While the Detroit Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers are all rebuilding the Detroit Lions need to join them

Enough is enough! The Detroit Lions fans base is loyal to a fault. But, even the fan base is angry, it is time the Lions end the Bob Quinn/ Matt Patricia era now. It has not worked and is not working. The Lions have regressed every season under the duo’s time in Detroit. The Lions like the Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers need a total makeover.

I have put this down in a blog entry before and will do so now, the Detroit Lions have been in a rebuild since 1957. Yikes! For 63 years Lions fans have watched and endured some awful football, sprinkled with teases of decent football. The decent has been far and few between the awful.

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)

Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said “I think the overarching thing is that we want to see major improvement,” when she took over ownership of the franchise. Breaking news to Miss Hamp there has been no improvements. None, zero, zilch.

The Detroit Tigers and Red Wings came to the understanding the general managers who put winning teams on the field and ice were no longer bringing in the top talent needed to sustain that level of play. Both teams changed general managers and entered complete rebuilds and both have bright futures. The Detroit Pistons also joined the Tigers and Red Wings in the rebuild and by all accounts the Pistons suddenly look like a basketball team on the rise.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Executive Vice President & General Manager Bob Quinn watches the pregame actives prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Green Bay defeated Detroit 23-20. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

A new general manager and head coach are needed at Ford Field. That means current players will need to go so the new regime can put whatever system they want to run in place. That may mean moving on from longtime starting quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Lions have not advanced with Stafford under center, though that is absolutely not all on him. But, that must be factored in when any possible new GM and coach take over.

Back to Sheila Ford Hamp she needs to show that she is true to her words and also acknowledge that no improvement has taken place. It is time for a change for the Detroit Lions.

 

Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver is retooling, reshaping and rebuilding the team

There is no way around it. The Detroit Pistons have joined two other Detroit sports teams (Tigers and Red Wings) by officially entering a total or very near total teardown and rebuild. New Pistons general manager Troy Weaver was very active this past week first with the 2020 NBA draft and then free agency. The Pistons gutted the bulk of the teams roster, now youth is being served in Motown and that is just fine.

Whenever and new general manager takes over a team he generally begins to make changes to meet his idea of a successful roster and even coaching staff. The Detroit Pistons are already fortunate to have a very good head coach so Dwane Casey was not going anywhere.

That did not stop Weaver from taking an axe to most of the Detroit Pistons roster. During the 2020 NBA Draft the Pistons entered the draft with just one pick at No. 7 overall. Weaver then weaved some magic and the Pistons had two more first round draft picks.

When the dust had settled, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell, Luke Kennard, Thon Maker, as well as others were jettisoned off. A few players survived Troy Weaver’s purge.

Gone is the bulk of a roster that struggled both as a group and as individuals to fine consistency on the court. Enter a young roster with more athleticism than the Pistons have had in recent years.

With any roster change over there are risks. Players may not pan out. Players may not quite live live up to scouting reports. However, Troy Weaver did the right thing. Get as many draft picks as possible and roll the dice a few players will pan out.

This is at the heart of any teams rebuild. The Detroit Pistons had a nationally praised 2020 draft. The players selected have high upside with as expected a few red flags. That did not stop nor should it have Weaver from going through with some big daring moves.

SALT LAKE CITY – OCTOBER 4: Troy Weaver of the Utah Jazz poses for a portrait during NBA Media Day on October 4, 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2004 NBAE (Photo by Kent Horner/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Detroit Pistons are the talk of the NBA. Troy Weaver has deconstructed a roster that by and large failed. He has begun to put players together that are both young and athletic.

It will be interesting to see this group of Pistons players grow and mature both next season and beyond.

Detroit Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren is stepping up his game

For any rebuild to be deemed a success a lot of draft picks are needed but more important, players selected in the drafts must pan out. It is a given not every player drafted will make it to the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings, Jonatan Berggren is a player that being drafted buy the organization in 2018 is a case of a prospect taking the next step which should prove good for the Red Wings.

At just 5 feet 11 inches there is a lot of hockey in Jonatan Berggren small frame. Who’s scouting report indicated a solid player was in there and just needed time to come out. Coupled with a few injuries it took perhaps a tad bit longer to show why the Red Wings drafted him, yet Berggren is now showing it on a more consistent basis.

PLYMOUTH, MI – FEBRUARY 15: Jonatan Berggren #17 of the Sweden Nationals skates up ice with the puck against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 15, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. Finland defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Jonatan Berggren

Currently playing in the Swedish Hockey League, Jonatan Berggren is playing at a better than a point a game clip. In 17 games played Berggren has four goals and 15 assists. 

When the Detroit Red Wings drafted Jonatan Berggren it was for his well known ability to be a a play-maker. The smallish forward’s game is well rounded. His combo of speed and skill makes him dangerous in the offensive zone while Berggren’s defense is solid as well.

Given the growth Berggren’s game has seen, it is very possible the Red Wings will bring him back to Detroit in time for training camp whenever the NHL figures out the logistics of how the 2020-21 season will be played.

“Playing in the NHL is something I’ve been thinking about, and dreaming of since I started playing,” Jonatan Berggren said recently. “And now I’m closer to realizing that dream than ever. It’s all about that final push. And if I think about all the work I’ve put in to be able to try to make that push. It has all been worth it.”

The work Jonatan Berggren has put in is about to pay off for him and the Detroit Red Wings will be the beneficiaries of the young forwards improved play.

Detroit Red Wings Filip Zadina heating up in the Czech Republic league

When the Detroit Red Wings then general manager Ken Holland drafted Filip Zadina two years ago it was widely known Zadina was a pure goal scorer. Detroit lent Zadina to the Czech Republic hockey team during the AHL/NHL shutdown due to COVID-19. In just three games played, Filip Zadina is heating up.

Four-goals, one assist in three games played. Filip Zadina is showing why he is one of the Detroit Red Wings top prospects and why he is an important part of the organizations future post-rebuild.

At just 21 years old Zadina, was playing well for the Red Wings during the shortened NHL season. After having a rough training camp in which Zadina was assigned to the minor leagues, the young forward found his footing and his scoring touch leading to a November call-up.

Filip Zadina has the offensive firepower the Detroit Red Wings need. His play last season saw Zadina move into a true top-six forward pairing player. One other aspect of his game that has grown by leaps and bounds is Zadina has become much more patient with the puck.  The talented prospect no longer forces the puck into the mix, he clearly is seeing the ice better and it is safe to say the game has slowed down for him.

DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 24: Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina, of the Czech Republic, (11) skates during a regular season NHL hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings on February 24, 2019. at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Now a very good puck mover as well as a sniper shot, Filip Zadina has shown he has upped his game and will need to continue to up his game as NHL defenses will surely play the young forward more aggressively next season.

The word on Filip Zadina pre-draft was his projection as a top-line, play-driving winger. Which is why he sits at or near the top of the Red Wings prospect list due directly to his potential.

Heading into training camp for a rumored January start up date for the 2021 NHL season, Filip Zadina will have many eyes on his as the Red Wings front office, coaching staff and teammates will expect to see his take the next step.

Given Filip Zadina’s track record, he will indeed take those steps.

The Detroit Lions and head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn need to go separate ways

It simply is not working. The Detroit Lions have gone from 9-7 and a playoff football team to being one of the worst teams in the NFL for three years now. To put the blame on just one person is not right. However, there are two people who share equal responsibility general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia. The Detroit Lions need to move on from both.

The Detroit Lions are a product of Matt Patricia’s vision as well as the players he wanted, his coaching staff he hired and the system he put in place both offensively and defensively. Patricia did have help with players and coach’s from Bob Quinn.

Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions are not even beating the bad teams. They are getting beaten badly by them. For three years running. The broken record is wearing thin in Motown. Patricia placed a huge bullseye on his back in October when he stated “There was a lot of work to do when I got here.”

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Executive Vice President & General Manager Bob Quinn watches the pregame actives prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Green Bay defeated Detroit 23-20. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Really? Is the the angle he is going to play? Is that the angle his boss (and friend) Bob Quinn is letting him take? A 9-7 football team does not need a lot of work. That is a team that is closer to being a very solid team than the one Quinn and Patricia have put on the field.

I suspect in the coming weeks or perhaps sooner, Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp will have to  sit down and figure out what direction she wants to take with a football organization that has been searching for solid footing since 1957.

One thing is clear both Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia need to go. That would most likely mean a total or close to total rebuild for the Lions. Fans are used to that. The next GM and head football coach need to be spot on hires. Ford Hamp can take decades of Lions football deficiencies and prove she is nothing like her father, the late William Clay Ford or more recently her mother Martha  Firestone Ford when they owned the team.

For the Detroit Lions, something has to give, again.

The Detroit Tigers name Chris Fetter pitching coach

Right after manager the next most important hire for any baseball team is the pitching coach. New Detroit Tigers manager A. J. Hinch, Friday announced he has hired University of Michigan pitching coach Chris Fetter to head the young pitching talent for the Tigers. It was a moved that was met with praise across the baseball landscape.

A. J. Hinch said yesterday that he and the Detroit Tigers added a “very big piece of the puzzle.” Bringing in Chris Fetter to coach the pitchers is viewed as a progressive move by the Tigers. While Fetter is just 34 years old he has built one of the most successful pitching programs in the country while with the Michigan Wolverines baseball team through the use modern technology and data.

Chris Fetter said that while technology, data and analytics certainly have their place in baseball, he also relies on gut instincts with pitchers. So Fetter has said he has backed off being numbers driven and is better able to communicate with the players.

The Detroit Tigers with a lot of big arms and top pitching prospects in baseball got better with the Fetter hiring. Fetter said of the Tigers pitching prospects that “The pieces are there” (namely Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and others.)

Chris Fetter was among the most coveted college coaches in the country, earning praise for his development of Michigan pitchers and his use of technology to get the most out of his players. Now he will head to Detroit and do the same.

Fetter is correct, the pieces are in place for the Detroit Tigers to begin to form a playoff caliber team. A. J. Hinch has laid the foundation of a strong coaching staff. The money to make splashes in free agency, with only Miguel Cabrera’s $30 million guaranteed for 2021, seems ready to be used soon.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 13: Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila looks on during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 13, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Last week Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila said the rebuild is done now the team is going to enter the “building stage.” That stage has begun with the hiring of both A. J. Hinch and pitching coach Chris Fetter.

With a new contract extension, the Detroit Red Wings Anthony Mantha needs to stay healthy

Anthony Mantha was always part of the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings future plans. A gifted two way forward, Mantha has value to the young Red Wings core. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman handed Mantha a new contract yesterday, it is the largest deal Yzerman has handed out in his time in Detroit.

The Detroit Red Wings and Anthony Mantha reached a  four year deal with an annual average value of $5.7 million. Making Mantha the second highest paid player on the team behind center (and line mate) Dylan Larkin at $6.1 AAV.

For all of Anthony Mantha’s scoring prowess, the thing that has held Mantha back from becoming the feared  player the Red Wings believe he can be, it is the fact Mantha has been marred by injuries.

A couple of weeks ago Steve Yzerman said that he felt good about getting a deal done with Mantha who was a RFA (restricted free agent.) The deal is the first Yzerman has handed out longer than two years.

DETROIT, MI – MARCH 08: Anthony Mantha #39 of the Detroit Red Wings watches the action from the bench against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on March 8, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Tampa Bay 5-4 in a shootout. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Anthony Mantha can score goals by the bunches. With a history of injuries knee injury, punctured lung, broken hand just to name a few that has robbed both Mantha and the Red Wings from having his full-time help on the ice.

Of the new contract Mantha said  he feels the responsibility on his shoulders, that come with a new contract which include higher expectations. Yzerman has confirmed by the deal that he fully expects Mantha to be part of the long-term plans of the Red Wings organization and he also expects Mantha will do his part to stay on the ice, as well as help young players as the arrive in Detroit while helping the team come out of the rebuild phase.

This is the right move by the Detroit front office headed by general manager Steve Yzerman. Mantha is a young player who has shown more than enough flashes of what he brings to the table.

Now Mantha has to go show that he can live up to the new deal.

 

The Detroit Tigers hired A. J. Hinch to manage what it means to the organization and rebuild

When NHL’s Detroit Red Wings hired head coach Scotty Bowman to lead the team to the Stanley Cup he did. That was in the early 1990’s. The Detroit Tigers hired A. J. Hinch to manage the the team to the World Series which he very well could. The Tigers were and are willing to take a temporary PR hit because they have big picture goals in mind.

With the final out of the 2020 World Series and the Los Angeles Dodgers victors, A. J. Hinch’s one year suspension from MLB was over. Now Hinch has to live with and answer lots of questions about the Houston Astros cheating scandal of which Hinch looked the other way.

Once you allow yourself to move past the mistake in Houston, you will see that A.J. Hinch is a very good manager. One who got the most out of a young Astros team to the tune of a World Series Championship in 2017.

The Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila and Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch are rolling the dice Hinch can take a young Tigers teams with a top five minor league system and do it again.

What should impress fans of the Detroit Tigers is that A. J. Hinch has a firm grasp of Tigers prospects already. He threw out name after name during both his press conference to announce his hiring as well as one on one interviews that followed.

DETROIT – MAY 4: Exterior of Comerica Park is pictured before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox on May 4, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 4-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling /MLB via Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers have sent a clear signal with the Hich hiring, the long rebuild is near completion, something Avila and Ilitch hinted strongly at Friday afternoon. There is little doubt that Ilitch who said he will spend money when the time is right is preparing to do so this offseason or next.

There is also little doubt a manager like A. J. Hinch would take a job with an organization that was not willing to bring in top free agents. The Tigers have enter the building stage after just ending the rebuild phase.

Soon meaningful baseball will be played at Comerica Park again. With a manager who knows and has what it takes to win.

The Detroit Red Wings are in position to make big moves next offseason

The Detroit Red Wings have just eight players under contract beyond this season. Only Red Wings center Dylan Larkin is signed through 2022-23. What does that mean for Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman? It means the Red Wings will have a blank slate, tons of cap room and a lot of time and space to make big plans after the 2020-21 season concludes.

By large the Detroit Red Wings were one of the NHL’s offseason winners via free agency. The ever savvy Yzerman spent money on solid players on short one and two year deals. Players that given their track record he can flip at the trade deadline for more assets.

With Steve Yzerman now spearheading the Detroit Red Wings rebuild, he attracts free agents. That has never been a problem for the Red Wings mind you. But now the organization can pick the best free agents with nothing on the salary cap.

When he returned to Detroit, Yzerman preached patience. Not because the GM thought it would take years, but rather because Yzerman was willing to wait until contracts either ended or became tradable or the time was right for a buyout . That was the right course of action to take. It now has the Red Wings smelling the roses.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 09: Former Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman #19 enters a ceremony honoring Joe Louis Arena on April 9, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 in the last NHL game at the arena. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Something else to watch is how Yzerman views the RFA (restricted free agents) market as well. Part of the reason an offer sheet has not come the last few weeks of this offseason is a because a handful of teams that could make offers do not have the draft picks to give if an offer should be accepted. That is not an issue for Detroit who has nine draft picks next summer and will undoubtedly have more once the trade deadline comes and goes this season.

As for NHL general managers most  lack the ability to do anything. It is not so much that they would not, they simply can not due to salary cap issues. Their teams are handcuffed.

That is not the case for the Red Wings and Steve Yzerman.

With Michigan looming, Michigan State has work to do

It was not the stunning fact that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights beat the  Michigan State Spartans in Saturday’s Big 10 season opener. It was the fact with a new coaching staff on the Michigan State sideline the Spartans came unglued and did not look prepared as the team amassed seven costly turnovers. Now the Spartan football team will head to Ann Arbor to take on heated in-state rival Michigan.

Michigan State’s new football coach Mel Tucker made his Spartans debut Saturday in East Lansing. It was a debut that I have little doubt Tucker would like to redo.

With a mostly unproven offensive line, the Spartans failed to establish a rushing attack and quarterback Rocky  Lombardi was sacked three times. Tucker told the media after the game ” Overall, just looking at it, it didn’t look like we were able to control the line of scrimmage like we need to.”

In pervious years, Michigan State  ran a base defense of a 4-3 under former head coach Mark Dantonio. This season new defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton sifted to a 4-2-5 against Rutgers. The Spartans needed to replace seven defensive starters from last years squad.

EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Rocky Lombardi #12 of the Michigan State Spartans scrambles against defensive back Saquan Hampton #9 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and defensive lineman Elorm Lumor #7 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half at Spartan Stadium on November 24, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State defeated Rutgers 14-10. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

That is enough new to create in game issues. Then throw in seven turnovers and it adds to the pot and creates and very difficult spot to get out of. Now the Michigan Wolverines coming fresh off a blowout win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers await.

There is much work and issues to clean up for the Michigan State Spartans. I suspect the team will have a better showing Saturday in Ann Arbor due to cleaning up some issues and because it is a rather big rivalry game.

Will it be enough? That is a question that is difficult at this time to answer. Even if the Spartans lose to the Wolverines there must be progress both made and shown. Otherwise it could lead to a long messy first season for Mel Tucker and his Michigan State football team.