Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oh well 4-12 it is ... here's what needs to happen

Oh well 4-12 it is.
Mayhew, Schwartz, Linehan, Cunningham and Crossman (!!!) survive. The position coaches for receivers, running backs and o-linemen are out. On to next year!

The Draft

Despite the pathetic season, I choose to remain positive because this draft could see the Lions come out with at least three starters on defence. Add to that Mayhew’s own statements that his defense needs playmakers and we have at least some hope that the Lions Leadership does realize where things went wrong.

Based on what I have read and seen this year Detroit will have a chance at a stud DE in round 1 and a very good safety or CB in round two. I hope it falls that way. Round three could go in any directions but one guy that impressed me during his Bowl Game and I think would be an excellent replacement for any of our linebackers is Khaseem Greene from Rutgers. He was fast and covered extremely well. The announcers mentioned that he was originally a strong safety but because of his size and speed (6-01 230) coaches converted him to OLB. He has a round three grade and many draft sites have him going between the 60th and 90th picks. From what I can tell, the Lions pick 5th, 37th and 69th in the first three rounds.

Imagine a defense that could feature a high motor DE like Bjeorn Werner (Florida State), a hard hitting cover man like Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) and the athletic Kaseen Greene. I’ll take that over Durant, KVB and Bill Bentley!

But the defensive harvest might be cut short because of Detroit’s issues at running back.

As Mayhew readily admitted, waiting for Jahvid Best to return and not having any plan B in case he did not was a huge blunder on his part. I expect they will try to get a speedster late – someone that can return punts and be the third down threat that Matthew Stafford sorely missed this year.

Again based on a bit of research (countless minutes of surfing the web) and a really outstanding Bowl Game here is my early vote for mid or late round RB: Kerwynn Williams, Utah State. Check out the highlights from his game against Toledo here:

The Lions also need a punter. Nick Harris was awful in big moments. They need someone durable – no more 38 year olds like Ben Graham.

Free Agency

Of course before you get to the draft you have to get through free agency. The Lions have some 30 free agents of one kind or another. They have already resigned one, Ashlee Palmer so at least we know Mayhew is aware of the situation.

There are really three big names on that list: Cliff Avril, Chris Houston and Louis Delmas. Avril will likely be too costly to resign as the Lions may have to throw a lot of money at Houston. Delmas is also a must sign, regardless of health. Even 10 games from him are better than 16 from whoever else lined up in his place this season. They just have to be smarter about his health. For example, if he has a sore knee that needs a scope, don’t wait until August to get that done …

The Lions will also need to create cap space and based on what I saw last Sunday and over the last 8 weeks, here are 4 guys that should be concerned about their contracts:

1. Stephen Peterman is simply awful, run or pass. Not sure how this guy never got benched but he is at best average and whenever another team needs a big play, he is the guy they pick on. Bill Nagy or Rodney Austin from the PS should be given a chance here and maybe the Lions could even draft an OG this year. Peterman is due 3.3 million.

2. Dominic Raiola. OK he knows how to call signals, but he cannot run block and for a vet, he whiffs an awful lot on pass blocks. His mental mistakes always happen at the worst possible time (see OT vs Tennessee) and he is saddled with a 6.1 million cap hit. That is a monster number for a smallish Center over the age of 30.

3. KVB ... honestly, he can no longer play. The effort is there but the ability is gone. Would he even have value as a backup? Doubt it because I cannot see him playing special teams. Cut.

4. Stephen Tulloch. Yup. Look at game film of this guy and you'll see that for every play he makes he botches three. He was horrible in our playoff loss last year in New Orleans and he has been average to below average this year again. They are paying this guy way too much for what he provides. He is too slow to man the middle. His knees are in bad shape. Levy would be a better MLB. Guys like him get cut all the time - he looks like he is on a rapid downward spiral to scrub. Trouble is he has 11.5 million guaranteed in the first two years of his deal.

I still can’t believe he was outrun twice by that chubbo Jay Cutler. Wow.

Knowing what the Lions might do with their new found cap dollars (we can dream right) is hard to predict but somewhere out there they need to find at least one safety, one wide receiver, a punter, an offensive guard and maybe a running back and defensive end and tackle depth. Ouch.

I like the UFA Safety Ryan Mundy from Pittsburgh – a big hitter, a ST ace and still pretty young at 26. They need guys like that – solid players that won’t break the bank.

Another intriguing player is an RFA. The Saints have to decide what to do with their army of running backs and Chris Ivory might be the odd man out. Ivory is a much faster version of Mikell Leshoure and has better hands than Joique Bell. Mayhew should see what it might take to get him out of New Orleans. Maybe with all the fuss around bounty gate the Saints never heard about Titus Young’s mental breakdowns … could we be that lucky?

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