Archive for the ‘Detroit Lions’ Category

Lions Combine Gleanings

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Jeff Risdon

I’m in Indy for the weekend, hanging primarily in the lobby of the JW Marriott, which is the home base hotel for the 2015 NFL Combine. Here are a few things I’ve been able to gather about the Detroit Lions in my first 24 hours here. (more…)

Four Draft Prospects the Lions Must Avoid

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

By Jeff Risdon

This is the time of year where everyone tries to project which players a team should strongly consider. Yet when I’ve talked with NFL personnel people, one of the big things they try to do in this pre-Combine period is weed out players they don’t believe fit their teams.

In that spirit, I offer the Lions and GM Martin Mayhew some free advice. Here are four players that absolutely should not wind up in the Honolulu blue and silver in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Detroit Lions: A Senior Bowl Player for Every Round

Friday, January 23rd, 2015


Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor

This mock draft is limited to players who appeared in the Senior Bowl, where I watched every practice and talked with several players, agents and various other sources and draftniks.  (more…)

Officials Make Mockery of Detroit-Dallas Game

Monday, January 5th, 2015


J.D. Wenzel

DETROIT, Mich.- It’s time to party like it’s 1991, Lions fans. For the first time since 1992, the Detroit Lions have won a playoff… wait, what? Did I get the wrong team?

You’re telling me, the team that scored 14 points in the first quarter and led by 10 at halftime lost the game? Alright, well let me fix that. (more…)

Six Hidden Match Ups Between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears

Saturday, December 20th, 2014
Photo from Getty Images

Photo from Getty Images

By Kent Lee Platte, @MathBomb
Let’s be honest.  The Detroit Lions would have to put on some kind of comically bad performance to lose to the 2014 Chicago Bears.  This Bears team is fielding the worst defense in the team’s history.  Their offense is lead by a QB who hasn’t played meaningful football in years.  It’s coached by a lame duck, offensive coordinator at best who can’t even coordinate an offense anymore. There isn’t much we can learn from this Bears team.  There is, however, plenty to learn from this Detroit Lions squad, and it’s those hidden match ups that I plan on delving into.

Joique Bell vs. Hot Hands

The Detroit Lions running back situation has been poor all season long.  I don’t need to explain the Reggie Bush disappointment, but Joique Bell receives tons of praise despite the Lions awful rushing attack.  Some of it is warranted.  Bell is a hard runner and decent receiver who can get yards after contact when he gets out in space.  As a featured back, however, he doesn’t cut it.  Mikel Leshoure was statistically superior in 2012 than Bell has been this season, to give you an indication.  The past few weeks, Bell has been performing much closer to fan expectations, enough so that it warrants mentioning.

Joique Bell has never ran for 100 yards in one game.  That’s kinda crazy when you think about it, as a guy who gets 15-20 carries a game.  Bell has had some very good games in his three years as a Lion, so that’s a very surprising statistic to me. His value in the receiving game is a likely culprit, but with Bell running hot right now and the Bears running as cold as the arctic in winter, it’s time for the Lions power back to run through a statistical wall.

Corey Fuller vs. Hey, remember that guy?

Once upon a time, in the long recesses of history (Week 8), Corey Fuller was being worked into the team with increasing intensity.  His flaws were still present, but the team was using Fuller in a variety of roles to increase his work load and experience.  It seemed to be working, too, as Fuller was making some impressive catches, including his game winner against New Orleans.

And yet here we are, in Week 16, and Fuller has averaged less than one target a game since Week 8, where he was targeted 6 times and caught 3.  You’d be forgiven for not noticing Fuller’s absence, what with Jeremy Ross lighting the league on fire, averaging one whole catch a game over the past 6 weeks (With none in the past two weeks).  The Lions haven’t had an able 3rd receiver in forever.  While I’m sure that Ross is not that guy, I’m not sold that Fuller doesn’t have more to offer just yet.

Cornelius Lucas vs. Willie Young

Lucas has been seeing an inordinate amount of time as a starter.  Unlike LaAdrian Waddle, who came in after injuries ahead of him in 2013 and then cemented himself as the starter, Lucas has filled in at both tackle spots while the players ahead of him dealt with temporary injuries.  With LaAdrian Waddle’s fifth injury of the season finally ending his time on the field, Lucas lands at right tackle.  This pits him against former Detroit Lion Willie Young.

After 7 sacks in the first 6 weeks of play, Young has managed only 3 sacks in the past 10 weeks, landing him in double digits for the season.  He’s a better pass rusher at this point in his career than his line mate Jared Allen, who Lucas bested the last time these two teams squared off.  The undrafted rookie has been learning how to use his superior length to get the best of pass rushers and it’s been pretty slow going. He has improved in each contest, however, and while I wouldn’t have said so the last time these two teams played each other I think he gets the best of Willie Young.

Kyle Long vs. Ndamukong Suh

Few offensive players can claim to have gotten the best of Ndamukong Suh.  Despite the Lions handily defeating the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving and putting constant pressure on Jay Cutler, Kyle Long actually won the battle with Suh for the most part.  Suh was held without even a single tackle for the only time this season against Long.  The second year guard has been battling injury and is questionable to play against the Lions.

Suh, on the other hand, has been having his best year as a pro. Where during the offseason we couldn’t get people to shut up about how the Lions should trade their All Pro defensive tackle, it’s now all about what they’ll have to do to keep him.  One of the only irreplaceable parts on this top rated defense, Suh will need to show that he can follow up a bad performance when he has them.  He had a poor day against Long the first time around, can he dominate him the second go?

Glover Quin vs. History

It seems like every week there is a Detroit Lions player that has a chance to do something that hasn’t been done in Detroit for decades.  Quin presently leads the NFL in interceptions with 6.  If he stays atop that list, he’ll be the first Lions player to lead the league in interceptions since Kurt Schultz in 2000.  Quin also finished in the top ten for Pro Bowl voting, which may be an even bigger historic achievement.

The Detroit Lions used to be a hotbed of pro bowl defensive backs.  Dick LeBeau, Dick Lane, Jack Christiansen, Yale Lary, and others kept the Lions with a constant stream of elite DBs.  If Quin makes the Pro Bowl in 2014, which he truly deserves, he’ll be only the second DB in the past 25 years to make a Pro Bowl (The other is Dre’Bly).  While the Pro Bowl is mostly a popularity contest, when was the last time the Lions had a defensive back that truly DESERVED to have his name in household conversation?

Jim Caldwell vs. Cruising

Jim Caldwell has done a very good job of not looking past his opponents this season.  This was a concern of mine last week, but that was against a Vikings team that is well coached and on the rise.  The Bears are in…a different situation.  The Detroit Lions were bad for a long time.  There was a lot of losing in their history and fans had to suffer through a lot. The Bears, on the other hand, have a long history of winning.  So watching them implode and go down in flames is particularly entertaining for Lions fans.


Six Hidden Matchups Between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings

Saturday, December 13th, 2014
Kent Lee Platte
Last week the Detroit Lions secured their second winning record in a decade.  While that alone means a lot for the embattled franchise, even more important is the possibility, albeit a slim one, that the Lions secure their first NFCN title ever.  Coming into their week 15 match up against the Vikings, the Lions have a chance to move one step closer to securing a playoff berth and attempt to do what was once thought impossible for Detroit…win a playoff game.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though, and instead concentrate on the match up at hand.  More specifically, the hidden match ups!

Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah vs. Matt “Notafanofanalytics” Kalil

Recently, Matt Kalil has made some headlines over his criticism of the analytics site Pro Football Focus.  Now, I won’t go into the merits or flaws with PFF itself, I’ll only mention the common knowledge that the site’s grades have been quoted on NFL Network, ESPN, and a number of other reputable sources and is considered one of the frontrunners in football analytics.  Matt Kalil doesn’t think much of their grading system, which sees him as one of the worst players in the NFL and easily one of the worst tackles.  Kalil has somehow managed to allow 12 sacks all by himself this season.  Even if PFF’s grading system was as flawed as Kalil claims it is, he’s having a terrible season and should be man enough to admit it.

Since he isn’t, he’ll need someone to do the humbling for him.  No one was better at putting Matt Kalil to task than Ziggy Ansah was in their last match up.  Ansah beat Kalil like a dirty carpet, notching 2.5 sacks and something like 400 QB hurries (estimated).  The joke at the time was that Ansah broke Kalil.  If the struggling LT’s performance has been any indication, that might actually be right.  Ansah will square off against Kalil again, only this time he will be doing so at home with some of that Detroit noise to help him.  On top of giving up the most sacks, Kalil is also the most penalized tackle in the game.  This isn’t even really a “Hidden” match up, it’s only mentioned here because I expect it to be a hidden comedy in a football game.  Or a tragedy, if you’re a Vikings fan.

Calvin Johnson vs. Xavier Rhodes

The Vikings have not been good this season, but it shouldn’t take away from individual achievements.  Xavier Rhodes is quickly morphing into one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL, and has been fantastic in the second half of this season for the Vikings.  It isn’t a good thing, as a Lions fan, to see a divisional opponent land a good one, but it looks like Johnson will be finishing off his career having traded Tillman for Rhodes.  Johnson has been on fire since coming back from his injury, with only a short road to go to get over 1,000 yards for the sixth time in his career.

Johnson and Rhodes won’t always line up across from one another.  The addition of Tate, coupled with how Mike Zimmer runs his scheme, means that they’ll be the primary match up but not the only one.  What I mean to say is that Johnson should eat against the Vikings secondary.  It just won’t be against Rhodes, most likely.  If it is, however, we can probably completely table the “Calvin on the decline” talks for another season or two.

Matthew Stafford vs. Mike Zimmer

Speaking of Mike Zimmer, this isn’t the first time the Lions have lined up across from a Mike Zimmer defense.  The Bengals, then with Zimmer as defensive coordinator, beat the Lions 27-24 at Ford Field.  It was a heart breaking loss in a sloppy game, something Lions fans have been more than familiar with in their time. Stafford had success on the stat sheet against the Bengals, but in the game he struggled with, well, the normal things he struggled with in 2013 (Footwork, poise, etc.).  Zimmer has been working through a lot of issues on his team, but he’s been turning that defense around quickly, as expected, and he’s a strong defensive coach.

Stafford has been on fire the past couple of weeks.  It was one thing to light up the floundering Chicago Bears the way that he did,  it was another entirely to beat on the Buccaneers.  Now I know, the Bucs have a worse record and are in contention to be the top pick in the 2015 draft.  Their defense isn’t the reason why, however, and Stafford lit them up like a Christmas tree (Tis the season). The Vikings may be without several of their best defensive players in this match up, but I’m still betting this is going to be a tough match up for Stafford.

Glover Quin vs. Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater had a terrible outing against the Detroit Lions in their first match up.  The 8 sacks are the most quoted statistic, but his 3 interceptions is equally telling.  Bridgewater threw two interceptions to Tahir Whitehead and another to Glover Quin.  Since that time, however, Bridgewater has been opening up his playing style and attempting more downfield passes.  Those types of passes can mean more big plays, but against an opportunistic defense that can both bring pressure and cover it can mean more mistakes.

Quin is having a pro bowl season, though he’s unlikely to go this season due to name recognition.  Still, this is a game where I expect Quin to just explode.  He’s facing a rookie QB who had discovered his downfield throwing arm.  He has Suh in the middle and Ansah facing a turnstile tackle.  He has Slay playing lights out.  Ultimately, Bridgewater is going to try to challenge the Lions safeties at some point in this game.  I like Quin’s odds, and think a multiple interception game isn’t out of the question, even likely.

Jim Caldwell vs. Looking Ahead

Earlier this week, Aaron Rodgers mocked Stephen Tulloch’s injury, possibly while twirling his mustache and adjusting his monacle.  Rodgers is a caricature for Lions fans, a cartoon.  He’s in a league of his own in terms of talent and game play, but he’s just so darn unlikeable.  That doesn’t prevent Rodgers from being a leading MVP candidate.  And yet…the Detroit Lions and their Free Hurt defense straight up embarrassed Rodgers in their week 3 match up.  That’s like Harry Potter kicking Voldemort in the junk at the beginning of the first book/movie.  Doesn’t change the impression of the person…but it kinda does.

Jim Caldwell, by all indications, is paying attention to each game as they come.  He’s preached a week to week mentality that the team has seemingly bought into.  That said, it’s difficult to buy into the week to week thing as a fan.  It HAS to be tough as a player not to peek a little, especially when there’s a cackling scarecrow insulting your teammates out there.  Can Caldwell keep the team focused as they head into this week’s game?

Adrian Peterson…er…Jerick McKinnon?  No wait…  Matt Asiata vs. Free Hurt


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