Posts Tagged ‘Detroit Lions’

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There is never anything sexy about selecting an offensive lineman in the first round of an NFL Draft, but if you want to be a contender when it comes to getting your grubby mitts on a Vince Lombardi trophy it all begins with the big uglies. 

The Detroit Lions were a 2011 season playoff team, but they were steam-rolled in the WIld-Card round by a rampant New Orleans Saints team, losing 28-45, including conceding 35 second-half points. 

One of the key reasons the Lions failed to roar in the Bayou was an inability to establish a running game, with Detroit’s leading rusher being the brittle-kneed Kevin Smith who underwhelmed America with 21 yards on six carries. 

The Lions drafted Illinois running-back Mikel Leshoure as a second-round pick in 2011, hoping he would solve the backfield blushes, but he tore his Achilles is August and has never played a down. He has also been caught twice possessing ‘mary-jane’ this year, so the Lions may be less inclined to show their full support to him becoming the featured back in 2012. 

Aside from the running game, the Lions offensive line was in need of a serious upgrade, and this brings me neatly on to the Silver and Blue’s first-round pick in 2012, junior offensive tackle Riley Reiff from Iowa.

This pick was pure necessity and Reiff will be an immediate upgrade on Jason Fox, and the successor to stalwart Jeff Backus.

If you can cast your mind back to the turn of the century you will recall ‘the greatest show on turf’ the St Louis Rams, led by former shelf-stacker Kurt Warner and Swiss Army knife skilled running-back Marshall Faulk.

What really made the difference in that team was the first overall pick made by the Rams in 1997, five-time All Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace. Yep a man monster at offensive tackle.

Now I’m not saying that Riley Reiff is ‘THE’ answer, but I am projecting the Lions to win 1-2 playoff games in early 2013.

Nothing like a good old fashioned optimist !

Nothing like a good old fashioned optimist !

For the New England Patriots to go 16-0 in the 2007 regular season is a feat that is highly unlikely to be replicated for potentially another 25 years.

Equally if the Detroit Lions falter in chilly climate of Lambeau Field on Sunday and become the first team in the 16 game era to not to win a single game they to will become the benchmark for incompetence for the next quarter of a century.

There have been a number of truly awful teams in the 16 game era who have managed just one lone victory.

Most recently the 1-15 Miami Dolphins, in 2007, who had to rely on a long Greg Camarillo touchdown to keep them from hoisting the Crown of Crap onto their heads (before fumbling it and failing to recover it).

The top of the 16 game season flops also include the following

  • 1990 England Patriots (1-15) Led by Steve Grogan QB on their only win 16-14 v Colts 
  • 1991 Indianapolis Colts (1-15) Led by Jeff George QB on their only win 28-27 v Jets
  • 1980 New Orleans Saints (1-15) Led by Archie ‘dad of two Superbowl winning sons’ Manning QB on their only win 21-20 v Jets
  • 2001 Carolina Panthers (1-15) Led by Chris Weinke QB, this Panthers team actually tied the Lions with 15 consecutive losses, but bizarrely they won their first game of the year 24-13 v Vikings
  • 1996 New York Jets (1-15) led by Frank Reich QB on their only win 31-21 v Cardinals
  • 1989 Dallas Cowboys (1-15) led by Steve Walsh QB on their only win 13-3 v Redskins
  • 2000 San Diego Chargers (1-15) led by Ryan Leaf on their only win 17-16 v Chiefs

Already the 2008 Detroit Lions are in the Hall of Shame with 15 losses, now they just have to do what they do best and concede about 35 points whist Kevin Smith runs his heart out and Calvin Johnson gains about 100 yards on 6 catches.

I personally think that any team that uses 5 quarterbacks (John Kitna, Daunte Culpepper, Drew Stanton, Drew Henson and Dan Orlovsky) and still cannot muster one win deserves to become the champion of chumps.

We all know it is wrong to watch a train wreck, a motorway pile-up or even a player who is injured and lying motionless on the ground, but we can’t look away.

We look at the mangled metal, we stare at the broken glass on the road and the smoke billowing into the night sky and we squeam and then pray for an injured player lying prostrate on the ground to show a sign of movement.

This 2008 Detroit Lions team is a proverbial player who has been hit harder than whoever got in the way of Lorenzo Neal when he sprung Leron McClain free for that 82 yard touchdown for the Ravens against the Cowboys (week 16 2008).

Laying on the floor with just one ounce of of energy and a spoonful of willpower that will allow this franchise to wipe away the blood gripping out of their nose, the Lions will push their palms onto the snowy Green Bay floor and hoist themselves up for one last battle.

Can they beat Green Bay? Nope

Will they put up a fight? Yes for sure

Everyone loves an underdog, especially in England, but the Lions are no underdog, they are so far under they should change their name to the Detroit Moles.

Just admit it (as long as you are not a Lions fan) watching a team go 0-16 has a morbid kind of curiosity to it.

Merry Christmas to all of you – along with all the Lions fans worldwide.

As it is the time of giving I have a couple of free suggestions for the Lions

1) Change kit – get a combination of black and electric blue and then change that weird Lion outline to something with more teeth – literally – get a roaring lion head

2) Remember that you DO NOT have to draft a WR in the first round of EVERY draft.

3) Make sure Santa Claus gets your list this year – Fed Ex all 612 pages before its too late.

Brian Westbrook looks to have a big week 2

Brian Westbrook looks to have a big week 2

I didn’t exactly set the world alight with my week 1 predictions, getting only 7 of 15 right (including two exact team scores) but just like a maligned veteran qb, I’ll just dust myself down, and take another shot at the endzone.

So here we go as NFLFANINENGLAND creator Lawrence Vos once again gazes into the mythical crystal ball that is the NFL for Week 2 predictions ……

Bet you all have opinions – come back on Tuesday to see how I go ! Feel free to add your thoughts……

Chicago at Carolina

Kyle Orton and Matt Forte combined to produce the biggest upset of week 1 with a shock victory over the Indianapolis Colts, so there will be a certain amount of confidence oozing from the pores (paws even) of the Bears. They travel again in week 2 – this time to Carolina, and they have the ability to win, but I think this will be the Delhomme and Mushin Muhammed show, as the Moose scores at least one td to help the Panthers go 2-0.

LV Prediction – Carolina to win 24-20

correct 1-0

Tennessee at Cincinnati

The Bungles may have the NFL’s only Spanish numeric named wideout but if they only get the ball to him 2 times a game then the only significant number they will end up with will be a big fat 0 as in 0 wins. The Titans are defensively a very good team, but they have Kerry Collins at the helm, which could go either way. Ill give the game to Tennessee as their defense is too organised to fail, but it will be closer than many think.

LV Prediction – Tennessee to win 21-17

correct  2-0

Green Bay at Detroit

Judging by week 1 when the Falcons Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood just went crazy running all over the Lions, it could be a monster week for Packers RB Ryan Grant. Lets not forget Aaron Rodgers though as he has taken the pressure if the Wisconsin faithful on his shoulders and helped his team to victory. The Lions have the ability to put up 300 passing yards every game, but the Packers veteran cbs Woodson and Harris will prove their ProBowl status in this contest and the Pack go 2-0 without that old qb – what was his name ???

LV Prediction – Green Bay to win 33-16

correct 3-0

Buffalo at Jacksonville

This is the acid test for the Bills as they can show if they are a legitimate playoff contender. Jacksonville will be mad after the loss to Tennessee last week, and will be determined to show that their running game is their strength. Buffalo have shown they can play well in all three phases of play, and Trent Edwards is the cemented starter. I just have a feeling that the Jags will be out to show to their home fans that the 2008 season is not over before it starts.

LV Prediction – Jacksonville to win 28-19

wrong 3-1

Oakland at Kansas City

Oakland are in a bad place at the moment, and I’m not talking about the black hole. This battle between two 0-1 teams will mean that there will be some scrappy play and plenty of trash talking. Damon Huard steps back in as the KC qb and his veteran composure will shine through against a Raiders team that is determined to self destruct. JaMarcus Russell and Darren Mc Fadden will try but this could be another ugly season for the Black n Silver.

LV Prediction – Kansas City to win 27-20

wrong 3-2

Indianapolis at Minnesota

Wow – one of thee teams will go 0-2 – not what anyone expected. On the surface it looks to be an explosive game which could go either way, but when you realise the Colts are in a dome, and Marvin, Reggie and Anthony are gonna be on the field then it is a case of sticking a fork in the Vikings. AP will run hard but I am still not convinced by Tavaris Jackson, hell give John David Booty a go behind center !!!!

LV Prediction – Indianapolis to win 35-13

correct 4-2

New York Giants at St Louis

Not a lot of predicting needed here – the Giants are just too well polished to fall to a painfully poor Rams team. Brandon Jacobs is a real wrecking ball of a back and Plaxico is looking to get a Pro Bowl berth as well as a second consecutive appearance at the big dance. Steven Jackson has been promised more carries, but the Rams may be abandoning the run early again.

LV Prediction – NY Giants to win 31-10

correct 5-2

New Orleans at Washington

The Saints are riding high after a significant win against the Buccs in week 1. The Redskins looked bloody awful against the Giants and one more nightmare from Jason Campbell and we could see the calls for backup Todd Collins to take the helm. The Saints will miss Marques Colston as the number one target, but I have a feeling David Patten will come back to haunt the team that let him rot, with 80-100 yards and a score.

LV Prediction – New Orleans to win 23-14

wrong 5-3

San Francisco at Seattle

San Francisco will not want another 0-2 start to a season and nor will Seattle. This is an opportunity for Frank Gore to show he is a top 10 back in the NFL, but the stage will belong to Matt Hasselbeck who will bounce back from a horror show in week 1. Plus with Seattle at home even Frasier Crane will be waving his Seahawks pennant after the final whistle blows.

LV Prediction – Seattle to win 26-21

wrong 5-4

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Tampa will be bringing their A game as the Falcons come to the Florida sunshine in an attempt to go 2-0. Only problem is the Buccs D is a whole lot better than the Lions D and this time Matt Ryan will not simply spend the game handing off to Michael Turner or Jerious Norwood. My prediction for some scorers – howabout Earnest Graham on the ground and Antonio Bryant catching his first td of the season from Garcia.

LV Prediction – Tampa Bay to win 23-13

correct 6-4

Miami at Arizona

As I said last week Chad Pennington is going to help the Fins, but they still need to establish the running game – something that Ricky Williams failed to do against the J-E-T-S. Kurt Warner is rolling back the years and will again go over 250 yards, and throw a minimum if two touchdowns. Cardinals always flatter to decieve but they can make a real impact this season if Kurt keeps hold of the pigskin.

LV Prediction – Arizona to win 29-13

correct 7-4

San Diego at Denver

The Chargers will be seething after their opening day loss (on the last play of the game) and despite Jay Cutler and the rookie of the week performance of Broncos wideout Eddie Royal, San Diego will come out on top. The Broncos are going to be contenders this season, but a big ol dose of LT will be just about enough for the Chargers to get back on track.

LV Prediction – San Diego to win 24-23

wrong 7-5

New England at New York Jets

So we are now going to welcome in the Matt Cassell era ! Lets be honest you dont go 16-0 without the WHOLE team being excellent. Lawrence Maroneys is still running, Moss and Welker are still catching and the offensive line is still intact. The Jets will be many people’s favourites with ol greybeard steering the Big Apple boat, but I’ll say it here the Pats will remain ruthlessly efficient and win this game with a healthy margin of victory.

LV Prediction – New England to win 30-20

correct 8-5

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

The Steelers look good already, and Willie Parker is on fire. Look for this to continue against the Browns who are gonna play hard but are gonna fall. Braylon Edwards needs to have a big game and the running game needs to get going. The Steelers will be led by Big Ben who will look to target Santonio Holmes, seeing as Hines Ward will be double teamed.

LV Prediction – Pittsburgh to win 19-14

correct 9-5

Philadelphia at Dallas

Its only week 2 but this is a very important game as Romo and McNabb duel to show who has the best sword skills. It looks to be the game of the week, with two highly skilled offensive teams matching up to go at each other all game long. I’ll tip the Eagles to get an upset victory with Philly looking to get to TO and his Channel Tunnel like gob. Westbrook to get two more touchdowns – including the winner on a short catch.

LV Prediction – Philadelphia to win 20-19

wrong 9-6

Baltimore at Houston – Game postponed until November

Have fun this weekend with week 2 !

**** 9-6 this week – I’m getting better but still no cigar. Stay tuned. ****

Chris Cooley will need more than 1 catch a game to lift the Redskins - picture by Lawrence Vos

Chris Cooley will need more than 1 catch a game to lift the Redskins - picture by Lawrence Vos

Ok I missed my prediction on the Giants v Redskins game, but I did stay up until 4.00am in England to watch the game, and then leave for work 4 hours later.

I noticed quite disturbingly that the Giants managed 0 receptions to their tight end Kevin Boss, and apart from one endzonelook in the 1st quarter Boss managed to do a big fat not a lot. Redskins TE Chris Cooley was right up there with Boss in terms of a non-descript game, with just one catch.

Someone needs to get that ‘rabbit in front of the headlights on a freeway’ look shaken from Jason Campbell’s face, and until that happens I think that the Redskins are pretty much doomed to mediocrity for the 17th consecutive season.

Anyway………on to my NFL 2008 Season Week 1 Predictions and thoughts

Seattle at Buffalo

The Bills are best described by many as a dark horse for a wild-card spot, but I don’t think that will be the case, I would more likely describe them as a grey donkey, nice to pat on the head but seriously lacking the ability to run with the thoroughbreds like New England and San Diego. Seattle are missing Previous Superbowl MVP Deion Branch and wily veteran Bobby Engram, instead relying on young wideouts.

Prediction – Seattle to win 27-17

LV – wrong 0-1

Detroit at Atlanta

U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi you ugly – not exactly a showcase for the NFL’s finest here in Georgia. Rookie 1st round pick Matt Ryan makes his Falcon debut, handing off to new Atlanta tailback (and lifetime backup) Michael Turner. The Lions will be licking their lips with DeAngelo Hall gone and Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams revving up for a spectacular season. Kevin Smith the new Lions RB will be one to watch and he may break 100 on the ground in his debut.

Prediction – Detroit to win 31-14

LV wrong 0-2

Cincinnati at Baltimore

Its Ocho Cinco time baby ! Despite looking like he went 12 rounds with that mutant 7ft Russian heavyweight boxer Bengals QB Carson Palmer should find himself with an opportunity for an upset. With the Ravens going to another rookie QB Joe Flacco to start the season I have a feeling Baltimore will come out of the gate a little slowly. Willis McGahee is banged up and the Ravens D may have lost that mystique by the end of this one.

Prediction – Cincinnati to win 21-20

LV wrong 0-3

St. Louis at Philadelphia

All signs point to Rocky town for this one, with Donovan McNabb once again able to find his TE LJ Smith in the red-zone. Brian Westbrook if he stays healthy should be in line for an NFL MVP award, and rookie DeSean Jackson the former Cal wideout should provide a spark. The Rams have Steven Jackson back in uniform and Marc Bulgerback at QB but the Rams D will still be vulnerable, even with #2 pick Chris Long at DE.

Prediction – Philadelphia to win 38-9

LV correct – 1-3 – Note got Philly score exactly right !

Houston at Pittsburgh

Houston showed signs of becoming respectable in 07, and with the welcome return of Andre Johnson at WR it could be the Texans first winning season. Pittsburgh added another talented running back in the draft – Rashard Mendenhall as a rocket propelled backup, but there are offensive line question marks. This will be a chance for Big Ben Roethlisberger to show why he gets paid the big bucks, Texans will make it a fight though.

Prediction – Pittsburgh to win 19-17

LV correct 2-3

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Both teams will see anything but an AFC Championship appearance a failure, and both will be looking to establish the run before launching any rockets in the sky. Vince Young the Titans QB is only a few steps away from being a top 10 performer. David Garrard needs to prove he can go 16 games and keep his INTs low for a second season. Jacksonville’s running game to settle this one in an old fashioned slugfest.

Prediction – Jacksonville to win 20-17

LV wrong 2-4

Tampa Bay at New Orleans

The evergreen Jeff Garcia comes to Louisiana with a chip on his shoulder after a first round playoff exit earlier in the year. The Buccs will unfortunately be the ones on the tailgate bbq after they get grilled by Drew Brees and the Saints who will unleash Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister and a big ol dollop of Marques Colston along with relishing the thought of seeing Jeremy Shockey in Black and Gold.

Prediction – New Orleans to win 24-17

LV correct 3-4 – Note got New Orleans score exactly right!

Kansas City at New England

Hmmmm lets spare the analysis on this one. Bill Bellicheck will have the Pats so hungry they may end up spying on the hot dog and candy floss stalls in the pre game warm ups. Look for KC to give a bit more fight than many experts say but for the Pats to win in style. Even Sammy Morris should get 50 yards and a score.

Prediction – New England to win 24-14

LV correct 4-4

N.Y. Jets at Miami

Can anyone get through an opening week blog without mentioning the F word ? and I’m not talking Gordon Ramsay swearing in the kitchens of Florida. Look for Chad Pennington to get the headlines in this encounter, and he gets the Dolphins back to basics, ball control, accurate passing and some leadership at the QB position. The Jets will have the attention of the world at the kickoff, but the respect for Pennington will be the abiding memory at the end.

Prediction – Miami to win 17-13

LV wrong 4-5 – Note Pennington did earn some respect in the game

Arizona at San Francisco

Looks like Matt Leinhart is not the saviour after all as Kurt Warner gets the start and the Cardinals again look to have a good season and a playoff place. Look for Arizona rookie RB Tim Hightower to get on the scoresheet and for the 49ers to look bloody awful. Face it if any of the other 31 NFL teams announced that JT OSullivan was their starting quarterback the first thing you would do is laugh. JT has done an amazing job to get the gig in Frisco, but any sensible coach will get Frank Gore 25-30 touches as a priority.

Prediction – Arizona to win 33-13

LV correct 5-5 Note I did predict Tim Hightower to score !

Carolina at San Diego

Carolina welcome back Jake Delhomme from an injury lost 2007, and despite Steve Smith missing out the Panthersshould be able to compete wih a solid running game. The win however belongs to the San Diego Chargers who will want to be all business in the first half of the season. Rivers will throw no more than about 20 passes as the Chargers look to chew up the clock with LT, Sproles and even Jacob Hester getting some carries.

Prediction – San Diego to win 23-20

LV wrong 5-6

Dallas at Cleveland

The Cleveland Browns bandwagon is still pretty full after Derek Anderson inspired his team to prominence. The 2008 season will not have the fairytale ending to it in my estimation though, as Dallas will pour vodka in the punch and drop dog food in the trifle and escape from Ohio with a big W. Everyone is talking about the strength of Marion Barber, but the Cowboys masterstroke is the drafting of RB Felix Jones who has more speed than Keaunu Reeves holding a bag of bowling balls after falling out of an aeroplane.

Prediction – Dallas to win 24-19 

LV correct 6-6

Chicago at Indianapolis

The only positive the Chicago Bears can get from this game is to reminisce that the last time they met was in the Superbowl. Indy will dominate this game from their first possession, which I will bet will result in a touchdown. Marvin Harrison will be wanting to show there is life in the old dog still, and Dominic Rhodes will be back in his favourite colours of blue and white. If Chicago muster 21 points ill call that an upset by itself.

Prediction – Indianapolis to win 28-13

LV wrong – 6-7

Minnesota at Green Bay

Two quarterbacks with big question marks over their heads – Aaron Rodgers in his first start and Tavaris Jackson looking to show that he truly belongs in this league after an up and down 2007. Can either live up to their expectations ? I don’t think either will be the biggest factor of the game as it will be up to Ryan Grant and Adrian Peterson to show who is the top young running back. AP to win this particular battle.

Prediction – Minnesota to win 16-10

LV wrong 6-8

Denver at Oakland

The Raiders are trying to build a team of young and spirited world beaters, but I can’t see them winning against a Broncos team that  every year show they know how to do the most important thing – run the football. With Brandon Marshall out week 1 that will give the Raiders some relief, but the Broncos have the offensive line intelligence and the shutdown cornerbacks to leave California with a victory.

Prediction – Denver to win 29-23

LV right 7-8 (Overall score 7 right 8 wrong)

Bet you all have opinions – come back on Tuesday to see how I go ! Feel free to add your thoughts……

By Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

By Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

I was very interested to read the the Detroit Lions 7th round rookie pick in the 2008 NFL draft, Army safety Mr Caleb Campbell will now not realise his NFL dream anytime soon as he has been called back into service for his country.

No longer will he defend his team from pigskin bombs from the likes of Tom Brady or Tony Romo, he will now defend bombs that kill.

It is not for me to decide the rights or wrongs of Army college graduates wishing to pursue careers in sports, and I know for sure that in the USA there is certainly mixed opinions on whether Campbell should have been drafted in the NFL at all, the whole issue has however made me think.

As someone who knows quite a  a lot about NFL history and also someone who has lived in England for 33 years and followed football (or soccer as you people over the pond call it) I cant help but contrast the vast differences between the USA and the UK when it comes to both sports and academia and sports and military service.

I know that the Army, Navy, and Air Force in the USA have college American football rivalries that are awesome, and the Army v Navy game is up there as an annual spectacle with a Rose Bowl or a National NCAA Championship. I also know that legendary NFL superstar and Cowboys former quarterback Roger Staubach served in the Navy. Recent NFL starters including Chad Henning was in fact serving in London, England, when he found ot he could play in the NFL.

When Pat Tillman RIP left the Arizona Cardinals to serve in Iraq it was seen an a bold move and I for one was saddened when news filtered back that he was killed on duty. Not for one minute can I imagine selfish money grabbing egotists such as Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Arsenal’s Emanuel Adabeyor suddenly waking up one day and saying they will serve for the Portuguese Army or the Togolese Air Force.

Over here in the United Kingdom there is no equivalent national obsession with sports in the UK Army or Navy or Royal Air Force. Whilst there may well be fiercely contested tug-of-war, rugby or even rowing contests between the UK Army and the UK Navy, it certainly is not televised and it is not the ‘water-cooler’ gossip of the offices up and down the country that week.

A scene from the Superbowl 18 months ago

A scene from the Superbowl 18 months ago

As a Brit who has visited the USA four times (to San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Washington DC and Orlando) I have seen first hand how people in the USA use sporting events, and even a Shamu show at Sea World to pay tribute the the armed forces. Giant stars ands stripes flags draped over the field at kickoff, standing ovations and tributes to fallen heroes, and even a round of applause to all former or current members of the military before Shamu does his thing in the pool.

In England we have one minute silences to former English football players who die, but I cannot recall a large sporting event where everyone is given a St Georges flag (England) or a Union Jack (United Kingdom) to wave as we all stand there teary eyed paying tribute to the Parachute Regiment or the SAS.

In fact it may surprise you that there have been displays of complete disrespect to soldiers in the United Kingdom. Check here  or here for just two examples – something I’m sure would be seen as unforgivable in the USA.

If you are in the UK do you think we disrespect our own military ? If you are in the USA do you think that you pay enough respect to the military or even too much – would love to get opinions from both sides of the pond …….