The Detroit Lions are prepping to move on from Darius Slay

Embed from Getty Images Darius Slay has been the Detroit Lions best defensive back for some time now. Slay a two-time Pro Bowl player, is the only defensive back the Lions can trust to cover an opposing team’s No. 1 receiver. That said,  Slay’s time with the Lions is clearly coming to an end.

The Detroit have officially placed Darius Slay on the trading block. Even though they have set a rather high price for him. Slay’s exit from the Detroit  Lions has been brewing for a while now, as he held out of offseason and training camp Lions activities trying to get a new contract. The Lions instead gave Damon Harrison’s a new contract.

Darius Slay makes no bones about the fact he loves being in Detroit. He’s the most engaging player the city has regardless of what sport he plays, and Slay is that way despite being at a local star.

But the NFL is a business. Darius Slay knows this all too well. Just last week he was very vocal when the Detroit Lions traded his teammate and friend Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Lions began to field calls on the defense’s best player after after Slay expressed his displeasure with the Diggs trade. Detroit  Lions coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn have had the opportunity to shut down trade rumors if they were not true, the two decided instead to let them linger while understandably driving a hard bargain in order to ship him out of town.

Meanwhile, the Lions  seem to be taking the “he can be had for the right price”  approach, both now as well as in the spring, when Slay will surely be one of the best cornerbacks on the trade market.

Dealing with a hamstring injury at the moment, Slay is still a very good cornerback when healthy, and for now Darius still a very important member of the Lions. Yet, the front office understands Slay has tremendous value. Value they will in all likelihood soon cash in.

The Michigan Wolverines look like a totally different football team

Embed from Getty Images What can happen in nine days? If you are the Michigan Wolverines football team a lot. Nine days ago the Wolverines suffered the teams second loss on the football season in Happy Valley to Penn State.  That loss proved to be a blessing, it seems to have given Michigan a spark.

Saturday night, in front of a sold out Big House on national t.v. Michigan went out on a rain soaked field and hammered the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, earning its second top 10 win of the Jim Harbaugh era. It was a complete team effort.

The game was played in a non stop downpour, the Michigan Wolverines went back to a tried and true gameplan, a solid run game and a relentless defense, set the tone early for Michigan.

The Wolverines chalked up 167  rushing yards before halftime and scored on three consecutive possessions. The offensive line had their best game of the season. Running backs Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet had big holes and a lot of room to run and show off their talent.

With new starters and new coach’s, the adjustment for Michigan has been long and painful at times. Saturday night they seemed to get over that hump and the entire team looked like fans and media thought they would before the season kicked off.

Until this week, Michigan’s season was trending downward. Two weeks ago, the Wolverines gave up 25 consecutive points to Illinois. It scraped  an ugly 10-3 win over Iowa in Ann Arbor. It was throttled by  Wisconsin, also Michigan had a tough time defeating Army in overtime and could not stop turning the ball over against Middle Tennessee State.

After the game Jim Harbaugh praised his teams ability to “keep working, keep growing.” It appears the Michigan Wolverines worst football is behind them. Michigan has four regular season games remaining, including rivals Michigan State and Ohio State at Michigan Stadium. If they continue to put effort like the team displayed Saturday night. Those games will be interesting.

While it is too late to save this season for the Wolverines, if this is the true direction of Michigan football, head coach Jim Harbaugh might have finally found his winning formula at Michigan.

 

 

Who are the greatest Star Wars heroes of all-time? Let us take a look

Embed from Getty Images Chirrut Imwe, from Star Wars: Rogue One, displayed both faith and courage. Yet, Imwe did not make my list of greatest Star Wars heroes. The Star Wars movie franchised has had some great characters over the years. In this opinion piece I will explore my list of great Star Wars heroes.

Yoda: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Last Jedi. The great Jedi Master, wise strong and can use a lightsaber. and icon of Star Wars to be sure.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi. Obi-Wan was the best part of the prequel trilogy in my opinion. Patient, wise, loyal. Not too mention became one with the Force in ghost form first.

R2-D2: Star Wars:The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker. R2 is a life saver and bails people out with regularity. To not have him on a greatest heroes list would be a huge injustice to the grest Star Wars droid.

Luke Skywalker: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (quick baby shot) A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker. A seemingly average hero, who turns into much more. The Luke loses it all and is darker in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Yet finds it in himself to help Rey.

There it is, my list of greatest Star Wars heroes. What’s that you say? No Han Solo? No, the bitter cargo smuggler turned Rebellion hero just missed my cut. If Solo is on your list great!

If it makes you feel better I did almost put the poor aiming Stormtroopers on my list, for regularly missing their targets and heroes while  allowing them to escape many times.

Who are the greatest Star Wars movie villains? Let us take a look

Embed from Getty Images Captain Phasma was cool looking, but the reality she did very little to make my list of great Star Wars Villains. Star Wars is well know for the heroes and villains the franchise has put out over the years. Fans argue, they agree, they are passionate. In this opinion piece I will explore my list of great Star Wars villains.

Orson Krennic: Star Wars: Rogue One, portrayed by the great Ben Medelsohn, Krennic was a strong leader who played a huge part in getting the first Death Star built. The prideful, arrogant Orson Krennic, felt overshadowed by Darth Vader and betrayed by Grand Moff Tarkin.

Grand Moff Tarkin: Star Wars: A New Hope/ Rogue One (CGI). portrayed by the late Peter Cuchings, Tarkin was a ruthless leader. Even the CGI form of Tarkin in Star Wars: Rogue One, Grand Moff Tarkin towers over Director Krennic and the brief glimpse we get of Darth Vader.

Darth Vader: Star Wars:Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Rogue One.  No greatest Star Wars villain list is, should or would be complete without Vader. He is a villain, you know you should hate but simply can not.

For me the greatest Star Wars villain, is Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine. The man played both sides in order to gain control of the galaxy. In a stunning turn of events, Emperor Palaptine, is seemingly alive and will be in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Making him the landslide greatest Star Wars baddie hands down.

That is my list and I am sticking to it. What’s that you say? No Boba Fett? No re-watching the original trilogy Fett actually did very little and got knock around by a partly blind Han Solo. No Darth Maul? No it was difficult keeping him off the list.

If it makes you feel better I did almost put Jar-Jar Binks on my greatest villain list.

The Columbus Blue Jackets power play has been awful for a while, it is time for Brad Larsen to go

Embed from Getty Images This is a brutally honest look at The Columbus Blue Jackets power play which has been awful, and it has been for quite awhile. It is time the coaching staff be held accountable for a unit that is a very important unit of every hockey team.

Back at the start of the 2016-17 season until New Years Eve (December 31, 2016), the Columbus Blue Jackets played 35 games. They posted a record of 26-5-4 and led the NHL with 56 points. The Blue Jackets also had  a league leading 27.5% power play. The team scored 28 power play goals on 102 opportunities. 23.1% of the team goals scored over that 35 game stretch were scored with the man advantage. Those were the good days.

Starting on January 1, 2017, things fell apart. From that moment until this season the Columbus Blue Jackets have the worst power play in the NHL. The team has scored just 91 power play goals including Alex Wennberg’s goal on Monday night in 585 opportunities, good for a 15.6% conversion rate. Of the 640 goals scored during that time, just 14.2% have come with the man advantage. In other words, horrible.

Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella, kept Brad Larsen in charge of the power play when he took over the Columbus hockey team four years ago. The fact that the Blue Jackets beat reporters do not ask pressing questions after the game is inexcusable.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have tried moving players around, shuffling personnel, everything that has been tried has been player related only. There are many times fans see players standing in their designated areas, unwilling to move around and change passing lanes in order to force a defensive reset.

For now the third season in a row, the Blue Jackets have the worst power play in the NHL. Any and all questions that have been asked, have been largely ignored, or played off entirely.

The answer is clear. It is time to remove Brad Larson and replace him with a fresh pan, a fresh set of eyes. The question is why has it not happened yet?

Hot rumors: Disney re-shooting The Rise of Skywalker, “Almost Whole Movie”

Embed from Getty Images A very solid, very reputable  Star Wars source claims to have first hand knowledge of all things Star Wars. Including something that has been whispered for some time.

“I have Star Wars info, they are still shooting. They were having to remake almost the whole movie as what they tested as the movie was a complete pile of flopping @!%$. This is not some kind of casual 2 week reshoot. This is almost a 75% remake. They shot the thing so there were 6 possible main edits. And even then there was no way to put it together that would not have flopped. JJ Abrams said this film will not please everyone. Disney flipped out and said this film has to please everyone and redo it until it does. If they can not get it to perform in tests, this is the end of this particular reboot.”

One of the biggest issues surrounding the final film in the Skywalker saga is that Abrams and his writers  tried to force to much plot into the film. That has been reported by multiple people with firsthand knowledge of the film.

Some of the plot involved characters being able to do too much. One insider said “Apparently Rey could raise both a Death Star and the dead by the end of the film.” In the first round of shooting. Disney was not on board with this.

It is being reported that the third and final trailer for “The Rise of Skywalker” was delayed because of the reshoots.

Another source had this bit of information, “Disney realizes or fears at least that they have devalued the Star Wars brand. They have also according to this other changed the direction of the film substantially.”

JJ Abrams is said to be both re-shooting parts of the film and editing at the same time.

Disney was right to order the re-shoots after the fans dislike for “The Last Jedi” which in turns made the very solid “Solo: a Star Wars story” suffer at the box-office. I believe Abrams will deliver and set a new direction for Star Wars moving forward.

Did fans have it wrong about who the chosen one was/is in Star Wars

Embed from Getty Images Star Wars fans have always been under the assumption That Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader were both the most important character and the chosen one who would bring balance to the Force. What if that is wrong? What if it is Luke Skywalker’s former Padawan Ben Solo/Kylo Ren?

It is well known through the teaser trailer and the D23 “hotreel” Kylo Ren is now Supreme Leader. Taking the place of Snoke whom Ren seemingly killed in “The Last Jedi.” There is one slight catch, Kylo Ren does not seem to this point to be fully committed to the Dark Side.

With that in mind, the question is, is Kylo Ren really the chosen one? Far fetched you say? Not so fast. The fact that Ren seems almost tormented about the Dark and Light side suggests that he could both be redeemed and is trying to please a grandfather he never knew. A grandfather who returned to the Light after being Dark.

In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Ren says he “feels the pull to the Light.” While “The Last Jedi” Rey is confident Kylo Ren will turn to the Light and become Ben Solo once again. Luke Skywalker does not feel Kylo will not let the past die. Therefore will stay Dark.

Luke implies, if Ren continues killing the people who love him, he will just heap guilt on himself. Kylo Ren seems to be in some sort of conflict with himself. He is not 100% committed to the Dark. While not wanting to surrender to the Light.

If he is redeemed perhaps it is all under the watchfulness of his grandfather Anakin Skywalker. Well his Force ghost anyways. If Ren turns to the Light in “The Rise of Skywalker” he may just become the most important person in the  Skywalker saga.

After all, a Skywalker will have to rise. A Force ghost Luke and/or Anakin are unable to rise.

Juwan Howard fires a shot across the Big Ten basketball landscape

Embed from Getty Images Michigan Wolverines basketball coach Juwan Howard did not take long to bring in his first big recruit to the Wolverines hard court program. 2020 five-star PF Isaiah Todd has committed to Michigan. Todd is  6-foot-10 and 195 pounds. He is out of Raleigh, North Carolina and is rated as the top player in the state and the 12th best player in the nation.

This commitment is huge for the Wolverines for a variety of reasons. First it is Howard’s first five-star as head coach of the Michigan basketball program. Not only that but Isaiah Todd is actually Michigan’s highest rated commitment in the 247Sports era.

Juwan Howard came from the NBA and the Miami Heat to take over for John Beilein. A tall task to be sure. Howard’d NBA background was thought to be a real bonus for the Wolverines in terms of recruiting. This is a clear case of that happening.

The announcement that Todd committed sent excitement through the Michigan campus. Students, fans and media are wondering what is next. Juwan Howard has been working on the recruiting trail for a while now.

What swung Todd’s choice from North Carolina to Michigan? “He played my position and can teach me so much about the game. He will be a great mentor for me.” Todd told the North Carolina media.

The scouting report on Isaiah Todd is, “A long and athletic forward who loves to play facing the basket. Can score off post moves but has a finesse game. Building strength and mass is a key to development. Can score at all three levels. Handles ball well but decision making is questionable at times. Is a shot blocker but needs to discipline his defense as well as his offense. Known as an upside player, but has been behind the curve on expected development.”

This should serve as a notice to the rest of the Big Ten, Juwan Howard is not afraid to use his NBA background to lure talent to Ann Arbor. Something other Big Ten schools simply can not do.

Detroit Red Wings Dennis Cholowski showing improvement

Embed from Getty Images When his reckless handling of the puck resulted in being pulled from the lineup last season. Detroit Red Wings defensive player Dennis Cholowski was sent to Grand Rapids to work on his game with the Griffins. Cholowski made the 2019-20 Red Wings roster as so far, he has demonstrated better decision-making and earned the trust of coaches and teammates to remain in the  lineup.

“He’s done a really good job of managing his game and a really good job of not giving up easy chances,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s the area where his growth has been the best, is understanding when to try to make a play, understanding when to back off. Understanding when to punt sometimes you just have to put it to a safe area, and I think he’s done a good job of that. He’s been harder in his defense, both in zone and on the rush.”

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Cholowski at 20th overall in 2016. His skating and offensive abilities were a large part of the appeal to the Red Wings. “I’m more calm, more relaxed,” Cholowski told Detroit media. “Better in the D-zone, winning more of my battles now. They know they can rely on me in more situations now. I have it in my head to relax and not be too frantic.”

Dennis Cholowski now has a coveted spot on the team’s first power play unit,  with Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Taro Hirose. Cholowski said he just wants to contribute however he can to make the team and the power-play unit better.

Viewed as a player who can help the Detroit blueline, Cholowski is now beginning to live to live up to his scouting report. He is a fast, smooth skating defensive player. Dennis is a strong two-way defender, while offensively he moves the puck very well, with a strong first pass out of the zone to get the transition game started.

Dennis Cholowski is a very smart defender. This season Cholowski seems to always be in the right position. Keeping attackers to the outside, while keeping himself between the puck and the net at all times. Cholowski maintains good gap control as well.

This is good for a Red Wings team struggling with older defensive players.

Forget the official’s for a moment, The Detroit Lions made a lot of mistakes Monday night

Embed from Getty Images Blaming the officials is always on the minds of fans. Do not get me wrong, NFL refs have been awful across the board this season. In my opinion the NFL invited this major issue when they legalized gambling. Official’s aside the Detroit Lions made too many mistakes to overcome Monday night against the Green Bay Packers.

For starters the Detroit Lions need to improve in the red zone. Settling for five field goals is disheartening . The Lions need to find a way to exchange field goals for touchdowns.

The Lions also had two special teams gaffes, “When we shoot ourselves in the foot, we lose,” Lions running back Kerryon Johnson said. “When we don’t, we win. It’s hard to beat us, but it’s very easy for us to beat ourselves.”

The officials hurt the Detroit Lions for sure. But stupid penalties and not scoring touchdowns hurt more. If the Lions had converted two or three field goals the officials would have be a non-factor.

In Green Bay, the Lions played another winnable game. To only blame the officials undermines the fact the Lions blew another game they should have won.

Now about the NFL and the official problems. Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers was flagged twice for illegal use of the hands, extending two Green Bay scoring drives in the fourth quarter. Flowers did not deserve either penalty.

Officiating in the NFL is a travesty and has been for a while now. NFL owners voted to legalize gambling and when people are laying down money phantom calls are made. While obvious penalties are not called. It is a joke.

The commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners have no one to blame but themselves. Monday Night Football displayed the work they put in. It is funny they all wonder why t.v. ratings are dropping. We  Mr. commissioner and NFL owners, fans do not want to watch what your selling. Good football teams can lose on a dime because someone laid down a bet.

Shame on the NFL powers.