2006 record: 3-13
Head Coach: Rod Marinelli
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Martz
Defensive Coordinator: Donnie Henderson
Pro-Bowl: Roy Williams (WR)
Mike Martz did what he was supposed to do, get this offensive going. But do to injured Kevin Jones only getting 181 rushing attempts the Lions had the worst ranked rushing offense. Yes, even worse than the Raiders. But unlike the Raiders they were able to move the ball extremely well through the air with soon to be 35-year old Jon Kitna. Kitna was able to throw for 4,208 yards and 21 touchdowns. Very good numbers but then when you take into count that he threw 22 interceptions, well there is your problem with the offense. No running game and lots of turnovers, even Mike Martz can't solve that problem. Although Roy Williams did get a pro-bowl selection with 82 receptions and 1,310 yards receiving the Lions had another surprisingly good go-to receiver in former safety Mike Furrey. Furrey set career highs in receptions(98), receiving yards(1,086) and touchdowns(6). Even though Kevin Jones did miss 4 games and wasn't exactly effective on the ground he did show that he is very versatile in getting 61 receptions.
Ah, the defense of the Detroit Lions. A couple of words come to mind, horrible, miserable, embarrassing, etc. They ranked as a whole, 3rd to last in total defense, allowing nearly 25 ppg. Their linebackers were way below average in terms of tackles but they did have one player that had a very good season, rookie Ernie Sims. Sims had 123 total tackles, half of a sack and he recovered a fumble. Sims lead all lions in tackles, and to be honest the next closest was safety Terrence Holt who had 77. They pretty much need a whole new makeover defensively. They need lineman, linebackers and defensive backs. Matt Millen is going to have a busy day come Draft day.
The special teams for Detroit was pretty average. Their kick return average was ranked 20th with only getting about 23 yards per return but unlike their mediocre kick return average, their punt return average was very good, ranking 4th with a 10.8 avg. Expert return man, Eddie Drummond was able to gain nearly 1,700 total return yards. Kicking wise, Jason Hanson was nearly perfect. He hit all 30 of PAT attempts and only missed four of his 33 field goal attempts. Nick Harris led the Lions to a 4th place finish in punt average with 45.0 average and 9 touchbacks. Nothing needs to change in this department, I don't see Hanson retiring anytime soon and Drummond doen't really play offense to much so his only concern is returning kicks.
The Detroit Lions have the 2nd overall pick this year and it's almost a lock that they will be taking a quarterback. Now which quarterback they do take is really up to the Raiders. I personally feel that Brady Quinn better suits Martz high powered offense. But then again the Lions' GM is still Matt Millen so there is always a chance that they will take a wide receiver. But I doubt Millen will go through that hassel again. I see them picking 1 of 2 players, quarterback Brady Quinn(ND) or offensive tackle Joe Thomas(Wisc). Thomas is by far the best offensive linemen in this whole draft, but in my mock draft I don't have him going till the 5th pick which is Arizona. Detroit has many needs, offensively a quarterback, offensive lineman, maybe a slot receiver and possibly a tight end. Defensively they need alot. They are desperately in need of a pass rusher, another defensive tackle to go along side Shaun Rogers, and a corner.
Positions that need to be addressed at the draft are:
2. Defensive End
4. Offensive Lineman
5. Defensive Tackle
6. Tight End
Brady Quinn is who they need to take with their first pick. Jon Kitna was pretty good this year in terms of passing yards, but the turnovers killed this offense. Also Kitna will turn 35 this offseason, so obviously he isn't the long time quarterback. Draft Quinn and if need be use Kitna at the beginning of the season, but I have a feeling that with being coached by Charlie Weiss for the past 2 years, Quinn is more than ready to take control of an NFL team.
Defensive end for Detroit was horrible, they were one of the worst team at getting to the quarterback(only 19 sacks). There is alot of players that would help them solve this blaring weakness such as Charles Johnson(UGA), Adam Carriker(Neb) and Anthony Spencer (Purdue). DraftAce.com has them taking Charles Johnson in the second round and I have to say, I agree with them.
Dre Bly can't do it all by himself. He's going to need a young counterpart to help defend the pass. Look for them to use their 3rd or 4th round pick on a cornerback. Some guys that they could possibly take are Chris Houston(Ark), Fred Bennett(S.Car) Jonathan Wade(Tenn) and Tarell Brown(Tex) to name a few. Out of all those guys, Houston is the best right now, but Tarell Brown may have the best potential to turn into something special.
Jon Kitna was sacked 63 times this year and he fumbled the ball 11 times. In laments terms that means the offensive line was bad. Although they do have two guys on that line that I do think are good(Dominic Raiola and Jeff Backus) for the most part they had two rookies on the line. So maybe with 1 season under their belts they will improve, still I think it would be wise to draft another Guard just to be safe. Watch for Mansfield Wrotto(GT), Mike Jones(Iowa) and Dan Santucci(ND).
Like I said, probably not a major need at this point but definitely something that should be looked at. I could see them maybe looking at Kareem Brown(Mia,FL), Brandon Mebane(Cal) or Antonio Johnson(MSU). They may be willing to stick with Shaun Cody to play along side of Shaun Rogers though. So I guess we'll see.
They actually have a couple of tight ends that are pretty good/decent in Dan Campbell and Marcus Pollard. But Pollard didn't play that much in 06' and he could retire soon, so they could be looking for some to backup or even possibly start over Campbell. Clark Harris(Rutg), Matt Herian(Neb) and Dante Rosario(Ore) are some names to get familiar with before April, because they could very well be in the Motor City soon.
With the weak NFC, if they could stop turning the ball over so much and play some defense, this team could be looking at a 7-9 season.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
2006 record: 3-13