Time to draft another football team

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By H. Jose Bosch

For as long as I can remember December brings about more than snow and long, cold nights. It also brings an exciting free agency period. No, I’m not talking about MLB’s winter meetings.

I’m talking about Lions fan free agency.

Let’s face it: being a Lions fan sucks. I’ve met fans of the Browns, Bungles and Raiders who feel sorry for me. And it’s not like any of those organizations have been glowing examples of competence in the last decade. (Well, at least Cincinnati has been OK recently)

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Lions are in mid-season form: The exchange

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By David Boucher and H. Jose Bosch
There are three constants in live: death, taxes and the Lions sucking.

This week’s Lions exchange began in the preseason and finished just after Detroit’s 45-27 undressing to New Orleans. Notice some of the preseason optimism and how it nearly disappears after the game.

DB-Everyone that follows professional football knows about the position battle between incumbent Daunte Culpepper and the rich rookie Matt Stafford. Obviously the winner will have his work cut out for him, but is quarterback the team’s biggest problem? I think the defense, more specifically the secondary, poses a significantly more difficult situation for the Honolulu Blue. So, the re question for the Lions should be: What player, not including Culpepper or Stafford, will have the largest impact on the team? Or who needs to have that impact?

HJB-Larry Foote is the player Lions fans should keep an eye on this season. Especially after the loss of Jarrod Devries. The linebackers have become the defense’s strongest unit and will have to step up in a big way to give the Lions a chance to win and Foote needs to lead the charge. Not that Ernie Sims isn’t a good linebacker, but I think the presence of Foote will elevate Sims’ play and give the defense a leader that has a proven track record of winning. Who do you see making the biggest impact on the team?

DB-The person who needs to have the impact for the Lions is Anthony Henry. He was brought in to shore up the terrible secondary, exchanged for the former face of the franchise (Jon Kitna). If the Lions want to have any chance of winning, they need Henry to act the fool in passing lanes, blowing up QB’s in the back field and limiting the number of big plays the defense surrenders. anthony_henryHe’ll be put to the test right away against the Saints, with Colston, Moore, Henderson and Shockey each able to catch numerous touchdown passes. In order for the Lions to win their first game in (gosh, I can’t even remember…) they need to cause some turnovers in order to keep the ball out of the hands of the phenomenal Drew Brees. Bosch, do the Lions have any hope of starting the season 1-0?

HJB-It’s almost more fun to post these after the fact because your last question looks comical following the first game. Was there even a secondary on the field on Sunday? There can’t be a secondary worse than Detroit and fantasy leagues across the country will consist of guys scrambling to sign any quarterback facing the Lions. My last question is this. If the over/under on Lions wins is 2.5, would you take the over?
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DB-Just as I thought it would, the secondary was tested to the highest degree on Sunday, and understandably failed miserably. However, you can’t blame them when Drew Brees is not only able to pitch a tent in the pocket, but light a fire and toast marshmallows. The Lions need the likes of Cliff Avril and Julian Peterson to put some heat on the QB and take pressure off of their secondary.

As far as your second question goes, I’m a perpetual optimist: give me the over baby! I really think the Lions are going to score some points this season, and there are three games on their schedule I can definitely see them winning: at home vs. St. Louis and Cleveland and in Cincinnati to play the Bengals. None of these teams are all that special, and the Lions luck can’t be that bad, can they!? I see a few more plays falling their way, allowing them to take all three of these matches. And who knows, they may be able to steal one in Seattle and one in Arizona depending on how healthy Hasselbeck and Warner can stay down the stretch. Now, if you would’ve said four games…..

HJB-Fair enough but there is no way the Lions beat the Seahawks and Cardinals, even if Warner and Hasselbeck have broken throwing arms. The three teams you point out (St. Louis, Cleveland and Cincinnati) are legit picks to lose to Detroit. St. Louis and Cleveland are no good and the Bengals are so dysfunctional they aren’t even aware of the game.
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But this is the Lions! When have they done something they were supposed to do, other than lose? All the years of being a Lions fan have conditioned me to believe that it can always get worse.

You should be excited for the Matt Stafford era

Nfl Draft Football

By H. Jose Bosch

The Lions have made their final decision and decided to name Matthew Stafford as the starting quarterback. Well if this was Texas hold’em and I was placing my bet before the river, I’d be going all in with everything I owned.

Yeah, I used a poker reference even though I know nothing about poker, but I’ve decided to use reckless abandon when throwing my support behind Stafford and I think all Lions fans should do the same.

I don’t base my decision on anything tangible. I don’t live in Detroit anymore so I haven’t actually seen Stafford throw a single pass. I’m behind him 100 percent because I can’t think of a good reason not to root for this kid.
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Most Overlooked NFC North Storylines

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By the TSB Staff

The NFC North will undoubtedly be a reality series this fall with the Brett Favre-Minnesota Vikings story likely to be “the lead” all year in most NFL content-producing mediums. #1 overall draft pick Matt Stafford helping rebuild the Detroit Lions, Jay Cutler bringing the Chicago Bears solid quarterback play for the first time since the Industrial Revolution will be huge as well.  But what about under-the-radar NFC North storylines? What interesting developments have been under-reported?

SAM SVOBODA

The Bears’ loss of safety Mike Brown.

Even though he’s had injury problems, I was shocked at how little I heard about the Bears letting him go. I thought maybe it was because I was in California at the time, but it turned out my brother (who’s been in Chicago the whole year) didn’t even know about it until seeing that Brown signed with the Chiefs in June. Yes, Brown has lost a step with his injuries and age, but he played 15 games last year and proved that he can still make plays. More importantly, he brought leadership and experience- Brian Urlacher has always gotten more press, but I really believe that Brown was the heart and soul of the Bears’ defense.

Perhaps the main reason that I think Brown’s departure is a big story though, is because of the safeties that the Bears kept. If the Bears had some great, established safeties then I would have had an easier time understanding letting Brown go. But the team’s current list of safeties reads like this: Kevin Payne, Danieal Manning, Craig Steltz, Josh Bullocks, Al Afalava. I really hope some of the above guys can prove themselves as consistent NFL starters, but if the Bears’ safeties are repeatedly beaten this season, you have to wonder about the decision to let Brown go.


JAKE MCCORMICK

What’s missing? The answer is anything about the Green Bay Packers. As we’ve seen from even just the past week, ESPN will report every time Brett Favre involuntarily farts when he gets under center for the Vikings. It’s like a politician, where everyone is giving him advice on how to act, what he needs to do to gain his teammates trust, and the best way to overcome the doubts.

The Lions are a story because they are a team with a new image, the biggest being the new badass Lion on the helmet. The worst team in the league from the previous year always gets obligatory press coverage because it’s interesting to see how they change their approach on Sundays.

The Bears have a mini-Favre in Jay Cutler, who is a great talent but already a prima donna. And he doesn’t even have a winning record as a starter. How he responds to moving from a team with good receivers, a banged up running game, and a terrible defense to a team with a good running back, bad receivers, and an aging defense will be something to watch.bearstrainingcamp2

That leaves us with the Packers, and the biggest storyline that anyone can pick up will be the transition to the 3-4 and how Aaron Rodgers responds as a second-year starter. But honestly, name one story about the Packers that has made any sort of noise on ESPN or anywhere outside of Wisconsin. And no, the team’s reaction to Favre’s return doesn’t count. Green Bay has the talent and depth to be much better than last year’s 6-10 record indicates, and although Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy build the team through the draft, the fact that they only kept one coach from 2008 on the defensive side of the ball this season says something about the team’s sense of urgency. The whole Packer organization is an underreported and under-the-radar story, which is funny considering it is one of the top three most popular teams around the world. For proof, I offer this: My girlfriend spent a semester in Spain and her host brothers knew nothing about football, but they all had Green Bay Packer bobble-heads.

SOXMAN

The coverage of the Favre signing was to the sports world what the death of Michael Jackson was to the pop culture masses.

I’m actually more curious to see if rookie WR Percy Harvin can unseat Devin Hester as the next American Idol of the return game.  The kid can fly and actually might end up being a decent wide receiver as well.  Did you hear that #23?

What ever happened to Devin Hester’s return game anyway?  He is the Rueben Studdard of the NFL- minus about 200 lbs.bearstrainingcamp1

Other NFC North storylines- “My Tight End” sounds like the name of an alternative lifestyle reality show, but actually it’s a question.  With the exception of “the Packers,” (again, minds out of the gutter), all North division QBs have a new tight end.  Who will be the first TE to establish that “till free agency do we part” chemistry with their ball hurler?  Cutler and Olsen, who have already established chemistry on the Chicago nightclub scene?  Stafford and Pettigrew?  Both are NFL “first timers,” who only have each other in a world of potential pass rushers?  Or old man Favre and Visanthe Shiancoe?  Given Favre’s love of men who can go long, anything is possible.


PAUL SCHMIDT

I know, the Jay Cutler talk and the love affair with him is ridiculous right now, and it’s getting just as tiresome as the Brett Favre story.  Well…maybe not that bad…but it’s getting old.  The thing people need to be talking about with the Bears is what happens if they are bad?  I mean, there’s a lot of speculation about the receivers, and maybe it’s founded, but it would seem to me that there isn’t enough speculation about the defense.
What happens if Tommy Harris isn’t ok?  What happens if Brian Urlacher continues to slide as he ages? What happens if Lance Briggs’ ego continues to grow and it gets in the way of his performance?  What happens if Peanut Tillman isn’t ok, and doesn’t heal properly?  What happens if Danieal Manning doesn’t get better?  What if Nathan “The Interceptor” Vasher sucks again this season?  What if no one steps up in the secondary?  What if the defensive line STILL can’t get pressure on an opposing QB this season?vikingsheadshadow

See?  There’s a ton of questions.  The defense isn’t a sure thing to be great.  The offense BETTER score a lot of points, because the defense just might be giving up quite a few…

The point is, if the Bears aren’t a playoff team, and end up .500 or worse, is Lovie Smith’s job on the line?  Jerry Angelo’s? Both have really put their necks on the line with the Cutler deal yet not bringing in any top WR (like Anquan Boldin). Shouldn’t they be on the hot seat just because of that?

SHAYMUS MCLAUGHLIN

In my opinion, it has to be Aaron Rodgers coming into his own as an elite QB in the NFL. He put up pretty ridiculous stats last year, especially for a first year starter (4,038 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, and a 63.6% completion percentage). He managed to do it with the whole Brett Favre thing weighing down on him, which makes the feat even more impressive. While the mainstream media will be keeping an eye on Favre’s follies in Minnesota, Cutler’s conquest of Soldier Field, and Stafford’s starting gig in the Motor City, Aaron Rodgers will be quietly be amassing elite numbers for the green and gold at Lambeau Field.