The Aftermath: Obsessions, morons and man-crushes
By Zachary Best
After every Detroit Lions game, once the dust has settled, I like to comment on the blatherings coming from the MSM. For the most part, blathering is a correct way of describing the commentary from much of the local media. Be it good, bad or indifferent, the MSM always has something to say about the Leos.
As a pre-Sheriff Buford T. Justice Jackie Gleason would open his variety show, “And aaaaaaaaaaaaway we goooooo!”
I have to say, WDFN’s Jamie Samuelson makes the most sense out of any of the writers and contributors at the Freep. He has the most even handed takes, such as his blog post on the Lions’ running game:
"Jim Colletto seems so hell-bent on running the ball, that I wonder if it will ever become a detriment to the offense. By that I mean that if the Lions are doing nothing on the ground, at what point do they abandon the run. For Martz, it was normally by the second series. Will Colletto ever reach that point in a game, or will stubbornness actually hold back the offense at all? The hope is that the running game diversifies things, but there is absolutely no guarantee of that, especially with this offensive line."
There’s a fine line between common sense and obsession. Let’s hope Colletto never crosses it. Mike Martz did on a daily basis…and the Lions are still paying for it.
Then we have the usual drivel from Drew Sharp. With the Freep’s star columnists (The Little Fella and Rosenberg) in Bejing, we’re left with Sharp trying to make a QB controversy out of thin air:
"As much as Marinelli preaches about competing hard every snap, he has become a realist entering his third season as head coach.Such a move could buy Marinelli another season because nothing hypnotizes the Ford family and equally gullible Lions fans more than the nurturing of yet another untested quarterback."
Sharp is a moron.
If there in one thing I sense about Rod Marinelli, he would never pull a Wayne Fontes, and play musical QB’s in an futile attempt to save his job. He’s a man who has a plan, and will not waver from it. Kitna is his QB, period. In fact, I’ll bet you dollars to bibles Marinelli plans on Kitna being his starter next season as well.
In Marinelli’s mind, Kitna walks on water. Then again, knowing Kitna’s bible thumping ways, he probably does…
Will we see Stanton play in ’08? It’ll be in garbage time, if at all. Hell, the Lions still don’t know what they have in Dan O, thanks to Martz’s utterly bizarre handling of the QB position.
By the way, did I say Sharp is a moron? I did? Good.
The Freep also hands out their game balls:
"Jon KitnaHe took only 15 snaps but completed 6 of 7 passes for 106 yards and a 20-yard touchdown to Roy Williams. Kitna was a perfect 4-for-4 on that opening drive.Calvin JohnsonThe second-year receiver caught four passes for 78 yards, including a 38-yarder on a deep route on the Lions’ first possession.New York GiantsThey’re the defending Super Bowl champions. That’s always worthy of recognition."
The G-men? Come on! Way to waffle, unnamed writer at the Freep.
If I were handing out game balls, my 3rd (I agree with Kitna and CJ) would go out to unheralded LB Leon Joe, who was all over the field in the 2nd half, and led the Lions in tackles. A nice for for a kid who has next to no shot at making the roster. You never know, Joe may have a shot if he can play well on the Lions’ (not so) special teams.
At the News, the soon to retire Mike O’Hara has a strange, rambling, Larry King-esque, column. He touches on everything from the attendance:
"Above all else there should be a note of caution on how the public will accept the team. The Lions’ streak of selling out every home game since Ford Field opened in 2002 is in jeopardy.The Lions announced 43,644 tickets were sold for Thursday night’s game. Last year’s first exhibition game had an official ticket sale of 49,402. There’s nothing definitive about a decline of about 6,000, but it’s not a good sign, either."
To Drew Stanton:
"The pecking order remains the same — Kitna the starter, Dan Orlovsky the backup — but Stanton took another step up. He completed five of six passes for 27 yards, ran six times for 26 yards and led the drive to the winning field goal.Imagine that, a quarterback who can run and throw. It must be the exhibition season — a time of hope."
As for the attendance, it’s going to all about the Lions getting off to a FAST start. They are skeptical, at best, and are in “show me” mode before spending their hard earned cash. The fans were badly burned by ’07’s 1-7 finish.
Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me for 50 years, welcome to Detroit Lions fandom.
As for Stanton, he did step up. But I think the more apt comparison is he began to crawl on Thursday night. He still needs to learn to walk, let alone run, before we can get truly hopeful.
Did Stanton show flashes of talent? Sure did. But it was against players who will likely never wear Giants unis in the regular season. Let’s temper our enthusiasm with a little realism, folks.
Terry Foster handled the game recap, and takes a few digs at the Lions’ lack of a rushing attack:
"The offensive line struggled to halt the Giants’ rush, and they could not create holes for the running attack The Giants bit on play-action for most of the evening. Other teams won’t unless the Lions run the football better. Despite the new “balanced” offense, the Lions ran the ball worse than they did a year ago under pass-happy offensive coordinator Mike Martz, when they finished last in the NFL in rushing attempts and yards per game."
Saying they “ran the ball worse than a year ago” is being a tad harsh. Did they have trouble running the ball? Hells yes. Did the line have issues? Damn straight. But…
To their credit, the Lions didn’t give up on the run. Unlike last year, the Lions have a philosophy of “you can’t run if you don’t even try.” Also, I still believe if Kevin Smith gets the ball instead of Bell/Pinner/Calhoun/Cason, the running game looks much, much better. At least better than a 2.something YPC average.
At Mlive, much like me, Brian VanOchten has a man-crush on Smith:
"In his debut, he (Smith) neither thrilled Marinelli nor disappointed him. Instead, where it mattered most, he provided the team with bursts of talent that put him head and shoulders above the other running backs on the depth chart.He’s capable of running inside or outside. He’s capable of pushing the pile and picking up a first down, which he accomplished twice against the Giants. He’s capable of keeping tacklers off balance with an array of stutter steps, head fakes and shoulder shivers. He’s also not afraid to plant his helmet into the chest of a linebacker or a safety while picking up a blitz."
Yep, that’s a man-crush alright. Not there’s anything wrong with that…
To be honest, I think we’ll all be developing man-crushes on Kevin Smith before too long.