Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Time For The Tigers To Lower Their Sights In Free Agency

Forget the Carl Crawford pipe dreams. The only way the Detroit Tigers improve their current roster is going to be through trades or lower cost free agents. I'm not going to get too much into it because I've described who I would go after. The problem I see with the Tigers is they want to operate like a big budget club. They don't have big budget dollars though. Then when things go terribly bad (see 2007) they end up having to cut costs.

My soultion is still to take flyers on low cost one or two year deals. Someone like Orland Hudson, Lastings Milledge, or Xavier Nady isn't going to cost you too much to see if they can play and cut bait if they can't. The team itself isn't getting any younger. I know they're trying to win now, but they need to be wise with their money. If they break the bank and fail then you have to start from square one and the Tigers don't have youth down on the farm to start over.

Urban Meyer Steps Down. Who's Next At Florida?

Urban Meyer is leaving Florida and this time its for real. I won't get into specifics or anything, all I know is he wants to spend more time with his family. Can't fault the man for that. There's gonna be plenty of speculation on who takes over.

The first name from everyone's mouths' was Mississippi State's Dan Mulllen. Mullen didn't know anything about Meyer leaving and texted Brad Locke of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal "news to me. Happy at State". He's still a candidate for the open Miami job.

Louisville's Charlie Strong could also be in the mix. He was Meyer's defensive coordinator and had Louisville bowl eligible this year. I personally think that won't happen.

Bob Stoops' name has been thrown into the mix but I see him leaving for an NFL job before jumping ship at Oklahoma.

Here's one name that I think could hit the ground running at Florida. Mike Leach. The offensive personnel seems to be tailored to his style of play. There's a pro style quarterback in John Brantley, who seemed an odd fit in Meyer's spread. Everyone knows Leach loves his qb's to chuck the ball around 50 times a game. There's speed to burn at the skill positions and those players are also highly thought of. He would have a solid defense. And he could recruit like mad with that crazy scheme he runs. His name isn't on the list but I wouldn't be surprised if he landed in The Swamp.

Lions Need To Learn How To Win

Plain and simple. The Detroit Lions need to learn how to win. Once again, against the Chicago Bears (again), the Lions were undone by penalties, missed tackles, dropped passes, unable to make a key defensive stop, and an inability to convert in short yardage situations. It seems to be the same old story with this team.

I know a lot of Lions fans feel they were jobbed by the refs. Save it. I've heard it all before. I'll run down some key moments of the game which all contributed to the loss to the Bears and games before. In the third quarter they recovered a Jay Cutler and only got a field goal to show for it. You had first and goal from the Chicago 9 yard line and couldn't seal the deal. You have to get six points when you get that kind of oppurtunity. When Chicago scored their winning touchdown, they missed on a couple plays. When Ndamukong Suh was called for the bogus personal foul penalty, linebacker DeAndre Levy missed the tackle for loss on Cutler which led to Suh committing the penalty. Then how do you miss a 300 pound tight end and not cover him and score. He should be the easiest guy to keep track of. They missed him again when they allowed him to get loose again, catch a pass for a first down and close out the game.

They simply just don't know how to win. I'm still waiting for them to just clamp down in the fourth quarter and stop someone when they have to. I'm hoping that day will come sooner than later. 

The Lions Need To Save Stafford Until Next Year

There are reports circulating saying Matthew Stafford has started throwing again. Of course that means everyone will think he's coming back to close out the season and finish strong to give everyone some hope for next season. I think bringing him back would be the wrong thing to do.

First of all this season is lost. They're 2-10 and not going anywhere. The only thing the Lions can salvage by bringing Stafford back is one or two wins and getting knocked down a few slots in the draft. That shouldn't be a reason to bring him back.Why risk him getting hurt or aggravating the two injuries he's suffered to his shoulder this year. I do think if Stafford were healthy the Lions would be closer to the break even mark rather than 2-10. It's a lost cause to bring him back.

Let Stafford get some rest and rehab. Go back to the drawing board and get some more pieces to make the team a winner. Don't bring him back just to get some meaningless wins. I know coach Jim Schwartz is trying to change a losing culture, but don't possibly risk your so-called "franchise" quarterback's career for the sake of a few wins at the end of the year.

AFC Third Quarter Breakdown

The Patriots are back to flexing their muscle
As the playoff season approaches it's starting to look like the usual suspects. New England, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore will be there like always. The New York Jets will join the party. We'll have to wait for the AFC West to shake out to see who emerges from that division.

New England Patriots- As evidenced by the 45-3 rout of the Jets, the Patriots are back in their rightful place in the AFC pecking order.

Pittsburgh Steelers- You have to be impressed with the win against Baltimore. They simply know how to win.

New York Jets- They need to stop all the talking and just play. Let's hope the Monday nighter, taught them a lesson.

Baltimore Ravens- The offense still has to catch up with the defense.

Kansas City Chiefs- Still holding tough in the AFC West. Will virtually lock up the division with a win over San Diego on Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts- The Colts are hanging tough, but the injuries are finally catching up to them. Missing the playoffs may actually help them.

Jacksonville Jaguars- This looks like when David Garrard first took over.

San Diego Chargers- The December magic has finally worn off. For all their gaudy stats they should be much better than 6-6. Being swept by the Raiders doesn't help them as far as staying in the hunt within the division.

Oakland Raiders- The Raiders are progressing nicely under Tom Cable. Only if the offense could be more consistent.

Miami Dolphins- Only if all their games were on the road.

Cleveland Browns- Despite the strides they've made recently, Eric Mangini may not be around to see the fruits of his labor.

Houston Texans- Gary Kubiak may not be the man to get them over the hump. The Texans just seem too soft.

Tennessee Titans- Will owner Bud Adams force out Jeff Fisher or just force him to play Vince Young.

Buffalo Bills- Lots of tough losses this year. Maybe they can "Luck" up into the top pick in the draft. Andrew Luck that is.

Cincinnati Bengals- Lots of talent. Lots of underacheivers. In my opinion this has to be the end of the Marvin Lewis era.

Denver Broncos- Another from the Bill Belichick tree that got the ax. Tim Tebow's sugar daddy is no longer around. When will coaches/GM's learn that they can't force others out (players) and expect to win big.

NFC Third Quarter Breakdown

The NFL is heading into the stretch run and the annual jockeying for playoff position begins. In the NFC it looks like one of the better teams (Tampa Bay, New York Giants) might be on the outside looking in. Here's my thoughts on the teams in the NFC.

Green Bay Packers- Despite trailing Chicago in the standings, I still feel the Packers are the best team in the NFC. They have a meeting with Chicago left and a chance to take the division and finish strong. They have still have an outside shot at home field.

Atlanta Falcons- Matt Ryan has shown me a lot this year. Of course this position can change in a hurry. The Falcons boast the NFC's best record and are sitting pretty for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Chicago Bears- They call this the worse 9-3 team in the NFL. The Bears have been solid on both sides of the ball. Julius Peppers has raised the defense up a notch. Jay Cutler is doing a better of managing the game.

New Orleans Saints- It looks like the offense is finally hitting its stride. They need to avoid more games like the Bengals scare last week.

Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles will ride Michael Vick's magic to the playoffs.

New York Giants- They might be on the outside looking in when it's all said and done. They have been playing better of late, but need to finish with a flourish.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Tough loss to the Falcons hurts. Still in the playoff hunt, but will need help to get there.

St. Louis Rams- One of the year's biggest surprises has been helped by being in a bad division. They might get into the playoffs, but once they get a few more pieces, look out.

Seattle Seahawks- You wonder which team is going to show up from week to week. They either win or get blown out.

Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys have been much improved since Jason Garrett took over.

Minnesota Vikings- Playing out the string. Leslie Frazier is coaching for next year.

San Francisco 49ers- Still have a very slim shot at capturing their division. That might be the only way Mike Singletary keeps his job.

Washington Redskins- If games were played on paper they might be a top four team in the NFC.

Detroit Lions- Being competetive in close losses isn't enough.

Arizona Cardinals- All their mojo left with Kurt Warner. Kind of feel sorry Larry Fitzgerald. He seems lost without a quarterback.

Carolina Panthers- I don't think John Fox will be able to survive this season.