The Detroit Lions Kenny Golladay needs a contract extension, here’s why

It is not often that a wide receiver drives an offensive unit. That role generally goes to the quarterback or a running back. For the Detroit Lions it is in fact a wide receiver that drives the offense and quite frankly the Lions offense would be a train wreck without him ( see the first two weeks of the season.) Kenny Golladay is a difference maker, who just so happens to be in the market for a new contract.

After a huge catch that set up the Detroit Lions win against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday afternoon, Kenny Golladay said, “Any time the ball is in the air, I want it to be mine,” it has to be mine. I just got to make that play.”

Mind you the catch came with a Falcon’s safety draped all over Golladay. That is usually the case. Golladay is used to being covered tight and most times pass interference could be called. Yet time and time again Kenny Golladay comes down with the football, because he’s is that good.

The Detroit Lions began the season with Golladay injured and they looked bad on offense. Bad enough that fans and media wondered if Detroit head coach Matt Patricia would be fired. Then Golladay returned from injury and the Lions offense began to heat up. Because he’s that good.

With Golladay’s return the Detroit Lions are about to play some meaningful football in November, and those meaningful games will come largely against terrible teams over the next month to month and a half.

Certainly the level of opponents has helped the Lions get going. But one thing that should not be overlooked is that the Lions were 0-2 when Golladay was injured, since his return the team is 3-1.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Kenny Golladay #19 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a reception during the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Los Angeles 10-13. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions began negotiating a contract extension with Golladay last summer, but the sides have not been able to come to an agreement.  Golladay is still playing out the final year of his rookie deal. Base salary: $2.13 million.

What is the going rate for a top 10 receiver in the NFL you ask? It starts at $16.25 million. Kenny Golladay is worth it, because he’s that good.

Is the 2020 Michigan Wolverines football team ready to take the next step

How would quarterback Joe Milton handle making his first career start? How would a refurbished offensive line handle a prime time game with four new starters? Could the Michigan Wolverines wide receivers be effective without former Michigan standout Nico Collins part of the wide out group? How good would a loaded running backs group preform? A lot of questions were answered last night.

Heading into the 2020 season Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines football team had a lot of questions to sort through. Many of which were on the offensive side of the ball.

Saturday night in a prime time matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Harbaugh’s team got to work and actually look like they might finally be ready to take the next step. The 49-24 win against a very good team turned heads.

Making his first start for Michigan at quarterback, Joe Milton managed a good game for the Wolverines. Milton was 15 of 22 for 225 yards and a touchdown, he would also run for a touchdown as well.

Facing a Minnesota team that has a nationally ranked top 10 defense, the new faces on the Wolverines offensive line played very well. Giving Milton a clean pocket to work with.

As for the Michigan defensive unit, they played well for the most part. The unit did give up a few big plays. That should have been expected given the Golden Gophers are a top 25 team and it was the first game of the season for both school’s.

That said the Wolverines will have to clean up a few aspects of the defensive play. The secondary must do a better job at keeping the play in front of them and not playing from the side or behind.

CHAMPAIGN, IL – OCTOBER 12: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines is seen during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Yes, it is only one game. However, it looked and felt different than in seasons past. Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan football team has a different feel to it on the both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

It looks as if Michigan is finally ready to take the next step.

Detroit Tigers top prospect Spencer Torkelson is as advertised

Breaking a long standing record at Arizona State that was held by Barry Bonds, put Spencer Torkelson on the map. Drafted this past year No.1 overall by the Detroit Tigers, Torkelson headed to summer camp and was and is working on transitioning from first base to third. Now as part of a group of players at the Tigers instructional league, Torkelson is proving his worth.

This fall at instructional league play for the Detroit Tigers, Spencer Torkelson is batting third in the lineup, fellow Tigers first round draft pick Riley Greene is batting in front of him. Tigers fans should get use to that rather nasty 1-2 punch.

It is easy for young prospects to get lost as they try to advance through the minor leagues. Spencer Torkelson has had a well rounded, mature adjustment to professional baseball. “Torkelson is as advertised,” vice president of player development Dave Littlefield said. “He works the count well. He’s got power. He can hit. We’re trying him out at third base. He’s an athletic guy, great makeup, ballplayer.”

On Monday during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Torkelson stepped to the plate and flashed exactly what Littlefield described. Hitting a 375 foot home run, after which  Torkelson said he did not get all of it.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 11: Riley Greene #31 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 11, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson have bonded. They have become fast friends. That is important because they project as future All-Stars. They also project to be part of a formidable part of the Tigers batter order for years to come.

Both Torkelson and Greene are described as being very humble, level headed players who love playing the game and want to get better every day. This is the fun part of watching and tracking prospects. To see players growth is encouraging, more so because two of the Tigers organization’s top prospects are on track.

Legendary NHL announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick retires

It is not often when a person behind a microphone is celebrated. In the case of Mike “Doc” Emrick, he of such eloquent vocabulary and an overriding love for hockey who announced Monday he was stepping down from calling NHL games is a broadcaster to be celebrated. Mr. Emrick was the very best at his craft.

At the tender age of 74, the NHL has lost it’s voice. Mike “Doc” Emrick had called games for 47 years. When he began his career Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Bobby Hull were still playing. Emrick would see Gordie Howe’s son Mark and Bobby Hull’s son Brett not only play but join they’re dad’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The same Hall of Fame where Emrick received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence from in 2008. “Doc” also won seven  Emmy Awards for excellence in broadcasting, the only hockey broadcaster to receive one. Emrick became the first member of the media to be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Mike Emrick’s resume includes 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 19 Winter Classic and Stadium Series games, 14 NHL All-Star Games and six Olympics. What has endeared Emrick to hockey fans was his unabashed wonder at the skill and courage of hockey players.

NBC and NBC Sports allowed Mike “Doc” Emrick to take a final bow in a very fitting way.

There is no way around it, Mike “Doc” Emrick will be missed. NBC Sports said that Emrick will do some video essays from time to time, which from a Detroit Red Wings and hockey fan, I along with countless others are glad to hear.

 

The Detroit Lions D’Andre Swift is hitting stride

Detroit Lions rookie running back D’Andre Swift took the ball and 54 yards later had the longest run of his brief NHL career. It was the Lions longest gain on the ground in 30 games. Moments later Swift was rewarded for his effort has the Lions allowed him to carry the ball across the goal line for a one yard touchdown.

D’Andre Swift’s Detroit Lions debut ended poorly. As you may recall, Swift dropped the game winning touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears. After the game Swift told anybody and everybody this was not the norm.

Sunday’s games against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, D’Andre Swift ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries spearheading the Detroit Lions second win of the season. Along the way the Lions may have found the teams featured back.

Swift, a second-round pick in April’s draft, saw an increase in playing time against the Jaguars. Swift’s football touches jumped from 6.25 in the first four games of the season to 17 on Sunday in Jacksonville. The young running back made the most of those touches, becoming just the second Detroit Lions running back to rush for 100 plus yards since 2013.

GLENDALE, AZ – SEPTEMBER 08: A detailed view of a Detroit Lions helmet during the NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals on September 8, 2019 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In training camp D’Andre Swift suffered a hamstring injury cost him significant practice time. At times Swift has not be on the same page as the rest of the offense, in part due to lost time from the injury and as part of having not mini camps due to the global pandemic. Not to mention Swift is a rookie so there are usually growing pains with first year players.

Through the first few games Swift flashed enough signs of what he could be. Sunday in a hot, humid, steamy day in Jacksonville Florida, D’Andre Swift put together for the most part a complete game. The one glitch was running the wrong route on a Matthew Stafford pass attempt.

D’Andre Swift is an up and coming player for the Detroit Lions and should be the teams RB1 going forward.

 

The Detroit Tigers believe Franklin Perez still has a future role

Franklin Perez was one of the crown jewels of the 2017 trade that sent longtime Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros. Injuries derailed Perez’s development. The young pitcher threw just 27 innings due to injuries. Now healthy, the Tigers believe Franklin Perez has a future spot in the teams starting rotation.

At just 22 years old it is way to early to give up on Franklin Perez. When he arrived as part of the Verlander package, Perez was a top 10 prospect in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. Injuries and time missed saw Perez fall in the rankings and land at No. 14.

Perez’s pitch’s suggest he can be a solid three or four pitcher in  the Tigers rotation. If it were another team he could be a number two starter. The Tigers with excellent pitching prospects which includes Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning may actually see Perez at four.

When healthy, Franklin Perez is very talented. The young right handed pitcher,   showed a lot of potential in summer camp, but his fastball was stuck in the low 90s and his command was off at times. There were still moments where Perez gave reminders of just how good he can be.

Once Perez can clean up his wildness and consistently throw the ball around the plate he should arrive in Detroit. The future of the Tigers starting rotation already looks solid. Throw a healthy, confident Franklin Perez into the mix and the Detroit pitching staff of the future looks downright scary.

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)

It is not out of the question all four of the Detroit Tigers top pitching prospects arrive at Comerica Park next season. However that shakes out. The Tigers are just about ready to remake the 2020 worst pitching staff in MLB and replace it with young talented pitchers eager to prove themselves.

When this happens fans will be able to finally see a light at the end of the long rebuild.

The Detroit Tigers instructional league set to open

The Detroit Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield, is in Lakeland Florida preparing for an onslaught of Tigers prospects to begin offseason development. This after there was no minor league baseball played due to COVID-19.

Detroit Tigers top prospects Spencer Torkelson , Riley Greene  and Parker Meadows all where chosen to participate in Toledo as part of the Tigers shuttle during the 2020 MLB regular season. Those top prospects will be in Lakeland as will 16 of the organizations top 30 prospects.

Some players are training for the first time since spring training. “They are shaking the rust off, there’s no doubt about it, Guys are in different levels of shape. It’s going to take a little time to get some of the timing back for the hitters, even the conditioning that’s necessary to play defense, or to be ready to throw off a mound,” Littlefield said during a ZOOM call.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 11: Riley Greene #31 of the Detroit Tigers bats during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 11, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

It is a needed activity for all prospects. To further development and to get back to baseball. It is safe to say because on the lengthy layoff players will be brought along slowly at the start.

For the prospects it is also a way to bond and create some chemistry as they had into fall ball or the offseason depending on each players developmental needs. Something that is needed in sports. Good chemistry leads to a better culture which in a perfect world leads to winning down the line.

It will be worth monitoring for fans and media. The Detroit Tigers have a top 10 prospect pool, those players are looking to take the next step in hopes of finding their way to the major leagues soon. For a city who’s sports teams are either just bad (Detroit Lions) or rebuilding Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, prospects, drafts and free agents are about the only enjoyment until the teams are set to win again.

 

Steve Yzerman is building the Detroit Red Wings through the draft

Optimism has been extremely hard to come by for Detroit sports fans lately. The Pistons, Lions, Tigers and the Red Wings have not been good to say the least. Yet, for all the misery the Red Wings have one thing the other Detroit teams do not, a proven general manager. Steve Yzerman’s play for the Red Wings is to build his team through the draft. Something the other Detroit teams should mimic.

Two years into his job, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has had two very solid drafts. Drafts that have added to the Red Wings prospect pool. Coupled with Yzerman’s quote that “you can’t build a team through free agency,” Yzerman is using the NHL Draft to build his roster.

The Detroit Red Wings are signing low-term free agents that will help the team be a better. The catch is the players the Red Wings have signed can be flipped at the trade deadline for more draft picks. As they have value around the league.

Detroit Red Wings fans knew Yzerman would improve the team and organization. The Red Wings GM wants to avoid long term contracts for now and focus on putting the right group veteran players around his core players  and he wants to do it being cost effective.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 06: Detroit Red Wings team personnel work on their draft set before the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft at Little Caesars World Headquarters on October 06, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The 2020 NHL Draft was held virtually due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Dan Mannes /NHLI via Getty Images)

The 2020-21 Detroit Red Wings should be a little better than last seasons and that is just fine. The Red Wings need to continue to get top 10 draft slots and the scouting department needs to continue to do their solid work.

Steve Yzerman built a Stanley Cup-winning team in Tampa Bay. It took time, it will take time in Detroit as well. But, Detroit sports fans have more faith in Stevie Y. than they do with the other general managers in the city putting their teams together.

Building through the draft is the right move no doubt about it.

Could former fan favorite Don Kelly be in line for the Detroit Tigers managers job

Detroit sports fan like their sports stars gritty to match the blue-collar feel of the Motor City. After all the fans insisted the city take down a mural of Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman because his face was touched up. Down it came and up went a mural showing all of Yzerman’s facial scars. Fans were happy. Former Tigers player Don Kelly was that sort of player and could be a solid hire for the Tigers.

Don Kelly played 544 games for the Tigers from 2009-14 mostly as a utility player. Kelly is not known for his heroic moments, yet is beloved by Tigers fans to this day. In the four years since Kelly’s playing days ended. The 40 year old has skyrocketed up the coaching ranks, currently serving as the bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

With Ron Gardenhire’s sudden retirement from the Tigers managers job Don Kelly “baby!” could be a solid choice to take over. Kelly started his post baseball career as a scout for the Detroit Tigers in 2017. A year later he was the first base coach for the Houston Astros. Now as mentioned a bench coach for the Pirates.

That is three big promotions in just four years. What makes Kelly valuable is his insight into multiple facets of the game, from a scout to a bench coach. Kelly knows many of the young players within the organization, as well as  understands analytics and can evaluate talent.

While Don Kelly only lacks manager experience his overall resume is solid and on par for a job opening. One more thing that I believe should be noted is that Kelly during his playing career  played every position on the baseball field. So he knows what he’s talking about.

LAKELAND, FL – MARCH 17: Don Kelly #62 of the Detroit Tigers bats against the Houston Astros during the spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium March 17, 2009 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)

At just 40 years old Kelly is able to relate to younger players. He could be perfect to lead the Detroit Tigers out of the rebuild and back into contention. Also worth noting the Tigers general manager Al Avila said that he intends to interview former and currently suspended Astros manager A.J. Hinch for the managers spot. Could he bring Don Kelly to Detroit to be his bench coach?

That could set Kelly up nicely for when he does get a managers shot.

The Detroit Red Wings 2020 draft class is in, let’s take a look

 Lucas Raymond, LW, William Wallinder, D, Theodor Niederbach, C, Cross Hanas, LW, Donovan Sebrango, D, Eemil Viro, D,  Sam Stange, RW, Jan Bednar, G, Alex Cotton, D, Kyle Aucoin, D, Kienan Draper, RW, Chase Bradley, LW are now part of the Detroit Red Wings organization.

It absolutely hurt the Detroit Red Wings not having the first pick in the draft.  Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman did the best he could and pulled off some really solid draft picks. Picks that will help the brutal rebuild the Red Wings are enduring.

Yzerman did score a home-run pick when the Red Wings selected Lucas Raymond. Defensman William Wallinder was thought to be a first round player but fell into the Red Wings lap with the first pick in round 2.

For Yzerman and his scouting department they did not have any big misses and were able to get volume which is what is needed for rebuilds. Theodor Niederbach and Cross Hanas in my opinion were very good picks for the draft slot. Both players have big upsides and project well at the NHL level.

“At the top of the draft, you’d like to think you have a little bit more certainty as to what the player is going to be and who the top, top prospects are,” Yzerman said after Wednesday night concluded the 2020 NHL Draft.

KELOWNA, BC – FEBRUARY 8: Cross Hanas #71 of the Portland Winterhawks stands on the ice during warm up against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on February 8, 2020 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings second year GM sounded pleased with the draft haul, “Hopefully a few of them become NHL players.” It was not hard to identify what Yzerman and his scouting department were looking for.

Fast skaters, good hockey IQ, size with good character. As I stated before, the Red Wings did not have any real misses. The one pick I question is goalie Jan Bedar. Bedar has lacked consistency yet the 6′ 4″ netminder has the tools to be a very good NHL goalie. It seems Yzerman is banking on his developmental team to get Bedar to that level.

Now comes the fun part, watching prospects grow and reach the NHL.