Saturday, September 11, 2004

Old Stuff - What went Wrong...

Here's another older analysis I wrote - what went wrong with the Lions to cause them to go only 10-38 over the last 3 years.

Originally posted on M-Live 12-15-03 (before the Rams game)
Since we have some bozo's in this forum who foolishly want to believe that the entire predicament the Lions are in is the result of Matt Millen's bad decisions - and yes, he has made a few - It's time to analyze exactly what has caused this team to win a total of 9 games the last 3 years. Here is my assesment.

1) The core players on the 9-7 2000 Lions were OLD. Of the starters on that team, at last count only 5 were still in the league. Not entirely unusual, but it's the first part of the equation. Most teams have younger players ready to come in and take over for those players. Teams count on at least 3 starters from each draft in the 3rd year after the draft. 4-9 year veterans should account for 2/3 of the starters on a given team. But...

2) Bobby Ross drafted HORRBILY. His 5 drafts included 7 first round picks, 5 second round picks, and 3 3rd round picks. The sum total of his drafting - 2 starters in Detroit, 2.5 starters elsewhere, 4 others on NFL rosters, but not starting. Only 1 retired due to injury - Reggie Brown. Only 2 later round picks have had any NFL impact of any sort. If necessary, I can repost the detail of the Bobby Lost drafts, but they effectively put the Lions in a position little better than an expansion team, due to the lack of talent.

3) Bad Salary cap moves by Boss Ross - Did you know that the Lions are still being penalized for Charlie Batch and Herman Moore on our Salary cap? In total, the Lions have over 11 Million counting against this years cap for players no longer with the team. That's the type of sal cap misery that the 49ers and Cowboys went through after their SB runs. Only problem was that the Lions never even sniffed the Super Bowl and had to pay the cap misery. The Lions have had to endure this and will still have a taste of it next year if Luther Elliss, Robert Porcher and James Stewart don't come back.

4) Millen's Free Agent Moves - We FINALLY can talk about the bad moves Millen has made. In fairness he has committed a lot of blunders because he didn't understand how to do things right - especially the first two years. I think everyone here would take Johnny Morton and Jeff Hartings back in a second. We'd all prefer to forget Bill Schroeder and Brenden Stai. Az Hakim has been average, for a superstar's salary. Dan Wilkinson has been a good signing. Dre Bly has been spectacular. He’s done a good job bringing in guys week after week this year as players have gone down at an alarming rate. Overall, he's made more mistakes than successes in free agency, but it looks like he's getting better.

That gets us to where we are today. A lot of things all added up to make this team go therough the garbage we've been through the last few years. Hopefully Millen has learned from his mistakes and makes the moves in this offseason we want him to make. I tend to look at his record each year and see great improvement in his acquisitions, and I think he can and will make the right moves this offseason. But I am keeping my fingers crossed, just in case...

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