSU to be consistently dedicated shows that players buy into a great coach's system to be excellent. This match up goes to Izzo and the Spartans, who will get the respect he deserves in front of a home crowd.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Breaking Down MSU vs UConn Part 4

  • Now I will look at the benches for both teams. MSU's bench has been pivotal to their success. Whether it is when Suton was out early in the year or the late season stretch where Morgan was sick, they have put the team where they are currently. Delvon Roe has been an absolute beast at times, showing glimpses of the future. At other times, he has been average and has played like the freshman he is. Draymond Green has shown the dedication that wins teammates over with his weight loss and hustle. He has some offensive presence and plays well on defense but only in spurts off the bench. Chris Allen is the ultimate X-factor. His three point shooting could propel the Spartans to new heights and give opposing teams fits. Korie Lucious is valuable off the bench as well. Marquise Gray is veteran depth the Spartans need with all these youngsters riding the pine. Idong Ibok is a shutdown defensive presence and can shut down big men with the best of them. I see him getting big minutes relieving Suton against Thabeet. Stanley Robinson, Craig Austrie and Gavin Edwards all play solid minutes for the Huskies. They pick up decent rebounds and points but don't have the same impact MSU's bench does. They have stepped up for injuries as well. The Big East is a tough conference but not as physical as the Big Ten. In this match up I go far and away for MSU. The bench might be the strongest category the Spartans have against the Huskies, as well the one most pivotal to the Green and White's success. Ibok and Allen could win the game for the Spartans and if Suton gets in foul trouble or Raymar Morgan is ineffective we could see the bench steal the game.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Breaking Down MSU vs UConn Part 3

  • Now to break down the Centers for the upcoming Final Four match up. Goran Suton is a man with his basketball stock rising lately. He was his bracket MOP and played outstanding in every game. Unlike some stars, he was a consistent Spartan putting up big points and clutch rebounds every game (11, 7, 20, 19 points in the tourney games so far), and for the season he is shooting 41.9% from behind the three point stripe. Its fairly obvious how much I think three point shooting is vital to the Spartans success but this match up its monumental. To break down Hasheem Thabeet's game. He will score. A lot. He will have a decent amount of rebounds (hopefully not on the offensive end to eliminate the second chance points for a potent Husky offense) and maybe some blocks. MSU'S game plan has to be to contain him and limit his defense presence and rebound with the ferociousness that I saw against Louisville. Suton will need a lot of help from the forwards to play defense and rebounding, but he could be the focal point on offense. His three point shooting disrupts Thabeet's stand under the rim and hope someone comes up so I can block a shot or two. He can pose match up headaches for Calhoun all night and his ability to make the jumper could make Thabeet look like a JUCO defender on the perimeter. Suton plays bigger and more physical than his 6'10'' 245 pound frame, and we all know what happens when Thabeet plays a undersized tough big man, he arm almost gets torn off. Despite that the advantage goes to UConn. Thabeet is one of the best big men in the country, and the Spartans have to game plan for him. Suton could make it an extremely interesting match up if he can shoot well all game and play his butt off in the paint.
  • U.S.A. soccer dominated Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 on Jozy Altidore's hat trick. He is a 19 year old put in the starting lineup due to his awesome work ethic and to shake things up. We might have found a winner who hustled and played defense well all night. Obviously the 3 goals is a monster night and lets hope the youngster continues to flourish. Tim "Homeland Security" Howard earned the shutout. Altidore's first goal was a beautiful setup with a header by Brian Ching and a perfect dish from Landon Donovan right to where Altidore needed it. The United States now are 2-0-1 in World Cup qualifying and play Costa Rica on June 3rd in their next match.
  • Jay Cutler needs to be a Lion. No questions asked. By (almost) any means necessary. We don't need to mortgage the entire draft for him, and I really don't want to part ways with both our first rounders. I would be fine with giving up the first overall pick, or maybe getting Cutler and something worked in with the Cleveland Browns, who have two underwhelming Quarterbacks on their roster. I can't see how Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson is more appealing than the first overall pick (and your choice of Stafford or Sanchez, Denver..). I can see Cleveland dealing their first rounder, the fifth overall selection, but both Stafford or Sanchez could be snatched up by Detroit, Seattle or St. Louis. They could throw in the eternally upset and overweight NT Shaun Rogers to jump start their transition to the 3-4, but who says they can't find a cheaper, happier version of Shaun Rogers in the later rounds of the draft, or late in the first where DT talent is rich. Braylon Edwards can't be offered because 1. He can't catch footballs and 2. Cleveland would have no options left on offense after dealing him and Winslow in the same off season. I hear the Jets are interested but what do they have to offer? The Lions have to be the front runners and jump at this chance. How are often are Pro-Bowl Quarterbacks traded when they are 26? Uh....NEVER! C'mon Mayhew, excite your struggling fan base and improve the team drastically in one move.
  • The Pistons lost at New Jersey, a team out of contention with nothing to play for and a loser of 22 games at home. The Pistons have to try and move up in the playoff standings and are playing like a team who doesn't want to win. Plus AI is complaining about playing time.......ugh.........