larry foote released - or not

>> 4.28.2009

UPDATE WHICH SUPERCEDES ALL PREVIOUS UPDATES:

Killer's now reporting that Foote has NOT been released, and while the speculation is that he'll be released after this weekend's minicamp as insurance against any injury to Timmons, that's far from a done deal.  More updates as they come . . .

As I tweeted a few minutes ago, the Steelers have released ILB Larry Foote.  Foote hails from the Detroit area, and a friend said several months ago that Larry always wanted to finish his career in Detroit.  Foote, however, immediately shot that notion down:

"That was one of my boys just talking stupid stuff in the paper," Foote said this week. "I think all players say that toward the tail end: 'I'll just end up going home and finish up there.' But that was just talk." ... "Would somebody want me? I don't know. I've never been a free agent. I've never been on the market," he said. "I don't know if the Lions even want me. My play hasn't dropped off, just my (playing) time has dropped off. I can be as productive as any linebacker in the league with the opportunity."

Huh.  Well, Larry, now you're a free agent, and you're on the market.  Let's see if the Lions even want you . . . I can't see how they wouldn't.  Foote would immediately fill the obvious hole in the middle of the defense.  Of course, just like Grady Jackson, Foote's at the tail end of his career.  This defense is desperately in need of a leader, someone to walk into that locker room and show all the greenhorns how to win in the NFL.  Foote's a polished veteran, a skilled leader who's as valuable off the field as on.  Moreover, he's spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers--arguably the toughest and classiest organization in football.  Even more, moreover, the man has a couple of rings.  This seems like a no-brainer.

UPDATE: John Niyo gets a cookie: Foote is now openly declaring the Lions his #1 choice, the leader in the clubhouse, and in talks with his agent.  Please, for the love of Bubbles/Blades/Beast, get this deal done!

18 comments:

Calvins Got a Job,  April 28, 2009 at 1:36 PM  

Bring him to the D!

Anonymous,  April 28, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

assuming detroit is interested [i believe they are], foote will be a lion soon. he said the lions are his first choice now that he's a free agent.

Anonymous,  April 28, 2009 at 2:11 PM  

Two other things floating around.

Levi Jones is about to be released and KC is looking to trade Glenn Dorsey.

:)

Ty April 28, 2009 at 2:39 PM  

Calvins--

Agreed in both senses of the letter "D"!

Peace
Ty

Ty April 28, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

Anon--

Got a link to where he said that? That'd be nice to read. As to the rumblings you mentioned, I've always been a Levi Jones fan, but I don't know if he'd be an immediate upgrade over Backus--and if not, then why? The OL help I'd be most interested in at this point, post-draft, is at left guard. Oh and uh . . . YES, I would take Glenn Dorsey. I'm not sure the Chiefs would be interested in dealing for anything the Lions have other than our next first-rounder, though, and I wouldn't bet on the Lions paying that price any time soon.

Peace
Ty

Riley April 28, 2009 at 2:49 PM  

Wow. Nothing would put the stamp of "New Regime" on this organization like plugging-in Larry Foote!

I think everybody would sit up and take notice of the change happening in the Lions organization after all the off-season improvements they made, should Larry Foote were to be included in the mix of offseason veterans added such as Julian Peterson, Grady Jackson, and Phillip Buchanon? ... what a great foursome to help turn this defense around.

Add to that Louis Delmas, and the run, at least, should be well enough defended in 2009.

Ty April 28, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

Riley, as I mentioned to a friend, if this were 2005, it would be time to break out the trophy polish! Grady Jackson, Julian Peterson, Philip Buchanon, Anthony Henry, and Larry Foote? Four years ago that was practically an all-All-Pro defense . . .

As it is, I'll most definitely take it over the 2008 unit. Next season, when the talent will be deeper (this draft class was weak), and we'll hopefully be picking at a more defense-friendly slot (5th-10th), I expect then to really start laying the defensive foundation.

Peace
Ty

Anonymous,  April 28, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

http://www.freep.com/article/20090428/SPORTS01/90428065/LB+Larry+Foote+says+he+would+like+to+become+a+Lion

Anonymous,  April 28, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

This one too...

http://www.detnews.com/article/20090428/SPORTS0101/904280423/1126/Ex-Steeler+Larry+Foote+wants+to+join+Lions

Ty April 28, 2009 at 3:20 PM  

Whew, you guys are right on top of it as always. It's so funny when this happens, because my BlackBerry goes nuts with tweets, IMs, emails, and comments . . . consider the piece updated.

I am officially thrilled--though trying to keep a lid on my thrilledness, lest talks fall through.

Peace
Ty

Anonymous,  April 28, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

foote WILL BE released after the weekend:

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/playerbreakingnews.asp?sport=NFL&id=650&line=143217&spln=1

Ty April 28, 2009 at 3:58 PM  

. . . or NOT.

http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/2009/04/steelers_say_larry_foote_has_n.html

Peace
Ty

Anonymous,  April 28, 2009 at 5:09 PM  

And then there's Pittsburgs own site that say's this...

http://www.nfl.com/teams/pittsburghsteelers/transactions?team=PIT

Egret April 28, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

Foote would be a great fit. We would have an unbelievable turnover of players on the defense if he were to come here. Bring him in!

Riley April 29, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

I think a very significant problem on the Lions last year, was the lack of a DT that could stuff the middle. This then exposed the Lions slow and/or small and inexperienced Middle Line Backers, and the final straw, was that the Lions lacked a healthy and aggressive Safety who could come in an keep 5-10 yard rushing plays from turning into 30+ yard rushing plays.

The acquisition of Grady Jackson together with new draftee 6-4, 329lb Sammie Lee Hill, will do a lot to help the Line Backers. But the Lions are planning to play their Defensive Ends wide next season, and that shifts the pressure back on the Outside Linebackers and the secondary to be especially good tacklers.

Well, here again, after the acquisition of Julian Peterson, the OLB spots on the Lions are now the biggest strength on that defense, and they will be backed up this year (unlike last year) by Gerald Alexander (assuming he's healthy) and if not Alexander, then new draftee Louis Delmas a particularly great pick in the draft because he fits both that need for a strong run stopping Safety, and he was a very good value at pick 33.

One off-season acquisition that I think that is being too much overlooked this offseason is the pick-up of Anthony Henry. Henry had 6 interceptions during the season just two years ago and 73 tackles in the season just 3 years ago. He can make plays on the ball and the ball carrier. Along with Philip Buchanon these two could be solid starters in this defense.

Defensive Ends Cliff Avril, Dewayne White, and even Jared DeVries, are all decent enough ends that could do very well in this ends-out scheme as well, as it will let them use their speed.

If the Lions could just add Larry Foot to help shore up that middle, they could manage to have a pretty good looking defense I think. Hard to believe after last year, but I think it's true.

Ty April 30, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

Riley--

Could you give me a little more info on this lined-up-wider DE thing? I know DEs typically line up wider on passing downs to get better angles for the pass rush, at the expense of being in position for the run game. So, you expect the Lions to line up their ends wider more often? I hadn't read that . . . I imagine that will benefit Avril on passing downs, but make it much harder to hold the edge. Hence, as you say, more pressure on the OLBs; it will be interesting to see if Cunningham can get Sims to play disciplined. That scheme tweak would also explain the Kevin Carter visit: Carter's a much bigger, stronger veteran who can platoon with Avril and spell him on running downs.

It remains to be seen if Hill can contribute, or will be Schwartz's version of Five-O; a guy who's got the perfect body and plenty of talent, but has absolutely no experience or technique. But, if Jackson can give us 25 quality snaps a game, Foote comes here, and Delmas is as advertised, the middle of this defense will be COMPLETELY different . . . I am still panicked about the corners though. Henry and Buchanon could be anywhere from one of the better veteran CB combos in the game, to no better than what we had before--and after that, we have nobody.

Peace
Ty

Riley April 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM  

Ty,

Try this link :
--------------------------------------
"Veterans Detroit has added to the defensive side of the ball this offseason are defensive tackle Grady Jackson, linebacker Julian Peterson, and cornerbacks Phillip Buchanon and Anthony Henry.

Those players will help Cunningham transition the younger guys to his defensive philosophy; one that includes defensive ends out wide, linebackers playing downhill and capable tacklers at both the linebacker and defensive back positions."
--------------------------------------

So, as I understand it, this philosophy/scheme makes a trade-off: The Defensive End focuses more on attacking the QB (regardless of down) and less on defending the run. Because the DEs are lined-up wider, it should be easier for them to get to the QB, and assuming they stay alert and don't over commit, the DEs should naturally be able to contain rushing plays to the inside.

As a result of this set-up, greater emphasis is placed on there being two Outside Linebackers who are especially able to penetrate into the gaps left between the DEs and the DTs (enter Julian Peterson to man the other OLB position across from Ernie Simms). It also puts greater emphasis on there being aggressive sure-tackling Secondary players who can offer increased run support to back them up, because while this scheme is likely to keep rushing plays contained to the inside, it also spreads out the lineman leaving potentially much larger holes on the inside.

So, having a Safety who can read and react quickly and effectively against the run is particularly crucial (enter Louis Delmas). The presumed increase of a pass rush combined with LBs who will be shooting the gaps inside, also shifts the role of the CBs somewhat, away from needing to be "shut down" in pass coverage to needing to be more reliable in run coverage for those plays that do manage to get around the end (enter Anthony Henry).

The wider space created on the inside also generates a greater need for big bodied run stuffing DTs (enter Grady Jackson and Sammie Lee Hill).

How the role of the Middle Linebacker changes I'm least certain. But I think maybe, with the two Outside Linebackers expected to play "downhill" (shoot the gaps), I think the Mike position will be expected to play back off the line a little bit more and to operate more in open space than the Mike normally does, and an extra emphasis will be placed on covering the TE or the Running back out of the back field. If that's the case, it would make the Lions third round draft pick DeAndre Levy a much better fit for the scheme, given his 6'-2" height and 4.5 40 speed.


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Anonymous,  January 4, 2010 at 12:00 AM  

Too bad he is not on one man team-he would go further!
Detroit sucks and they keep him behind.

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