cory redding goes sittin' by the dock of the . . . puget sound?

>> 3.14.2009

UPDATE: The Free Press has several quotes from Curry on the trade:

"Actually, I’m very excited about that (trade), being that he’s going to be a perfect Sam linebacker,” Curry said in a phone interview. “Ernie Sims is going to be a great Will (weak-side linebacker) and I just have the opportunity to play the Mike. That Mike position is always a position that I always looked at at Wake Forest that I wanted to play but just never was allowed to really just play it 400 snaps (a season)."

Yeah, that's a tortured Otis Redding pun in the title.

Earlier today, PFT reported rumors that the Lions and Seahawks were in talks to swap Cory Redding for Julian Peterson . . . now Killer is reporting that it's nearly a done deal, and Fox is reporting that it IS a done deal.

The knee-jerk reaction is "Oh, I guess no Curry then."  JP is a Sam 'backer, who happens to have a gift for pass rushing, much like Curry.  Theoretically, they would play similar roles in the defense.  However, IMO JP is more limited than Curry.  Peterson was a hybrid DE/OLB at State, a bit of a 'tweener who wreaked havoc from either spot.  However, he's played at the strong side mostly because of his size and speed; he's not that gifted in coverage.  Curry, however, can roam the field like a safety.  If the Lions are considering drafting Curry #1 overall, and having him center JP and Ernie . . . wow.  The Lions would boast a devastatingly fast, strong, and athletic linebacker corps.

Moreover, the Lions would get out from underneath a rotten contract . . . Redding is still one of the highest-paid defensive tackles in the game, yet he's been barely more than a placeholder without an impact nose tackle next to him.  I think we should expect big things from Andre Fluellen in 2009 (assuming the Lions don't draft a DT to start ahead of him).  With their new free-weight training program and an emphasis on maxxing out size and power, I believe Andre Fluellen's athletcism will make him a force to be reckoned with--especially with Grady Jackson occupying two blockers on most downs.

It's sad to see one of the last pieces of What Might Have Been shipped off . . . but it again reinforces a few points:

1) Martin Mayhew is a Real Live NFL GM who has a plan and is executing it like a pro
2) Mayhew and Schwartz are on exactly the same page when it comes to how to build this team
3) They're going to do it by getting bigger, faster, and stronger on defense, right away

I'm all for it.  Yes, yes, yes, today is a good day to be a Lions fan . . . and the blue flame burns a bit brighter yet.

15 comments:

David m March 14, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

I hated to do it, but after this trade my hybrid mock draft has Curry in the 3rd scenario instead of the first.
I agree he is still a possibility at #1, but it becomes more risky now since he would be making a position switch. I know he could make an excellent MLB, but it seems unwise to tie up so much salary cap in our linebackers. For that reason, I dont know if Detroit will go after him. Things are now more muddled....
What do you think, Ty?
I don't think he is the frontrunner any longer. But I do feel he is definitely still in the running.

Neil March 14, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

I love this trade. Peterson and Sims centered by Curry would be absolutely dynamite. Alas, I'm not so sure that's going to happen. But Peterson alone is a pretty big upgrade and if they can get a semblance of size and competence in the middle the linebackers should be dramatically better.

This does leave a hole in the d-line, but Ty, you probably already know that I'm not the biggest Cory Redding fan in the world, so I'm not that worried about replacing him. I am appalled that I forgot about Fluellen in my review of the DL over at AL, and you're right, he could be the guy here. But whether it's him or Peria Jerry or whoever, I think we'll be okay.

Anonymous,  March 14, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

i'm a little bummed we gave up our 5th for this trade though...seemed we are taking the larger hit in cap, yet we gave up more in the deal...especially for a player who was probably going to be cut anyway

Anonymous,  March 14, 2009 at 7:11 PM  

Ty, I've complimented you before on your analysis of the DT's and DE's...

We had a glut of players that could play 3-technique or end on a 3-4. The only surprise here is that we traded the stable vet with a big contract and got another good player, albeit with an equally lopsided contract, instead of releasing some of the kids.

Ty March 14, 2009 at 7:30 PM  

David M-

Who do you have now over Curry as the primary? Stafford? Smith?

I believe Curry is still the leader for the primary reason I thought he was the leader to begin with: he is the exceedingly rare combination of superlative physical talent and extraordinary character. He's the smart, tough, intelligent, vocal leader the Lions defense desperately lacks.

Ty March 14, 2009 at 7:37 PM  

Neil--

I admit that it seems like less of a lock for Curry now, but the fact is that he was probably going to have to play in the middle to justify that contract, anyway. Curry said that the Lions wanted to know if he could be the leader of the defense . . . and he said the current player he's most like is Ray Lewis. IMO, anyone who says a dude who won the Butkus award over Maualuga and Laurenitis, playing at 6'-2" 258 can't man the middle is wrong.

Peace
Ty

Ty March 14, 2009 at 7:47 PM  

Anon 1--

Yeah I preferred the original rumor that WE were getting the fifth-rounder thrown in to us throwing in the fifth-rounder . . . but JP is only 30. He's right in the prime of a 5-time Pro Bowl career, and probably has two years before he even starts slowing down. Really, the school of thought where "WE MUST GET SEVEN IMPACT STARTERS IN THIS DRAFT" was never realistic; getting more than one or two Day One starters in any given draft is either a byproduct of reaching for needs, or of an awful roster, or both. We cut our last fifth-rounder in training camp--obviously you hope for better, but you can't realistically expect anything from a fifth-round pick; they're ALL fliers at that point.

Peace
Ty

Ty March 14, 2009 at 7:54 PM  

Anon 2--

Yes, and thank you sir! I aimed a little high on the amount of time, trying to do that level of research for every player in every position group. Yet I think that with the Lions carrying 11 DL into last year, and the position so critical to the makeover of the defense, the DL analysis was most critical.

As far as the logjam of 275-295 pounders, you are SPOT ON . . . and even with the departure of Redding and Cody, I bet at least one more DT will be got rid of (or permanently switched to end) before training camp opens. That doesn't mean they won't draft one, but I think the days of the lighter DTs is over. Many people are looking at Peria Jerry to replace Redding, but he's only 275. I would think the Lions would have to believe he can add 30 pounds without missing a beat to even consider him. No, I think Flu is the perfect candidate. A whole offseason of the new conditioning program, lots more reps, and he could be a bad, bad man. Don't forget, Bobby Bowden said he's the best DT he's coached in many years . . .

Peace
Ty

David M March 14, 2009 at 8:50 PM  

Good Point Ty,

I actually am thinking Eugene monroe would be the better LT than Jason Smith. I'd actually be happy with either guy, but reading some scouting reports on them both showed me that Monroe might be the better option.

Maybe the Lions want Curry to be the MLB all along, in which case nothing has changed!

Steve March 14, 2009 at 10:32 PM  

The Lions might finally be in the enviable position of not letting "need" factor so heavily in their upcoming draft decisions.

Peterson is the closest to being a difference-making player that they have added yet this off-season, but at worst, they don't have to necessarily feel beholden to addressing the LB positions within the 1st three picks, like they previously would have.

At this point, I feel the draft focus should become defense. Since they have placed an inordinate emphasis upon improving their defense via free agency, it would make sense continuing with that plan in the draft, too.

Whatever happens, after their upcoming acquisition of Jay Cutler during the next couple of weeks (:-) the Lions will easily be in a better position than they have been opening a season at any time during the last seven seasons.

So if they take Jason Smith, Aaron Curry, or some unforeseen player, they will definitely be an improved team moving forward. Ultimately, trumping the eventual selection of a QB atop the draft board, will be the icing on the off-season cake.

Ty March 15, 2009 at 12:39 AM  

David M--

I would be thrilled with either Smith or Monroe. I bet Monroe will be the better 2-way (run/pass) blocker, but to me Smith just had that magic air of dominance at the combine, the overwhelming strength, technique, and polish that I in Joe Thomas when he did the same drills. Actually, in several mocks I've done and seen lately, Michael Oher has fallen to me at 1.20, and THAT would be my ideal. Oher is a road-grader, and I think he'd be a great candidate to plug in at LG until his footwork gets coached up, and Backus is ready to be cut loose . . .

The MLB thing is kind of my point. The Lions were probably planning on putting Curry in the middle anyway; this trade then does nothing but take pressure off of him. There is no doubt that we needed TWO starting linebackers.

Peace
Ty

Ty March 15, 2009 at 12:45 AM  

Steve--

You're absolutely spot on; it appears as thought the Lions have either filled, patched, or made a real effort to fill/patch every hole: QB #2 WR, third-down back, LG, NT, CB, CB, OLB . . . leaving no glaring "musts" that pen them in to taking any particular positions. And yeah, if Stafford is the pick, there is no doubt that the 1.20 and 2.1 will be there for us to fill what needs are left. I'd much rather take Curry and see if Freeman falls, but hey . . .

Peace
Ty

Joe Willy March 15, 2009 at 9:03 AM  

I go back and forth on whether this gives Curry a better or worse chance at being selected number 1. We still have that hole in the middle and Curry looks awesome but wouldn't it make more sense to address another need at #1 and still be able to draft Rey or Animal at #20? Peterson has a fat contract and having a top draft pick next to him ties a lot of money up at the LB positions. Then again, Peterson's getting old and would make a great mentor to Ernie, Dizon and maybe even Curry. Besides, didn't Schwartz say he doesn't even really use a Mike? So, then Curry's lack of time at Mike in college isn't really a factor.

Joe Willy March 15, 2009 at 9:07 AM  

I find myself actually thinking the Lions should try to sign Rex Grossman. I absolutely hate the idea of wasting a top pick on another Joey so why not at least pick up somebody with experience that you'd be paying less for and not go into the season relying on Culpepper's aging body to keep Drew Stanton off the field? It scares me to think our QB situation is actually worse than it was last year!

Ty March 16, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

Joe Willie--

First, and I'll get to this, it looks like you might be exactly right. Some of the mocks I've been in lately have had both Maualuga and Laurenitis falling to us at 1.20. I'd take Curry's remarkable life story of effort and perseverance over just about anybody, but Rey is no problem child, IS a physical freak, yet built more like a traditional MLB.

Schwartz uses a Mike, he just prefers to not specialize his defense based on where the TE is. The ideas of "strong" and "weak" & Safties kind of disappear in his defenses. I think Curry would be just fine at Mike, and in fact I believe he'll be dominant.

Sexy Rexy = no. I don't believe he gives us a better chance to win now than Culpepper, and he CERTAINLY is not a long-term solution. He and Culpepper's games are identical at this point: "bomb it down the field and hope magic happens".

Peace
Ty

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