Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow

Embed from Getty Images Detroit Lions general manager, Bob Quinn stuck by his drafting dependable players during last nights first round of the 2018 NFL draft. Grabbing a center and helping the Lions, offensive line.

At 6′ 5″ 312 lbs. Frank Ragnow is a hulk of a center. He was captain of the Arkansas Razorbacks. He is strong and is a tough run blocker. Something the Detroit Lions have lacked at the center position.

Leading up to the draft Lions head coach Matt Patricia, said he likes to build teams from the ball out. Check. Ragnow, also is somewhat versatile in that he can also line up at right guard.

He did have a high ankle injury that lead to surgery during the Razorbacks, 2017 season. Detroit, must have been pleased with the medical records.

One drawback on Frank Ragnow is his hands sometimes get outside the pads and leads to holding penalties. With all of that the Detroit Lions, got a heck of a player. A guy who can be a fixture for a longtime to come.

Both the Detroit, passing and running game just improved as well. In an earlier blog I said I did not think Bob Quinn, would draft a running back in the first round at #20.

I could see them drafting one in rounds two or three.

Detroit Red Wings: do not worry about the lottery

Embed from Getty Images Saturday night we will find out exactly where the Detroit Red Wings, will be picking in the 2018 NHL draft. But fear not where that spot is.

The rebuilding Red Wings, will have an impact player in their system after the NHL draft. I know that the #1 pick is glamorous. That really can be thrown out the window in this years draft as there is talent aplenty to be had.

Detroit, is in pretty good shape defensively. In my opinion they should focus on forwards. The need forechecking, goal scoring, play with a snarl forward to help move the rebuild along.

Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, is the favorite to go first over all. Then it gets interesting. The Red Wings, need more than one defensman. The fact that they have multiple draft picks is a great thing given the talent level this draft presents.

Detroit, general manager Ken Holland, has been out scouting and gathering information. I expect a very solid draft class for both he and his scouting department.

The Detroit Red Wings, will pick somewhere in the top 10 picks. I am looking forward to seeing a player that can help the team sooner than later. Two players that I believe can help right away are left wing Brady Tkachuk, Boston University and right wings Serron Noel, Oshawa. Both players are NHL ready and will not need minor league time.

It is going to be interesting going forward seeing how Ken Holland, stocks the Red Wings.

Detroit Lions: it is draft day

Embed from Getty Images Today players who have worked to get to the NFL will get the call. Some early and some late. For the Detroit Lions, it is a very important draft for a team on the cusp to take the next step.

Bob Quinn, Detroit general manager seems to have a rule of thumb about the players he selects. Much like the New England Patriots for whom Quinn, used to work for. He seems to go for dependable players. Over splash and hyped players.

The Detroit Lions, who currently hold the #20 pick in the first round could have their pick of a defensive stand out. Or a much needed running back. Two players I like are Alabama’s defensive end Da’ Ron Payne or LSU running back Derrius Guice.

I am not a general manager, It is very possible Bob Quinn, is locked into some other player. By looking at his past draft picks. Quinn, is going to get players who are both dependable and consistent in their play.

Big names be damned. It is about bring the Detroit Lions, more consistent play across the board. They are very close to being a very good football team. But, there is work to be done.

It is always fun to see the look on players faces as their name is called. It is also fun to play couch general manager and comb over the draft picks. With Bob Quinn, and his Patriots ties I personally have a hard time seeing Detroit, select a running back in the first round.

This is a very deep talented  draft for running backs. So good talent can be found in the second through last round of the draft. It also provides the team with better value for the draft pick.

So starting tonight the 2018 Detroit Lions, roster will start to take shape. And hopefully a step closer to a championship.

Detroit Tigers: when should a prospect be called up

Embed from Getty Images With many of the organization’s top prospects thriving in the minor leagues. Detroit Tiger, fans are wondering when they will be called up.

A prospect is inserted because they can help the parent team. Or they are ready. A prospect should never be called up if a team is struggling. There is a bigger picture to take into consideration.

Players need to develop. There is so much for them to learn. Rushing a prospect can spell disaster for the player and set the team back further. Because Detroit is in a rebuild and will not contend for a few seasons it is best to let the kids play and grow.

Certainly, a player or pitcher can get a spot start here or there. That is nothing more than to see how far they have come and what work still needs to be put in.

My advice is to enjoy the Detroit Tigers and the minor league teams this season. Do not wish the season away. The process is long the reward is great. That needs to be the focus.

No band aids to help a struggling team. That solves nothing. I do not remember a struggling team call up a player and then go on a winning streak.

Columbus Blue Jackets: not ready for prime time

Embed from Getty Images For the first time in franchise history the Columbus Blue Jackets, made back to back Stanley Cup playoff appearances. Second year in a row the team failed to make it out of the first round.

This one hurts. The Blue Jackets were up 2 games to 0. Only to lose 4 in a row to Washington. The power play and the fact they could not stay out of the penalty box doomed Columbus.

Centers, Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Dubinski woefully underperformed. It all proved to much to overcome for the young Columbus Blue Jackets.

The roster will most certainly see turnover this offseason in hopes to regroup for another playoff run next season. But for now this is a tough pill to swallow. So much promise lost.

Fans can only hope the right changes are made. Brad Larson, who is overseer of the teams power play that was among the worst in the NHL could be on the hot seat. An upgrade is desperately need at center wher Dubinski had a very bad season as did Wennberg.

The defense and goalie were the bright spots. Along with Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson as well as Pierre Luc-Dubois. There is plenty of room to make changes as the team will be pushing $40 million in cap space.

There is always next year. That is starting to wear thin in Columbus.

Detroit Pistons: in four season head coach Stan Van Gundy is 152-176

THE meeting is supposed to take place this week. Detroit Pistons, owner Tom Gores and Stan Van Gundy are set to discuss the season and what lies ahead.

At 152-176 one would expect Van Gundy, has some explaining to do to his boss. After all four years ago he was brought to the Motor City to win. One playoff season simply does not cut it.

The meeting, in my opinion can go one of two ways. The first, Gores could tell Stan to make wholesale changes to his coaching staff. Perhaps new scouts could be brought in. Or second, Gores could just give Stan Van Gundy his walking papers.

That would mean Tom Gores would have to admit failure. That is a bitter pill no matter how you slice it. But, for the Pistons to move forward it may have to be swallowed.

My hope is that Gores, has asked for outside help in gathering information. That this is not a rushed or rash choice that hurts the direction of the franchise.

Detroit Red Wings: winning a Calder Cup does not always mean a Stanley Cup is close

Embed from Getty Images The Grand Rapids Griffins, have won the Calder Cup in 2012-13 and last season. The Detroit Red Wings can not count on this being the start of something bigger.

Stanley Cup, teams are built. Drafted and developed players carry teams success or failure. It is really hard to know exactly how a prospect will perform once they transition to the NHL.

The Griffins, are currently in the Calder Cup playoffs trying to defend last seasons championship. If they do great. But it does not help the Red wings.

So I hate to be the bad news bubble popping voice of reason. But, there is no reason to raise expectations for Detroit anytime soon. Players still need to put in the time needed.

Only strong drafts and smart free agent signings can lift teams to the next level of play. So enjoy another Griffins playoff run. But stay focused.

 

Detroit Tigers: what is fueling this team

Embed from Getty Images Picked to be one if not the worst teams in baseball the Detroit Tigers are not allowing forecasters dictate team success and or failure.

Two times this past week the Detroit tigers, put 10 or more runs on the scoreboard. But that is impossible! They were picked to be awful. It seems Ron Gardenhire’s players did not get the memo. Or they ripped it up and threw it away.

The Tigers while not a top team do have something major going for them. The 2018 Detroit Tigers are balanced. from number one to number nine in the batting order. That is extremely rare for rebuilding teams. Will it last all season? Probably not.

But, it is not going as so call experts said it would. They painted doom and gloom in Motown. Meanwhile, the Detroit minor league top prospects are all shining. They are living up to their draft billing, something else that is rare.

Tiger, scouts have done a very good job at drafting. If Christian Stewart can cut down on his strikeouts he is absolutely a guy who can lead the Detroit next wave of good teams.

The minor league pitching has been spot on the early part of this season capped of Friday night when the Tigers number two top prospect Matt Manning struck out 10 of the 12 batters he faced in Grand Rapids. Oh by the way that was his first start coming off a spring training injury and on a strict 70 pitch, pitch count.

It won’t be long before these players are strutting their stuff at Comerica Park.

Detroit Lions: need to be at least 9-7

Embed from Getty Images Matt Patricia, was brought in because the Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn, wanted a coach who would push the team to a championship level. It was and is a gamble.

After former Detroit, Jim Caldwell posted back to back 9-7 records with a playoff appearance Bob Quinn demanded more.He’s in charge so it is his call to make.

Matt Patrica, the former New England Patriots defensive coordinator came to the Detroit Lions with his marks from current and former players as well as members of the New England coaching staff. The loudest praise came for Patriots head coach Bill  Belichick.

The move had better be the right one. Caldwell, had the Lions playing more consistent on the grid iron. So in order for this move to be considered justifiable or successful in his first season Matt Patricia must finish no worse than 9-7.

I know full well that is not setting the bar very high. In year one of a new coaching staff there are going to be issues as players learn a new system and new language. There will be great moments and disappointing ones to be sure.

The Detroit Lions still have huge glaring needs at defensive end, running back, tight end as well as offensive guard. That is a lot to upgrade in year one. Even if Bob Quinn and his staff draft those positions the team would be counting on rookies to deliver right away.

While I do believe Matt Patrica, will be a very good head coach. I can make the case it will not be in year one. So 9-7 is the bench mark. Otherwise Bob Quinn, will endure public wrath of fans for replace a coach that posted back to back winning seasons.

Detroit Red Wings: built for speed

Embed from Getty Images The rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, have done a good job at drafting players who are starting to see ice time in Motown. The Red Wings, have done a very good job at drafting both skill and speed.

 

It is one thing to have a few fast players on a roster. It is another thing entirely when a minor league is full of speed. That is where Detroit, is. The NHL is a young man’s game. Soon youth will be served.

This season as year two of  the rebuild showed why the Detroit Red Wings, need faster players. Veteran players who have carried the team for a long time have slowed down. A lot.

For Detroit, speed is needed. There are plenty of good fast teams. It will be a glorious moment when the Wings, can match them player for player. Speed can not be taught so it must be drafted. Ken Holland, despite his shortcomings  has drafted well.

It is a good ideal to keep an eye on the teams minor leagues as they enter the playoffs. It will be a good look at tomorrow in Detroit.