Sunday, August 31, 2008

How Do the Lions look in 2008?

Quarterbacks - Jon Kitna looked better than the previous two years. He's a leader, but his play has been mediocre and he isn't getting any younger. In fact, his career has been mediocre. But the last two years was due to doing exactly what Mike Martz wanted, which meant staying the pocket longer than usual, and throwing, throwing, and more throwing. Dan Orlovsky should see some playing time this year. The Lions will have to decide if they want to keep him, but I think he's headed for a new town in 2009. Drew Stanton will need two more years, at least, to ride the pine in order to prep for being a full-time starter. Matt Millen should think of re-signing Orlovsky to a 1-year deal to compete next year for the No.1 position with Kitna, in order to not put Stanton in if Kitna gets hurt. Drew Henson was cut today, but they should sign him to the practice squad. I think it's great he's playing again, and there's still hope he'll play in the NFL someday. See Rich Gannon.

Running backs - What the hell is Rod Marinelli thinking? He cuts Kevin Jones, their best half back and re-sign Tatum Bell? Bell showed nothing in the preseason, and nothing last year. Aveion Cason is only good for returns and has otherwise shown nothing carrying the ball. Brian Calhoun is on IR for the third year in a row. But they cut Jones? So we're down to only two running backs this year? Jerome Felton, who is the full back, will technically be the third running back, but he's a rookie, and will make a great full back.

Tight Ends - See first sentence of running backs. Five tight ends? Dan Campbell's short-term future is in question, but he's the best of them. Michael Gaines adds depth. Casey Fitzsimmons can pass catch and can be used as the fifth receiver (see more below). John Owens and Sean McHugh don't add much value except for Owens' run-blocking.

Wide Receivers - Millen has drafted four in the first round since 2003. Charles Rogers and Mike Williams are gone. Roy Williams has always been solid, but he gets criticized for taking plays off. I don't think so. Calvin Johnson is the real deal when he's healthy. Let's keep him that way. Mike Furrey will never have another season like 2006, but he's great on the outside. Shawn McDonald is the best in the slot position.

Offensive Line - The left side is settled with Jeff Backus (tackle), Edwin Mulitalo (guard), and Dominic Raiola (center). The right side? Not so much. I expect Stephen Peterman to be the guard, and the tackle can go either way right now with George Foster and 1st Round pick Gosder Cherilus. They will split time until Gosder cuts down on his mistakes.

Defensive Line - Eleven players? What the hell is Marinelli thinking? I used to think he was just a one-dimensional coach when he was hired in. I rarely heard his input on anything else besides the D-line. Maybe it was because of Martz's offensive "genius." Cory Redding is the highest paid and most underwhelming DT. Chuck Darby is no Shaun Rogers, and I don't know what the season will hold for him as the other starting DT. Shaun Cody as a 2nd Round pick in 2005 has yet to live up to being that high a draft pick (Hint: STAY AWAY FROM USC IN THE DRAFT). The DEs will be Jared Devries and DeWayne White. White's been solid, and Devries is a workhorse. Alama-Francis must keep pushing Devries until he's ready to be the full-time starter.

Linebackers - Ernie Sims is easily the weak side. Paris Lenon will play middle until Jordon Dizon is ready. Until then, Alex Lewis is the strong side LB. Once Dizon is in, Lewis is out and Lenon slides over to strong.. Got it? Good.

Cornerbacks - Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly will start. Travis Fisher is not good enough to be a starter, but good enough to be the nickel back. The rest? I don't really know for sure.

Safeties - Daniel Bullocks should start a Free Safety, and let Gerald Alexander and Dwight Smith fight it out for Strong Safety. For now, it's Smith until Alexander beats him out.

Kicker/Punter - Jason Hanson and Nick Harris respectively. A no-brainer.

Returner - Because Cason's on IR and DeVale Ellis was cut, Furrey and McDonald will split duties. Don't get excited.

Coaches - What the hell is Rod Marinelli thinking? If they want to run the ball more, why keep only two half backs? Why get rid of Kevin Jones? He played well. This made no sense.

I'm beginning to understand the Tampa Two better. But without Shaun Rogers, when he showed up, how much better will they be?

My prediction: 6-10, third in the NFC North.

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