Three Cups Deep: The Eye of the Hurricane

>> 9.06.2010

13 September 2009:  Cincinnati Bengals' tight end Daniel Coats (86) against the Denver Broncos' Alphonso Smith (33) in their NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. With the weekend’s whirlwind of roster moves giving way to a holiday calm, we have  a moment to reflect on where the Lions are at, and where they’re going—as they forge into the vicious winds of Solider Field.  Sports Illustrated’s Damon Hack broke down the Lions, and their chances for success in 2010, on last night’s Fireside Chat podcast.

In my post-interview segment, I had a brain fart and started talking about the Lions’ newest defensive back, Alphonso Smith, as if he was selected in the 2010 draft instead of the 2009.  As soon as I realized my mistake, I wondered where my wires got crossed . . . it didn’t take me long to remember.

Last season, Steve of Detroit Lions Weblog and I collaborated in a blogger mock draft, and who was our second-round selection?  None other than Alphonso Smith.  Here’s what I said at the time:

Smith possesses all the tools of a prime time NFL cover corner: blazing speed, great short-area burst, confidence, and a nose for the ball. To make a long story short, Smith looks like Dre' Bly all over again, minus (offically speaking) one inch of height. 5'-9" is really small, especially since that's an "official" height. We'll see what happens when he weighs in at the combine, but for now the height gives me pause.  [Steve] and I were wearing our Martin Mayhew/Shack Harris caps (golly, who was who?), trying to draft as we think the Lions will.

One of the justifications for my controversial selection of Josh Freeman in the first round, was that I thought Smith might still be here for us at this pick--and he is. Smith is also a dangerous return man, so even if he doesn't start, or begins his career as a nickel back, he'll be have a chance to make an immediate impact in another desperate need area. Moreover, Smith possesses the attitude--if not the frame--to be excellent in run support. Despite his size, he's very strong and physical . . . I think he needs to go to the vet, because his pythons are sick (apologies to Colin Cowherd).

Of course, I said all that stuff in defense of taking him over the eventual Defensive Rookie of the Year, Clay Matthews, so, y'know, take that with a grain of salt.

If Smith truly is a younger Bly, he’ll compete for time immediately—but his one-year tenure in Denver suggests he’s not anything of the kind.  Then again, the Falcons gave up on Chris Houston after just two years, and he’s working out great so far; perhaps the Lions are just more willing to give cornerbacks the time they need to develop.  Yeah.  Let’s go with that.

A couple of housecleaning notes: first, a recent flurry of excellent comments has gone unreplied to (DrewsLions, Matt, et al.).  I’m working on it.  That, and a recent MGoBlog post has inspired me to go back into my inbox and take care of some flummoxing old emails of my own.  Also, I’m updating the Detroit Lions Jersey Menagerie.  All of that, a Watchtower, and more, coming this week.

The far eyewall approaches; the turbulent winds of Solider Field howl.  Our men in Honolulu Blue will brave them on the way to victory—are you ready to follow them?  I am.  Let’s do this thing.



2 comments:

A Lion in ViQueen Territory,  September 6, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

yes, a Watchtower post. Love 'em.

Anonymous,  September 7, 2010 at 1:53 PM  

I really enjoy the podcasts. I don't usually get to listen to them live, but I always make sure to check them out later. Keep up the good work.

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