Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NFL Questions: NFC North

Not too long ago the "Black and Blue" division boasted a still effective Bret Favre, a prolific offense in Minnesota, a solid Bears squad with a linebacking corps led by Brian Urlacher and Rosevelt Colvin, and...sorry to say it, a Detroit team that even then was the league punchline. Now the division boasts the NFC Champion Bears and little else.

Chicago Bears - Can Rex Grossman correct his flaws? Grossman was alternately the best quarterback or the worst quarterback in the league on any given Sunday last season, seldom ending up in between. More often than not, after a hot start, Grossman played ugly, and the Bears often won in spite of him - usually because of strong play from the defense, special teams, and the running backs. With a somewhat revamped backfield, the pressure is on Grossman to get better and be more consistent. If he shows little to no improvement, the Bears will have trouble getting back to the Super Bowl, and could have trouble making the post season.

Detroit Lions - Who has learned the bigger lesson during the GM tenure of Matt Millen - Millen or the Ford family? Did Millen finally learn how to evaluate and choose personnel, and has the Ford family figured out that this should Millen's last chance as the GM - a chance that would have been long gone had he managed any other NFL team like this? If the Lions flop again this year, look for the infighting in the Ford family to go to a new level as the son (never a fan of Millen's) makes a new and harder push for the GM's ouster.

Green Bay Packers - Can the Green Bay win with what they have right now? Other than at quarterback, this is a young team. A really young team. Last year they started three rookies on offense alone. At times they shined, at other times they got their hats handed to them, so the question becomes - did they get enough experience, or ar there going to be close to half-a-dozen players suffering through a sophomore slump? If they're not ready for prime-time, this is going to be a team going through severe growing pains.

Minnesota Vikings - Do the Vikings have a legitimate starting quarterback? No one really knows yet whether or not Tavaris Jackson is the answer - if he's not, then who is? Brooks Bollinger? Drew Henson? Tyler Thigpen? Yes, they did the right thing when they gave up on Duante Culpepper, who may be done, but they don't seem to even have a good stop-gap while trying to develop Jackson - if he's even the solution. If he's not, then we're looking at one of three teams that could easily slide to the bottom of the division.


Anonymous said...

If you knew what you were talking about, this might be readable. Regarding Rex, you stated he oten started out strong in games and then faltered. This could not be farther from the truth.

After his initial MVP start where he looked like the second coming of Joe Montana (@GB, Det, Sea, Buf, & 9ers), he started his incionsistant play, but he either stunk up the place (Arz, Mia, NE, Min, and GB) from start to finish, or he played, if not lights out (TB), at least error free and making enough plays to manage the game and help win it (@ NYJ, @ NYG, @StL, @ Det). He also had one where he started out bad but came back to make the winning end of game drive and TD pass (@Min).

If you'd like to research this rather than just regurgitating the national media's standard bia against Rex, here's a link:
Click in the score for details....

Or you can just continue to wallow in your ignorance... your call.


Kevin Smith said...

Sorry I wasn't clearer - maybe I need to dumb it down a bit - he had a hot start to the season. I thought it was obvious enough that I didn't need to state that.

However, after the hot start, he was bad more often than good - and they largely won in the playoffs in spite of him - not because of him. I watched enough to formulate my own oppinion of his play. Stunk up the place doesn't even begin to describe it for a so-called franchise QB who had four starts where his rating was below 25, including a 1.3 and a 0, and then a playoffs in which his average rating was below 75.

Look around. read scouting reports, watch the tapes - this guy was making the same mistakes in his highly rated games as his poorly rated ones - throwing low percentage passes, or making ill-advised throws - he was just doing it against defenses that either couldn't, or didn't take advantage of it. Hell, even read what Grossman himself has said about what he's trying to work on this off-season and why.

Yes, he's talented and has a lot of potential, but a lot of players made it to the NFL on potential. If he doesn't straighten out his problems, the best he will ever be is a back-up somewhere. No other team in the league has a starter that had as many brutally bad - not just bad, but really brutally bad - starts as Grossman. I know if I were a fan of the Bears, that would scare the crap out of me going forward.

Dave said...

Hey, is that your first "hate post?" Congrats.

How anyone with two brain cells to rub together can possibly defend Grossman is beyond me. 73.9 QB rating for the season. In three of the last six games in 2006 he had ratings of 23.6, 1.3 and 0. At no point in the playoffs did his rating go above 76.9. In fact, it declined in each post-season game.

Grossman is a mediocre QB who doesn't have what it takes to get the Bears to the Promised Land. You nailed it, Kevin.

Kevin Smith said...

Actually, last year I had someone call me a Patriots Toadie for giving Belichick the benefit of the doubt in regards to Deion Branch, so I think this might make number two - but this one's up there.

Personally I'd be concerned if some of the best that I could say about the QB for my team was "at least error free and making enough plays to manage the game and help win it."

Sounds like a description of Trent Dilfer...as I recall, the Ravens went six games in a row without scoring an offensive TD.

Anonymous said...

The locker room cleaning and attitude adjustments provided by Marinelli, who assisted Dungy in making TB a respectable team, will prove to be the ultimate improvement in Detroit. Year after year Millen searched for a coach that would groom, teach, and lead the young talent that was drafted. Yes, he made mistakes hiring west coast softies...SO FUCKING WHAT! He's human, and Coaches(last time I checked) ARE SUPPOSE TO COACH!!! not run a day spa...which is what players described Mooch's coaching style.

Millen learned what the Lion's needed, and finally hired the right, hardnose, no bullshit, winner in Marinelli...AND Martz, who will turn Kitna into a probowl QB this season.

SCREW MILLEN! He is not the problem...he does not coach, he does not play, he does not say who plays or doesn't play, nor call the plays.

I say screw MOOCH and Moronwig! the softies that wasted 5 years of Lion draft picks...AKA Harrington, Rogers, etc.



Kevin Smith said...

You say Millen's not the problem - but Millen hired those coaches that you have the problem with, he has drafted poorly, and he has signed free-agents that haven't panned out. Any other GM with his track record on any other team not only would have been fired, but no other team would have hired him as a GM.

On top of all that, Marinelli has done a helluva a job instilling a winning attitude in the team -

When Albom asked Williams why he celebrated a reception with his team already trailing by two scores, Williams responded, "I celebrate first downs all the time. I'm not gonna stop that. I'm an exciting player. If I do something exciting, I'm gonna show my actions."

Albom responded, "But you were losing, 10-0."

"What does that mean? ... That means nothing to me. The score means nothing," Williams told Albom.

From -http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2592484

-Yeah, helluva a winning attitude that Marinelli has instilled there.

Anonymous said...

Mitch the Bitch is a sell out. He made a name for himself by bashing Detroit sports...and to see him on ESPN's 'sports writers' show makes me sick.

Roy Williams was a rookie, first of all. Secondly, like I said before...Mitch is a Bitch, who set up the WR into the response/answer that Mitch was looking for...to humiliate the Lions.

This WILL be Millen's telling year...But I'm not so blind with hatred of him to see the VAST improvements of the team this year...on both sides of the ball. Whiners/slackers*** out of the locker room, Stacked backfield, revamped offensive line, young up'n'coming secondary and linebackers...QB coming off a 4200+yd season, WR core...Depth all around (except at QB).

I'm a fan of Marinelli and Martz, if you look at who they got rid of and who they brought in... I believe that they will get the Lions to a competetive level...but, hell, I'm just a fan...what do I know.

Go Lions!


***Dre Bly is a great player and not a slacker, just didn't fit the cover 2...the trade with Denver was a good one.***

Kevin Smith said...

So Albom made Williams say that?


You may not like Albom, but jesus, he didn't put the words, "the score doesn't matter," into Williams mouth. That came out just fine on its own. Rookie or not, there's no excuse for a comment like that unless the only thing you care about are your own stats and your own face time on camera.

If I had a player when I was coaching make that comment, they would have been riding the pine during the next game.

I never made a comment about the Bly trade, all I said is that in any other place, Millen would have been gone years ago - and no one else would be hiring him with the track record he has had.

Sure Millen doesn't play play, coach, or call the plays - he just picks the people who does.

They have sixteen wideouts that will count against the cap, not including the unsigned Calvin Johnson. Sixteen! Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, and Corey Bradford, all Millen picks no longer with the team, are worth close to ten percent of the entire 2007 cap ($10.23 million). ITs projected that when Johnson signs that the Lions will have $29 million in receivers counting against the salary cap this season - close to 30% of the cap for what will amount to less than 10% of the team.

That doesn't even count the $6.4 million the team is eating over othe Millen-authored contracts that are dead money. Only five other teams in the league have more than $10 million in dead money, and only two of those reached the playoffs last season (KC, NO). The others were pretty much bottom feeders - Miami, Oakland, and Houston.

Sure, last year they made some strides, but I would hesitate to boast about "depth all around" for a 3-13 team which lost its 13 games by an average of 8.5 points per game that's returning most of its starters.

Should they improve, likely, but the fact is that no other GM in the history of the sport - not recent history, not lately, but the entire history of the sport has presided over a team that has been double digits in losses for six straight years. The team won nine games the year before Millen started, and the closest its come since has been the six won in 2004.

The man's record as a GM is 24-72. That's abyssmal.

If you owned a business and had a vice president of personnel that consistently hired people that brought down the performance level of your company, you wouldn't hold that person responsible for his bad personnel decisions?

So, what are you? A member of the Ford family?

Kelly said...

Now see, you are arguing with a Lions fan, which already puts the dude at a severe disadvantage. Totally unfair.

Anonymous said...

still effective brett favre?

Kevin Smith said...

I didn't say sterling, I didn't say great, I didn't even say consistent - I said effective. I'm not saying that he was without problems. However, without Favre, last year's squad wins four games five tops.

Favre wasn't great last year, but in 12 games he passed for over 200 yards, in eight of those - more than 260, and seven times it was over 285. Favre's problems last year were the same problems he has had throughout his career which has been the belief that he can make something out of nothing - which has resulted in turn-overs.

And yes, that could have been the question I posed - however, there's so much inexperience around him, I felt that was the bigger issue.

Anonymous said...

Hey I know where Brunswick is, right off the VA W VA MD Bridge, other side of Point of Rocks. I used to live in Leesburg.