Embed from Getty Images The 0-2 Detroit Lions showed some signs of life during Sunday’s loss to the 49ers. Here are some of the good, bad and ugly from the first two games. Also why I firmly believe in Matt Patricia.
No matter the early results the sky has not fallen. First and formost the Detroit Lions of 2018-19 were never going to be a playoff team. I believe that is by design. General manager Bob Quinn has a long term vision and one Lions fans need to remember.
The defense is a hot mess. I will have more on that unit in a moment. Kenny Golladay is having a fantastic he is on his way to being a game changing wide receiver. That is good because Golden Tate who is in the last year of his contract is playing like a guy who does not want to get hurt in order to get a big payday.
The running game is actually showing signs of life. Rookie Kerryon Johnson has breathed a new life in the run game. He should get more touches as the season moves along.
Da’ Shawn Hand, has been the lone bright spot on a terrible defensive line. The unit misses too many tackles and does not generate much of a pass rush. There is still a lot of improvement to be had.
Linebackers have begun to cover pass routs better. And have been solid against the run.
The offensive line has been all over the board Rookie Frank Ragnow has allowed more quarterback pressures than any lineman in the NFL. Taylor Decker at left tackle is the worst rated run blocker. Both are young players who have time to put in the work and clean up their game.
Because the defensive line has yet to find the footing they need. The secondary has taken a hit. No pass rush has allowed wide receivers to get open sooner.
Matthew Stafford who was a top 5 deep ball passer last season is currently #32. He has been victim of the drops. Detroit Lions receivers have dropped more passes than any other team in the NFL.
So based on all of that. The Lions have gotten better. Remember this is a long process. Bob Quinn took over a roster of far less versatile players and is slowing bringing more into the organization.
Other than a questionable use of the clock in week one Matt Patricia has not shown me anything that makes me think the Lions made the wrong pick at head coach. For a team that was not going to the playoffs this season. It if far more important the learn Patricia’s system and find out who can and can not play in his system.
Embed from Getty Images After a week one meltdown in South Bend to Notre Dame. The Michigan Wolverines have bounced back. Only it has been against sub par teams yet again. That said Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has made adjustments.
Playing his college football at the University of Michigan under Bo Shembechler, Harbaugh understands the slam the ball mentality that he carries with him today.
The problem is when the defense crowds the box. Harbaugh still calls for the run. That all changed Saturday when Michigan hosted the SMU Mustangs. When the defense lined up eight in the box. Michigan passed.
It worked so well that Michigan running backs had a big day rushing the football. It seems the Wolverines coaching staff is coming to an understanding the fans have come to a while ago. The passing game and the running game need to compliment each other.
Even though it was against a lesser foe. The progress was much needed. Michigan still gets flagged for way too many penalties. And most are bone headed that can and need to be cleaned up.
With Big 10 play starting this Saturday it will be a better test as Michigan sees Nebraska invade Ann Arbor and the Big House. Adjustments are part of any sports. In game adjustments are critical to the outcome of games.
For the first time since taking over as head coach Jim Harbaugh has begun to make those all important adjustments. The offensive line still needs to be upgraded the tackles both right and left are still a sore spot on the roster.
It is now more interesting to watch Michigan football knowing the coach is going to make some micro moves to help his team. The days of running a play just because that is the one that was called appear to be over.
Michigan fans and media should know more after this weeks Big 10 opener.
Embed from Getty Images He does not speak about his teams very often. Yet Chris Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings spoke about his baseball team. He started by saying he has no intensions of selling the Tigers which had been rumored.
The Ilitch family is and has been fully committed to the city of Detroit. The work they have done is stunning. The city has not given him any heat for rebuilding two of the cities most treasured franchises at the same time.
Ilitch ordered the farm system to be replenished. While the Tigers are now moving closer to the middle of the rebuild there is still work to do and salary to shed.
Since he gave the order. Chris and Detroit Tigers fans have seen the teams franchise go from 30th ranked to 9th ranked. That is an incredible one year jump.
The Tigers are still on a three year projection to return to competitive baseball. This time around they will be younger and the winning will last longer. MLB teams have placed a premium on home grown talent. Sure teams will still sign a free agent. Maybe even two. But even the mighty New York Yankees have come to understand that keeping and not rading blue chip prospects is the way to go.
The Detroit Tigers farm system is pitching heavy. The best in the minors. They have some bats as well. Rebuilds are not fun. But the fun will soon return to Comerica Park.
Embed from Getty Images The rebuilding Detroit Tigers and Red Wings are still a couple to few years away from competitive play. The Detroit Lions look like a mess. Which leaves the Pistons as not only the most complete Detroit sports team but the best shot at a playoff run.
As the Detroit Pistons are days away from the opening of training camp. There is interest in Detroit basketball again. For good reason. A new proven head coach, a new trainer and a veteran heavy roster gives the Pistonsthe old “punchers chance.”
While the Detroit Pistons have not won a playoff game in over a decade. But I really believe that changes this season. Detroit has a solid front court anchored by Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. they are a matchup nightmare in the paint.
The Detroit bench is strong. Luke Kennard can drain shots and then there is shooting sniper Langston Galloway who shoots with quickness. The Pistons will also have either Glenn Robinson III or Stanley Johnson to deepen the bench depending who wins the starting job.
While Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto are favorites in the East the Detroit Pistons are next in line along with Miami and Indiana. All of those teams do not have the front court duo the Pistons have.
Another reason Pistons fans have hope is little thought of but big game player Henry Ellenson. He is a graceful big man. He can give the Pistons defense at critical times of games off the bench. Something every team covets.
There is no reason the Detroit Pistons can not make some waves in this years NBA season and playoffs. They would help pass the times as the other teams move along in rebuilding and trying to figure out a new coach.
Embed from Getty Images The ever rebuilding Detroit Lions are set to kickoff their portion on the 2018-19 NFL season tomorrow on Monday Night Football.
The good news is football is back. The bad news the Detroit Lions need more pieces to go with some nice parts. I can not envision Matt Patricia and his coaching staff feel this is a championship defense. Or even a playoff defense for that matter.
The offense is set. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has plenty of weapons around him including rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. Johnson will be the best Detroit back since the great Barry Sanders. Mark it down.
The offensive line started preseason shaky but ended up molding together. This unit has the upside to be among the best in the NFL.
Back to the defense. The secondary is top notch. The linebackers are solid but not spectacular. But they do not need to be. Look at the New England Patriots. They have a rather unassuming group of linebackers and generally do well.
The defensive line is horrible. They are in no position to run a 3-4 based defense full time. In fact in my opinion that is exactly why Matt Patricia and his defensive coaches did not commit to lining up in the 3-4 down after down.
Too me this Detroit Lions team is indeed close to being a very good football team. I just can not see it being this season. Too many questions on the defensive line limit expectation for the Lions.
I have little doubt Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn and Patricia will get the players they both want and need to push the team forward. It should be a fun and interesting season ahead for the Lions.
Fun because the team is close. Interesting because it is year one of a brand new head coach. There will be bumps and there will be joy. I do not feel there will be a playoff appearance.
That may seem to counter what I said about the team being close. It is not. Teams take a step back before going forward often in sports. Better days are coming for sure.
Embed from Getty Images I feel like a broken record in talking about Detroit Tigers minor league phenom Isaac Paredes. Yet, here we go again. This time I have backing. Parades is the Detroit Tigers minor league player of the year by a landslide.
The single greatest thing that Isaac Paredes has going for him is his age. 19 years old. The other great thing is Paredes’s raw talent.
In the pitching dominate Florida State League. Isaac belted 12 home runs. That has not happened in a long time. The Florida league is all about pitching.
As the season moved along Isaac Paredes was moved to Double A. The Erie Seawolves. Isaac, posted even better numbers. he boasted a .319 batting average in 36 games. He also has a .404 on-base percentage and an .858 OBS.
While the Detroit Tigers are still trying to figure out where he will play in the field. The organization is toying with a corner outfield spot next season. With his bat Paredes could very well see time at Comerica Park late next season. He is that good.
The Detroit Tigers, got a heck of a baseball prospect when they acquired Paredes last season from the Chicago Cubs. He is my favorite prospect in the farm systems and has future all-star written all over him.
Isaac Paredes, will be a catalyst for the next wave of competitive baseball in Motown. Fans should go ahead and get familiar with Isaac now. Because when he arrives in the Motor City they will stand and cheer. A lot.
Embed from Getty Images In 2017 the Detroit Lions fielded one of the youngest teams in the NFL. in 2018-19 the Lions will field one of the oldest. As general manager Bob Quinn has tweaked the roster.
26.6 is the average age of the Detroit Lions players making up this seasons roster. That is up from 25.8 in the 2017 campaign. That may seem dramatic. In my opinion this is partly because Lions head coach Matt Patricia had many veteran players in his time with the New England Patriots.
The Detroit Lions roster has young players at the skilled positions: not to mention the team is going with:
2 quarterbacks, 5 running backs, 6 wide receivers, 4 tight ends, 10 moffensive lineman, 7 defensive lineman, 7 linebackers, 4 cornerbacks, 5 safeties, 3 special teams.
The team announced the signing of 6 players to the practice team. To me this shows the Lions are in a win now train of thought. As they should be. The need to clean up in some areas. But it should be a good season.
Embed from Getty Images 1-6 in rivalry games. Including the 2018 game one loss to Notre Dame. No matter how you slice it that is unacceptable. Perhaps the expectations need to be lowered.
Jim Harbaugh should be on a burning hot seat. He was brought to Michigan to win big games and has not done it. No matter his “this is the beginning” comment he made after yet another loss to a ranked team.
Shea Patterson, looks the part of a solid quarterback. However, Michigan still can not run the ball. The offensive line looks the same it has for 4 years now. Bad. Horrible.
Jim Harbaugh wants to win his way. That is good and all. But his way clearly does not net the results. All the talk this offseason was centered around how improved the offensive line was and how good the defense was.
That is simply not true. Notre Dame sliced through the Wolverines defense. The team was flagged time and time again for all sorts of penalties. The offensive line was aweful.
Big mistakes have over-shadowed the Michigan football team for 4 years now. The fan base is uneasy. For Harbaugh to keep his job the team building needs to amp up.
The losses are mounting. 4 years in they should be easing up and the bleeding coming to an end. They are not. The bottom line is Michigan football is nowhere close to being a contender for anything.
That should not be the focus. The focus should be improving. All over the board. Jim Harbaugh, may find the heat turned up as the season goes on.
Embed from Getty Images While I do believe the Detroit Tigers are as bad as their record. I also believe they may be tanking a bit. Giving the franchise another top 5 draft pick in next June’s MLB draft, and that is alright.
In a week that saw the Tigers finish 1-5 against teams that were suppose to be worse than them. There is little question the tank is on. As I have stated before it is the quickest way to competitive baseball. Like it or not.
It seems the Detroit Tigers front office, has chosen bad unwatchable baseball over wining. For the Tigers too add to an already rising minor league systems this is the best rout for the organization to take. To the dismay of some of the fan base.
In a season that has seen Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Christian Stewart, Jake Robson, Daz Cameron, Kody Clemens, Isaac Paredes dominate in the minors adding another top 3 draft pick would do nothing more than speed up the rebuild.
Impatient fans will try to say Tigers general manager Al Avila has not done enough or done things fast enough for their liking. That is a joke. In today’s MLB it is all about drafting assets and developing that talent to keep them together for a prolonged playoff run.
It will not happen next season either. The Detroit Tigers, are on a 2020 trajectory for a return to competitive baseball. There is absolutely no reason to rush player development.
There is also no reason to think Al Avila is doing a bad job. Baseball rebuilds take time. When done right, it is well worth the wait. When the season started the Detroit Tigers minor leagues were ranked 30th. They are now #9.
#9 staring at another top 3 draft pick. Detroit is doing this the right way. That is good news.
Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Pistons training camp inches closer. New Pistons head coach Dwane Casey who is known as a player developer has an opportunity to put his finger prints on the 2018-19 Detroit squad.
Let us start with a player who has been a puzzle so far in his playing career. Stanley Johnson, he seems like a prime target to take a monumental step forward this season.
Miss used by previous Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, who put Johnson on the perimeter even though he lacks the shooting touch from out there. Expect Casey, to use Johnson’s size and power down low.
I fully expect a man who just won the NBA coach of the year to do similar things with all the Pistons players. Blake Griffin, who is at his best inside the paint has no business shoot from the outside.
Andre Drummond is actually a big man who can shoot from the outside and I believe Casey will allow his to do that more often. The NBA is all about a balanced roster. In other sports coaches can mask weak spots. In the NBA players are all front and center. No one to hide behind.
A better Deeeeeetroit basketball coaching staff is going to make a big difference. There is no maybe about it. The Pistons roster is ready to win now. Are they a championship team? That remains to be seen.
Teams like Boston and Cleveland are not as good headed into this year as they have been in years past. The East is wide open. So why not the Pistons>