neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night

>> 3.20.2009

I've decided to start an as-frequently-as-will-be-productive "mailbag" post series.  I've gotten some interesting email over the past couple of days, so I figured I'd share both what's coming in, and what's going back out with you all.  If you've got a question, suggestion, or diatribe you'd like to send me, please hit me up at  Let's get to the first one, from "N O".


real quick about me: live in NH & just an all around NFL junkie.

so yeah, I don't get to see any Lions games but, love following
team rebuilds. 

all that being said, WTF is wrong with Stanton?? on paper he looks pretty good.
albeit I haven't seen one preseason game but, again, on paper...& if Linehan is
all he's cracked up to be shouldn't this be OK? with all the other holes in
the lineup why am I seeing talk about taking a QB? Unless you hear Trent
Dilfer talking these QB's are not Matt Ryan. 
educate me please!

Well, Stanton has a few issues. First, when he was drafted, Mike Martz didn't like him at all. His strengths aren't the strengths needed for Martz's system. At his first minicamp, Martz completely broke down Stanton's technique, starting with how he stands and how he holds a football. Then, Stanton got hurt. It looked like he would likely miss all of the preaseason, so they made the bizarre decision to put him on IR (presumably since the preseason was all the live action he was going to see anyway). However, since he couldn't participate in practice, Martz didn't work with him anymore. Stanton spent the first season not allowed to get reps, not allowed to be coached, not being built back up after being broken down.  Obviously, the one active roster spot they saved with this maneuver made a big enough difference in the won-loss record that it totally justified torpedoing the development of a quarterback they'd just spend a second-rounder on . . . Then, last season, Martz was gone, and the QB coach (Scott Loeffler) basically just got him back to normal. He flashed some serious potential in the preseason last year, then resumed his role as the third-string guy. Oddly, when Kitna got hurt, and Orlovsky got hurt, they signed Culpepper rather than let Stanton play. The reason given was that they didn't want him to "embarass" himself--yet in what little time he's gotten, he's looked great. Now he'll be on his fourth OC in four years, Loeffler is gone, too, and the current front office and coaching staff has no investment in him as the QB of the Future. Schwartz seems eager to evaluate him, but Mayhew seems to have completely written him off. It's a shame, but I think Stanton has a very bright future--just not with the Lions.

N O replied:

so...that's really really sad. It amazes me how quickly some of these potentially talented guys are quickly forgottenuntil some other team picks them up & then bam! to me, this is a bad a move as signing (the other) Johnson. If theyuse their 1st pick on a QB I'm going to puke. Maybe I'm crazy but, you can still get really good value at tackle with the 20th or trade down. I'm also really surprised that more teams aren't taking pages out of the Falcons playbook. I think Tom D (their GM) is the only guy that got "the Patriots way" (and no I'm some crazed Pats fan). Glad tosee one of the ex Patriots got it right..

If that's all true I hope Stanton lands in Philly or goes to Washington & is coached up by Zorn.
You know, it is really tough. There are so many players who come out of college with the aptitude to make it--but between injury, timing, coaching, personality disagreements, what have you--but don't work out. Let's face it, who's a better talent, Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton? Orlovsky got drafted and stashed for four years, and made the most of his moment in the sun--which happened to come in a contract year. He gets a nice FA deal to back up a weak starter on a team with a great offensive coach and a true stud wideout. If DS got the same treatment he'd be an all-Pro, I'm sure of it. Instead he's getting put out to the curb with all the rest of Millen's "trash".

You mention two good destinations for him, but I'm looking at St. Louis. The new OC there is Pat Shurmur, a former MSU QB and longtime Philly QB coach.   I believe Drew endorsed him for the MSU head coaching gig during the last hiring cycle. That all having been said, I still hold out hope DS blows 'em away in the OTAs and gets to keep his Lions' ballcap-and-clipboard.

Next came one from a reader named Neal:

I must say I personally think that Mayhew has done very well. No big anmes were going to sign here, and they had no business trying to sign big names to big contracts, when they are about to have about $100 invested in the first 5 picks in the draft. All of whom should be starters or at the least contribute. I would greatly prefer an OL first overall, and then Lauranitis, at 20. Then Freeman with the third(33 overall) and as far as picks beyond that, hopefully find a diamon in the rough, and maybe a CB, or any Defensive player? I do feel as if Fluellen will get a oppurtunity. However, I beleive Mayhew really is going to roll with Darby and Jackson; hoping for a DT to fall into hsi lap in rounds 3-5, maybe? I do beleive that even though their young, I just cant see Dizon, Francis, and/or Cohen ever beign any good.
My thoughts are Mayhew thinks, HOPES he can make a star out of Culpepper, and I strongly believe if he CAN NOT get Cutler, then he'll stay away from Quarterbacks, Veteran, and/or rookie! Which I believe Orlovsky deserved to be the starter this year, but eh? So, if Culpepper really has slimmed down from his 300 lbs he checked in at last year, then they better get him some protection, draft Smith, or Monroe, and move Backus to LG or RG, even, especially with Gosder, and now Daniel Loper, they have flexibility. 
I loved the signing of a veteran CB, like Buchanon, and think trading for Henry to move to Safety, plus getting Morris, and Johnson are nice compliments. TJ "WhosYaMaama" and Derrick Ward werent coming here so, they did well with these signings.
Like I said in an earlier post, I secretly wear Martin Mayhew underoos. I think he might be a seriously, seriously gifted executive. The acquisitions have all been cheap, effective, no-committment deals that simply perfectly fill the holes in the roster for 2009. None of these guys are being billed as saviors, none of them have big guaranteed money; Mayhew could cut them all next season without a second thought. Yet, all of them are possible, if not probable, major contributors next year . . .

Draft stuff? I think Curry could be the next Ray Lewis, a game-changing dominator. I think James Laurenitis will be a good run-stuffing MLB. There seems to be a prevailing attitude that any first-round-caliber MLB will make an equal impact, and it just isn't true. That having been said, Laurenitis *should* be much better than Dizon would be this year, so it'd be an upgrade at the very least. I think that Curry over Dizon would be a much bigger upgrade than Smith over Backus, both for 2009 and beyond. I actually favor going Curry, then drafting a C/G for the future with the 2.1 (presuming Michael Oher doesn't fall to us at the 1.20, which he might).

Outside of his inexplicable love of Culpepper--which, you're right, he seems to think that it's either Culpepper, an established young stud, or fugheddaboudit--Mayhew seems to have a great grasp of what talent he needs to turn the Lions into the team he wants them to be. It so happens that I agree with his vision, as well. I think the Lions are in great hands . . . it's nice to be able to think that for the first time in a long, long time.


Anonymous,  March 20, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

Great Blog/Site Ty!
Like the addition of some emails, and feedback.
I am a newbie, but plan on being a seasoned Vet sure enough!
Keep it up.

Ty,  March 20, 2009 at 12:33 PM  

Thanks, man. Go all of the above right back at you! I will do my best to keep the the content relevant, insightful, and entertaining. I'm confident that having more feedback and dialogue is going to make this blog more of each of those things.


robertpryor,  March 21, 2009 at 6:21 AM  

I agree that Mayhew has done well thus far. Assuming no trade for Cutler, who would be a huge get and should be acquired if feasible, Laurinaitis should only be a consideration if he slips to our pick at 33 and we don't draft Curry. Assuming no Cutler trade, I'd like to see:

1a - Curry
1b - P. Jerry (DT) or M. Oher (LT)

David M,  March 21, 2009 at 8:33 PM  

I somehow fail to see Mayhew drafting two linebackers using our top 3 picks. I have a philosophy that Mayhew will be taking a page from Bill Parcells' book by drafting linemen out the whazoo. We are in an extremely similar situation to the Dolphins of last year, and Mayhew is a smart enough guy to look to the master franchise builder that is Bill Parcells.
My theory is that two linemen will be seleted with at least two of our first 3 picks.
Thats the gist of my argument but I wrote more about it on my blog of the Lions.
Ty, I like the mailbag segment...good addition.

Ty,  March 23, 2009 at 9:07 AM  


I really like your draft there. However, I would caution you that Peria Jerry is an overachieving 275-pounder, much like all the other dudes we have on the roster at DL. I think the Lions would not draft him unless they think he can add 40 pounds without losing a step, which is pracitcally impossible.


Ty,  March 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM  

David M--

Thanks! I would also be surprised--shocked, really--if two linebackers were taken in the first three picks, now that Peterson is in the fold. I think the Lions would be dipping into the D-linemen very strongly if there were any good ones available. Raji's the only one that fits the Schwartz mold that has any talent; Brace is a big dude but won't be an impact player for years if ever, and after that you are pretty much out of luck . . . I do expect that one of the first rounders will be a tackle, especially if Oher falls.


Anonymous,  March 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

I hope it wasnt me, that made any reference to them possibly taking two LBers?
I do think they really could use a LB at pick 20 or 33, if they DONT take Curry at 1.
I also think that a OL first would be exactly what 89% of fans have been clamoring for for years now.
With picks 20/33 I think it has to be Defense, so who would you take TY.

Ty,  March 23, 2009 at 2:45 PM  


I have no real problem with taking an LT 1.1. I've said many times that elite LTs are pretty much only available at the very tippy top of the draft; not taking one when one is there is foolhardy indeed. Also, taking an LT seems to solve the OL problem for the first time in almost twenty years--and of course that has incredible benefits for the offense, both on the ground and in the air. Still, I've really kind of fallen in love with the idea of drafting Aaron Curry to be the face, voice, heart, and soul of the defense. He seems to be an incredible young man, and is undeniably an incredible talent. I think that he, Sims, and Peterson could immediately be the best LB corps in football under this coaching staff; I'm not sure how a 1.1 LT would handle displacing a guy who's started over 100 consecutive games. Moreover, I'm not sure how Backus would handle it either. You'd be taking a real, real risk of pissing off one of the very few veteran leaders in the locker room . . . people seem to think this is all no big deal, but there are definitely ramifications to drafting a guy 1.1 to replace a team captain in his prime.

Assuming you do that? I'd hope Maualuga falls to 1.20. Failing that, I'd probably have to waffle between Laurenitis at 1.20 and the best available corner at 2.1, or the best available corner at 1.20 and Clay Matthews III at 2.1.


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