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DETROIT LIONS 2021: Lions Draft: Draft a QB or the best kneecap biter?


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4 hours ago, Futz said:

Welp, this game pretty much cemented the fact that the RB situation should be detonated and absolutely overhauled in the offseason. It should have happened by now but I understand trying to fix the OL first (which we thought they did but... :unsure:). Minny's depth was really apparent in this game. Dalvin cook goes down and McKinnon/Murray step in and they hardly miss a beat. Quinn has some work to do. He's been a real good GM IMO but I do think he dropped the ball (pun intended) going into the season with Abdullah as your starter and the subpar backups there just in case.The only returning piece should be Riddick.

In 119 starts, Stafford has been accompanied by a RB who has rushed for 100+ yards 7 times. In 6% of his starts, the team didn't have to almost solely rely on Stafford to the move the ball.

They need to stop running Abdullah entirely. Zenner isn't good but at least he can fall forward and not lose yards on 50% of his carries.

And I honestly don't place 100% of the blame on Abdullah. I don't think he's great but he has absolutely no chance behind that line. DET ranks dead last in adjusted line yard (2.93). Somehow, CIN's joke of a OL is actually getting more push.

This organization is wholly incompetent. 

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Not successfully you couldn’t 

I believe this is the first win the Lions have ever had in January.

I’m usually not one to get caught up in “celebrity” lives, but as a parent my ♥️ goes out to Matthew & Kelly. Her six hour brain surgery morphed into a twelve hour procedure, but she’s walking and

6 hours ago, BobbyLayne said:

Correct, and I honestly don’t care. The team is more than Matthew Stafford but if the ceiling is 9-11 wins & a first round exit, your legacy is a higher priced version of Rodney Peete or Scott Mitchell.

Inexcusable to have another flat start. Botching the handoff early - giving them a short field - you just cannot do that in a game of that magnitude. Apologists will say “oh man, if Fells could have caught one or both of those TDs.” 

Baloney. They came out flat two weeks in a row, and instead of correcting that, they have a first quarter with twice as many penalties as first downs. Nobody cares they outscored the Vikings 20-7 the last 30:37 of the game. It doesn’t matter Minnesota had (-8) yards in 11 plays in the middle of the game. When it mattered most, you came up small.

So disgusted I’m going shopping. :rant:

Sums up my feelings as well. 

 

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6 hours ago, BobbyLayne said:

Correct, and I honestly don’t care. The team is more than Matthew Stafford but if the ceiling is 9-11 wins & a first round exit, your legacy is a higher priced version of Rodney Peete or Scott Mitchell.

Inexcusable to have another flat start. Botching the handoff early - giving them a short field - you just cannot do that in a game of that magnitude. Apologists will say “oh man, if Fells could have caught one or both of those TDs.” 

Baloney. They came out flat two weeks in a row, and instead of correcting that, they have a first quarter with twice as many penalties as first downs. Nobody cares they outscored the Vikings 20-7 the last 30:37 of the game. It doesn’t matter Minnesota had (-8) yards in 11 plays in the middle of the game. When it mattered most, you came up small.

So disgusted I’m going shopping. :rant:

This is the time you look at a Billecheck coached team.   somehow he doesn't have his team make silly penalties or do stupid things.   just do your job.

amazing really.

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I really had low expectations for this year.  Got a bit excited after the strong start, but really are about where they should be.  They have zero pass rush, terrible run blocking, and not very good pass protection.  There are only about 5 better QB's than Stafford.  The receiving core is top notch, nothing elite but still very good. RB's are average at best and misused. AA is more of a receiving back and draw play back.  Stop running him on first down.  I would rather see Zenner run on first down (really should mix more passing in).  Freeney will be an important piece over the next few weeks. 

My prediction:. They make the playoffs and win a wild card game before falling to a superior Eagles team.  

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<<<<<<<<<<<<<< I thought it best to put to down the crazed Manson avatar as he takes his permanent place in hell.

 

Anyhoo, McFadden released by Dallas. He's got to be better than Washington,Zenner, or Green right? Take a chance? How can they not kick the tires on him at this point.

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On ‎11‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 8:46 PM, jomar said:

Stafford is the very least of our problems.  How about we get either a running game or a defense once in this guys career and see how many games he wins?

http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?archive=false&conference=null&role=TM&offensiveStatisticCategory=RUSHING&defensiveStatisticCategory=null&season=2017&seasonType=REG&tabSeq=2&qualified=false&Submit=Go

For the entire 21st century, they are near the bottom of this chart. Teams that can't run can't win. It really is that simple.

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On ‎11‎/‎27‎/‎2017 at 11:44 AM, BobbyLayne said:

Football outsiders ranks the offensive line 32nd.

Same site ranks the defensive line 29th.

Just think how good this 6-5 team (with all 5 losses vs. apparent playoff bound teams) would be if they could improve on this. But instead we continue to get the Johnny one-notes who obsess over individual players or coaches.

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Watched the failed implosion of the silver dome this morning. The old girl is still standing.

Many ex-Lions were there...so funny a female reporter was talking to an ex-Lion player and he was saying how many great games they had there, and how hard the field was, then at the end she says "Who are you?"  It was Luther Bradley.

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On 11/27/2017 at 11:44 AM, BobbyLayne said:

Football outsiders ranks the offensive line 32nd.

Same site ranks the defensive line 29th.

Without a doubt the teams weakness.  Can't get pressure on opposing QB's, are not good at stopping the run, absolutely can't run the ball in short yardage situations and do a poor job at protecting the QB.  Outsiders think it is Stafford fault this team does not win playoff games, when in fact it is a miracle this team has made it to the playoffs in recent years.   

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I really don't like this week's matchup against Baltimore.  A team which likes to run and a team with a good pass defense and on the road where Lions are typically a really bad road team.  This is a must-win for the Lions as they probablyl need 11 wins to get an NFC wildcard.  Two teams may make it with 10, but the Lions do not have any tie-breakers against them.  They could be practically eliminated this week.  

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1 hour ago, Da Guru said:

Watched the failed implosion of the silver dome this morning. The old girl is still standing.

Many ex-Lions were there...so funny a female reporter was talking to an ex-Lion player and he was saying how many great games they had there, and how hard the field was, then at the end she says "Who are you?"  It was Luther Bradley.

That was funny and ironic, even 300 pounds of TNT couldn't get it done in a must win situation there. Probably discover an old graveyard on the site when they finally get it torn down.

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23 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Without a doubt the teams weakness.  Can't get pressure on opposing QB's, are not good at stopping the run, absolutely can't run the ball in short yardage situations and do a poor job at protecting the QB.  Outsiders think it is Stafford fault this team does not win playoff games, when in fact it is a miracle this team has made it to the playoffs in recent years.   

Scary how much money Quinn threw at the oline and they still suck. I’ve wanted them to draft a RB and then all defense in 2018, but that still leaves a crap oline. Maybe move Glasgow to center (his natural position) and draft/buy a left guard? So many holes to fill. 

That said, the last time Stafford had a good RB was in 2011 (Best), the Lions started 5-0 and fell back to earth after Best went down in the Harbaugh backslap game. Give Stafford a stud RB and this offense takes off, in-spite of the oline. My 2cents.  

 

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16 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

I really don't like this week's matchup against Baltimore.  A team which likes to run and a team with a good pass defense and on the road where Lions are typically a really bad road team.  This is a must-win for the Lions as they probablyl need 11 wins to get an NFC wildcard.  Two teams may make it with 10, but the Lions do not have any tie-breakers against them.  They could be practically eliminated this week.  

Interestingly, reading the Baltimore Sun and a couple Ravens blogs, their beat writers / fans / followers share similar concerns. "Tough spot for the Ravens", who basically have the worst passing game in the league. Remember when Flacco was a bomber? With his current WRs everything is underneath.

I expect to see an uptick in Woodhead's snaps and he should see a lot targets. From the Lions perspective, I think Danny v. Tahir on passing downs and Jarrad Davis v. Alex Collins on running downs are key matchups (and for all his justified criticism for his awful coverage last year, Whitehead has been more than adequate in coverage this year.) I don't anticipate Slay, Quinn, et al, having trouble minimizing the impact of Maclin & Wallace. Baltimore's WR3/WR4 combo (Moore & the perpetual breakout candidate Perriman) have a pathetic 16/52 catch rate in 2017. Watson could do some damage - the Lions are terrific at making mediocre TEs look awesome - but this new dime package where they lineup Tabor in Davis' spot has been working well the last couple games. Think Wilson is out today, and Killebrew has just not been making the impact plays we saw late last year and early this season. Miles needs to step up today. If we get a good push from Freeney today that would be awesome, and supposedly Ansah is healthy. These last four games will go a long ways in Quinn deciding whether to pick up Ziggy's $18M option or letting him walk in March.

Suggs on Decker will be fun to see, Taylor has been less than perfect since he came back. Not even gonna discuss our run game. You're going to see a dynamic back running behind a mediocre line today, and Alex Collins will run for at at least 120 today. The Lions have faced 2nd and 9 or longer 55% of the time. W.T.H. They'll keep running those guys into a no-holes-open on first all day and we'll be grinding our teeth (Abdullah is actually top ten in elusive factor but he's not the answer IMO.) But Marvin is on a roll, Golladay chips in a 40 yard reception almost every week - he has 4 over 40 this year, which is like 6th or 7th in the league, on minimal usage - and hopefully Golden gets back on track. Even 85 makes a play once in awhile. Matthew has to put the team on his back today.

Prater v. Tucker should be a good show. FGs will be huge today.

Lions 26, Ravens 23 

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I am planning on benching Stafford and Jones today in favor Winston and Collins/Burkhead.  I hate to do it because both have been pretty solid for me all season.  Just like the matchups better and Marvin is probably setup for a dud game after being a real stud lately.  Stafford should have a decent day, but Golladay will be the one doing the real damage.  

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I really do like having Freeney.  I was going to bench the Lions defense today but I think the added pressure that Freeney will provide will result in a big play (tm) by the secondary.  Really shocked Seattle let him go, but I think they were in a bind.  He still has a bit of gas in the tank. 

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Apparently they postponed the implosion because Sterling Sharpe is still running wide open in the end zone.

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5 minutes ago, Futz said:

Apparently they postponed the implosion because Sterling Sharpe is still running wide open in the end zone.

Along with "and there's a steal by Bird...underneath to D.J."

that play has been on continuous loop for decades.

Comes to mind whenever we have a lead and I start thinking "In what wondrous way will they lose this one?"

Or "Which NFL obscure NFL rule will we all learn today?"

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Two weeks in a row the Lions didn’t have enough players on the field. On Thanksgiving it resulted in any easy TD. Yesterday it was a 23 yard completion on 3rd & 7 in a one score game - versus NINE players. How is that not someone’s job to count to 11??

Hoping Austin gets that HC job this year.

:thumbup:

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42 minutes ago, BobbyLayne said:

Two weeks in a row the Lions didn’t have enough players on the field. On Thanksgiving it resulted in any easy TD. Yesterday it was a 23 yard completion on 3rd & 7 in a one score game - versus NINE players. How is that not someone’s job to count to 11??

Hoping Austin gets that HC job this year.

:thumbup:

If Quinn was really smart he’d give Austin a 4  game audition right now. I don’t want him coaching the Lions long term but would love Caldwell to be gone and the search for a replacement to begin. 

 

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No details ever emerged on JC’s extension, neither the length or the amount. It was reported as multi-year. It was apparently done in secret; Wood announced it after the MNF game Week 3 (after Gruden went on at length during my the broadcast.) They didn’t even tell us when it had been signed - weeks or months before it was announced? 

Who does that? That’s how you support your coach? They knew the optics would look bad. But what a weird message to the team. He’s our guy, but we don’t think anyone else agrees so we’ll keep this to ourselves.

My recollection is Quinn has never spoken about the extension. He has been supportive of Caldwell but that was the offseason. Wood, remember, looks after the Ford family properties & “isn’t a football guy” (his words.)

Four straight games the team has come out flat and dug at least an 0-10 hole. They’re wasting Stafford’s prime.

Jeff Fischer signed an extension before the 2016 season & still lost his job. Don’t remind me how cheap the Fords are, I need hope to get through these last four weeks.

:lol:

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46 minutes ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

Caldwell is coming back next year. Quinn has no power.... Old bag Martha loves him 

:mellow:

Great news. The guy is entertaining. Seems everyone is now on board that this loser simply won't come out and put points on the board until the other team has a big lead.

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/12/04/detroit-lions-jim-caldwell-stubbornness/918174001/

Yet almost every week, Caldwell – and his offensive coordinator, Jim Bob Cooter –virtually straight-jacket Stafford to start every game then wait until they’re desperate to let him loose. It happened again Sunday in the third quarter, when the offensive brain trust dialed up a pass-heavy series in two of the first three series.

Both led to touchdowns.

The odd series of those first three: Run. Short pass. Run. Punt.

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11 hours ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

wonder if Josh McDaniels is a Quinn guy and who he would look to replace :mellow:....me thinks he would be a disaster here another failed coach in lions lore

 

At this point I’d take that chance. Have to believe he learned a lot from his failures in Denver. Belichick got a second chance and we see how that turned out.  

I’d love to find the next Sean McVay, but have no idea who that is....and I’m certain the lions don’t know that either. 

 

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With the Panthers and Falcons owning the tie-breaker on the Lions, they are essentially 3 games behind the Panthers and and 2 games behind the Seahawks (maybe 3) and Falcons.  Having to jump two of those teams with only 4 games remaining puts Detroit's playoff chances south of 20 to 1.  

Caldwell has easily been one of the best head coaches Detroit has had during the SB era.  IMO, getting a new HC would be a step back.   You get this team a DT who can stop the run, a DE that can pressure the QB, and a couple quality OL and this team is a SB contender with Caldwell.  No team is going to be a serious contender when they are getting killed in the trenches every week like the Lions have been.

The secondary is very good

The WR/TE core is very good.  Let Ebron go and roll with Roberts and Fells next season.

I would like to see more of Tion.  I really think we have something there.  Explosiveness and power.  He is exactly the kind of back this offense needs.  Showed more on his first run than any other back on the roster. 

Linebackers are OK.  This unit could use help, but not nearly as high on the priority list as the OL and DL.  

I guess I seem to be alone in supporting Caldwell, but I think he has over produced given the talent he has.  

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Lack of preparation to start a game. It’s not just the last four weeks, it’s happened way too often the last four years. The level of accountability is unacceptable.

 

I actually have a lot of respect for Coach Caldwell as a man. He’s a bit of a ##### in press conferences but I like the way he carries himself. Quiet, dignified, never boasts or calls attention to himself, doesn’t call people out or point fingers. Good family man, above reproach in his integrity and moral fiber. I know he’s a believer & I genuinely like him as a person.  I could see voting for him as a deacon or an elder.

I also think he does a lot of things very well. Great at administration and building a staff. Not great in game; he has improved in clock management. But getting caught consecutive week with 10 or 9 men on defense when you have timeouts in your pocket is inexcusable. We can’t tolerate those kind of mistakes.

He’s not the OC but the first half play calling - especially early downs - is predictable & too conservative. Inevitably they open it up after they fall behind & then score TDs. We’re not building rockets here.

On defense, while there is a talent deficiency, the LBs constantly being out of position is coaching and communication. Pulling hard for Austin to land a HC job. We are at a schematic disadvantage week after week. Mediocre players lighting us up is ridiculous.

Time to turn the page. He did a good job with what he had. There’s no upside beyond 9-11 wins & a first round exit, let’s move now before Matthew starts to decline.

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6 hours ago, BobbyLayne said:

Lack of preparation to start a game. It’s not just the last four weeks, it’s happened way too often the last four years. The level of accountability is unacceptable.

 

I actually have a lot of respect for Coach Caldwell as a man. He’s a bit of a ##### in press conferences but I like the way he carries himself. Quiet, dignified, never boasts or calls attention to himself, doesn’t call people out or point fingers. Good family man, above reproach in his integrity and moral fiber. I know he’s a believer & I genuinely like him as a person.  I could see voting for him as a deacon or an elder.

I also think he does a lot of things very well. Great at administration and building a staff. Not great in game; he has improved in clock management. But getting caught consecutive week with 10 or 9 men on defense when you have timeouts in your pocket is inexcusable. We can’t tolerate those kind of mistakes.

He’s not the OC but the first half play calling - especially early downs - is predictable & too conservative. Inevitably they open it up after they fall behind & then score TDs. We’re not building rockets here.

On defense, while there is a talent deficiency, the LBs constantly being out of position is coaching and communication. Pulling hard for Austin to land a HC job. We are at a schematic disadvantage week after week. Mediocre players lighting us up is ridiculous.

Time to turn the page. He did a good job with what he had. There’s no upside beyond 9-11 wins & a first round exit, let’s move now before Matthew starts to decline.

He's running the show and he's gone on record saying that's his style. He's a herminator hoping to win in the 4th Q. It works against inferior teams but never beats superior teams thus they never beat teams with winning records. He's got no guts.

http://onwardstate.com/2014/10/16/lions-coach-jim-caldwell-praises-joepas-coaching-style/

“When I worked for Joe Paterno at Penn State, his thing was always, play defense, have a good, sound kicking game and just don’t have your offense make mistakes, then you’re going to win the great majority of them,”

Yeah, go ahead and kick those FGs as the other team scores TDs. You are never going to beat good teams.

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I know I like Quinn. The issue is most definitely not here. 

I've  been dubious on Cooter and whoever the hell is the offensive line coach for a good while now. There are good players on that line and the standard hasn't been acceptable enough. Offence as said, waayyy to conservative early in games. I think the positive results off the back of Lombardi beImg sacked was more to do with a maturation of Stafford .

 

despite liking Caldwell I look around at some other teams like Eagles, Falcons last year, Rams this year etc and see teams that we have been better than, yet they have made coaching changes that have caused those teams to vastly improve and overtake us and it makes me a little jealous. I'm dubious as to whether Caldwell could ever make this kind of improvement and run 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Biabreakable said:

Detroit Lions RB Tion Green's big debut capped mom's surprise visit

What else can you guys tell me about this guy?

Patience of Bell & finishes like Beast Mode

Beat out Asiata in TC. Was probably going to get cut when he had a blowout 150 YFS performance in the 4th PS game. They didn’t want to risk him getting poached off the practice squad, so they put him on the 53 man. He’s been sitting there inactive for 12 straight weeks until AA had his neck injury.

If he’s as good as we hope he is, another nail in the JC coffin. No idea why they never gave him a shot while they ran former WR Dwayne Washington (ProTip: just because you meet the weight requirement doesn’t make you a power back) five times inside the 5 and never scored.

Probably nothing to see - per his lack of college production & so-so profile grade - but he sure does run with a burst. His energy & early-Chris Ivory like leg churning is fun to watch. Interesting, since pre-draft he was labeled as not being explosive. 

One cut & commit runner, busts through atm tackles. Supposedly has good vision. Doesn’t really possess second level speed (33 yard first run notwithstanding) to be a HR threat, he tends to cover the ball and lower his pads rather than try to juke a LB or S. Strikes me as a non-fumbler who is so conscientious about ball security he may leave yards on the field. Thought to be primarily a between the tackles grinder. He is...

#SaviorPreciousRedeemer #CounselorComforterKeeper #FriendPrinceOfPeace

Sorry, ‘it’s the season for hyperbole. Nothing to see in redraft? Likely. But deep dynasty stash & maybe keep it in the back of your mind for next years redraft. Back to AA, Theo, & ZZ, because they give us the best chance to win. #throatpunch #wanttobewrong

ETA: Pass pro unknown, caught 13 & 29 passes his last two years at Cincinnati (roughly 150-740ish both years.)

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42 minutes ago, TartanLion said:

I know I like Quinn. The issue is most definitely not here. 

I've  been dubious on Cooter and whoever the hell is the offensive line coach for a good while now. There are good players on that line and the standard hasn't been acceptable enough. Offence as said, waayyy to conservative early in games. I think the positive results off the back of Lombardi beImg sacked was more to do with a maturation of Stafford .

 

despite liking Caldwell I look around at some other teams like Eagles, Falcons last year, Rams this year etc and see teams that we have been better than, yet they have made coaching changes that have caused those teams to vastly improve and overtake us and it makes me a little jealous. I'm dubious as to whether Caldwell could ever make this kind of improvement and run 

 

 

Agree. I see those changes and want our version of that to play out. Caldwell and Cooter have taken this team as far as they can go. A change must occur. Quinn must put his stamp on the team and the only way to do that now is with his own hire.

If he doesn’t fire Caldwell I have to assume that Quinn has no power, that Martha, like her husband before her, wants a coach who will tell her good stories and blow smoke up her skirt, and that nothing has changed since 1963. 

 

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5 minutes ago, BobbyLayne said:

Patience of Bell & finishes like Beast Mode

Beat out Asiata in TC. Was probably going to get cut when he had a blowout 150 YFS performance in the 4th PS game. They didn’t want to risk him getting poached off the practice squad, so they put him on the 53 man. He’s been sitting there inactive for 12 straight weeks until AA had his neck injury.

If he’s as good as we hope he is, another nail in the JC coffin. No idea why they never gave him a shot while they ran former WR Dwayne Washington (ProTip: just because you meet the weight requirement doesn’t make you a power back) five times inside the 5 and never scored.

Probably nothing to see - per his lack of college production & so-so profile grade - but he sure does run with a burst. His energy & early-Chris Ivory like leg churning is fun to watch. Interesting, since pre-draft he was labeled as not being explosive. 

One cut & commit runner, busts through atm tackles. Supposedly has good vision. Doesn’t really possess second level speed (33 yard first run notwithstanding) to be a HR threat, he tends to cover the ball and lower his pads rather than try to juke a LB or S. Strikes me as a non-fumbler who is so conscientious about ball security he may leave yards on the field. Thought to be primarily a between the tackles grinder. He is...

#SaviorPreciousRedeemer #CounselorComforterKeeper #FriendPrinceOfPeace

Sorry, ‘it’s the season for hyperbole. Nothing to see in redraft? Likely. But deep dynasty stash & maybe keep it in the back of your mind for next years redraft. Back to AA, Theo, & ZZ, because they give us the best chance to win. #throatpunch #wanttobewrong

ETA: Pass pro unknown, caught 13 & 29 passes his last two years at Cincinnati (roughly 150-740ish both years.)

If Abdullah is out this week I think he’s a solid start against a weak Tampa run D! 

Its Tion Time!!!! 

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What is wrong with the Detroit Lions?

Golden Tate says he knows what’s wrong with this team, but won’t say. He’s one of the few people in Allen Park who knows first hand what separates Championship teams from talented .500 squads. Things he did discuss & eliminated as not the problem:

 

It isn't ownership.

"I think the ownership is fantastic," Tate said. "Anything we need to help us to be a winning organization, I think we are getting it in a very timely manner."

It isn't the general manager either.

"I think Bob Quinn came from a championship organization," Tate said. "I think they're bringing us better players, as you've seen. We have some rookies coming in right away that are helping us out. Second-year guys, third-year guys. So I think that's very important."

And it definitely isn't Matthew Stafford, whom Tate considers one of the best players in the league.

"We have a heck of a quarterback," Tate said. "One of the best in the league, I think. Which is the most essential thing to being a championship organization."

- Great ownership?

- Great GM?

- Great quarterback?

Hmmm....what’s left?

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10 minutes ago, steelwind said:

I'd like to ask the Lions fan here.  What is going on with their Def?  I currently have Chargers and Lions lined up for week 15.  Are they hands off even in a good matchup vs the Bears?

They’re at a weekly schematic disadvantage. They don’t have a good edge setter at DE and the (mostly) young LBs are constantly out of position. They continue to play a ton of soft Cover 3 even though the stength of the unit is their base nickel (CB Slay, Slot corner Diggs and FS Quinn are all outstanding.) If you’re also DST one of their best weapons was PR Agnew (leads the league) but he’s been out for several weeks. They had 5 defensive TDs & 2 PR TDs through the first 10, so that inflated their FF point total.

Regardless of matchup I would be concerned about effort & heart. There’s a good chance Matthew’s first pass will be on Sunday - he’s literally kept his throwing hand hidden/wrapped all week so no one knows how bad it is - we know it’s not broken. That’s going to affect their fragile mental state IMO.

OTOH, it’s the Bucs, so I get the temptation.

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28 minutes ago, steelwind said:

I'd like to ask the Lions fan here.  What is going on with their Def?  I currently have Chargers and Lions lined up for week 15.  Are they hands off even in a good matchup vs the Bears?

I'd say so. Last game vs Chi they didn't get to double digit fantasy points even with scoring a TD. They average less than 2 sacks a game and can't stop the run or even pressure the QB.

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How could the Lions lose today?

Bucs have a league low 17 sacks, third worst in 3rd Down stops, Evans hasn’t had a 100 yard game all year, Winston is horrible.

Have faith, they’ll find a way.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Matthew Stafford is hurting, and he'll be down at least one offensive linemen. 

But if the Lions (6-6) have one thing going for them -- they're facing the Buccaneers (4-8), who are not only woeful, but they have the fewest sacks in the league. If there's anyone to play with a banged up quarterback and shorthanded offensive line, it is them.

Then again, they just beat the Packers. And according to Greg Auman, the Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, they are still dangerous enough to beat Detroit. He joins us to help break down the matchup in this week's beat writer breakdown.

MLive: There were high hopes for the Bucs this year. I think I saw some kool-aid sippers talking Super Bowl. Twelve weeks later, they're 4-8. What's gone so wrong this season?

Greg Auman: A lot of different things have combined to put the Bucs at 4-8. I had thought they would be a better team than last year but also saw a difficult schedule that would make it hard to be more than a wild card. Obviously they've fallen well short of that.

It starts with a defense that hasn't been the dominant unit that sparked them to five straight wins late last season. They haven't had any consistent pass rush, and QBs have had time to carve them up. Jameis Winston's shoulder injury set the offense back, Doug Martin hasn't been the runner they wanted and early kicking woes probably cost them a win as well.

MLive: The Bucs clearly aren't where they expected to be when they took Jameis Winston first overall three years ago. Where's he at as a quarterback? Where does he struggle? How could he still hurt Detroit? 

Auman: These last four games are a chance for Winston to show where he is. He's still basically the flawed but promising QB he's been -- capable of making great plays, of being an inspiring leader, but also a young player who struggles to limit unnecessary mistakes. Fumbles have probably moved ahead of interceptions in that regard. He has off-field question marks again, but I don't think those are something that changes his future with the Bucs. If he wants Dirk Koetter to be his coach next year, I'd suggest playing well and pulling off some wins in the next four games.

MLive: There was a lot of O.J. Howard buzz up in Detroit during the final days heading into the draft. How has he been as a rookie?

Auman: Howard has shown a lot of promise -- tight end is a tough position to make a major impact at traditionally as a rookie. So four touchdowns is a good start, even if the Bucs have used him unevenly. The coaches think very highly of him as a rare complete tight end who can help in the run and pass game.

MLive: Matthew Stafford is battling an injured throwing hand. Then again, the Bucs defense just got beat by Brent Hundley. How do you see this matchup playing out? 

Auman: The Bucs have struggled against veteran QBs this season. Their defense did a great job for most of the game against Green Bay and couldn't close out a win. If they can't get to Stafford, they're at real risk to give up big plays downfield -- they're the NFL's worst defense on third downs, so that's a crucial part of this game. Stafford leads the NFL in lost fumbles, and the Bucs must get to him to take advantage of that.

MLive: Making matters worse for the Lions, they are hurting on the offensive line, especially on the right side. How is Tampa's defensive line this year? Seems like Gerald McCoy is still doing his thing up the middle, but Robert Ayers has been banged up.

Auman: Defensive line has been a disappointment for the Bucs. Gerald McCoy continues to play at a Pro Bowl level, but they've been hit hard by injuries. Noah Spence was lost to a shoulder injury, Jacquies Smith never got back healthy from knee surgery and others have missed games. Robert Ayers is just back from a concussion, but he has just two sacks. They're last in the league with 17 sacks, and the ends only have seven of those. Until that changes, the defense will continue to struggle.

Greg Auman's prediction: Bucs 31, Lions 27

Greg Auman covers the Buccaneers for the Tampa Bay Times. Check out his work here and follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.

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