Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has a looming decision on head coach Jeff Blashill

The Detroit Red Wings have finished another losing season. Rebuilds can be brutal. While development of young players is critical, at some point losses must turn into wins. Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill who has been the ire of the Red Wings fans everywhere for sometime now takes center stage for his job security. A short time ago, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said he would address that quickly.

DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the action from the bench against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on February 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Canadiens 4-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

There has been some improvement from the Detroit Red Wings play. I pointed this out not long ago. The questions that only Steve Yzerman is faced with are:

  1. Was there enough improvement show to merit bringing Jeff Blashill back for another season or more?
  2. Is Blashill a coach who can get the Red Wings to the next level?

While no one is sure which direction Yzerman is leaning and will go, all eyes are on this situation. If Blashill is relieved of his coaching duties who are some options Steve Yzerman could turn to?

I would have to imagine Yzerman would at the very least would put in a call to his former teammate Gerard Gallant. Gallant has maintained a win percentage of .523 or better and has one trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Perhaps, Yzerman could call former Michigan State Spartan hockey player and current head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour who’s team has this seasons best record and Brind’Amour is 111-63-15  since being named Hurricanes head coach.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 06: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the play from the bench during an NHL, home opening night game against the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena on October 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are other quality coaches that are out there. Again until Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings announce a press conference it is all just a guess. When the time comes for whatever is going to happen with the head coach it will kick off a very busy offseason for Yzerman ands the Red Wings.

Stay tuned.



Detroit Tigers prospect Dillon Dingler is off to a solid start

When it comes to Detroit Tigers prospect watching all eyes are on the top dog, Spencer Torkelson. But, at the start of the 2021 minor league season it is 2020’s second round draft pick and #5 ranked prospect Dillon Dingler who has put on a show. Giving the Tigers a promising prospect at the catcher position. In my opinion Dingler is a player who could shoot through the Tigers minor league system.

Scoring the first run of the season for the West Michigan Whitecaps stemming from his first professional home run while picking a runner off at second base, Detroit Tigers catching prospect Dillion Dingler made a rather big first impression.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 04: Dillon Dingler #79 of the Detroit Tigers looks on while waiting to bat 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)

Dingler was drafted out of Ohio State and now plays in Michigan, teammates and fans let him know. In a fun loving way. Playing both centerfield and catcher for the Buckeyes showcased Dingler’s  athleticism. Now he is catching full-time.

Dillion Dingler would go onto hit another home run and collect a total of 5 hits. Widely viewed as a first round draft pick, Dingler fell to the first pick in the second round where the Detroit Tigers selected him. Catching and catching prospects has been a thorn in the side of the Tigers organization for a while.

With no minor league season last season Dingler was placed at the Tigers Summer Camp with big league players. The Tigers next moved the young catcher to the alternate training site in Toledo, and allowed him to start catching advanced pitchers all summer.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 18: Dillon Dingler #79 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

While it is only a small sample size, it appears the Detroit Tigers may finally have their catcher of the future. In fact MLB scouts were drooling over Dingler’s potential pre-draft.

With plus defense and plus bat, along with plus power, Dillon Dingler  should not have made it out of the first round. The Detroit Tigers are both happy and fortunate he did. Soon Tiger fans will also be happy he did.

Mother’s Day 2021

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26

Well another Mother’s Day is upon us, and with it comes hopefully the nearing end of the global pandemic. While I have been able to enjoy some time with my parents it is not the same. The long visits of days gone by are now shortened visits.

But now our family have been vaccinated and with it comes the hope for the return of long visits. Growing up my mom would always be instructing me and giving me advise and helping my dad mold me into the person I am today. For that I am grateful, at the time I was not grateful at times. But that is alright. Not every lesson and piece of advice is pleasant. But it is needed, I see that now.

An Autumn Buncn. After an original work by Francis Edward James (1849-1920). From The Studio Volume 37 [London Offices of the Studio, London, 1906] (Photo by Print Collector/Getty Images)
The Bible tells us we need to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12.

A few years ago I was at a dead stop and rear-ended by a big pickup truck hauling a woodchipper. My car was annihilated, and I was left with severe whiplash and other complications. Pain has set in everyday since the accident.

But, part of my recovery has been the lessons I learned from my mom during the formidable years growing up. To enjoy the good days, fight through the bad ones. One lesson has stuck out like a sore thumb through the days, months, years, decades since, if you think you have it bad, someone else has it worse. Other people have greatly helped me as well, for that I am grateful beyond all measures.

This has nothing to do with being macho. It has everything to do to keep pushing through. I have tried to do that. Some days are easier than others. But that is alright. To tend to the things that really matter, my faith, family and friends.

I keep going because Jesus carried the cross. I keep going because I have a mom who gave me the instructions and advise needed for a time such as this.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Defensive back Jeff Okudah has some telling words about former Detroit Lions coaches

To say Jeff Okudah struggled during his rookie season is to say the sun is bright. Okudah struggled with injuries and when healthy he struggled to cover the wide receiver across from him. Yet, Jeff Okudah came out of Ohio State as a top 5 talent, who was widely viewed by NFL and football experts as the top cornerback in last years NFL Draft. Day’s ago during an interview Okudah shed some light on why he struggled so mightily.

Jeff Okudah is good at saying what he means even if it means talking in code. I do not believe Okudah was taking a pot-shot at form Detroit Lions coaches, as much as he was explaining why he struggled despite being top 5 talent.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 27: Cornerback Jeff Okudah #30 of the Detroit Lions in the NFL game Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Lions defeated the Cardinals 26-23. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jeff Okudah was recently asked about the new Lions coaching staff specifically new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant.

“Within the first couple of meetings, I was just picking up so much things that I thought to myself, ‘It just would have been nice to have these tools in my toolbox in my rookie year, Looking at the film and breaking down how the offense is trying to attack. That’s what I try to do every single day going into the game plan. So just having the tools that (Aubrey Pleasant) has put in my toolbox, it’s like I’m seeing film from a whole new perspective, I’m seeing the game completely different. That’s one thing that has me really excited going into my second year.”

On the surface it is a harmless quote. A deeper look is a rather damning blow to former Lions head coach Matt Patricia and his coaching staff. Okudah in essence pointed out that film study was never part of Lions game day preparation.

CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014: Assistant defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn of the Cleveland Browns celebrates a game winning field goal by kicker Billy Cundiff #8 after a game against the New Orleans Saints on September 14, 2014 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 26-24. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Many NFL experts have singled out Jeff Okudah as a player that will have a bounce-back season. Highly regarded Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn also has faith in Okudah who will be entering his second NFL season.

This is not a finger point at former Detroit Lions coaches! This is just a look at part of what went so wrong during that era of Lions football and how there could be hope with the new Lions coaching staff.

Head coach Jeff Blashill believes the Detroit Red Wings are a better hockey team this season

Last season the Detroit Red Wings had 17 wins and 39 points in the COVID shortened 71 game NHL season. This season the Red Wings are 18 wins and 49 points in another COVID shortened NHL season. With only a one win difference in the two seasons, Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill insists his hockey team is better.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 08: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the action from the bench against the Anaheim Ducks during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on October 8, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Anaheim defeated Detroit 3-1. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jeff Blashill who’s contract is up when the Detroit Red Wings season concludes Saturday, sees positive steps taken by the Red Wings this season. If you disregard one more win, Blashill’s statement may have some validity. No really.

Jeff Blashill has often been a target of Red Wings fans for a couple years now. But, as the developmental coach for the rebuilding Detroit hockey team, Blashill has seen his team have ups and downs. So is he correct? Are the Red Wings better?

For starters the games the Red Wings have won have come by and large with young players in the lineup. That in and of itself is indeed improved progress . It also lends to hope to the future.

Also, the Red Wings have improved defensively. No really. Last season the Detroit defense was 31st or dead last in the NHL, in a season the unit gave up an inexcusable  3.73 goals per game. This season the defense is ranked 20th allowing 2.98 goals per game.

What has not improved much is the Detroit offense. Last season the Red Wings offense was dead last averaging just 2.00 goals per game. This season the Red Wings offense is you guessed it, dead last at a very slightly better average 2.15 goals per game.

The offense needs to be a focal point for Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman this offseason. While the Red Wings wait for top offensive prospects like Lucas Raymond to develop.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – SEPTEMBER 12: Filip Hronek #17 of the Detroit Red Wings poses for his official headshot for the 2020-2021 season at Center Ice Arena on September 12, 2019 in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

In conclusion, Jeff Blashill is correct, the Red Wings are better this season. There is still a lot of work to be done. But in a long rebuild at least the defense has improved. Not to mention the Detroit Red Wings are not in last place for the first time in a couple seasons. That honor goes to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Day two of the 2021 NFL Draft showed the Detroit Lions new front office gets it

The Detroit Lions media and fan base are getting an up close look at just what made Lions General Manager Brad Holmes so valuable to the Los Angeles Rams. Holmes helped build the Rams into an NFC contender through a very good eye for talent and understanding how he wanted the Rams to look. The Detroit Lions are in a full rebuild and Holmes and the rest of the Lions front office have wasted no time in adding some key pieces for the teams future.

As of right now the Detroit Lions have a top five draft, this only after day 2 of the NFL Draft. When was the last time that happened you asked? 1988. Unless you live under a shoe you already know the Detroit Lions drafted offensive tackle Penei Sewell in the first round. A generational talent.

SEATTLE, WA – NOVEMBER 29: Washington Huskies defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike (95) walks up to the line of scrimmage before a play in the 112th Apple Cup between the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars on Friday, November 29, 2019 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Day two saw Brad Holmes and the rest of the Lions front office adding even more teeth (pun and no pun intended) to the rebuilding Lions roster. With the second round draft pick Brad Holmes and the Lions selected defensive linemen  Levi Onwuzurike from the Washington Huskies. In the third round another defensive lineman from N. C. State Alim McNeill also in the third round cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu out of the University of Syracuse.

No skilled players draft in the first 3 rounds by the Lions. I am speechless. In a good way. Meaning that Brad Holmes and Co. are building the Detroit roster the proper way. Lions fans on social media for the most part are happy with the draft thus far. Some are not.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – OCTOBER 26: Safety Ifeatu Melifonwu #23 of the Syracuse Orange during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on October 26, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Orange 35 to 17. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

To the fans that are not happy with the Lions draft through round 3, I say this. In a rebuild it is far more important to build the nucleus of the roster than it is to add skill players. Games are one and lost in the trenches. If the offensive line is doing their job then it will generate success. If the defensive line is doing their job it will give the linebackers and secondary a chance to shine thus generating more success.

The Detroit Lions will not win many games in 2021. That is alright. Brad Homes is setting the organization to win in a year or two from now. With a draft like this fans should be excited for the future.

The Detroit Lions draft offensive tackle Penei Sewell

They did it! No really. The Detroit Lions drafted a foundational player. Penei Sewell from the University of Oregon, an offensive tackle. In his first draft as Lions general manager, Brad Holmes absolutely nailed the draft pick. The Detroit Lions got a premier offensive linemen and a generational player. It is refreshing to actually see the Lions draft a player who is as gifted a Sewell.

Through the first six draft picks in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft it seemed as if Penei Sewell could be there when the Detroit Lions picked at #7. When the Lions were on the clock, not only was Sewell still on the board but so were other players that certainly would have and could have helped the Lions.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 02: Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Penei Sewell (58) during a college football game between the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans on November 02, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What made Penei Sewell not only the right pick for the Lions but also the only pick that made sense, is that the Oregon product is the best tackle to come out of college in a long time. Let’s take a look at what makes Sewell so good.

For starters Sewell, has an elite frame for an offensive tackle, build and speed and power are a plus. Down after down Sewell explosively springs out of his stance to gain ground with above average footwork, excellent balance and weight distribution as a pass protector and run blocker with special ability to recover from compromising positions.

In other words Penei Sewell is the total package. He is a tackle who just does not come around everyday or every NFL Draft. Many football experts, broadcasters and media members believed Sewell was the best player in college football. They may have been right.

For a team like the Detroit Lions who are in a full blown rebuild drafting a player like Penei Sewell is a very good start. Not only that but Brad Holmes has really bucked Lions history by not drafting a skilled player or a one year wonder.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – APRIL 29: A Detroit Lions fan holds a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Lions selected Penei Sewell with the seventh pick during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Detroit Lions fans and beat writers will get a better look at the vision Holmes has for the Lions when the 2021 NFL Draft resumes with rounds 2-3 today and then the rest of the draft.

Former Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky pleads with the Detroit Lions not to make the same mistake

Former Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky had some rather poignant remarks regarding his former team. Orlovsky’s plea? For current Lions general manager Brad Holmes to not repeat the same mistakes made by the last few Lions GM’s. Dan Orlovsky does not want the Detroit Lions to take a skilled player (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker) in the first round.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 18: Dan Orlovsky #8 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the game between the Detroit Lions and the Tennessee Titans at Ford Field on September 18, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

You may recall just a few days ago, I made a similar statement that Dan Orlovsky (current ESPN analyst) made yesterday via social media. It is somewhat surreal that a former NFL player and current analyst would echo what I had written.

That said, it is a drum that I am going to beat up unto the 2021 NFL Draft. Orlovsky is dead right! No, zero, zilch, NFL team has ever had success building it’s roster by drafting skilled players in the first round.

If a team does draft a skilled player it is because they feel the offensive line and defensive line are set. That is not the case in Detroit. The right side of the Lions offensive line is currently a mess. The defensive line is not a whole lot better.

Again, IF Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell do in fact believe quarterback Jared Goff is the long-term solution then the team must build around him. Not behind him (running back) not out to the sides of him (wide receivers/ tight end.) But right in front of him, namely the right side of the offensive line.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – DECEMBER 20: A helmet of the Detroit Lions rests on the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

It is nice to know that someone else out there feels the same way about how to build an NFL roster that I do. Again former NFL head coach and NFL Hall of Famer Bill Parcells established this philosophy  and enjoyed a lot of success.

It is easy to get caught up in the flash and glitz and sexyness  of skilled players. It is a much better position to be in when teams choose a bit more wisely and build both the offensive and defensive lines.

Sifting through what the Detroit Lions should do at #7

NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells had a drafting philosophy that lead to many wins including Super Bowl wins. So what was this philosophy that also had a winning formula to it? Parcells believed with first round draft picks that an organization either take an offensive linemen or defensive linemen. I other words build your lines. Not a skilled position player such as quarterback, running back or wide receiver. Again, Bill Parcells won an awful lot of games taking this route.

CANTON, OH – AUGUST 3: Former head coach Bill Parcells poses with his Hall of Fame bust during the NFL Class of 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony at Fawcett Stadium on Aug. 3, 2013 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Bill Parcells once said that if he built his offensive line correctly he could could get any “Joe Blow” to play quarterback and he was going to win a lot of games. During his coaching career, Parcells did win a lot of games and do you know what? He did not coach a Hall of Fame quarterback.

What is the lesson in all of this? The 2021 NFL Draft is fast approaching. This years draft boasts of some of the best offensive tackles that have come out of college in a long time. The Detroit Lions who currently sit at #7 overall in the first round just so happen to greatly need to improve the right side of the offensive line at guard and you guessed it, right tackle.

I am not going to toss around names of possible players the Detroit Lions should look at. This write-up is solely focused on team need and drafting philosophy. It is and has become more and more clear the Detroit Lions view quarterback Jared Goff as the long-term signal caller.

If that is indeed the case then Lions general manager Brad Holmes, needs to build around Goff. What better way to illustrate to player, fans and media than to surround the starting quarterback with an offensive line that can protect both in the pass and run game?

NEW YORK – APRIL 26: A general view shows the stage during the during the 2008 NFL Draft on April 26, 2008 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With holes a plenty up and down the Detroit Lions roster, the team needs to key in on what to address in this years draft. There are far to many holes to address in one draft.

If I am in the Detroit Lions front office, then I would be adamant the team takes a long hard look at Bill Parcells winning draft philosophy.

Examining if Jakub Vrana should be a Detroit Red Wing long term

Take away a couple of factors. Namely two draft pick and another player and the Detroit Red Wings essentially traded Jakub Vrana  for Anthony Mantha, April 12, 2021. No matter how long the two players are with their current teams they will always be linked. Both player have made immediate impacts for the teams that acquired them the Washington Capitals (Mantha) and Red  Wings (Vrana.) Both players have scored multiple goals for their respective teams.

Anthony Mantha scored goals in each of his first four games for Washington. While in Detroit, Jakub Vrana scored a goal in his first game and then erupted for four goals against the Dallas Stars. The last Red Wings player to score four goals in a game, you got it Anthony Mantha.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 17: Jakub Vrana #15 of the Detroit Red Wings skates up ice against the Chicago Blackhawks during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on April 17, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Chicago defeated Detroit 4-0.(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jakub Vrana has made a quick impression with the Red Wings organization. Vrana has always been known as a pure goals scorer, a sniper if you will. But a logjam of players in Washington kept Vrana from ice time and from showing his true potential.

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman, knew he could not trade Mantha and get no production back. Draft picks are nice and all, but the reality is even the best draft picks need time to develop.

It is not that Jakub Vrana can score goals that makes him an interesting acquisition. Vrana has shown himself to be a solid player at both ends of the ice as well as fight for loose pucks in the corners.

Speed? Jakub Vrana has speed. That is another facet is Vrana’s game and one that any coach in any sport will tell you can not be learned. Vrana during his time with the Capitals was a player who fans and media always said “if he could just have more ice time.” In other words many including inside Washington’s organization  believed they had a special player.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 15: Jakub Vrana #15 of the Detroit Red Wings shoots the puck during pre game warm-ups before an NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Little Caesars Arena on April 15, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Now with more ice time in Detroit, Vrana in a short period of time is showing that he can indeed be a special player. So, the answer to if Jakub Vrana should be a Detroit Red Wing long term is yes.