Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On Tap: The Titans

The Tennessee Titans, led by QB Kerry Collins, are coming to Ford Field today. Fresh off a loss against the New York Jets, who ironically were originally known as the Titans, the Titans are looking maintain their spot at the top of the AFC while the Lions are in search of their first win.

On Sunday, Head Coach Jeff Fisher announced that Kerry Collins will remain the starter and Vince Young's future with the team depends on how well Collins plays. Kerry Collins??? Yeesh. All this time I thought he was washed out.

The outcome to me is not in doubt. The Titans will prevail. The real question is what quarter will the Lions collapse in this one. The first? Second? Fourth? It always comes down to pressure once the game is on. They have never been able to turn it on. Last week against Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers never seemed to be desperate, even after being down 17 in the first quarter. Nobody respects this team. Period.

Lions will fall to 0-12. Let us pray Dallas and Cleveland continue to spiral.

Titans 27
Detroit 17

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On Tap: Detroit at Carolina

Today, the 0-9 Lions play in Charlotte against the 7-2 Carolina Panthers. Basically, if Jake Delhomme can throw 7-for-27 and have a passer rating of 12 and still win a game, Detroit is fucked.

Detroit 10
Carolina 27

Like Henson Was the Devil Incarnate or Something

One more piece of evidence to prove how football fans suck in Michigan means checking out this article in the Detroit Free Press about how Drew Henson has dealt with his disappointing professional sports career.

For those of you who don't know, here's a history of Drew Henson from 1997 to today. His senior year of high school was my senior year in 1997-1998. He was a highly-touted two-sport athlete from Brighton, MI, where he excelled in football and baseball. In 1998, he went to Michigan to play both sports for the Wolverines. His first two years he backed up Tom Brady, even though he played sparingly his freshmen and sophomore years.

In 2000, he led the Wolverines to a share of the Big Ten title and was expected to be a Heisman finalist in 2001, and then a for-sure, 1st Round pick in the NFL Draft in 2002. Did I mention he was a two-sport athlete? Apparently he excelled in baseball at Michigan, too.

So well that in fact, New York Yankees owner (and Ohio State man) George Steinbrenner offered him a multi-million dollar contract with the Yankees in a "take it or leave it" fashion in early 2001. Henson's choice was simple: either take the money, play pro baseball, and forget about football, or risk a good chance you'll never see that kind of money again. He opted to sign with New York for the money.

Apparently, his choice didn't quite pan out. Henson played some pro, but it turns out he couldn't hit a Major League curve ball. His lifetime batting average: .111 (1-for-9). By 2004, he had given up on baseball and looked to football again.

In 2003, the Houston Texans drafted him in the 6th round with the intent to trade him if he were to opt for the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys traded a 3rd round pick in 2004 for the rights to Henson and the most playing time he saw was either in the preseason or when he was allocated to the NFL Europe. His first career start came on Thanksgiving Day, where he played the first half until being pulled after going 4-for-12 with a TD and a pick.

Unfortunately for Henson, despite his success in the NFL Europe, Coach Bill Parcells soured on Henson and by 2006, he was no longer the future of the organization. Instead, Parcells opted for Tony Romo. Meanwhile, Tom Brady, whom Henson competed with at Michigan, had all but replaced Jesus as God's favorite son in New England (and Earth). After two years with Minnesota on the team and practice squad, Henson had been all but out of football by 2007.

2008 came around and the Detroit Lions needed an extra QB while Drew Stanton mended his injuries. Henson played the final game of the preseason, was cut, and then signed to the practice squad. After Jon Kitna was placed on IR after Week 3, Henson was elevated to the roster, the No. 3 man on the depth chart. Another injury to QB Dan Orlovsky, and the Lions signed free agent Daunte Culpepper. Because Orlovsky is avoiding IR, Henson was cut earlier this week and re-signed to the practice squad.

Henson was interviewed by Charean Williams who quotes him as feeling good about himself right now. "I feel better than I ever have in a long time." says Henson. He thinks he still has a shot at making a career in the NFL, and I for one, hope he gets another chance to play as a full-time starter.

But you'd be amazed at the amount of hate and negativity that just emanates from Lions fans, Wolverine fans, and just sports fans in general in Michigan. After reading the article, I scrolled down to the bottom of the page to see what comments had been left. And wouldn't you know, you'd think the article was about fucking Hitler, something. Here's some of the quotes I picked up on:

Henson had it all set up to fully realize his potential at UM in his senior year, but he blew it by kowtowing to George Steinbrenner's demands (and money). There is no way he will ever fulfill that potential now."

"Happy to be cut and never considered as a viable QB. Good feeling to have if you're a non-competitive person. Good call by the Lions to cut him.

"Here's another 'loser' the Lions camp out on to 'rob' a potentially good rookie kid of some valuable NFL Pro time! Face it, to go and dig up a Henson that was tossed out of football like a used rubber...tire, is again why the Lions are where they're at in the NFL.CELLAR! Who makes these decissions like Henson? You have Culpepper and Henson...rejects from the NFL (Kitna isn't to far off)....and they won't play the kid Stanton in fear of embarassment?"

"Thanks for the memories Drew, especially throwing that critical pick against MSU when they beat your $^%&!"

I'm guessing maybe the last quote was by an MSU fan. But is Drew Henson really a "loser?" Can people not be thankful for the good things he did while at Michigan? It seems as though once they pass through the college ranks and into the pro threshold that if you somehow don't wind up a Pro-Bowl caliber athlete that you're a loser and this huge disgrace.

What I really think people need to put into perspective is this: Drew Henson, as an individual, was an incredibly gifted athlete. A gift that was that was so rare, he was able to play in two different professional sports.

Did it ever occur to anyone when he picked baseball that maybe, just maybe, he liked baseball more than football? I don't know if he did and I don't know what he thinks. I do know that if I were 20 and someone dropped over $10 million at my front door, I'd have taken it.

Some say he cost himself a chance at more money if he stayed at Michigan one more year. Well, what if he was injured to the point he couldn't have a career in the NFL, or MLB? Do the names Jason White and Eric Crouch come to mind? I don't have stats in front of me, but I'm willing to bet the injuries from a long-term career in pro football are more common, more wide ranging, more severe, and retirees are just plain more miserable than former baseball players.

Either way, I wish football had panned out for Drew Henson. I'm sure he does too, although he could feel the same way about baseball, if not more so. He has yet to write the final chapter of his football journey, and maybe if he turns out to be another Rich Gannon, he could have more chapters to write some day.

Otherwise, don't waste your time wallowing in contempt and hate for Drew. If he's a loser, then how many millions did you make by moaning on some newspaper's comment section about him?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

On Tap: Jacksonville Jaguars

Here comes a prediction. Detroit is 0-8, Jacksonville is 3-5. Simple logic would tell you Jacksonville is a better team, at least on paper. But the Jags have been in a slump lately. There's an implosion happening as we speak. Jack Del Rio, the Jags head coach, sent his Middle Linebacker home for two straight practices due to insubordination.

If the Lions have a chance of avoiding infamy, they may have found a break in what's expected to be a much tougher second half. But, today is the first game for Daunte Culpepper. Even though Coach Rod Marinelli has done all he can to keep the media in the dark (it's the first good job he's done in a long, long time), I expect Daunte Culpepper will be lining up behind center today. Coincidentally, Dominic Raiola, the starting center for Detroit, is out. The 104 consecutive game streak ends today due to a broken right hand.

But the ink isn't even dry on Culpepper's new contract, and he's already playing. Some say he's a has been, others think he's got something left to prove. I say his signing all amounts to nothing more than a distraction from giving the young players a serious evaluation heading into 2009.

Bottom line, Detroit has never shown that even when games are close, that they are capable of finishing the job. In the end, Jacksonville prevails, 17 - 10.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

There Is Indeed Honor In Defeat

Well, I was wrong about some things. I thought the Obama bubble had burst. Maybe it did, but clearly, what remained was so permeated that it carried him all the way through to Election Day.

But I am truly sad. I have been a backer of John McCain since 2000. For eight long years, I've been steadfast in my support for McCain, never wavering once. Even on his positions such as gay marriage and abortion, I have stuck by the Senator in tough times. I drove all the way up north in January to cast my ballot in futility, knowing this state would probably go for Mitt Romney in the GOP Primary.

For whatever reason, I logged into my facebook account tonight to check people's status, and found all but a handful were elated for the victory of Barack Obama. I thought about posting something to counter their joy, but what would it have done? Make me look like the villain, no doubt. Besides, everyone goes through life with at least one of their McGoverns or Goldwaters. Tonight, McCain is my Goldwater.

As I drove down to Frenchie's in Ypsilanti to watch the returns with some political science professors of mine, I was fortunate enough to sit with Dr. Richard Stahler-Sholk, my Comparative Politics prof. I had asked him if this time around he voted strategically and he said he did because "we needed to get the Republicans out of there." He was an avowed Ralph Nader supporter back in 2000 and 2004, but it didn't surprise me that this time around he wouldn't take any chances.

It was unfortunate that I couldn't follow the election this time around like I had last time, despite my enthusiasm for McCain. I am no longer in college, and I don't interact with poli sci people on a regular basis like I did just two years ago. The turnout at Frenchie's was depressingly low, just as it was in 2004. In 2000, before I was a regular face in the Political Science Department at EMU, I went to the election party at the Tower Inn, and watched with everyone as the election returns came in. That night helped propel me to concentrate my studies more in Political Science than history, as I felt the poli sci profs were more interesting and students had a better sense of humor.

In one month I lose my cat and McCain loses his bid for the White House. Both are devastating, yet, I saw both coming. The shock may have been quelled by that fact. But the depression will ruminate for a little longer until probably after January once Obama is sworn in. In the meantime, I'll be reliving this day when the Electoral College meets to elect Obama, and then when the House and Senate certify the results. All culminates in 75 days when Obama is sworn in as president on January 21.

I listen to McCain exit the campaign with grace tonight. He thanked his family, his fellow supporters, and Sarah Palin. He reminded us as candidates have before, what a tremendous burden the campaign is on their families. He urged all his supporters to get behind President-elect Obama and left it at that. I'm left thinking the good guys fought the good fight, and once again, lost.

I can't help but think, after all this, that all pundits and activists owe McCain a collective apology for all the stupid articles and books written about him and once and for all repudiate comments that compare him to Bush. It's only the right thing to do, which is why I'm not counting on them to do it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

So I Voted

I just finished my absentee ballot. I voted for McCain at the top of the ticket, even though it's like I'll be trying to push back a tidal wave with a squeegee.

For Senate, I voted for Scotty Boman, the Libertarian. Bart Stupak got my vote to return to Washington an eighth time, another vote went to a Republican for the State House because I can't see Andy Neumann contributing anything in what would be an automatic lame duck term for him, and the rest were Republican as well, except for a particular County Road Commissioner, another Dem.

I can't help but think that George W. Bush is once again the reason John McCain could not ascend to the presidency.

I'm going to be depressed after November 4, I'm sure of it.

On Tap: Da Bears

I didn't post anything last week, but one can guess I pretty much bet against the Lions then, too.

Needless to say, nothing's changed this week. Once again, Kyle Orton will carve up the Lions for 250+ yards, 2 TDs, maybe an interception, but a passer rating hoovering around 100 - he's due for an off day after three other clinics he's put on against the Leos.

Interesting note: the Lions have signed Daunte Culpepper, a washed-out QB who all but retired this year. I can't see him being anything but a distraction, and where does this leave Drew Henson? Back to the practice squad? All I know is Orlovsky is gone after this season.

I know how bad everyone wants Drew Stanton to play, but really, Offensive Coordinator Jim Colletto is right, they shouldn't "embarass" him in his first start. Especially since Detroit can't stop the pass rush, and can't put together a decent drive to save their lives, let alone at a critical moment in the game. Colletto was dead on, despite Rod Marinelli's claim it was a "poor choice of words." Why humiliate him by surrounding him with no protection, no running game, and a play-caller who can't call plays?

Final score: Bears 34, Lions 23. The game will be over by the 4th quarter, I think. And as usual, Marinelli will stick to his talking points, even as his methods are about as useful as an anchor for a drowning person. It's 0-8, and time to starting thinking about NFL ignominy, made all the more sadder by the fact that they might not even bear this alone if Cincinnati can't win a game.