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Lions One of Most Improved Teams for 2007

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NFL.com's Vic Carucci ranks the Lions in his Top 5 of most-improved teams. Here is his explanation.

June 26, NFL.com: Detroit: Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), the second overall choice and the most talented player in the draft, is the crowning jewel of one of the most explosive receiving groups in the league. Trading with Denver for tackle George Foster and signing free-agent guard Edwin Mulitalo (Baltimore) should help tighten up pass protection and make the offensive line tougher. Free-agent defensive end Dewayne White (Tampa Bay) brings extensive knowledge of the scheme he learned when Lions coach Rod Marinelli was an assistant with the Bucs. Detroit added good depth at running back by trading with the Broncos for Tatum Bell and signing free agent T.J. Duckett (Washington).

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It was nearly impossible for the Lions to go anywhere but up after last season, the season before, the season before that, etc. There are some visible improvements "on paper" that suggest they will be better than last season, however we've "been there, done that" in recent history. I still see the secondary as being a huge weakness - the Lions will have to win most games via a shootout IMO.

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Why is that any improvement is dismissed as "on paper" but there are lots of posts about how horrible the secondary the secondary is, even though that is also just "on paper"?

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Why is that any improvement is dismissed as "on paper" but there are lots of posts about how horrible the secondary the secondary is, even though that is also just "on paper"?

I say that because last year's secondary is mostly intact minus Dre Bly, who was their best cover man. Cruzer is right when he suggests that the defensive line will need to put a lot of pressure on the QB in order for the secondary to be competitive.

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Why is that any improvement is dismissed as "on paper" but there are lots of posts about how horrible the secondary the secondary is, even though that is also just "on paper"?

Fine, maybe this will make you happy.

On paper, the offense looks to be pretty good. On paper, the secondary looks to be one of the worst in the NFL.

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I say that because last year's secondary is mostly intact minus Dre Bly, who was their best cover man. Cruzer is right when he suggests that the defensive line will need to put a lot of pressure on the QB in order for the secondary to be competitive.

Correct.

Maybe the new D-Coordinator will help, who knows.

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I don't think Dre Bly was anywhere near as valuable in a cover-2 system as you guys seem to think. The improvement of Wilson and Smith plus the addition of Fisher will make the secondary better than last year.

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I don't think Dre Bly was anywhere near as valuable in a cover-2 system as you guys seem to think. The improvement of Wilson and Smith plus the addition of Fisher will make the secondary better than last year.

I think Bly is still an effective cover man - Denver was willing to trade a couple of decent players for him. In fact, if a system takes a Pro Bowl player and renders him ineffective - such as the Cover 2 seems to have done with Bly - then I would argue that the system in question may have some flaws.

I would agree that the secondary would be better if in fact Wilson, Smith, and others have improved over last year. That's where the "on paper" judgment fails, until they have a few games under their belt this season.

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In fact, if a system takes a Pro Bowl player and renders him ineffective - such as the Cover 2 seems to have done with Bly - then I would argue that the system in question may have some flaws.

I would have to disagree. If a player does not like a system or feels he is not being used to his potential the player then does not compete. Bly probably felt the cover 2 did not suit his style of play and probably starting dogging it on the field. I don't see how a player not trying proves a system not working.

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Tony Dungy said some pretty nice things about the Lions today on NFL network, but I think that is mainly just support for Rod.

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Tony Dungy said some pretty nice things about the Lions today on NFL network, but I think that is mainly just support for Rod.

What do you expect? Of course a current NFL coach is not going to trash another team. Plus, Dungy's one of the nicest people in coaching and is a good one to get positive comments about anything from.

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I guess why you dismiss the OLine issues as "on paper" is because we have seen moves like this before and usually people equate new as better even if there is no reason to think one way or the other. My theory is that people simply don't get rid of good offensive lineman. You treasure those things as though they are gold. So if someone is picked up, that raises red flags that this person is probably no better than average at best. And usually that becomes a factual statement. So until I see otherwise I always look at makeshift ways to improve the OLine as not improving. History suggests that is true - at least with the Lions.

You have to be the first to get the talent in most cases and then you have to treasure it and not let it go. That's how you develop an offensive line.

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Any defensive system that sees no true value in a true cover corner has issues with me. If you can lock someone on a player even 50% of the game that's so valuable to a defense. It just opens up others to be able to do so many other things and it cuts down on communication issues. It's just a good thing to have.

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I would have to disagree. If a player does not like a system or feels he is not being used to his potential the player then does not compete. Bly probably felt the cover 2 did not suit his style of play and probably starting dogging it on the field. I don't see how a player not trying proves a system not working.

If Bly truly wasn't trying to do his best in the Tampa 2 just because he didn't like the schema, then that's obviously a poor reflection of his character. Do we know for a fact that he "dogged it on the field" last year just because he doesn't like the Tampa 2?

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Any defensive system that sees no true value in a true cover corner has issues with me. If you can lock someone on a player even 50% of the game that's so valuable to a defense. It just opens up others to be able to do so many other things and it cuts down on communication issues. It's just a good thing to have.

That's why Tampa Bay and Chicago have horrible defenses.

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I don't think Bly "dogged" it last year. Generally I thought he was pretty solid.

He admittadly wasn't comfortable in the scheme. He's not a cover 2 corner.

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I just went to NFL.com and got his numbers from last year.

16GP, 46 solo tackles, 3 interceptions, 15 PDs and 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.

It's hard to argue something like this and prove it or disprove it, but those are pretty solid numbers on a team defense that couldn't do much of anything. We had 30 sacks.

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Cruzer,

So that means he dogged it?

And what are you trying to get at about the defenses? Are you suggesting I'm wrong - that a cover corner isn't an asset? Come on!

I would suggest the two teams you mentioned had tremendously better personnel than the Lions. And it does open up other things for the defense to do. Are you arguing it doesn't? Are you arguing you can't be successful without the cover 2? If teams could go with two corners on the top two receivers and get away with it for an entire game they'd do it. It gives you options. Are you trying to say it doesn't?

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Cruzer,

So that means he dogged it?

And what are you trying to get at about the defenses? Are you suggesting I'm wrong - that a cover corner isn't an asset? Come on!

I would suggest the two teams you mentioned had tremendously better personnel than the Lions. And it does open up other things for the defense to do. Are you arguing it doesn't? Are you arguing you can't be successful without the cover 2? If teams could go with two corners on the top two receivers and get away with it for an entire game they'd do it. It gives you options. Are you trying to say it doesn't?

1. No one said that being a good cover corner isn't an asset.

2. Dre Bly isn't as good as you think. I don't care if he "dogged it" or not, all I care about are the end results. He is ok but not great. He makes some nice plays and picks, but he also gets burned and does stupid things. He can be replaced and the secondary can be better than last year.

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1. No one said that being a good cover corner isn't an asset.

2. Dre Bly isn't as good as you think. I don't care if he "dogged it" or not, all I care about are the end results. He is ok but not great. He makes some nice plays and picks, but he also gets burned and does stupid things. He can be replaced and the secondary can be better than last year.

If Bly can be replaced, then why does the secondary look worse this year that last "on paper"? : )

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Thewave,

Where did I call Bly great? It's funny I am known it seems as a negative Lions fan and yet when I say someone was probably better than others suggest he was, that's almost looked upon as negative. He got burned. He made plays. I suggest he probably wasn't below average. He was probably a tad above average. In fact he was about the only player in the secondary I had a reasonable amount of confidence in. I didn't think he was a stud. But he certainly wasn't as bad as people make him out to be.

Also when I mentioned having a cover corner is a good thing to have, I was sent a sarcastic post from Cruzer mentioning two teams that use the cover 2 and their horrible defenses. That wasn't only someone countering my opinion. That was someone who had at least a partial goal of making me sound like a bit of an idiot.

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Also Spanka was the one that said he "dogged" it so you don't have to be concerned with that post. Actually neither comment was directed towards you, so you are fine. :classic:

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Cruzer,

So that means he dogged it?

And what are you trying to get at about the defenses? Are you suggesting I'm wrong - that a cover corner isn't an asset? Come on!

I would suggest the two teams you mentioned had tremendously better personnel than the Lions. And it does open up other things for the defense to do. Are you arguing it doesn't? Are you arguing you can't be successful without the cover 2? If teams could go with two corners on the top two receivers and get away with it for an entire game they'd do it. It gives you options. Are you trying to say it doesn't?

Those teams have a better pass rush, that's all. That's the difference from having an average defense and a great one. Your putting too much emphasis on coverage.

If Bly can be replaced, then why does the secondary look worse this year that last "on paper"? : )

They have more talent than last year.

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They have a better pass-rush. They have a better run defense. I would argue they have better players in their secondary as well. Tillman and Vasher are darn good players. Better than any two players you can name in Detroit's secondary last year along with Bly.

I only discussing coverage because that's what is being addressed here. Actually I'd argue it was our pass rush that made our secondary look worse than it probably was. Generally the unit wasn't strong, but they didn't get any favors. It also didn't help that we couldn't stop anyone on the ground.

Chicago could stop the run. Chicago had a pass rush. Having those two things probably helped that secondary be a better unit. Heck, no probably to it. It does. But I would suggest they have better personnel out there (the two corners I named) as well.

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