Kyle Vanden Bosch: Music With What We Have Left

>> 12.08.2010

Kyle Vanden Bosch drives Eli Manning into the ground as the Detroit Lions very nearly, but not quite, defeat the New York Giants.

I named this post after a beautiful--but apocryphal--story about violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman finishing a concert after breaking a string.  Perlman, so the story goes, snapped a string very early in the performance—and forged ahead, using alternate fingerings, different voicings, even detuning strings (!) on the fly to complete the piece without missing a beat.  Perlman, who was stricken with polio as a youth and so walks with crutches, then quieted the enthralled audience and (allegedly) said, “You know, sometimes it’s the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with with what you have left.”

Again, as I said, it didn’t actually happen, as far as anyone can tell—the story appeared in the Houston Chronicle six years after the concert supposedly took place, doesn’t jibe with Perlman’s known performance schedule from the time, and nobody who saw him perform around then reported anything like the above . . . but it is a good story.

Today, Kyle Vanden Bosch was placed on the Reserve-Injured list, ending his first season as a Detroit Lion.  A captain, and the unquestioned heart and soul of the defense, KVB finished with 33 tackles, 11 assists, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a pass defensed.  This included a monster 10-tackle tour de force in the season opener; one of the greatest individual performances by a Lion in recent memory.  We’re told not to worry, the bulging disk will be easily corrected, and KVB will return to play “at a high level.”  I’d be inclined to question The Grandmaster on this one, except he was right about how much KVB had left in the tank to begin with . . .

So what’s left?  A freshly-broken-out Cliff Avril, Turk McBride, Lawrence Jackson, and (the Great) Willie Young.  If Avril can keep up his dominant play, this group won’t be too shabby—especially if the tackles continue to play as they have.  However, that’s a pretty big “if;” KVB’s leadership inarguably inspired Avril and the rest of the line to play as they have—will they keep it up in his absence?  In a way, KVB’s absence will allow us to judge his off-field impact on the team, just as much as his presence allowed us to judge his impact between the lines.

Moreover, it’ll be a stern test of just how far the defense has come under Schwartz and Cunningham: can they keep this group motivated and productive without the man they desperately courted in the offseason?  Knowing KVB would be the catalyst for great improvement on the defensive line, will the reaction keep going now that the catalyst is spent?  Can Guntherball keep playing the offense like a fiddle, calling just the right blitz at just the right time, now that a string has snapped?  We’ll get to see just how much music he can still make with what he has left.


11 comments:

Neil December 8, 2010 at 6:31 PM  

I love that Perlman story. Even if it isn't true, it's true, you know?

theicon77,  December 9, 2010 at 1:23 AM  

I bought the Perlman story.

NorthLeft12 December 9, 2010 at 6:54 AM  

I am not as enthralled as you with Guntherball. For all the complaining about offensive penalties and breakdowns, I think the defence is a far worse offender in both these areas. Especially on allowing big plays and not making big plays of their own. I guess we can fall back on the low talent level refrain, but I see a couple of our our young building blocks [Delmas and Levy] regressing this year. Perhaps they are not close to 100% healthy, but they seem to be out of position constantly. Their coverage ability is very poor. I would expect a defensive genius [maybe that should be in quotations] like Gunther to make sure those two guys improve above all others. Those are your defensive QBs by the way.

NorthLeft12 December 9, 2010 at 6:58 AM  

Oh,and we should be fine without KVB. Avril always has been our best DE IMO, and Lawrence Jackson has been playing well enough to earn some more snaps. I don't know about Willie Young, but after one of the DEs goes down in the next week or two, we will get our chance to see him play for real.

Clusterfox,  December 9, 2010 at 9:22 AM  

Great Read. True or not, we know that the great ones can still make music with what ever they have from Jimi Hendrix to groups like Stomp,or Blue Man Group. It's truly entertaining to watch talented musicians make music.

On that note I'd like to see Mayhew( along w/Schwartz) use every intrument they have available.
I'm a fan of using IR as much as possible at the end of this season. Similar to using the #1 spot in waiver priority. I think we should be utilizing the IR, and signing young guys off other people PS(ie Prince Miller)Not that these guys are sure things or anything. However they are young and desirable to have in our system through the off season. Here's to making another big advancement in the Offseason to field a quality team next year.

Ty December 9, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

Neil--

Exactly.

theicon77--

Yeah, me too. The first time I heard the tale was actually during a church sermon. My pastor is a gifted orator, and he really sold it. I rushed home, inspired, and Googled it up. The first thing I found was the Snopes article debunking it. Sigh.

Peace
Ty

Ty December 9, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

NorthLeft12--

You bring up some excellent points. I, for one, have believed that Delmas has been (literally) limping through a groin injury for most of the season--but really, it's not the physical injuries to Delmas and Levy that have been the problem, but that those injuries have prevented them from practicing.

Don't forget: Levy, for as many plays as he made last year, also missed a lot of tackles. He missed two weeks of camp, and then preseason . . . he needed all of those reps to be consistent withing the defense, and he didn't get them. And as amazing as he was last year, Delmas wasn't so flawless that he could sit out much of camp and preseason and never miss a beat, either.

Gunther's doing some amazingly creative work in getting pressure without blitzing, or with minimal blitzing. Don't forget, he has to scheme as if there's practically no secondary at all back there--the Lions were dropping seven back on almost every play and Brady still barely let the ball touch the ground!

Peace
Ty

Ty December 9, 2010 at 10:37 AM  

* Don't forget, he has to scheme as if there's practically no secondary at all back there--[AGAINST THE PATRIOTS,] the Lions were dropping seven back on almost every play and Brady still barely let the ball touch the ground!

Matt,  December 9, 2010 at 4:36 PM  

Fantastic piece. I don't know about the validity of the actual football analysis, but I really don't care. Just a fantastic piece of writing, sports or otherwise.

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