What will success look like for the 2021 Detroit Lions

It is nearly here again. The 2021-22 NFL football season which started this past Thursday. For the rebuilding Detroit Lions and a roster that is in transition this will be a difficult season for wins to be found. Losses will be aplenty. That is alright, this will hardly be a throwaway season. The Lions have plenty to play for and that is what the focus should be on. So for this season and most likely next forget about wins and losses. Here is what the team needs to focus on.

ALLEN PARK, MI – AUGUST 10: Detroit Lions Jalen Elliott safety (42), Detroit Lions Alex Brown cornerback (27), and Detroit Lions safety Booby Price (47) wait their turn to run drills during Detroit Lions Training Camp on August 10, 2021 at Lions Practice Facility in Allen Park, MI (Photo by Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The first focal point for the Detroit Lions should be the development of this years draft class. A class that was widely praised as one of the best in the NFL. Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes, really made a mark with the solid draft class.

Many of the Lions draftees showed themselves very well during preseason games. Many people would argue it was just preseason. But young players are made or broken in preseason games.

Next the Lions need to focus on compete level. While the team will loses more than they win, they need to compete in games. By compete I mean fight and keep fighting until the final tick of the clock. Do not give in, do not give up.

The final focus for the 2021 Detroit Lions is to show improvement in December. Why December? Well the season will be nearing the end. It is also enough time for young players to establish themselves in terms of growth. There still will not be many wins, but more importantly young players stepping up into a more defined role and gaining more playing time is much more critical that wins.

LANDOVER, MD – NOVEMBER 24: A Detroit Lions helmet rests on the field before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Sure there are other things that the Detroit Lions can and perhaps should focus on. In my opinion development, compete level and improvement late in the season are the most pressing focal points that can lead to a bright future.

Detroit Tigers draft picks Spencer Torkelson and Dillon Dingler showing progress

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers top two draft picks Spencer Torkelson and Dillon Dingler who are both in Toledo, working out and taking part in simulated games are showing progress in their development. This comes on the heals of the fact neither Torkelson or Dingler stood out in summer camp at Comerica Park.

In an odd year for every sport, baseball was no different. Spencer Torkelson and Dillon Dingler were both waiting for the draft during the COVID-19 mandatory shutdown.

They went from working out, however much they were able to do, to being drafted by the Detroit Tigers to summer camp to facing 90 plus MPH pitches from Major League Baseball starting pitchers. Some would argue that was a bit unfair. There could be some truth in that. But as some say it is what it is.

Dave Littlefield, Tigers vice president of player development, said Torkelson and Dingler have both shown progress in Toledo. Littlefield went on to say both players bats are coming alive the more pitchers they face.

Dingler hit a home run to right field the other day and Torkelson has been swinging the bat better and better the last few days. All signs are very positive for the Detroit Tigers rebuild efforts.

Spencer Torkelson continues to work at third base with Detroit Tigers legend  and MLB Hall of Fame member Alan Trammell. Dave Littlefield said Torkelson is making some nice plays at third base. His glove work and foot work are said to have improved since the end of summer camp.

Make no mistake about it, two players will not make or break the Detroit Tigers rebuild. However, being the top two picks for Detroit this year, the expectation is that Torkelson and Dingler will be the one’s to push the rebuild forward. There are other players as well.

When a player has the scouting report the Tigers top two 2020 draft picks have anything less than progress could be taken as a red flag. That is not the case. It is highly doubtful either Torkelson or Dingler will see major league action this summer. That is just fine. Development is much more important at the present time.


With much attention on the 2020 draft class, do not sleep on Detroit Tigers Riley Greene

Embed from Getty Images 3B Spencer Torkelson, C Dillon Dingler, OF Daniel Cabrera, SS Trei Cruz, 3B Gage Workman and 3B Colt Keith the much hyped 2020 Detroit Tigers MLB Draft Class. Hyped for good reason. This group of players can hit. Four of them were projected first round picks who fell throughout the draft into Detroit’s lap. But there is another hitter in the Detroit Tigers organization. Riley Greene who was selected number five overall last season.

After signing his rookie contract last year, outfield prospect Riley Greene. Greene, he of a smooth swing from the left side also has some power. Along with Greene’s sweet swing comes somewhat of an uppercut in the swing, Riley gets good carry and his line drives seem to create a lot of spin.

Riley Greene was drafted out of high school in Oviedo, Florida by the Detroit Tigers last June. Watching the way he carries himself, interacts with teammates and goes about his baseball business it is hard to believe that Greene is just 19 years old.

Between rookie ball, Class A Connecticut and West Michigan, he hit .271 with five home runs and 28 RBIs last summer. Greene seemed a sure bet to be placed in Class A Lakeland this season with the Flying Tigers. Due to COVID-19 Greene instead received a ticket into the Tigers’ 60 man player pool.

While there is very little question Greene and the Class of 2020 will not see any major league action this summer. Development time is much more critical to long term success. That must be the Tigers mind set, even in a 60 game shortened season.

Greene and the other Detroit top prospects will head to Toledo and play intersquad games. Still with all of the new highly touted talent in the Detroit Tigers pipeline fans should not forget about Riley Greene. Greene is a big part of Detroit’s future. He looks to be a middle of the order hitter. Embed from Getty Images


The Detroit Tigers must resist temptation

Embed from Getty Images Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, Isaac Paredes and other Detroit Tigers top prospects have had the luxury of having time in the minor leagues in order to be fully developed before making their way to Detroit. With the nationally praised 2020 MLB draft class the Tigers just brought in, the new prospects must be afforded the same developmental time.

The Detroit Tigers drafted five big bats a week ago. Bats that will pay off in a big way, down the line. That is the key. No matter the players ranking and playing grades, there must be a developmental time frame.

Many baseball experts are saying first overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson could very well make his way to Comerica Park as early as next summer. While that could certainly happen, Torkelson needs time in pro ball first. All the good ones do, or at least the bulk of them do.

The still rebuilding Detroit Tigers must resist the temptation to bring players up until they are fully ready. Some will excel and be called up sooner than others. While others may falter and need more seasoning before getting their shot in the show.

While there is currently turmoil in MLB between owners and players that leaves the already shortened season in jeopardy, that should not impact the Tigers. Whenever baseball starts back up, new prospects will need to be assigned to minor league teams and levels.

That said I feel it is pretty realistic that none of the Tigers prized prospects will see MLB action until 2022. The reason I feel good about that as a sort of timeline is two factors.

  1. The aforementioned strife between owners and players. Meaning either a players strike or lockout until a deal can be reached.
  2. COVID-19, by 2022 there should be a vaccine allowing players and fans to play and enjoy the national past time  again.                                                                                                                                                              There is now a light at the end of the rebuild tunnel in Detroit. Just a short time more and the Tigers will contend for postseason play once again. Until then development must take center stage.

Detroit Red Wings Moritz Seider excelling in first AHL season

Embed from Getty Images There was plenty of blacklash and anger coming out of Detroit back in June. That is when Detroit Red Wings general manager announced the team was selecting German defenseman Moritz Seider. The shock has worn off and a solid player has emerged. Just as Yzerman suspects would happen.

Many NHL scouts have compared Moritz Seider to defenseman Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Seider has been turning some heads and  has emerged as the top defense prospect in the Red Wings organization.

As the first half of the season is coming to a close, let us take a closer look at how Seider’s 2019-20 season has been going with the Grand Rapids Griffins and his performance at the IIHF World Junior Championships with the German team.

This season, Seider has played in 33 games with the Griffins at the AHL level. Over that stretch, he has managed 2 goals and 13 assists as well as 15  points. Seider is a -8 rating on the season for the Griffins. He signed an entry level contract before the start of the season that brought him over to the AHL from the DEL in Germany.

Being only 18 years old, and the fact that he has been a  team leader is an excellent addition to his growth as a player. On top of leadership, he had 6 assists in more than 7 games leading National German team.

Seider may get his nine game trial run this season after the NHL All-Star break, but next season, if his dominance continues and development stays on the course it is, he may be skating with the Red Wings more than first thought.

It is safe to say Moritz Seider will see time with the Red Wings NHL roster during the 2020-21 season. As he is he has adapted his game to the smaller, faster NHL hockey rinks, and is ahead of his development.

Detroit Red Wings prospect report

Embed from Getty Images One day after I offered reasons why Steve Yzerman should dismiss Jeff Blashill as head coach,

Steve Yzerman’s next move for the Detroit Red Wings may be replacing Jeff Blashill

today, we look at the next wave of prospects in which the Detroit rebuild hinges on.

The struggling Detroit Red Wings are a bit of a mess. That said,  it is very encouraging that the best players are the ones the Red Wings  franchise drafted and developed. Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek all have important roles and are playing heavy minutes.

The  reports on several of the organizations top prospects are very encouraging for a team that still needs a good deal of growth from within, so let us take a closer look.

Antti  Tuomisto, Tuomisto is a big 6 foot 4, a right-shot defender who plays well on both ends of the ice. He leads all defensemen in Finland’s Jr. A SM-liiga with  22 points eight goals, 14 assists in 21 games for Assat U20. Antti is said to be playing 25 minutes a night, all special teams, every situation. He’s doing  really well.

Albin Grewe, Grewe a 6-foot,  scrapper who patterns his game after Boston well known pest Brad Marchand. Every shift he goes out there on the ice and he plays 100%. He goes to hard areas, he takes the puck to hard areas, he’s not afraid to get physically involved.

Moritz  Seider, Seider is playing in all situations, playing big minutes. He likes to jump up in the play, but he has good awareness. Seider has grit to his game. He  also likes to go into battles. He gets back for pucks quickly. He’s very mobile.

Filip Zadina, The Red Wings are happy with Zadina’s game, happy with his solid progression. He’s playing a much better 200 foot game. He’s defensively more responsible. He’s working hard away from the puck. He is learning how to play pro hockey. His growth has been a welcome sight.

Joe Veleno, Veleno is going through growing pains as he adjusts to pro hockey. The AHL  is not an easy league and Veleno is finding that out first hand. He does not have as much time with the puck. But he is learning what it is going to take to create chances. He has made some good plays as of late.

The days are dark at Little Caesar’s Arena these days. The good news is top Detroit Red Wings prospects are developing giving rays of light along the way.