Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Letter To All Michigan Fans

As you all know Michigan has fired head football coach Rich Rodriguez. In a way I feel sorry for the guy because, the people at Michigan and the fans did not exhibit enough patience with him. It wasn't all you guys' fault. A lot of problems he brought on himself, mainly wins and losses. Even before he set foot in Ann Arbor, you guys palced a blcak cloud over him that never left. I can understand he had a horrible 3 year run, but to you Michigan fans he was never good enough. Your complaints went beyond wins and losses.

I say you guys as in Michigan fans, who have a higher opinion of everyhting Michigan. That's what landed you Rodriguez in the first place. Lloyd Carr wasn't good enough. You wanted boring Lloyd out and he walked away. Then you couldn't get the "Michigan Man" when LSU punked Les Miles into staying in Baton Rouge. You want a "Michigan Man" so bad that it limits the pool of coaches you can go after. But then say we want a big name coach. Rodriguez was a big name coach. I understand he was hired amid a shroud of secrecy and left West Virginia unceremoniously. Remember, he had the Alabama job for about two days before he reconsidered. You guys wanted a fancy spread offense, the flavor of the month, and now you denounce it saying you need to get back to Michigan football. Didn't Bo Schembecler run the option. Yes he did. Sometimes do some history checking before speaking. True the defense was tremendously lacking, but the offense was ok. But the fact Rodriguez wasn't a "Michigan Man" was what made you dislike him.
Speaking of the defense, I've said it before, it was not Greg Robinson's fault. True he had the blood on his hands only because he was the defensive coordinator. The 3-3-5 scheme he was hired to run was not his scheme. But you guys only wanted him gone because he was the face of the defense. Robinson didn't bring that scheme to town with him. He's also a respected coordinator. He's won a Super Bowl and had a good run at Texas before bombing as a head coach at Syracuse. But hey, to you guys Robinson was the problem with the defense. That was a scheme Rodriguez brought in from West Virginia and swore by.

Now you guys want to hold Athletic Director David Brandon's feet to the fire. The bagman in the whole deal was former Athletic Director Bill Martin. He's the one who hired him and botched the coaching search in the first place. History check again. If Schembecler never mouthed the words "A Michigan man will coach Michigan" regarding the basketball program on the eve of the 1989 NCAA BASKETBALL tournament, Michigan's football program would never be in this position. No one wants to give a non "Michigan Man" a chance, but then say we want a big name coach. Maybe coaches outside of the Michigan family know something we don't. Or realize they could end up like Rodriguez, since they're not from the Michigan family. Get over it. Remember, Schembechler wasn't a "Michigan Man".

The pool of coaches are limited now. If you want a "Michigan Man" the best you can do is Jim Harbaugh. And that's no guarantee. In fact I doubt he comes back to Ann Arbor. Then there's Brady Hoke. If he gets hired I'll feel sorry for him too. You know why? Because that's not good enough for you guys. He lacks pizazz, but has done a credible job at Ball State and San Diego State. Also he's a Michigan man. He may not be ready for those bright lights but as far as "Michigan Men" go that's the best you're gonna do.
I don't believe Brandon will go down the Les Miles trail again. And Ron English isn't getting the job. Remember, everyone jeered Auburn when they hired Gene Chizik and his 5-22 record from Iowa State. So if Hoke is the choice get off your high horse, respect the hire and rally around the coach. Get over the fact that you won't get a high profile "Michigan Man" and just make sure they make a solid hire this time around. Besides the high profile coaches outside the Michigan family you might vilify them the same way you did Rodriguez.

Sayers: Hester Is Hall Of Fame Material

A Hall Of Fame kick/punt returner. Apparently Gale Sayers thinks so. He believes that Hester has Hall of Fame credentials.

  “Devin Hester deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, no question about it. He has a chance to get there. And more than likely, he probably will," Sayers told Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune.

"I think I was probably the first (Hall of Fame) running back to return punts and kickoffs and run from the line of scrimmage," Sayers said. "I had a good career rushing with the football, too, and scoring touchdowns (22 as a rookie). (Hester) is only doing kick returns (although he is also a wide receiver) and he is having a hell of a career. No doubt, he will probably go into the Hall of Fame."

As great as Sayers is, I gotta disagree. The only way Devin Hester gets into the Hall of Fame is if he demolishes return records. He does play receiver but hasn't carved out a significant role for him on the offensive side of the ball. I think if they keep doing that he'll go the way of Dante Hall, the last star returner that got more snaps on offense and fizzled out. Hester is exceptional at what he does, but he's not Hall of Fame worthy. Even with a great lke Gale Sayers endorsing him. Eventually he (Hester) will lose a step so he'll have to make plenty of big returns to break records. Also teams will jsut start kicking out of bounds.

I'm Optimistic, But I've Seen This Movie Before

After winning the last four games of the season, I'm optimistic about the future of the Detroit Lions. I know I sound like a homer, but a if a few blown calls go the Lions' way, they might've been in the playoff conversation in the last few weeks of the year. But that's just like horseshoes and hand grenades. They took some significant strides this season and gave Lions fans hope for the future. I like what they're doing I'm just cautiously optimistic.

First, there's the labor situation. I think it will get resolved around draft time. it's just that if it goes any longer, it could halt what progress the lions have made. Secondly, I've seen this movie before. Lions fans let's take a trip in the time machine. Remember 1989, Barry Sanders' rookie season. The Lions were in their first full season under Wayne Fontes. They started off 2-9 and things weren't looking good. Then the team finally started coming coming together and they reeled off five straight wins to close out the season, including a win over the defending NFC Central champs, Chicago Bears. They had Barry Sanders running wild and the run and shoot offense was clicking under Bob Gagliano. The Lions entered the 1990 season with high expectations and playoff aspirations. They started 1-3, got a key win over Minnesota and then went to Kansas City and were thrashed as 43-24 as Barry Word ran for over 200 yards.

The dagger was when they hosted the Washington Redskins when they had a 35-14 lead only to see the Skins stormback to claim a 41-38 win on overtime. That broke the Lions' back, similar to the Jets game this year. The Lions stumbled to a 6-10 finish.

This year has a lot of similarities to that. The Lions are trying to build themselves up again. They have two of the better young players in the league in Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson. They have one of the best defensive lines in the league and if they can build up some depth along the offensive line, linebacker, and the secondary they should improve on their 6-10 finish. I'm excited about their future, but this reminds me too much of 1989. Hopefully they don't repeat history and can take a step forward instead of a step backwards.

AFC's Fourth Quarter

The playoffs are all set and you have to put the Patriots and Steelers among the favorites. A look at the final weeks in the AFC.

New England Patriots- Strange, once they got rid of Randy Moss the Patriots took off. Odds on favorite to win it all. It'll be tough but Brady and Co. have been through it all before.

Pittsburgh Steelers- The road to the Super Bowl goes through New England. Don't count out Pittsburgh. They have what it takes to win it all.

Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens are afraid of no one. That only means they'll be a tough out. Joe Flacco has to kick it up a notch to get them to another level.

New York Jets- The Jets seem to be all talk right about now. I won't be surprised to see them go out with a whimper. They have a bad draw against the Colts this weekend.

Indianapolis Colts- Are they getting a semblance of health? If they are look out. Another team that will be tough to get rid of.

Kansas City Chiefs- A pleasant surprise. I didn't think they would hold up and win the division. We'll se how much Matt Cassel learned while he was Tom Brady's understudy.

San Diego Chargers- How does Norv Turner still have a job? Also, A.J. Smith sabotaged the season with his hardcore negotiating.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Can't really figure them out. They folded down the stretch. The might have higher expectations next year.

Oakland Raiders- They got rid of the "Cable Guy". Bad move Mr. Davis. He was the only man that really wnted the job. Jim Harbaugh would be a fool to come here. The team's future is a little brighter though.

Miami Dolphins- Once again, a team in need of a quarterback. They haven't had one since Dan Marino retired.

Houston Texans- When will they finally get over the hump? They'll have a new defensive coordinator (Wade Phillips) so there will be no more excuses.

Tennessee Titans- Bud Adams needs to make the right choice and move on from Vince Young.

Cleveland Browns- The Eric Mangini firing might've been the start of some major housecleaning.

Cincinnati Bengals- One of the most underachieving teams in the AFC. Carson Palmer has regressed and may need a change of scenery.

Denver Broncos- A team in need of a total makeover. Get ready for some lean years Bronco fans.

Buffalo Bills- Not much to say about the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick made himself some money and the team somewhat entertaining at times.

NFC's Fourth Quarter

The season has ended and the playoffs are set to begin. The Atlanta Falcons locked up homefield advantage but will have a tough time fending off the other NFC challengers.

Atlanta Falcons- They do have Matt Ryan and homefield. For some reason I'm just not sold on the Falcons to make it to the Super Bowl.

Chicago Bears- Getting a home game will help them in the playoffs. If Mike Martz reverts to wacky playcalling and Jay Cutler starts forcing the issue the Bears will be in trouble.

Green Bay Packers- Still waiting for them to hit full stride. Some are still picking them to go to the Super Bowl. I wouldn't be surprised if they make some significant damage in the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles- The defense will have to play better for the Eagles to fly high in the playoffs. Michael Vick will have to put this team on his back.

New Orleans Saints- I wouldn't bet against them making it back to the Super Bowl. I have a sneaky feeling about this team.

New York Giants- Just missing the playoffs might've saved Tom Coughlin's job. I think it's something between the ears that plagues this team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Raheem Morris has the young Bucs on the right track. Next year will prove if their for real. They need to improve their record against winning teams.

Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys are much better than their record. I would think Jerry Jones would keep Jason Garrett, since he paid a lot of money to keep him. Whoever is named coach will have a ready made situation.

Detroit Lions- Took some significant steps this year, winning their last four. I want to believe, but I've seen this movie before (see 1989).

Seattle Seahawks- Hate them all you want but they won the division fair and square.

St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford is the real deal. He should ascend to the second tier of quarterbacks next year. There is hope for the Rams.

Minnesota Vikings- Team dysfunctional. Need I say more.

San Francisco 49ers- The Niners need an answer at quarterback. That is what did Mike Singletary in. he just "could not win with em".

Washington Redskins- Personally I think this team needs to be blown up. It's just not working in D.C.

Arizona Cardinals- Another team in need of a quarterback. They looked lost all season without Kurt Warner to bail them out.

Carolina Panthers- They'll have a new coach on the sidelines. The Panthers will be undergoing a reconstruction.