giving up the ghost, to keep the spirit alive

>> 3.29.2009

Winter is teasing us now; toying with us.  We get a little tickle of warmth, a flicker of sunshine.  A morning where walking out of the house into the early light makes your coat feel like a straitjacket.  An afternoon where the greenhouse effect in our car makes us seriously contemplate engaging the A/C.  Then, just the next day, we're out in the driveway with the scraper again: defroster blasting, jacket buttoned up tight, hands in our sleeves, and wondering what happened to the spring that had seemed to arrive.  This afternoon, snow falls gently falls outside my windows--and despite what the calendar says ought to be happening, it's accumulating on my previously greening lawn.

In the case of the Lions, there are plenty of parallels.  We've gotten glimspes of hope; blue flickers and silver sparks.  Most reasonable fans seem to agree: Lewand and Mayhew have displayed an undeniable level  of competence.  The holes in the roster have been clearly identified--and, for the most part, sensibly filled with inexpensive-yet-respectable veterans.  There are quality draft prospects at the remaining need positions, and the Lions have almost enough picks in the first three rounds to "fill" all of those needs.  The Lions's front office has, on paper, returned the franchise to, at least, competitiveness.  With these coaches, these players, and the schemes we understand will be installed, the expectation has to be that this team will--if I may be so bold--win multiple games.

Still, it isn't spring quite yet.  The nights are still bitterly cold and dark, freezing and killing anything green that might have been duped into optimism.  Whenever the wind picks up, jackets are zippered, hoods are put up, hats are drawn tight, and hands are shoved into pockets to ward off the biting chill.  The winds are blowing around me as I listen for news, for information.  It's getting harder and harder to not admit what's rapidly becoming obvious:

They're going to draft Matt Stafford.

It absolutely kills me to say it, but it's getting harder and harder to pretend like that isn't the salient move.  The notion of following in Bill Parcells' footsteps, playing agent off each other and signing the most signable guy, got deflated this week with Dave Birkett's observation that most of the candidates are represented by one of two agencies.  If Jason Smith and Matt Stafford are represented by Dogra and Condon--the two biggest agents at one of the biggest agencies--it's not like the Lions are going to be able to negotiate in secret, and leverage their positions against each other: the agents will surely keep each other appraised of how negotations are going.  Another undeniable fact is that this IS "the year" to take a quarterback; expectations couldn't be lower.  Simply winning a game would be a literally infinite improvment over last season.  Having practically nothing but an elite young reciever is exactly the situation Peyton Manning walked into, and the Colts went 3-13 his rookie season.

In fact, let's stop for a minute right there.  A lot of people, myself included, have derided Matt Stafford as being "no Peyton Manning".  People speak of Peyton as if he was an absolutely bulletproof prospect coming out of college.  However, this is revisionist history.  From Peter King's 1998 evaluation of him:

"He has done an excellent job of getting the most out of his abilities, but he is not quite as natural a player as Leaf. One question that some NFL scouts have is the question “will he get any better?”. At times he gives the appearance of being a self-made player, and sometimes those types of players don’t always go on to great NFL careers. In Manning’s case, he may be a solid and productive NFL QB, but he may not have Hall of Fame type skills, but it certainly won’t be for lack of effort. He has probably been the most scouted player in the draft in recent years, and because that NFL teams tend to look too much at potential flaws, instead of accepting him for what he is, a great college QB that is on his way to an outstanding NFL career."
[emphasis mine]

(Mr. King gets props for correctly predicting the Lions' first-rounder at #20, CB Terry Fair).  The whole "self-made player" thing doesn't really apply to Stafford, of course, but doesn't that last sentence ring true?  Of course, Stafford is not a completely finished prospect; he's a college underclassman, not a seasoned pro.  Peyton didn't come out of the gates a Hall of Famer--in fact, in his first season, he went 3-13.  I remember crowing at the time that the Lions' second-rounder, Charlie Batch, boasted passer rating over 90 in his rookie season, as if the Lions had pulled one over on the rest of the NFL.  Anyway, that 1998 season saw a confused and frustrated Peyton Manning lose more often in one season than he had in most of his life.  Ex-Lion, current (at the time) Patriot "Big Play" Willie Clay had this to say after beating Manning that season:

"He didn’t look like anything special," Clay said of Manning. "He didn’t do too much to impress. He threw some balls that were ill-advised. He looked like a rookie to me."

Don't forget that fact: no matter who the Lions draft, he'll be a rookie.  An extremely talented one, yes, but a rookie.  It will take time to learn the system.  It will take time for the coaches to be comfortable with him.  It will be time for his teammates to get comfortable with him.  It will take time for him to be comfortable, too.  Aaron Curry has repeatedly voiced his desire to be the leader of the defense, on the field and off, but that's a position that must be earned--if he just comes in and pops off, he might even undermine his teammate's confidence in him. None of these guys, no matter how great they look on tape, no matter how spectacular the measurables, are guarantees.

I'm not going to pretend that all surrounding Matt Stafford is rainbows and butterflies.  I still have grave concerns about his accuracy, decision-making, and football instincts.  I have doubts that he will be an effective leader.  But mostly, I worry about chaining the franchise to a rookie quarterback, like they did with Joey Ballgame.  But I look at what Linehan was able to accomplish with Duante Culpepper, and it got me thinking:  isn't Matt Stafford a similar QB?  Million-dollar arm, questionable head?  Can make every throw, but sometimes makes throws to the wrong guy?  Surrounded with talent but never won anything big?  Aren't these all the criticisms I've been excoriating Culpepper for all these years?  And yet Linehan built an offense around the big galoot that turned him into a 4700-yard, 39-TD, 110.0-passer-rating quarterback.  The one thing I can definitively say about Mayhew and Stafford is this: he will not draft Stafford if Schwartz is not on board, and Schwartz will not be on board if Linehan is not on board, and Linehan won't be on board if he doesn't feel he can mold Stafford into that kind of player.  Even if I blame Culpepper for the 'juggernaut' 90s Vikings never getting over the hump, staring up from the bottom of the 0-16 cesspool makes "not getting over the hump" seem like Paradise.

All I can do is make peace with it . . . and tend the fire.  Every day the blue flame spreads a little more, grows a little stronger.  Take a branch, folks, and pass it on.

28 comments:

David M March 29, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

I like your concluding paragraph :)

not to sound like a pain but you said Linehan twice in this sentence: "and Schwartz will not be on board if Linehan is not on board, and Linehan won't be on board if he doesn't feel he can mold Linehan into that kind of player."

As much as I don't care for drafting a QB in our situation, I responded to your comment on my site the other day saying that Mayhew seems like a competent guy. If he feels comfortable drafting stafford after doing his due diligenec (which i believe he has done), then Ill be ok with it. Not happy...but okay.

David M March 29, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

One last thing,
I saw that you also read the post from DEtLionsfan1973 the other day. He was talking about negotiations with Curry and the other 3 candidates. You know, it seems likely that you arent hearing Mayhew hype Curry any longer because he sees that smoescreening to take stafford offers the most trade value. Other teams will want stafford more than curry.

In addition, you mentioned that Jason Smith and Matt Stafford are represented by Dogra and Condon. But what about Monroe and Curry? I mean, that whole paragraph was slightly confusing to me. Maybe you could clarify a bit more?

Ty March 29, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

Hey, thanks!

Every once in a while I like to remind people that this blog has an actual theme and purpose. ;)

If you read all posts with the tag "the winter", those are the ones where I (raggedly) extend the metaphor of a franchise in the midst of the dying season . . .

Oh, and THANK YOU for the note, good catch!

Peace
Ty

David M March 29, 2009 at 10:38 PM  

Ty,
you might want to read this article. Its very good. Talks abuot Eugene Monroe and his agent.
This could very well be our guy.

http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2009/02/plainfields_eugene_monroe_tryi.html

Jim,  March 29, 2009 at 10:58 PM  

We cannot be drafting Matt Stafford. I simply cannot accept drafting a Drew Stanton clone with a supporting cast. Drew had nothing to work with in EL, Stafford had a crew.

I'd rather they pull a Vikings move five times in a row and drop to 1.6 and take Curry there or whoever they want at whatever spot they want.

I can't remember the last time a team traded up to 1.1 though. With the exception of Eli, when was the last time that happened?

Jim,  March 29, 2009 at 10:59 PM  

In fairness to Stafford, Georgia had 19 dudes with Season-Ending Injuries by the time MSU played them in the Citrus Bowl.

Ty March 30, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

David M--

I definitely don't want to discount the possibility that it's all a smokescreen. Usually once all the Pro Days are done, about two-to-three weeks prior to the draft, information goes on lockdown while the entire franchise sets up their draft board and war room. It's at this time that occasional real info will leak out, but it's mixed in with so much fake info and total speculation that you're best off ignoring it. Look at a good solid mock done around this time period, like Dave Birkett's and Scott Wright's www.draftcountdown.com. Then watch over the next three weeks as every concievable scenario gets played out. By the end of it, you'll see mocks where we trade the 1.1 to Oakland for their first, second, and third; Oakland then takes B.J. Raji, and then we flip Oakland's first two picks back to Seattle for their first, take Curry, and then Seattle takes Stafford, and . . . yeah. I don't think we can pull off a trade. The talent isn't there, the desire isn't there. Props to Mayhew for trying to create a market, but IMO we will sign the guy we want to the best contract we can.

Good point on Monroe and Curry's representation. Monroe is actually being represented by a guy just breaking into the agent game; he appears to be a local Virginia guy that Monroe likes and trusts. This is interesting, because say what you want about Lewand, but he's a brilliant cap-and-contracts guy. He could take a first-time agent to school with this contract . . .

Curry is being represented by Andy Ross of Octagon, who handles, amongst many others, Michael Phelps and Emmitt Smith.

Peace
Ty

Steve March 30, 2009 at 10:18 AM  

Acceptance is the first stage of coming to grips with what is becoming an overwhelmingly evident fact, the Lions will be drafting Matthew Stafford.

None of us, whose view differs from that of the current Lions front office, can rectify the obvious, this team has spent more years without even a reasonable amount of dependability or consistency at the quarterback position on their roster than they have with one, over the last 50 years.

Stafford is a terrifyingly-ambivalent option. The Boom/Bust scenario is particularly precarious for a player of Stafford's nature within an organization like the Detroit Lions.

In regards to your assertion about a hierarchical simpatico existing between all of the members of the Lions organization from the top down, in regards to whom they will eventually pick, that is a projected image. I would imagine, that internally, this has been one of the most hotly-contested debates in years, since the team is so desperate for difference-making talent. History seems to tell us in retrospect, in these kind of cases, what was really going on(i.e. the Harrington debacle).

Until the NFL provides some sort of cap relief, draft-slotting, or an actual draft cap, teams will continue to proceed like the Lions are entering this draft. Teams will do their due diligence, but in the end resist the strong urge to think outside of the box, and do what everybody else has done with the first overall pick, pick the top available QB or left offensive tackle, which already are premium pay positions from the get-go.

Ty March 30, 2009 at 10:34 AM  

Jim--

DS is the first sign I've seen of a disconnect between Mayhew and the coaching staff. Every word Mayhew has said has just screamed, "DS HAS NO FUTURE HERE". Yet, the coaches seem eager to see what he's got. The offseason workout program is underway, and there should be at least one OTA session and/or mandatory minicamp before the draft; we'll see if DS can make enough headway amongst the coaching staff to ward off a first-round QB. However, as some have pointed out, if your scouts look at Matt Stafford and say, "This guy is the real deal", you do NOT pass him up, regardless of who's on your roster . . .

I believe Eli was the last trade of the 1.1--and even then, the Chargers actually executed the pick, then swapped Eli's rights for the 1.4. Eli actually stood at the podium with Bolts gear, getting lustily booed because of his rumored attempt at a power play to NOT get drafted by the Chargers.

Eli notwithstanding, the last one (IIRC) was Michael Vick. The Chargers traded down to (IIRC) 1.8 with Atlanta, who took Vick at 1.1. The Chargers then took LaDanian Tomlinson with Atlanta's first, and Drew Brees with their own 2.1.

That's a hell of a trade.

Peace
Ty

Ty March 30, 2009 at 10:44 AM  

Steve--

"Hierarchical simpatico" might be the phrase of the year!

Of course there will be internal debate. I envision Cunningham pounding the table for Curry while Linehan lobbies for Monroe, and muliple scouts disagreeing on Stafford, and Shack Harris championing Josh Freeman, and . . .

I just think that if Mayhew asks Schwartz, "If I take Stafford, can your staff mold him into a winner?" Schwartz will ask Linehan the same--and unless the answer is "yes", Mayhew won't pull the trigger. Isn't Millen's greatest failure hiring Steve Mariucci and then saddling him with Joey Harrington? Mayhew says he's learned from Millen's failures--if that's true, there's no way he drafts Stafford unless Schwartz (and therefore Linehan) is at least okay with it. Even if Schwartz wants Curry more, if he's not at least comfortable with Stafford, Stafford's not the pick.

Peace
Ty

AntGibbs,  March 30, 2009 at 11:23 AM  

Well, either way, just be right.

If Stafford is the guy, so be it. I am beginning to be okay with it.

Ty March 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM  

AntGibbs--

Agreed completely; that's part of the motivation for this post. If the scouts are saying Stafford's got it, if Harris is saying Stafford's got it, if they put him through all his paces tomorrow and he looks great, and they meet with him again and have dinner with him again and they all feel comfortable . . . they'll do it, and I'll just have to live with it. I think passing on Curry--like Demarcus Ware, Patrick Willis, etc.--could be a heartbreaking mistake, but if the Lions can finally get a real franchise QB, that has to be the pick.

Even if I don't think Stafford's a real franchise QB.

Peace
Ty

Steve March 30, 2009 at 2:33 PM  

"Even if I don't think Stafford's a real franchise QB."

Stafford is likely more a journeymen, headache-inducing high ceiling low-output Qb in a franchise Qb's clothing. Especially, given the state of the Lions O-Line, which had better be addressed in the '09 draft whether the Lions select a QB or not in April.

Anonymous,  March 30, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

I know Stafford is supposed to be the #1 QB on everyone's board, but I can't help but wonder. Is Sanchez a player in a system or is he the real deal. Despite the previous Lienert, Booty, levels of success, I seriously have a voice in the back of my head that wonders what a winner like Sanchez could do. Is he really that much of a step down from Stafford? Maybe I'm the only one, but I have the two at a coin flip. -Square

Ty March 30, 2009 at 4:57 PM  

Steve--

With the signing of Loper, who should be a pretty significant upgrade over Damion Cook, I'm actually okay with the state of the OL. I think a lot of Backus' problem has been repeated exposure to second-and-long and third-and-long passing downs when the defense has put the offense down by two or three TDs within the first quarter. Still, I'm willing to bet that OL IS addressed sooner rather than later--and with either an LT like Smith or Oher, or an interior lineman like Alex Mack or Duke Robinson, we should have (on paper) one of the better size/power lines in the league.

I'm more concerned about a Stafford's exposure to pressure, boo birds, etc., and whether this organization will have the stones to draft a QB early, and then keep him under wraps until he's ready.

Peace
Ty

Ty March 30, 2009 at 5:01 PM  

Anon--

I fully believe that Sanchez is the best pure passer prospect in this draft, but he has simply come out too early. His body doesn't yet belong in the NFL, his defense-reading and decision-making haven't matured (not that they've been bad, he just hasn't been exposed to much), and let's face it--he's surrounded by the best talent in the land. It's easy to rip people to shreds when your team completely outclasses nearly every opponent at nearly every position.

He's gone from being the surest 2010 prospect to a big question mark that could be top 5 or slip all the way past us at 20.

Peace
Ty

Riley March 30, 2009 at 5:53 PM  

All the players being considered at #1 are very good players. Whomever they pick, I'll be excited to watch and see. But if they pick Matt Stafford, my stomach will drop for fear of what the next three years will be like. Stafford could have everything you could hope for, but still will likely fail because of the situation he'd be brought into. I don't think the Lions have the systemic stability or veteran leadership or player culture necessary to help a rookie QB succeed. The Lions players need a season to re-group and to re-build confidence.

On the other hand, if the Lions draft Jason Smith or Aaron Curry (along with another elite defensive player to man the trenches and help keep OLinemen off of him), that would give the Lions the ability to beat up on other teams a little. They might (would probably) still lose much more often than not, but at least they wouldn't be physically beaten. Drafting Jason Smith/Aaron Curry #1 along with Peria Jerry at #20, would immediately create a big and physical impact, the kind that would make everyone feel a lot better about themselves.


a parting thought:
Mark Sanchez = Drew Stanton
Daunte Culpepper = Scott Mitchell

5Bakerstreet,  March 30, 2009 at 10:14 PM  

Stafford could be the pick, but I'm not convinced that he will be. Why? It goes back to the Schwartz intial interview with the Detroit media, and the way CBSsportsline reported it.

All the media, including CBSsportsline included Scwartz's statement about Bobby Layne and the Lions needing a new face of the franchise. All the media, but CBSsportsline stopped there. CBSsportsline went on to include another sentence in the paragraph; that being Mayhew's reaction to the Bobby Layne statement by Schwartz.

CBSsportsline reported that Mayhew doubled over in laughter upon Schwartz making the Layne statement, no other media did, that I'm aware of.

Seems like an odd reaction by Mayhew to me. Why would Mayhew laugh at the Bobby Layne statement? If the new Mayhew/Lewand regime was going to do everything the "right way" {per their initial conference with the Detroit media}, by stating they weren't going to tell the media the Lions' plans; then, why the doubling over with laughter at the suggestion the Lions need a new face of the franchise, after all Mayhew will be making the "final football decisions" for the Lions going forward.

Was Mayhew reacting to the new Lions logo, prior to it being leaked out?

Was Mayhew reacting to the fact that it appears Culpepper was brought in to be the near term QB and Schwartz had just given the media a headline statement, that the media would pick up on and then subsequently the national wire services indicating the Lions would be drafting a QB?

I think Mayhew/Lewand realize they can't miss with these picks, and when I say missing, I mean if any 1st or 2nd rounder doesn't start by game 1 of the 2009 regular season, then that would be a miss.

The media by majority believes Stafford will be the first pick. The Lions are going thru all the motions of indicating he'll be the first pick. But as of now I don't think the Lions know who will be the 1st pick of the 2009 draft will be. Certainly it will be one who agrees to a contract prior to the draft, and I don't think Stafford will sign prior to the draft, no matter how much he says he wants to play here simply because of the escalating inflation from the time Oakland picked Jamarcus at 1.1 ... I don't think they will agree to terms prior to the draft.

So the question of who the Lions will draft at 1.1 is unresolved in my opinion and will wait for the commissioner's announcement or ESPN, {whoever announces the pick first} before resolving the matter, 25 days from today.

Ty March 30, 2009 at 10:15 PM  

I do think the OL will be addressed in the draft one way or another, but as I said to Steve I think the addition of Loper means we'll at least be able to have enough beef up front to run more consistently. That alone should help lengthen drives, keep the defense off the field a little more, and take pressure off the short passing game. Also, as I've been cautioning folks, Jerry's a nice young talent, but he's only 275. There's no way he's drafted to play DT in this system, period. Strongside DE, now, maybe, but not DT, which is where the need is.

Peace
Ty

Riley March 31, 2009 at 12:12 AM  

The Lions with Loper have *enough* beef up front to run more consistently ... but they still wont be able to dominate the line of scrimmage consistently. I'd like to see them get dominant up there.

It's been a long cold winter for the Lions. They've received more than their share of snow-balls in the face. They are still slogging their way through a snowball fight where they are greatly outnumbered. Rather than try to throw a little bit of snow at everybody, the Lions need to pick one person that they can overwhelm, and focus enough attention on that person to overwhelm them. They're gonna lose the snowball fight anyway, but at least they make an impression and restore some pride. Make someone else eat snow too.

Peria Jerry is listed at: 6-2, 299lbs. Shwartz may not be looking to replicate in Detroit exactly what he had in Tennessee, the defense he built in Tennesse was a quick and light defense. Other than Albert Haynesworth (6-6, 320bs), there wasn't another starter on that entire Titans defense that weighed-in at over 300lbs.

Peria Jerry might not be the best value at #20 (especially given that either Ziggy hood and/or Ron Brace will likely be available in the second if the Lions passed on Jerry at #20), but he'd definitely solidify the trenches.

Go trenches!

David m March 31, 2009 at 12:14 AM  

Ty,
I have to wholeheartedly agree on Jerry. He simply isnt the type of player the Lions are looking at right now. If there is going to be any big man chosen with 20, I would think its Robert Ayers. Our guys were only 1 of 3 teams to send line coaches to his pro day.
But more to the point, here are two opposing viewpoints that I cannot seem to decide between regarding Mayhew.
First, he might follow his former boss Bill Polian, who suggests from his own example that you draft a quarterback always if you dont have one when trying to restart a franchise. He did it in Carolina, Indianapolis, etc. Polian also warned Mayhew that drafting up high like we are is hit or miss-50/50 chance of getting it right.

Second viewpoint goes along with what 5bakerstreet said. Mayhew has said time and time again that he wants to build this team the right way. What does that mean? Well, that is obviously open to speculation. But i cant help but believe he is wise enough to know that we need building blocks in order to prevent the same fiascos that Millen created. Mayhew was standing there watching Millen make a mess of the franchise. If at all possible, I think Mayhew wants to do what has been sorely lacking in Detroit: building the defense and offensive lines.
Technically, you dont need an all star QB to win games. Just establish the run game and build a strong defense. After those things are in place, you can easily plug in other positions.
However, teams like the Giants and Titans have used very few first day picks on their lines, yet have enjoyed immense success in those areas. So, maybe we don't need to spend lots of early picks to show dedication to the lines?

Unfortunately that last theory ignores our talented playmaker, Calvin Johnson to some extent. But that's a different issue....

Riley March 31, 2009 at 12:26 AM  

I laughed too when I heard the: "It's time to find Bobby Layne's replacement" line. It's been 50 years since the Lions have had a QB worth remembering. That was a very funny line. I think 5bakerstreet, you read too much into Mayhew's laughter.

David, given the depth of this year's draft in OL and DL position, you make a strong case for drafting Curry - who is probably the only special player in the top 10 this year.

Anonymous,  March 31, 2009 at 6:51 AM  

5Baker,

Do you really think that the QB situation is such that we need Stafford? I mean, we have Culpepper, but I guess the cupboard is pretty bare after that. Shouldn't Culpepper get us through the next year or two until we're in a better spot to draft a QB?

Ty March 31, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

Riley--

Hmm, I'm not sure where I got that 275 number. Ole Miss has him listed at 290, and his combine weight was indeed 299. Still, Cory Redding was listed at 305, and Mayhew had said in the post-trade pressers that Redding's spot on the roster was likely going to be at stronside DE anyway, so (his words) "we needed a tackle before, and we still need a tackle". I guess if they think Jerry can add 20 pounds without slowing down, they'll look pretty hard at him. Finally, I think there are similar 'really good but a little too small' or 'big enough but not that great' DTs that will be available at 2.1 and 3.1 . . . but we could be looking at a Rey Maualuga or a Michael Oher at that 1.20 pick; to burn it on yet another project DT when there are five already on the roster doesn't sit well with me.

You're exactly right on the OL; I think, we do need to add a big, talented, physical player through the draft. Whether that's a tackle who steps in and displaces Backus, or a tackle who starts at LG until he's ready to displace Backus, or a C/G like Alex Mack who starts at guard until he's ready to displace Raiola, or a just plain old guard who steps in and plays guard, I don't really care.

Finally, don't assume Schwartz is necessarily trying to rebuild whatever he last had in Tennesee. That defense went through several core lineup changes, as well as philosophy changes, during Schwartz's tenure. Plus, he didn't hire Gunther Cunningham to be a puppet; Gun is going to have a big say in how this defense is built. I went into pretty exahustive detail on the kind of defense I think they're trying to build; IMO sub-300-pound DTs don't really fit into that picture.

Peace
Ty

Ty March 31, 2009 at 9:28 AM  

5bakerstreet--

I agree, the question is unresolved. And it might well be a smokescreen, a coordinated effort to make it look like QB is both the obvious choice and the actual choice. The issue I have with that is that it doesn't get us anywhere. It won't create a trade market because nobody else wants to take Matt Stafford that high. The only scenario I could see is if a few days before the draft they announce they're negotiating with, say, Monroe and Curry only. Suddenly a Seattle or St. Louis, who'd done all their planning assuming the Lions would take Stafford, are looking at not having 'their guy' on the board.

THAT would be the only way I could see this whole thing being a charade.

Peace
Ty

5Bakerstreet,  March 31, 2009 at 10:01 AM  

Do I think the Lions need to draft Stafford?

Simple answer, NO. My preference is that the Lions draft Curry at 1. The defense needs a quarterback too, and right now I don't see one there. However, I wouldn't complain if J. Smith or Monroe were taken at 1.

Because I'm usually occupied on Saturdays I don't get to see much college ball. However, I did see Harringtons and Staffords Bowl games prior to being drafted, and my impression when comparing those two is that Harrington had the better arm and quarterbacking skills entering the NFL. So with that comparison I say pass on Stafford and wait for next year's college crop of QBs.

Also influencing my opinion {and I own up to that my opinion could be wrong}, is the fact that Mayhew has said the Lions are going to sign a veteran free agent QB. I don't remember if Mayhew said before or after the draft.

Everyone votes thumbs down to signing Grossman, but I watched one game between the Bears and Packers where Grossman just shredded the Pack. He connected with former Bear Berrian on a couple of 70+ yard TDs, connected on the short passes, and played flawlessly. The running game complemented the passing and the Bears won something like 37 to 14 on the tundra in Green Bay. I may be dreaming, but I think connecting Linehan with Grossman would be a good thing, but I also think connecting Linehan with Stanton will be a good thing and I'm pulling for the underdog Drew to put it together this year. And I've done a complete 360 on Cutler and now just say NO to the possiblilty of the Lions working something out {giving up picks} for Jay.

Another thought provoking blog as witnessed by the almost 30 replies, keep up the excellent work.

Ty March 31, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

David M--

That's an interesting point about 'the right way' . . . what have Mayhew, Schwartz, et. al., been saying this whole time? "Run and stop the run". And yet, they've been trying to swing a deal for Cutler. They're looking at "veteran backups". Stafford, Sanchez, and Freeman are all getting workouts. Clearly, upgrading the QB position is a priority, even if they plan to be a run-first team. We've seen what happens to the 'run first' offense when you can't throw to move the chains on 3rd down and your defense can't get off the field: you become a throw first, second, and third offense, or you lose by thirty.

Peace
Ty

David M March 31, 2009 at 3:31 PM  

Well, Im not saying we should discontinue the building process before getting a QB, or that the passing game isnt important. But I AM saying that Millen never established the building blocks. He tried to take short cuts by drafting skill players without having a decent foundation. Taking QB right now is a short cut.
I think that mayhew went after Cutler because it was such an incredible deal at the time. And the veteran backups are essential because those guys tend to manage the game well. They are less rattled by pressure. Thats all Im saying....
Look at the way Rex Ryan is approaching his QB situation in New York:
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/story/11523600

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