Sunday, October 18, 2009

On Tap: Lions at Packers

Well, one final game before the Lions head into a Bye Week. And then the winning begins! So far, I'm 5-0 on the season in terms of predictions. Hooray. Now, onto the game.

The Detroit Lions haven't won in Green Bay since 1991 - the year they won the NFC Central, won their first playoff game since 1957, and went to the NFC Title game (which actually was in January of 1992, but for some odd reason, NFL talking heads always refer to that season as though the playoffs occurred in 1991). They won't snap the streak today.

Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback for the Packers, is good. Really, really good. The rest of the team can't seem to come around to his level of play, which is why they're 2-2. They just managed to talk Mark Tauscher out of retirement to fill a big, nasty void at Right Tackle. (I know positions aren't proper nouns, but it's a habit I've gotten into for reasons I can't explain)

I think the Lions are starting to turn a corner, by the way. Sammie Hill is getting a lot of valuable experience at Defensive Tackle. Gunther Cunningham, Defensive Coordinator, has been quick to praise him in the media. If he is the real deal, the Lions may have made quite the steal with their 4th round draft pick. If they're confident that he is going to be a stud DT, then maybe they should consider taking a DB with their 1st round pick next year, providing they switch to a 3-4 defense.

I'm not sure what the situation is with the carousel at Cornerback. Now that Eric King has been lost for the season, Detroit seems to be constantly switching it up. Philip Buchanon who was benched in Week 3 is apparently playing again.

The real interesting thing to watch with the defense is if they will end up converting to a 3-4 defense with the way the Linebackers are all playing. Ernie Sims, Julian Peterson, Larry Foote, and rookie DeAndre Levy have all demonstrated play-making capabilities, but they all can't be on the field at the same time in a 4-3 scheme that is currently being employed. Since you can't switch schemes in the middle of the season, we may see the Lions embracing the defense next year and forgoing selecting a DT with their 1st round pick in April.

I predict the Lions will be picking in the top 10 again next year, and maybe in the top 5, given how bad so many teams are at this point. My guess is they'll fall somewhere between 4 and 8 come April.

=========================================

On to the game - getting back to Rodgers, all he'll need to do today is throw the ball. Realistically, the Lions aren't playing with QB Matt Stafford, nor WR Calvin Johnson. In other words, they're toast.

Daunte Culpepper is losing stock at this point. He was awful last week against Pittsburgh. The interception in the late 3rd quarter was not the kind of play you expect from a guy who's been in the NFL for 10 years. It may just be rust from not playing in five weeks.

Nonetheless, Green Bay has it in the bag.

Detroit 17
Green Bay 34

Back in a couple of weeks unless I decide to post a comment about something other than the Lions. Because I hate Jon & Kate. And I hate the "Balloon Boy."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

On Tap: Pittsburgh at Detroit

Apparently, it's been brought to my attention that the Steelers' fans have purchased a bunch of tickets and that's why today's game at Ford Field isn't blacked out. So I expect to see a lot of terrible towels at the game today. At least I get to watch it on TV.

I don't want to even get into predicting the score of the outcome. It's last year's Super Bowl champions vs. last year's 0-16 Lions. Steelers will win.

Prediction:

Steelers: More points
Lions: Less

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I can't believe how many teams at this point haven't won a game. The Lions have a better record than six other teams, all of whom have yet to win a game this year. Carolina, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Tennessee all haven't won any games. Carolina is 0-3, the rest are 0-4.

I don't know how the draft would fair out if the season ended today for the non-playoff teams. I'm guessing they would fall to the No. 11 spot in the first round. But this is why we play the game.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

On Tap: Detroit at Chicago

Even though the Lions won last week, and even though a huge cloud has been collectively lifted over every Lions fan, and even though I'm 3-0 with my predictions, I am only now posting another blog entry. This is what happens when school, work, and life happen altogether at once.

Anyway, on to Chicago. The Lions are playing at Soldier Field. Their last road victory came there...in 2007.

Conventional wisdom says it's usually two steps forward and one step back. Then again, I've always believed conventional wisdom isn't. I do believe the Lions will lose again today. So many factors - Chicago's QB Jay Cutler is hitting his stride, Detroit's Matt Stafford hasn't played outdoors in the pros (except in college and the preseason), and Detroit still being a subpar all lead me to believe it's going to be a bad day for the Lions.

My brother-in-law mocked me for calling the game for Chicago, only because it wouldn't take much of a leap of faith to predict the outcome. True, but the size of the outcome might be more of a stretch. Chicago RB Matt Forte is averaging 2.5 yards per carry, but today he's due for a breakout game.

This one's in the bank for Chicago.

Detroit 24
Chicago 41.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

On Tap: Washington at Detroit

Earlier, I predicted on my facebook account status message that Washington would hang in and beat Detroit by a slight margin, 20-17. After reading all the press clips about Washington, it's apparent the team is either in a state of or on the verge of disarray. Jim Zorn, the head coach and former Lions QB coach for Scott Mitchell and Charlie Batch ca. late '90s, is on the hot seat. QB Jason Campbell is under a lot of pressure to win. Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder is as impulsive an owner as Brett Favre is a football player.

If Detroit pulls one out today, Washington may never recover. Oh, and last week, they beat the St. Louis Rams 9-7.

Oh what the hell. Detroit ends it losing streak today!

Washington 17
Detroit 21

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well, When You Give Up 27 Unanswered Points...

They showed some promise. Matthew Stafford threw his first touchdown pass ever to Calvin Johnson. The Lions were leading 10-0. Then the game happened, and Detroit had no answers.

Nobody had an answer for Adrian Peterson. Or Brett Favre. And when a team scores 27 without any response, the game is lost.

Is there anything to take away from today's game? What, that the margin of defeat was four points fewer today? Sure, except the offense only put up less than half of what they scored last week.

Stafford is still making errant throws. His career TD/INT ratio stands at 1/5. At least he got the ball to TE Brandon Pettigrew today.

Alas, this one's more deflating than last week. It probably has something to do with the season being underway.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ubiquitously Yours, Jai-Lee Dearing

Jai-Lee Dearing has mastered the trick all magicians before him have failed: to be in two places at once.

Apparently while being interviewed on WCHB 1200 AM radio, Dearing was also involved in an online discussion with the Detroit Free Press' Stephen Henderson and fielding questions from freep readers. At least that's what he wanted people to believe.

The interview ran over longer than Dearing had anticipated, and his campaign manager, Mike Carroll, was actually the one fielding questions online. Carroll said that his answers were consistent with the candidate's, noting “Jai-Lee and I are of one mind. They’re his answers,” but now acknowledges he should have signed in under his own name.

I wonder if the new city charter will allow Carroll to sit in and vote on matters if Dearing can't make it to council.

On Tap: Vikings at Lions

Brett Favre returns to Detroit, this time as a Minnesota Viking. Favre is 23-9 against the Lions.

Say what you want about Favre, I was a supporter of his last year. The Green Bay Packers forced him into a making a decision he wasn't ready to make. Because he chose to retire, Green Bay drafted two quarterbacks in 2008 to back up Aaron Rodgers. Favre suddenly decided he wanted to play again right before training camp. The Packers were committed to Rogers and the media hounded Favre for being selfish (which he partly was).

Once he landed in New York, things started off promising. The Jets were at one point 8-3, and had a realistic shot of clinching the AFC East Title. A 1-4 collapse down the stretch cost Head Coach Eric Mangini his job and Favre opted to leave football once more. During the season, Mangini had called out Favre in the locker room in front of other players which caused a rift that the Jets never recovered from.

After months of speculation, hemming, and hawing, Favre decided to return to football, this time with the Minnesota Vikings. While there were initial concerns about his own health, especially in his biceps, he was apparently well enough to forge ahead and return to the NFC North. His signing instantly put the Vikings at the top of the division.

Even though I got tired of Favre at this point, Minnesota apparently didn't. Favre got a chance last week to light up his former coach, Mangini, which I'm sure he did with glee.

===============================

As for Sunday, this game is going to the Vikings. Much like last week, I believe the Lions will make a serious attempt at making it a game. But the Vikings, who aren't as good as the Saints, will still be a couple of steps ahead of the Lions.

End result:

Minnesota 38
Detroit 24

Welcome to Detroit, Matt Stafford

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lions 27, Saints 45

I just watched the rest of the game and left the house when it was all over. For a moment it looked as though the Lions were going to keep it close. They were down 38-27 in the third. But the Saints piled it on, and Head Coach Jim Schwartz wasn't happy with today's performance.

I started listening to 97.1 after the game to hear some fan reactions. It was mostly negative. One caller in particular said the "Matthew Stafford bust era has begun." Apparently, he annoyed the host so much that they got into a pissing match over the radio and made both themselves look like fools. I say anytime you get the talk show host fuming like that, it always looks worse on him than the caller.

So what do we take from this game? How about the negative first.

  • As typical of last season, they were blown out.
  • Drew Brees threw six touchdowns, tying a club record. He also threw over 300 yards.
  • The defense gave up 260 yards in the first half alone.
  • Matt Stafford threw three interceptions, and was 16-for-37 passing with 207 yards.
  • Eric King gave up three touchdowns covering three different receivers.
  • Brandon Pettigrew was non-existent.
  • Plain and simple: they lost. Expect more of this throughout the remainder of the season.
And what the hell was with New Orleans still running the ball when the game's outcome was decided? How about a kneel-down? Detroit wasn't coming back. I didn't see how many timeouts Detroit had left, but I know it wasn't three, since Schwartz challenged a call that Reggie Bush hadn't fumbled and lost.

Is there something positive to take from the game? I'll try.

  • 27 - the points the Lions put up. That is more their highest score in all of 2008 (they scored 25 at least twice).
  • 1 - interception by Anthony Henry. He has tied the team total for interceptions from 2008.
  • 1 - blown call by the referees, taking away a Calvin Johnson TD. Not that it mattered, Stafford ended running the ball in. It just hurt my brother-in-law's Fantasy Football score.
  • 4 - quarters the Lions were in before collapsing. Last year, it was over in the first and second quarters.
  • Dennis Northcutt's punt return that set up a Kevin Smith TD.
I don't deny for one second I'm scraping from the bottom of the barrel. And Jim Schwartz was right to be angry at this team. They set out goals and none were accomplished. Oh, and where was all the blitzing we were promised from Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham?

If I don't see the Vikings next week, it will be because the game was blacked out. I may be doing myself a favor. Brett Favre is back to torment Detroit twice.

Just like old times.

Sidenote: apparently I orginally posted that Philip Buchanon was injured in the game. He wasn't; he had been scratched from the lineup prior to opening kickoff.

Halftime

This looks bad. But, it looks as expected. The score: Detroit 10, New Orleans 28. Here we go.

  • Failure to capitalize of Anthony Henry's (29) interception gave the Saints another opportunity to score, which they did. Another TD strike from Drew Brees to Tight End Jeremy Shockey made the score what it is now.
  • The Lions get the ball again and fail to convert. Matthew Stafford (9) throws his first career interception.
  • With less than a minute to go, the Saints MOVE the ball downfield. They come close to another TD but are stopped by great pass coverage from the secondary. Jon Carney's field goal attempt is BLOCKED. Great play, but would've been much more helpful had there still been time to put together a drive.
  • There is no excuse for giving up 28 points in one half. Game is a lost cause in terms of victory. I still think the Lions will make a game of it and score some more points before it's over.

In other news, New York Jets rookie QB Matt Sanchez threw his first career TD to Chansi Stuckey (spelling?). Matt Cassel is inactive for Kansas City. Didn't know Favre would be facing his old head coach today, Eric Mangini.

Let the third quarter begin.

Late To Game, Late To Blog

Was listening on the radio and heard the Saints were already up 14-0. Ugh. Brees has been picking on Lions CB Eric King (29). Heard Philip Buchanon went down. Ow.

Some other thoughts:

  • Nice punt return by Dennis Northcutt (86) setting up touchdown drive. Stafford does a FB-fake, pitches it to Kevin Smith (34) for the Lions' first TD. Detroit: 10, New Orleans: 14.
  • Anthony Henry's (32) interception comes off of a Drew Brees' flea flicker bomb. Henry had just tied the Lions' interception total for all of 2008.
  • We fail to capitalize off Henry's interception. Saints move the ball inside the Lions' 10. Defense hasn't been aggressive like Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham promised. Need to blitz! Quick pass to Reggie Bush moves Saints closer to TD. Lions stop Mike Bell from scoring, making it 3rd Down. Brees fakes hand-off; TD Jeremy Shockey, the Saints' Tight End. Flag on the play......Unsportsman-like Conduct on Lions' S Louis Delmas (26). Rookie mistake. To be enforced on the kickoff.

More to come...

On Tap: Detroit at New Orleans

The Matt Stafford era begins in Detroit today. Well, technically it begins in New Orleans. Wherever the hell you want to call it, Stafford will make his first official start as the Lions' quarterback. Coach Jim Schwartz declared a week ago that Stafford met all the criteria and won the job outright.

I'm supportive of the decision, despite my preference for Daunte Culpepper to start. I was not a fan of Culpepper when the team signed him last year, but today I have much more respect for him now then I ever did at any point in his career. Culpepper was offered a chance to compete for the starting position. He lost thirty six pounds between last December and training camp in July. He showed his arm strength was still there and he retained some of the speed.

He came back knowing if he did win the starting job, he would not be holding it for long. Culpepper was the stop-gap, Stafford was the future. After all was said and done, Head Coach Jim Schwartz opted for Matthew Stafford, a man who earned the position. Both earned it, really. It just came down to not if, but how soon would Stafford be lining up behind center.

All Culpepper wanted was one more chance to resurrect his career. Sadly, it won't happen in Detroit, unless Stafford is seriously injured. Otherwise, he will be watching Stafford on the sidelines as he struggles, even if it means the Lions go 0-6, 0-8, or even 0-10.

But on a positive note, Culpepper has at least earned another opportunity to resurrect his career. Just in another town for another team. Until then, he remains in my mind, a class act and a great veteran to guide Stafford.

Now on to the game.

The Saints' offense is probably the most powerful in all the NFL. Detroit's defense still has too many holes to stop both their run game and passing attack. The only hope for Detroit is for the offense to click on cylinders at all times. As long as the keep New Orleans' offense off the field, the Lions have a shot of keeping it close.

A preview of things to come, I believe this game will be over as early as the late third quarter or into the fourth. Considering that last year, most games ended in the first and second quarters, this is actually a step up. Remember, the Lions are relying heavily this year on rookies. Stafford at QB, Brandon Pettigrew at Tight End, and Louis Delmas at Cornerback.

Expect promise.

Expect miscues.

Expect fun!

The outcome:

Lions 17
Saints 30.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Freep's Oneita Jackson Weighs In On Rashida

I recently posted about State Rep. Rashida Tlaib's trouble with a recall movement that's been underway by Adolph Mongo and Matty Moroun.

Oneita Jackson, a writer/blogger whose column O Street appears in the online and print editions fot the Detroit Free Press, just posted a new blog online about Tlaib's recent visit to the Corktown Residents Council. According to Jackson, the people there seemed pretty enthusiastic to see her speaking.

Perhaps the most memorable comment relating to the recall/international bridge issue was Tlaib declaring, "It could be because I’m Palestinian, but I have a problem with people occupying land,"

That's putting it bluntly.

Read it here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Culpepper Should Be The Man (For Now)

As the preseason winds down, Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz has to decide who his starting quarterback will be against New Orleans: Daunte Culpepper or Matt Stafford.

It's obvious Matt Stafford shows the promise of a bright future for the Lions. But no harm would come to his career if he sat the first few games of the season, let alone all of 2009. It didn't hurt Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, or Brad Johnson's careers.

For those who bring up the Peyton Mannings, Troy Aikmans, Joe Montanas, and Terry Bradshaws, we must remember there are literally dozens of times over quarterbacks' careers who are littered along the highway to NFL success. Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, David Carr, Alex Smith, Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, and Chris Weinke are all names associated with the word "bust."

All of the above mentioned in the last sentence were thrust into the spotlight before they were ready. Not all of them had the mental makeup for the NFL (especially Leaf), but many of them can be looked on and wonder "what if?" As in, what if we had let them learn the pro game academically before being thrown to the wolves.

The worst thing that can happen to Stafford is to be forced to play when he's not 100% ready. Very few quarterbacks in the NFL have ever recovered from horrendous starts to their careers. As of now, Drew Brees is perhaps the sole exception. Jim Plunkett would count, but he had an exceptional first two or three years and recovered late in his career and retired with a Superbowl victory.

The worst thing Jim Schwartz can do is not trust his instincts. He's shown he's capable enough to be given an opportunity to be a head coach. That isn't saying much for a guy coming into an organization that is notorious for being a coaching graveyard: see Monte Clark, Wayne Fontes, Bobby Ross, Gary Moeller, Marty Mornhinweg, Steve Mariucci, and Rod Marinelli. None of the above have ever landed another job since being fired (Dick Jauron did indeed land a job in Buffalo after 2005, but he was never going to be running the show in Detroit after that debacle).

Schwartz and Stafford have one problem that can't be overlooked either: William Clay Ford, Sr. Ford is not a football man. He owns the team because he likes the status of being an owner of an NFL team. From what I've seen, he doesn't care about the fans. But it's his meddling that has cost many a coach's success here. His decision to make Mornhinweg start Joey Harrington over Mike McMahon in 2002 had nothing to do with the long-term success of the organization; he wanted the cornerstone of the franchise starting the inaugural game at Ford Field.

If Schwartz can show he can resist Ford's meddling, he and the Lions will be a better organization for it. That's why it's critical Culpepper get the go-ahead for Week 1 in New Orleans. The league has a "win now" mentality, even when such teams like Detroit are in the middle of rebuilding. Culpepper gives the Lions the best shot.

It is probable that the Lions will start the season off at 0-6. But that doesn't mean it's time to play Stafford. It won't do him any good with little help around him. The best situation for the Lions in any game is ball control: the longer the defense is off the field the better a chance a victory can be secured. Too many glaring holes on defense makes me think Detroit is a 2-14, 3-13, or 5-11 team at best. I'm still going with 3-13.

If you want Stafford to start, then I think two criteria need to be met. One, the Lions need to have won their first game. Two, he should see some time in mop-up action as a warm-up for when he actually does start. He doesn't have the help on either side of the ball to be going at full speed come September.

Stafford will be the starter, guaranteed, on Week 1 of 2010 barring injury. Until then, let him grow into the position.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Knuckleheaded Recall

In a country that as of late has gone absolutely recall-happy, today I found out that State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) is facing the potential of a recall because she opposed the construction of a second bridge to Canada and has voted to turn Cobo Hall over to a regional authority. Interestingly enough, it turns out that the effort isn't being spearheaded by a constituent, but rather Adolph Mongo, a name longtime associated with Detroit city politics. Mongo is apparently working on behalf of Matty Moroun, the owner Ambassador Bridge, and the man who wants to build another bridge right next to it.

Tlaib has come out publicly stating she supports a second bridge - one that would be built 1/4 of a mile away and would end in the Delray district (one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country). The Detroit River International Crossing, or DRIC, would be publicly owned, built, and operated, and would extend into Delray section of Detroit.

What's even worse is the fact that Moroun wants to build his bridge without environmental impact studies and does not have proper permits to begin construction. Tlaib feels (rightfully so) that the negatives of putting a second bridge next to the Ambassador Bridge warrant more discussion than they've received. Even the Canadian government is opposed to it. But that hasn't stopped Moroun from already constructing the ramp.

Perhaps maybe now is the time for people to take another look at the ways and means in which we seek to recall elected officials. Recalls were born out of the progressive era when constituents before had little or no means to punish elected officials other than waiting around until the next election. For some, that waiting could be as little as under two years. For some, it could take close to six years if such person were a sitting US Senator. The point of recalls were to remove those from office who had committed some act or acts of malfeasance. If your elected official, be it from alderman to governor, remained in office for some significant period of time, they still had opportunity to further break the public trust until ousted. It wasn't a guarantee either that a sitting legislator or executive would be removed by his/her peers, no matter how many smoking guns were found.

Nonetheless, In the time since 2000, multiple recall efforts have been made against both prominent and not-so prominent politicians. A recall movement in 2001 in Arizona put Sen. John McCain on the spot for his opposition to the Bush administration's domestic policies - most notably his $10 trillion dollar tax cut. While that movement fizzled (McCain was subsequently reelected in 2004 with over 70% of the vote), another recall effort in California was engineered by a sitting US Congressman, Darrell Issa, a Republican.

Issa argued that then-Gov. Gray Davis (D) had misled the voters about the state's financial situation during an election year. Davis defeated Republican Bill Simon without too much trouble. However, Issa (who actually I've found to have a little more respect for since the recall), thought it was necessary to remove Davis immediately. We all know what happened afterwards, - Governator Schwarzenegger.

In the time since, many politicians (especially here in Michigan) have come under attack for votes they have cast. Legal votes for new taxes has been the most prevalent.

While Tlaib isn't being singled out for tax increases, her support for transferring Cobo Hall to a regional authority and opposition to Moroun's bridge does not make her a corrupted politician. Adolph Mongo disagrees. He argues that she won't listen to constituents who support the new bridge. Even if true, that still is not a crime. There may be political consequences for ignoring constituents, but you can't take Mongo's word at face value, either.

What is obvious is that recall efforts are expensive. With the state and municipalities going for broke, these recall efforts do no one any favor. Moroun and Mongo want to be on the up-and-up with the people of Detroit, they should face her head on. None of these proxy wars by citizens they've recruited to recall her.

To do so otherwise, only makes them look like cowards.




Monday, August 24, 2009

I've Lost All Respect for Sarah Palin

I know it's late in the game, but I'll throw my two cents in anyway. I had been willing to give Palin a fair look. Even after most liberals had already thrown her to the wolves before they knew anything about her. I was even critical of the scrutiny she received for lacking knowledge of foreign policy because governors don't have much time to pay attention to complex foreign matters.

But after rambling incoherently on non-existent "Death Panels," I felt it's time to abandon her once and for all.

It's okay to oppose President Obama's proposals for health care reform, it's another to use the most extreme language to stir up opposition to it.

I'm still not sold on Obama, nor am I supporting a single-payer health care system, but I do support the public option and have supported such an idea for ten years. For once, I feel as though I was ahead of the curve.

Just a few thoughts...

Thoughts on the Lions since last December

Last time I commented on my beloved, err, lowly Detroit Lions, they were on the verge of 0-16. Since they accomplished that feat of ignominy, I have mostly been too aggravated to post anything since there are dozens of things I need to get off my chest.

1. Rod Marinelli - I'm sorry, I learned to respect the man a lot, even kind of liked him. But his lack of gamesmanship was demonstrated a final time at Green Bay last December. The Lions had stalled a Packers' drive in their territory, forcing the punt. Instead of calling a timeout, the Lions let the clock run down, down, down, and finally when Green Bay punted, the ball got a lucky Packer bounce and stopped rolling at about either the 8- or 12-yard line with only a handful of seconds left. No chance of a drive.

His worst quality may have been his hypocrisy. Mike Williams, despite the failure he was, probably was unfairly targeted by Marinelli and then-Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz. Everyone had to "earn their place" on the team, which is why fellow Wide Receiver Charles Rogers was cut before the regular season. But why bench Williams, sign WR Az Hakim and play him immediately.

As hard as he was on Williams and Rogers, why didn't that harshness extend to Shaun Rogers, his "pet project?" Like Williams, he was overweight, lazy, and a poor leader, but apparently he had something to offer (when he felt like it).

Overall, he was overpromoted, and thus, in over his head. He was a position coach, nothing more. He may have been a devout follower of the Tampa-Two system, but everytime you saw him on the sidelines, he was always talking to the D-Line. Maybe the LBs once and again. If he wanted to be a Defensive Line coach, fine. Be one. But don't neglect the other third of the defense (the secondary) and the entire offense.

2. Matt Millen - the man should have been fired long before 2008; but firing him after three games was premature. He, like Marinelli and the rest of the organization should have had to live with it for another thirteen weeks before dropping the ax. The only thing is, Roy Williams was traded before the deadline and Jon Kitna was placed on IR, even though his injury would've only kept him out until Week 7 or 8 at the most. Had they not traded Roy Williams for a 1st Round pick (a deal no sane person could pass up), they might've eeked out a win or two. Thus, Millen might still have a job.

3. William Clay Ford, Sr. - he is 1) a liar, and 2) he does not care about the fans. Example 1: raising ticket prices after six straight sellout years at Ford Field. In this economic climate, you've produced a poor product (with one playoff victory in five decades to show for it) to your customers, and this is the way you repay them. You wonder why you can no longer sell out games and risk having the game blacked out on Thanksgiving.

Example 2: Your fondness for Matt Millen blinds you to the fact that your job as the owner is to oversee a winning franchise, in a league designed to ensure there are no permanent winners and losers. Instead of listening to fans maybe once or twice on sports talk radio, or even reading the sports section once a week, you lend your ear only to the man who needs to mollify you in order to keep his while your customers simply give up. Do the words "conflict of interest" have any meaning to you?

Example 3: Making decisions that should be left to the coaches. An overall problem with the organization is the lack of everyone being on the same page. Millen wanted to draft Joey Harrington; Marty Mornhinweg did not. It was Ford's decision, despite his denials, to play Harrington instead of Mike McMahon at the inaugural game at Ford Field in 2002. Harrington wasn't ready, had no help, then wasn't wanted by Mornhinweg's successor, Steve Mariucci, and thus endures the label "bust."

Example 4: After firing Millen, you had a 13-week headstart on finding his replacement? Any moves, like interviewing former GMs, Presidents, etc.? No, Mr. Ford sat on it. He sat on it while New England's Scott Pioli, went to Kansas City. How many Super Bowl rings does Pioli have? Three (and four AFC titles). How about Floyd Reese? In twelve years, he drafted twelve Pro-Bowlers, and even made a trip to the Super Bowl.

Who did Ford end up hiring? Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew. Lewand was the Lions' COO, and Mayhew was the Asst. GM under Millen. Lewand is now the president, and Mayhew is the GM. Usually, when a team brings in a new front office, they are met with celebration. Their first press conference was anything but. The mood was subdued. Nobody smiled (except maybe Ford).

If anything Mr. Ford, if you're not going to sell the team, could you at least turn over the reigns to your son, Jr.? He at least seems to be proactive, even if you want to blame him for bringing in Millen in the first place. At least he admitted his bad and Millen would've been gone after 2005.

4. The new uniforms- one word, ugly. The numbers didn't need a makeover. The new "Bubbles" (the leaping lion) has a few lines drawn in him. So much for the overhype. I don't like the additional accents/piping around the V-neck. Makes it look tacky.

And while I'm on uniforms, what was so wrong with the black alternates? They were actually pretty sharp looking. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but they are much more aesthetic than the throwbacks. I get a headache just looking at those.

5. The 2009 Draft - wasn't in favor of Stafford, originally. The defense needed the most attention. Mostly the line, maybe another LB, and definitely the secondary. But you do need a QB to be the cornerstone of the franchise, so I'm reluctantly on board. I just hope they don't rush him in before he's ready to play. Let him sit a few games if not the entire season.

But Brandon Pettigrew at No. 20? You take Pettigrew when Ray Maualaga is still on the board? I don't blame Pettigrew, it's not his choice to come to Detroit, but your defense ranked the worst for two seasons straight.

Louis Delmas was the first pick of the 2nd Round. Good, but Maualaga was still on the board. And they need CORNERS. Delmas though, I liked. But it isn't enough to draft a safety with so many other defensive needs.

More to come...

Friday, June 12, 2009

For What It's Worth, Palin Is Milking Letterman's Gaffe

As if anyone needs to be reminded, going after an elected official's daughter is so far out of bounds, it's not funny. Unless you absolutely must hate Sarah Palin.

It's pretty obvious that David Letterman intended to poke fun at Bristol Palin and not her 14-year-old sister Willow. But even then, isn't some sort of ethical lapse that occurred in Letterman's mind to have gone after Bristol? What is her crime? And does it make a difference if the joke is meant for an 18-year-old instead of someone who is 14?

Seriously, I've never been keen on attacking one's kids. When Jenna and Barbara Bush were caught with fake IDs in a Texas restaurant, I admit it was hilarious. Everyone in town and on campus knew who they were and their ages. Holy Pete, their dad was Governor for six years prior to his presidency. But they reminded me of being that age and what they did isn't different from what many other college-age kids do - passing off a fake ID to buy alcohol. Even as they brought this problem on themselves, the media eventually let it go because after all, it's their dad that is the elected official, not them. They were not decision makers responsible for what would be one of the most controversial administrations ever, and they didn't choose to have a father with political ambitions.

Sarah Palin's kids remind me of that moment. Her daughter made a mistake; a mistake that is not unique to her, but one that imposes strict consequences on those like her that get pregnant before they finish high school. It isn't to say that Bristol is better off than most girls - her mother and father are most likely going to be contributing to her child's well-being so not to grow up desperate for food and shelter. But the fact that she is Gov. Palin's daughter means a spotlight will be shined on her versus a nobody who won't have the pressure of the media's glaring eye and self-righteous judgment laid out before all of us.

Which is why when I read in Rolling Stone (I shouldn't) that the father of Bristol's child (Levi somebody) has 'slammed' Bristol for her abstinence stance, or David Letterman ridicules her (or Willow-by-extension), I cringe. She shouldn't be made part of the ongoing debate about sex education in America. Bristol is a private citizen whose mother happens to have been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. And she happens to have had a child at an age even I consider too young.

True, she happened to take a position on the side of abstinence. A position I feel is dangerous. But at least she was asked the question. You can disagree, but don't foment outrage over someone's opinion if it's been requested and not volunteered.

Gov. Palin, for what it's worth, has gotten a lot of mileage out of this. She reminds me of Hillary Clinton in a lot of ways. At the onset of their introduction to the public sixteen years apart from each other, they were each controversial. People just automatically hated both for no other reason than the letter that should appear next to their name, be it D, R, G, or me N (as in None-of-the-above). Things work both ways in America. If you're a powerful woman, no matter your partisan affiliation, you are instantly hated by the other team.

Maybe Palin is using this as a means to boost her popularity which has taken a hit since the election in 2008. Wait, maybe? Okay, she is using this to promote Sarah Palin. I believe she is genuinely angry. Perhaps Letterman did not sound as sincere in his apology. But it's time to move on.

Accept an invitation to appear on the Late Show? Do as you wish. But don't use it as a means to bring yourself down to his level. Your daughter (both of them, actually) have been exploited enough. From you, to Dave, to copy guys at the newsdesk, it's been done and you need to let it go.

For the record, Todd Palin, is no better. Yes, he has every right to be an outraged father. But he doesn't need two press releases. One that says, "I'm disgusted, I'm mad, leave my daugher out of this." is enough.

Needless to say, I need to go crawl back under my rock and go without blogging for another six months.

I'll Be Back (Momentarily)

I apparently have not been posting enough. I had a good stretch in the latter half of 2008, but the former half of 2009 is almost up and I'm only now writing. Blogging (hate that word) can get in the way of a lot of things that need to be taken care of. But not blogging seems to leave out a lot of otherwise good points I need to get off of my chest.