Michigan Wolverines: defense will be scary good

Embed from Getty Images With much focus on quarterback Shea Patterson and Jim Harbaugh calling offensive plays himself. The Michigan Wolverines 2018-19 defense heads into the season ranked #1.

Rashan Gary, is a returning all-American defensive end. Gary, is not the best player on the Wolverines defense. The defensive line also boasts of Chase Winovich,  Brian Mone and Aubrey Solomon as it’s core. Other players will rotate in during games.

This Michigan Woverines linebacker corps is outstanding. Devin Bush Jr. is a beast and the best player on defense. Noah Furbush, Josh Uche, Devin Gill  round out the talented unit.

The Michigan secondary is the best in the Big 10. Khaleke Hudson is tough hitter at safety.  Casey Hughes who transferred from Utah will anchor the strong safety. Lavert Hill and David Long set up as the top cornerbacks on the team.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown, is set to unleash his unit. His favorite saying is “Solving problems with aggression.” Expect the Wolverines defense to attack at all times.

As good as this defense is and can be. Under classmen will be counted on in important times in games. It is the only way to prepare them for when they start.

Last season Michigan tied for the national lead with 114 tackles for loss. The Michigan coaching staff expects that number to increase this season. This defense is  national championship good.

Michigan, hopes the offense does just enough to get them to the Big 10 championship game. Which is a real possibility.

Detroit Tigers: a look ahead to the 2019 MLB draft

Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Tigers continue to sink in the standings. Top  prospects have performed outstanding and give promise to a brighter tomorrow. Looking at a top 5 draft pick in next June’s draft.  Here is a few names to keep in mind.

 

Drew Mendoza, 3B, Florida State: As a sophomore Mendoza hit .313 with 7 home runs. at 6’5″ scouts doubt he will be able to stay at 3B most likely headed to the outfield.

Bobby Witt, SS, Has as much hype as high school SS  Brice Turang, had heading into the 2017 draft. Bobby Witt is a five tool player. High school players are tougher to evaluate than college players. One thing is for sure Witt will not make it out of the top five draft picks.

Riley Greene, OF, another high school player with four tool talent. Greene is widely viewed as the best pure hitter in this draft class. Average defender who can play both right and left field.

 

With the Detroit Tigers pipeline stacked with outstanding pitching I can not see them taking a pitcher in the first round. Yes, teams need to draft pitchers every year. But the Tigers need bats to keep the rebuild balanced. I full expect one of these three players to be wearing the Old English “D.”

This will help speed the rebuild up and keep fans interested. The Detroit Tigers are looking at 2020 to start playing competitive baseball again.

Detroit Pistons: schedule release

Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Pistons inch closer to training camp with an eye on the 2018-19 NBA regular season the schedule was released yesterday. A closer look shows some pivotal games.

The Detroit Pistons, open the regular season at Little Caesar’s arena against the Brooklyn Nets. Detroit is looking to reach the NBA playoffs for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

The Pistons will be on ESPN four times. December 7 vs 76ers, January 9 vs Lakers, Feburary 27 vs Spurs and March 13 vs Heat. in a move to promote player health the league is cutting back on back-to-back games. The Detroit Pistons will have a league low 13 this coming season.

For the first time since 2004 the Pistons do not have multi-games on the road until January and have 15 of the first 24 games in the Motor City. Including a six-game homestand.

As the team prepares for training camp they will have Blake Griffin for the full time as he was acquired last January. The hope is that point guard Reggie Jackson who has had two seasons of big injuries will be fully healthy.

Training camp opens in late September. I fully expect the 2018-19 Detroit Pistons to be a playoff team. IF they can stay healthy.

Detroit Lions: first preseason game things to watch

  Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Lions begin the process of getting game ready for the 2018-19 NFL regular season. Tonight’s game against the Oakland Raiders offers a few things for Lions fans to watch for.

 

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to play 3 downs tonight. Barely enough time to get his feet wet. More like a toe. Still Lions fans need to keep and eye on the revamped offensive line.

Running back, Kerryon Johnson looks to take the bulk of snaps in the Detroit backfield. No surprise as the Detroit Leo’s try to kick start some sort of running game.

Cornerback Tez Tabor, has had a good first two weeks of training camp. Drafted last season the second year DB looks to gain more playing time. With Detroit all world corner Darius Slay not expect to play (due to giving first and second year players a look) Tabor has a wide open door to walk through. If he picks up where he left off at the end of his rookie season Tez Tabor will get the playing time he craves.

Wide receiver Brandon Powell who has gifted speed and the ability to make plays in space should get a few tosses his way. The speedy Powell could also return some punts.

Preseason NFL game seem boring to many fans. Not to me. This is where all the scouting and film watching either pay off or disappoint. I like watching the games because sometimes there are players who are diamond in the roughs.

Detroit Lions: the importance of Jarrad Davis

The Detroit Lions needing help at linebacker drafted Jarrad Davis out of the University of Florida in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. After an up and down rookie season,  Jarrad Davis is ready to unleash.

The 2017 NFL season saw Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis struggle in passing situations. To the point he was replaced on second and long and third down. Making him a very expensive first round draft pick. Playing only first down only at middle linebacker is a career killer.

Jarrad Davis, though fought through and improved his pass coverage and was left in games as the season was winding down. Now Detroit head coach Matt Patrica and his staff aim to get more out of the second year linebacker.

When the Detroit Lions defense lines up in the 3-4 the linebackers are the single most important unit of the field. The move up to the line of scrimmage and fill the B and D gap between the defensive linemen.

Davis had 96 tackles last season. Now more will be expected from him

Detroit Tigers: Prospect update

Embed from Getty Images The rebuilding Detroit Tigers started the seaon with no prospects in the top 100 in MLB. They now boast 5. the breakdown looks like this.

Matt Manning: looks every bit the ace in making the Detroit Tigers thought he was when they drafted him. He shot through rookie ball and is now in high A ball. In 28 innings pitched Manning has 34 strikeouts. He is on track for a 2020 Motown arrival.

Casey Mize: made his long awaited debut striking out 4 of the 6 batters he faced. Drafted as an ace will most likely settle into the #2 spot in the rotaion once in Detroit by 2020. 

Franklin Perez: he has been hit with the injury bug. Still an outstanding prospect still should arrive in Detroit in 2020.

Beau Burrows: Solid thus far. He has hit a rough patch in Erie as he is adding a curve to his pitching tools. Still a sure 2020 bet to make the Tigers.

Issac Paredes: promoted to Double A Erie and promptly hit a grand slam. Paredes became the first player in 20 years to hit double digit home runs in the Florida league. He is on pace to reach the Motor City in 2020.

Daz Cameron: promoted two weeks before Issac Paredes to the Erie Seawolves Cameron showed why many scouts have him as a sure fire all-star.  Batting .305 with 5 home runs and 5 triples while playing electric in center field. Detroit bound by 2020 if not late 2019.

Alex Faedo: Has been nothing short of filthy in Erie. Only walking 12 batters in 40 innings pitched. Faedo is working on a change up. Also 2020 for his Comerica Park debut.

Kyle Funkhouser: was on pace for a September call up when he suffered a broken foot. His season is over. He should make it to Detroit sometime next Summer.

Christian Stewart: due to Detroit front office miscues he is still for no good reason in Toledo. While the Tigers let Victor Martinez finish his career. He should be roaming the Detroit Tigers outfield next season.

Michigan Wolverines: better days coming

Jim Harbaugh, brought in to be the coach to return Michigan football to the forefront of college football. For 3 years Harbaugh has been building his program. This season Michigan very well could unleash.

He is viewed as quirky. Known to throw a wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth on the sideline. Satellite camps for recruiting. Sleeping over at a recruits houses.

Jim Harbaugh has a terrible record against the Wolverines major rivals Michigan State and Ohio State. Do not be fooled. He is a brilliant coach. With the Michigan Wolverines nearly up to his specks it is only a matter of time before they catch their foes.

In his first two seasons at Michigan he lost a large amount of players. Yet, Harbaugh and his coaching staff managed to keep the team in most games.  That should not be overlooked. I have little doubt Big 10 coaches know this.

Last season the Michigan Wolverines finished 8-5. Yet that looks like it will be a bridge season. To a brighter Michigan football team. This seasons schedule is brutal. Harbaugh has the track record and motivation.

Teams should enjoy beating Michigan right now. Because those days are about to come to a sudden stop. Jim Harbaugh enter the season ranked #14 nationally.

The Big 10 East, is a juggernaut. It should be a fun 2018-19 NCAA college football season.

Detroit Pistons: forced to keep roster

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Pistons, brought in a new head coach. They brought in a young assistant general manager. One they could mold into a permanent front office fixture. signing only 3 free agents and using the draft for roster depth. Because they had to.

Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, Stanley Jackson, Langston Galloway give the Detroit Pistons hope. That is a good solid group of players. The Detroit Pistons hope they keep producing.

Bad contracts have put the team up against the salary cap with little room to breathe. This team on paper is a playoff team. One problem. Paper does not play games.

There are two key components the Detroit Pistons are hoping will aid the team reach the 2018-19 NBA playoffs.

Dwane Casey- head coach who is know around the league as a player developer. He took a lightly regarded Toronto Raptors basketball team and molded them into a legit playoff contender. He also, lead that Raptors team to the best record in the NBA. Then was for whatever reason fired for it. Raptors players and fans were not happy about the choice to replace a really good head coach. The Pistons, were thrilled to get Casey.

Health- Could a team have been more snake bitten than the Detroit Pistons were by injuries? The answer is no. Detroit Pistons starters missed chucks of the season. Enter or re-enter I should say former and now new Detroit Pistons trainer Arnie Kander. His job will be simple. Keep the players on the court where they can help the team. Not on a locker room table where they can not.

Bad contracts aside, the Pistons do have a roster that has some very good talent and should be a playoff threat. I fully expect players to be more healthy this season. Yes nicks, bumps, and bruises happen every season. But, players should not miss 30 some games because of them.

In short the Detroit Pistons are a playoff contender on paper. Pistons fans and front office hope the paper does not crumple up.

Michigan Wolverines: offensive line questions

  Embed from Getty Images The offensive line use to be a staple at the University of Michigan. They have had some great linemen over the years. But now face questions. The biggest is at tackle.

Last season the Michigan Wolverines were, well bad at the tackle position. Very bad. Jon Runyan Jr., Juwann Bushell-Beatty and  Nolan Ulizio  ranked 148th, 167th and 197th in pass-blocking efficiency. allowing 32 pressures in 13 combined games. And that was at left tackle. The right tackle’s was not much better.

For all the players (for good reason) fans, scouts, and media are excited for. The returning tackle’s are a HUGE question mark. It is hard to keep a quarterback on his feet let alone open running lanes for the running backs if the tackle’s do not improve.

James Hudson, is a name to watch. He is big, flexible and quick. Hudson was a redshirt last season who impressed this past spring. He actually came to Michigan as a defensive linemen.

The offensive line is the key to the entire offense. When they are balanced and sustaining their blocks good things happen. When they do not. Well results do not lie. 8-5 seasons happen and will continue to happen if players do not do their job.

Jim Harbaugh, knows this. His coaching staff knows this. In year four there is a lot of anticipation in Ann Arbor. For Michigan to regain traction and be able to play more consistent football. The tackle’s must step up.

If not Michigan Wolverines are staring at another 8-5 season with the head coach feeling some heat.

However, if the tackle position gets ironed out. The Wolverines can play with any team in the country. In fact this team can be scary good. If the tackle’s do their job the Michigan offense will put up a lot of points. Because the defense will not give up many.

IF.

Detroit Tigers: the injustice of Lou Whitaker

Embed from Getty Images As Detroit Tiger greats Alan Trammell and Jack Morris take their place in Cooperstown this weekend. One member of the Detroit Tigers will be in the crowd. That is simply highway robbery.

Injustice is a very kind word to use when talking about Lou Whitaker. This goes beyond Detroit Tigers fandom. Statistics do not lie. Sweet Lou, is more than deserving of a Hall of Fame nod.

21 second basemen are in the Hall of Fame. That is all. Of the 21 second base hall members, Lou Whitaker’s number place him as the fourth best second basemen in MLB history. Yet, he did not get the call.

One would think that in a 19 year career that 2,369 hits, 244 home runs, 1,084 RBIs and 1,386 runs scored in 2,390 games played would be more than enough. And I have not even mentioned in 1978 Detroit Tigers, Lou Whitaker was named rookie of the year.

A 3 time Gold Glove winner and four time Silver Slugger award winner. Not to mention he teamed with Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell to form one of statistically speaking the best double play combos in MLB history.

Trammell in. Whitaker not? It is a joke of epic proportion. His former teammates have been very vocal about the injustice. Alan Trammell, said he always thought they would enter the Hall together. They should have.

I have no doubt the Hall of Fame board of operations and Hall of Fame members will get an ear full from Trammell and former Detroit Tigers ace pitcher Jack Morris during their acceptance speeches.

My enjoyment of the Detroit Tigers aside. Lou Whitaker, has been and still is Hall worthy. For all that baseball gets right they miss on a lot of obvious things. To ignore what Whitaker did is a missed opportunity and that is a shame.

MLB please do the right thing. Enshrine Lou Whitaker.