Despite the verbiage from Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes there is a total rebuild coming

“Please don’t get mad at me if I don’t use the word ‘rebuild,’ if I just continue to pivot toward retool.” Newly crowned Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes recently said. Holmes also said he was going to take time and review the entire Lions roster. Reading between the lines, a full bloated rebuild is about to take place.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Vice Chair Sheila Ford Hamp watches the pregame warms ups prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

During the interview process, Brad Holmes offered very blunt and very honest assessments of the Detroit Lions roster to both Owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team President and CEO Ron Wood. Holmes then offered a bold plan for what he would do if he were offered the GM job. Which he was.

Yet the Detroit Lions are in a badly needed full rebuild. No matter if he is saying it publicly or behind closed doors, Holmes is a smart man who by all accounts is a very good talent evaluator. Given his crash course on the Lions roster he has to know this is not a retool, reshuffling or any other fluffy fan friendly connotation.

This needs to be a total teardown. All the way to the studs rebuild. Yet, Holmes did say there are building blocks on the defense. A defense that finished last in most categories mind you. Which is his correct. The problem is those players/ building blocks are few.

Holmes said the plan is to put the most competitive team possible out  on the field in 2021. Did you catch that? Competitive. He wants the Lions to be battling better. He did not say he expects or promise a quick turn around or the Lions to win more games. Just to be more competitive.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 26: A general exterior view of Ford Field prior to the start of the Quick Lane Bowl between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the North Carolina Tar Heels at Ford Field on December 26, 2014 in Detroit Michigan. Rutgers defeated North Carolina 40-21. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have the fourth most losses in the NFL since 2018, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia (both fired during the season) left the roster with a lack of both talent and depth leaving for little choice other than a rebuild.

Holmes did also say he prefers to build through the draft so at this moment it does not sound like he will spend much in free agency. So no matter if it is worded rebuild, retool or reshuffle, major changes are coming to the Detroit Lions.


Calvin Johnson is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he is still at odds with the Detroit Lions

Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is a finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame. Johnson’s numbers speak to the matter. The player known as “Megatron” retired with 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns all Detroit Lions franchise records. Johnson was also selected to seven consecutive Pro Bowl’s.

The ups and downs of Detroit Lions football, fans know all to well played into Calvin Johnson retiring after 9 seasons. Former Lions running back and Hall of Fame member Barry Sanders had the same issue with the team.

The Detroit Lions and Johnson had agreed on an eight year contract extension in 2012. Johnson would retire in 2015. That is when the relationship between player and franchise took a turn for the worse.

The Detroit Lions asked Johnson to repay a portion of the signing bonus. “That’s the reason for the rift between the team and I, I had to pay some money back. The reason I don’t have any involvement with them is because of that. You can’t make me pay money back and then still want me to come around. It doesn’t work like that.” Johnson said.

No matter if you agree or disagree with the player or the team, it is an issue. Calvin Johnson spent his entire NFL career in Detroit. No matter how good or bad the Lions were Calvin Johnson’s production never dropped off, part of the reason he is a Hall of Fame finalist.

Barry Sanders and Lions had similar issues after the Lions legend retired after 9 seasons. The Lions asked for money back. Eventually both sides made amends and Sanders now does a lot of public relation work for the Lions.

CHICAGO – JANUARY 03: Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson plays against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on January 3, 2016. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

It would be nice for player, team and fans if the Detroit Lions and Calvin Johnson would make amends once Johnson reaches the Hall of Fame. This should be a priority for Lions owner Shelia For Hamp.

The Detroit Lions should not resign Kenny Golladay

Its seems probable at this moment Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has played his last game in a Lions uniform. With a Brad Homes hired as the new general manager it seems like a total or near total rebuild is on the horizon. That is part of the reason the Lions should not resign wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Seriously.

Kenny Golladay is a very good receiver. Even though he fails to get a lot of separation from defensive backs which is an issue. The lack of separation gives way to Golladay having to make seemingly great catches.

Making catches like this look amazing! Until you realize Golladay did not get separation and actually takes a pretty hard hit. The point is Golladay was limited to five games this season, in part because he takes big hits because of the lack of separation.

The going rate for a good wide receiver in free agency is $19 million. For the Detroit Lions looking at, at the very least a massive retooling of the current failed roster left over from recently fired Lions GM Bob Quinn, that $19 million can be invested in bigger needs. Such as the defense. A unit that finished dead last in the NFL.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 07: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions congratulates teammate Kenny Golladay #19 after he caught a touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Ford Field on October 7, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There will be very good free agents in this years wide receiver pool. Cheaper more effective players. It is being reported all over the place the Lions are locked into former Lions tight end current New Orleans Saints tight ends coach/ assistant head coach Dan Campbell for the head coaching opening.

With a new GM and head coach, it is very possible they will want to put their own stamp on the franchise moving forward. A new quarterback and receivers could be in order.

From a fans point of view at first glance losing Kenny Golladay would sting. From a football stand point, it really would not be all that bad. ASs I mentioned better, cheaper wide receivers will be hitting the open market soon.


The Detroit Lions hired Brad Holmes as General Manager and is looking at a former Lions player to fill it’s head coach vacancy

It has been a couple of busy days for the Detroit Lions. Actually the process of finding and identifying a new general manager and head coach has been around 70 days. The Lions have hired Brad Holmes as general manager and is looking at former Lions tight end Dan Campbell to fill its head coaching vacancy.

The Detroit Lions are starting over again. The team hired Brad Holmes as general manager. Homes had been with the Los Angles Rams and worked as  director of college scouting. Homes had been in the Rams organization since 2012.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions helmet is seen on the field before the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

What kind of players does Holmes like? He gave a peek into his philosophy in identifying players, “When you get to the NFL level, everybody has got ability, Everybody is talented. Everybody is big, strong, athletic, fast, agile. Everybody has that. The separation is the intangibles. So you have to find out what actually drives the player. What level of passion does he have? How much does football mean to him? How hard does he really work? Does he have a mental toughness when things go bad? Can he bounce back? Can he persevere?  I used to be so enamored with the physical traits portion of it, at this stage now it’s like, man, if this guy doesn’t have the intangibles or the character, he’s not going to make it.”

The Detroit Lions have reportedly zeroed in on former Lions tight end and current New Orleans Saints tight end and assistant head coach Dan Campbell. Campbell played for the Lions from 2006-2008. Both the NFL Network and Sports Illustrated are reporting the Lions are locked onto Campbell for the head coaching job.

CHICAGO – SEPTEMBER 17: Tight end Dan Campbell #89 of the Detroit Lions is seen on the field the Chicago Bears September 17, 2006 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 34-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

What is Campbell’s coaching philosophy? This is what he said about that matter, “How you play the game, offensively and defensively, it was like identical,  It’s about running the football. Your quarterback makes smart decisions. You don’t win or lose with the quarterback. Your defense is balls-to-the-wall, all-out. Those are the games you’re winning because of your defense and you’ve got time of possession with the run game. And then when you throw it, they’re explosive passes.”

So the Detroit Lions are making moves and on paper, they look solid. Not sexy. But sexy does not win football games. Neither does paper.


Dylan Larkin named the 37th captain of the Detroit Red Wings

Being named captain of a team is an honor. It is an honor that only comes with sacrifice, dedication, hard work and leadership. Dylan Larkin a local Michigan resident from birth who played his college hockey at the University of Michigan, was drafted by the hometown Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Yesterday, Larkin took his place along some of the greatest names in NHL history and was named captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

In the rafters at Little Caesars Area are not only Championship banners but also retired jersey numbers of Red Wings legends. Ted Lindsay,  Alex Delvecchio, Sid Abel, Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom are some of the players who’s numbers are retired. They also have a common theme, those five former Red Wing players all wore the captain’s “C” .

Steve Yzerman, who is now the Red Wings general manager, yesterday announced Dylan Larkin will be the next captain of the fabled franchise. When asked what stood out to him about Larkin Yzerman stated “He stands out as a leader in his work ethic, his competitiveness, his commitment, his inner drive to be really good, to win.”

Yzerman knows first hand what is means to be captain in Detroit and for the Red Wings, he severed over 20 years as the organizations captain. As soon as he was drafted by Detroit, Dylan Larkin had been the center of much speculation that he would indeed one day be named captain.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Larkin said in a Zoom interview with media, “I understand the significance of this role. I’ve seen it, been around it, I’ve been a fan and been to games. I can’t be more honored. I try to be myself every day and I have a great support system. It doesn’t stop here. I don’t change who I am. It means so much to me.”

Dylan Larkin, becomes the first Michigander to be named captain. He follows Henrik Zetterberg as Red Wings captain. The Red Wings made the announcement on social media with a very effective picture.


Detroit Tigers General Manager Al Avila, reveals his thoughts on two top prospects

There is no two ways around it. Detroit Tigers prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson are going to be imbedded in the middle of the Tigers lineup for years to come. Recently Tigers General Manager Al Avila, has spoken where he intends the two to continue developing. One is a surprise move and one is about where many figured he would play the 2021 season.

Riley Greene, he of a very sweet lefthanded swing appears to be headed to Double-A Erie to play with the Seawolves. Given the fact that the 2020 minor league season was wiped out due to COVID-19, this is an extraordinary move. Greene who was part of the Detroit Tigers taxi squad last season, had a heck of a season/extended training camp.

Greene is just 20 years old and has really climbed the minor leagues faster than anyone in the Tigers front office projected him to. He is a very good gap hitter which will lend itself well in the spacious Comerica Park outfield. Greene also has above average power and is very good defensively.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 04: Major League Baseballs number one draft pick Spencer Torkelson #73 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

As for Spencer Torkelson, he will start the 2021 season in Grand Rapids with the High-A  West Michigan Whitecaps. Torkelson has not played any minor league games as of yet. But he has all the tools to have a good showing in Grand Rapids.

Torkelson is projected to move quickly through the Detroit minor league system. While Riley Greene, has surpassed him as of this moment, there is good reason to believe they both could arrive in Detroit with the Tigers at some point in 2022.

The two prospects are expected and project as middle of the lineup hitters. Both do not chase balls out of the strike zone, both players are gap hitter with power. It should be noted gap hitters who hit to all fields.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 11: Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila on the field prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on August 11, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Kansas City defeated Detroit 10-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Riley Green and Spencer Torkelson, are part of a future of Tigers baseball team that should be fun to watch.

The Detroit Red Wings are giving Anthony Mantha more responsibility

In order to stay on the ice more this season Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha has vowed to stop dropping the gloves. Mantha will not fight anymore, unless a situation calls for it. The narrative on Mantha has been if he could stay healthy, he would score 40 goals. The Detroit Red Wings also know Mantha needs to be on the ice and not the trainers room. So now after swearing off fighting the Red Wings are giving Mantha more responsibility.

At 6 foot 5 inch, 234 lb, Anthony Mantha is an imposing player. Gifted with elite speed and an elite wrist shot, Mantha is a gifted player. The Detroit Red Wings want more from Mantha, they need more from him.

The Detroit Red Wings are asking Mantha to stop goals on special teams. The Red Wings penalty kill has been lacking and they feel with the big Mantha on the ice he has the size, speed and ability to stop/block shots.

BUFFALO, NY – FEBRUARY 11: Anthony Mantha #39 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on February 11, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Anthony Mantha said he has not been asked to work on shot blocking since his days in junior hockey seven years ago. So far in training camp Mantha has embraced his new position on the team.

Speaking of training camp, a big chunk of it is spent on special teams. Power play/penalty kill. It is the time coach’s and general managers weed out and carve who will be where with an eye on improvement over the previous season. It is that way for all hockey teams.

For the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, it is important to identify those players early as some may find a permanent home on one of the two units or perhaps both. Anthony Mantha has been on the Red Wings power play now he will be on the ice for both special teams.

Playing on special teams means more ice time, that is good news, when factoring in Mantha’s goals scoring ability.

Detroit Red Wings Michael Rasmussen has a newly found confidence

Michael Rasmussen, was the Detroit Red Wings 2017 first-round draft pick. Playing the 2018-19 NHL season in Detroit, because the only other option was playing junior hockey. Rasmussen, struggled that season in Detroit. He would have been better off playing in Grand Rapids with the Griffins if that was in the cards.

Last season due to the pandemic, Michael Rasmussen played just 35 games for the Griffins, as did every AHL player. Sitting idle for long periods of time is not ideal for young players.  Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman lent the young center to a team in Austria this past fall.

It was in Austria that Rasmussen flashed the talent he is projected to have in the NHL. In 18 games played, Michael Rasmussen had 5 goals and 18 points. Along the way to becoming a point a game player at least in Austria, Rasmussen found his confidence.

Now in the mix for a roster spot with the Red Wings, Rasmussen entered training camp in the best shape of his career to date. Adding a little muscle, the young Red Wings prospect said he feels like he is in game shape and credits playing in Austria as the primary reason why.

Since being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, fans want Michael Rasmussen’s development to happen at a faster rate, forgetting he is only 21 years old. Rasmussen is a big piece in the Red Wings future.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – SEPTEMBER 12: Michael Rasmussen #27 of the Detroit Red Wings poses for his official headshot for the 2019-2020 season at Center Ice Arena on September 12, 2019 in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rasmussen is a  6 foot 6 inch, 220 lbs center who is strong around the net and understands how to use his size and strength, for a young player he is not afraid to block shots as well.

Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill believes Rasmussen can be a shutdown center. Meaning he can face other teams best and hold his own. That is critical for the Red Wings moving forward to have a trusted center.

Early injuries  impacted Rasmussen at the junior and pro level. He is now mentally stronger and has overcome injuries, that is a big part of player development.

The Detroit Red Wings are looking and need more scoring depth. With a newly found confidence, Michael Rasmussen could provide the team what is sorely needs.

Should the Detroit Red Wings pursue a trade of Pierre-Luc Dubois

The Columbus Blue Jackets and the teams young talented center  Pierre-Luc Dubois dropped a bombshell. Dubois wants out of Columbus. The Blue Jackets have had a rough time of keeping young elite talent. Rick Nash, Atremi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and others opted to leave Columbus over the years. The rebuilding Detroit Red Wings need scoring and have plenty of salary cap space to give a lone-term deal to a player like Dubois.

While the knee-jerk reaction is yes. Yes the Red Wings should pursue a trade for Dunois, one has to wonder what the cost would be. Surely Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen will want a kings ransom for the budding star Dubois.

That said a player like Dubois, who is young and coming into his own in the NHL would look good with a Winged Wheel on the front of his jersey. The cost would be worth the trade.

TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 13: Steve Yzerman walks the red carpet before the 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Brookfield Place on November 13, 2016 in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photograph by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The question is will Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman look into it? It has been reported that a team or two were preparing offer sheets for the restricted free agent Dubois. The young player signed a two-year bridge deal for $10 million.

It could be that the Red Wings were one of the teams preparing an offer sheet. After all Yzerman, hinted that he was willing to do that in order to lure talent to his rebuilding Red Wings squad.

At any rate, you have to give talent to get talent. Be it draft picks, players, prospects. While rebuilding teams generally are focused on gaining as many players as possible, when a player like Pierre-Luc Dubois is mentioned as wanting a trade then all bets are off.

It is unknown the intention of Yzerman is to add to his team before the season starts or at the trade deadline. It should be worth keeping an eye on.

The Grand Rapids Griffins will play the 2021 AHL season

For the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, when Grand Rapids Griffins president and CEO Tim Gortsema announced the organization would opt to play the 2021 AHL season, it must have been music to the Red Wings. It certainly is good news all around for the Red Wings organization to have young prospects on ice in game to further development.

While there will be no fans in the stands to start the season, The Griffins are hopeful there will be fans at some point during the season. Three AHL teams   (Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Springfield Thunderbirds ) have opted out of the season entirely.

American Hockey League board of governors determined a season would indeed take place this season after saying they were taking all things into consideration. The season will start February 5, 2021.

HERSHEY, PA – JANUARY 05: Grand Rapids Griffins right wing Colin Campbell (45) skates to the net during the Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Hershey Bears AHL game at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The AHL season will be much shorter in 2021, between 30-34 games and then the Calder Cup Playoffs. With sports down low in priority due to the global pandemic. It is still nice to keep things as “normal” as possible.

From a sports point of view, teams need prospects on ice playing games to get the critical development needed to be NHL ready. The Detroit Red Wings are no exception.

The rebuilding Red Wings need players on ice at the lower levels in order to pull out of the rebuild sooner. The choice to play a season, even 30-34 games gives the Red Wings and other organizations the much needed development time for prospects.

Tim Gortsema, did say the Griffins are optimistic about getting fans back into the arena at some point during the 2021 season.