Detroit Lions preview

For someone who has missed more games than he's played over two seasons, Detroit Lions starting QB Matthew Stafford should enter the 2011 feeling particularly healthy. As many of you know, Stafford¬† started throwing this week. This marks a big (if not the biggest) step in his recovery from surgery on his AC joint, which he managed to injure twice last year. He says he feels good after tossing the ball around, which is no surprise regardless of whether it's true or not. Of course, no Lions fan cares about how Stafford feels in March. It's all about how he feels in November and December. After finishing his first [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
Are you overloaded with suggestions about who the Detroit Lions should draft this year? Me, too. Would you like a reason to argue with me in the comments box? I'll be happy to field your questions, comments, and blind hatred. Are you ready for a slight change of pace on the typical draft speculation article? Good, I'm ready to write one. With that said, here is my list of players that the Detroit Lions should not, under any circumstances, pursue in the draft. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA You can call me a hypocrite if you like. It's true, I published a mock draft article no more than a month ago that had Ayers sitting pretty in the No. 13 spot. So I changed my mind. Sue me. It's not just me, though. Ayers' stock has been plummeting since the combine, amid [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
As I rarely pay attention to college football, my first experience watching Maryland WR Torrey Smith was in the gauntlet drill at the combine. I didn't know who he was at the time, but after seeing him run that drill, I wrote his name down so I'd remember to look him up. He was one of the only guys who ran that drill like he meant it. He exploded down the line and finished strong, catching all his passes along the way. Turns out, that drill was a microcosm for what Torrey Smith is as a player: Fast, raw, and hardworking. Smith was recently brought in to Detroit for a visit with Lions personnel (side note: anyone else find it funny that current NFL players can't talk with their coaches right now, but prospective ones can?), and it's no wonder why; Smith is exactly the kind of [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
Kyle Vanden Bosch is going to keep earning his paycheck, whether anybody's writing him one or not. In a move that some are calling bad for the NFLPA (or is it now the organization previously known as the NFLPA?), the veteran defensive end is organizing team workouts at privately-owned training facilities and gyms in and around Detroit. Now, it's true that no NFL players can use team facilities, communicate with coaches or team personnel, or carry out any official business during the lockout, but what Vanden Bosch is doing here¬† isn't any of that. As far as the NFL is concerned right now, he's just a guy going to work out with his buddies. But in reality, Vanden Bosch is trying to do what the Detroit Lions, as an organization, can't right now. This week would have marked the [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
Detroit Lions fans, take a look around the internet for NFL content. When you're not trying to avoid the latest bad news regarding the lockout, I'm guessing you'll find a torrential downpour of mock drafts. If you're anything like me, you generally only give close consideration to the top 13 picks before moving on. And that 13th pick is probably someone named Smith. It might be Tyron Smith, the fast-rising offensive tackle out of USC, or it might be Jimmy Smith, the talented-but-troubled cornerback out of Colorado. Now I wouldn't turn my nose up at either of those picks, as both have an opportunity to be great players in the NFL. But I reject the notion that those would be the two best picks for the Lions at pick 13. Those picks are based on two different draft [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
The more we come to understand about the 2011 NFL draft class, the more we come to realize how complicated it is to draft when outside of the top 10. The last time the Detroit Lions had a draft pick this low was 2008, when they passed on Chris Johnson and Rashard Mendenhall drafted Gosder Cherilus with the 17th overall pick. Of course, Lions fans know that was a very different era. Where that particular regime took a 9-7 team and proceeded to earn a top 10 draft pick for the next six seasons, it has taken this regime all of two seasons to work out of an 0-16 hole and into the No. 13 spot. Of course, that's what makes this draft that much more intriguing. The Lions are facing a situation where they have a fair number of needs on [...] Continue reading → | , , , ,
Mock drafts can sometimes feel like throwing darts while drunk, dizzy, and blindfolded, at a list of players taped all over your wall. And ceiling. This is especially true when you're mocking one team before the combine without regard for the decisions of 31 others. But the 2011 NFL Draft is in two months, and it is, for Lions fans, the proverbial "Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Perhaps it's because our team becomes relevant (if not a focal point) for the rest of the nation for the first time since Week 7. Lately it's because the Lions have been drafting studs. That is, of course, to be expected when you're dealing with one of the top two picks in the draft every year. But now the Lions find themselves in double-digits, which is mostly unfamiliar territory. The last time [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
For several years, the Detroit Lions have been a black hole for talent. That's not to say that they were able to suck in talent from the far reaches of the galaxy with a strong gravitational pull. That is to say that any talent that happened to be nearby tried to get away desperately, for fear of being chewed up and spit out on the other side as a unrecognizable shell of its former self. Any talent that had a choice in the matter stayed away. Any talent that arrived was systematically destroyed in an incomprehensible carousel of poor planning, changing coaches, adjusted schemes, and a total lack of anything resembling continuity. The result has been a terrible team with two types of starters: Guys who need to be replaced soon, and guys who need to be replaced immediately, the [...] Continue reading → | , , , ,
With the official end of the 2010-2011 NFL season, Detroit Lions fans everywhere are faced with the realization that Green Bay gets to call itself "Titletown" for the next 12 months. Again. This will mark the first time the Lions have had the Super Bowl winner in its division since... well, since the Green Bay Packers won it in 1997. It would have been the 2002-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the old NFC Central, but they won the Super Bowl the same season they were realigned into the NFC South. So aside from having the most vocal Packers fans you know crow about Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews for the next year, what does this mean to the Lions for the 2011 season? A few things, actually. Believe it or not, most of them are good. Instant [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
You think this is an easy question, and maybe you're right. But it's not as clear-cut as it may seem. Cliff Avril, over three seasons, has been perhaps Matt Millen's most successful draft pick, if you consider his production against his draft status. Avril, a third-round draft selection out of Purdue in 2008, had a pretty decent year in 2008, a slightly better year in 2009 (though it seemed he'd regressed in an expanded role, his stats actually increased in less games played), and a breakout year in 2010. Over the last three years as a Detroit Lion, Avril has notched 97 tackles, 19 sacks, and eight forced fumbles. Avril has made a name for himself as a young master of the sack-fumble. And now his rookie contract has come down to the team option year. Pending a new collective [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
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