Sunday, March 08, 2009

Getting [NFL] Drafty In Detroit


This is a bit of a departure from the usual fare about Detroit and Michigan... basically bad economy and bad weather. There are many positives to this area, but bad news travels fast.

Perhaps the bad news sports story of this decade has been the Detroit Lions under Matt Millen. He was the architect of the first 0-16 team one-year, regular season record. He was the man who brought in a series of second-string coaches and second-string players and expected something more than second-string results. He is gone.

The Lions have a new, young coach from a respectable team from Tennessee. They also picked up a second-string lineman from that team who may be a starter for Detroit. This sounds like a replay of the last coach's strategy of filling slots with Tampa Bay retreads.

So, back to the point of this post: the NFL draft in April. The Lions need help everywhere. Let's get this straight, the Lions' players are tough men. They have exceptional physical talents. Many have been successful with other teams. But they are a lousy team. They have no real leadership at the management, coaching, and playing positions. I would characterize the organization as mentally weak... not stupid... weak. They display mental disarray. They become unfocused under stress. They have forgotten how to win. The NFL draft will not fix that, but it can be used to set a new tone.

The Lions have the first pick of the NFL draft as a result of their ineptitude. They have had a series of near-the-top picks over the past several years and wasted most of them on players that had a glitzy reputation, but lacked NFL toughness or speed. Rumor has it that they are now considering Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. They have a Minnesota retread in Dante Culpepper as their projected starter and a couple of "Drews" in reserve, but there is little future in that trio. So, they are probably on the lookout for a future leader. With regard to Matthew Stafford, all I can think of is Joey Harrington. Harrington is a nice guy... a real gentleman. But he was a "pro-style" passer from Oregon who relied on an offensive line that would give him 5 or 6 seconds to pass and some very fast receivers who could catch up to passes thrown in the general vicinity. That didn't work well in the NFL.

I had the chance to watch Matthew Stafford in a few games against better teams. He had moments of brilliance, but he had many Joey Harrington moments of indecision... deer-in-the-headlights moments. That is a recipe for disaster in the NFL. Count one... two... pass is gone. If you can't find an open receiver that quickly... especially with the Lions... you are going to get "sacked." Harrington has biased my assessment of quarterbacks toward those who have the ability to react to the dynamics of the play and make quick decisions without consciously processing what they see. Stafford does not seem to be that type of quarterback. He has a strong and accurate passing skill, but he processes plays too much like Joey Harrington. If I were picking for the Lions and had to decide on Stafford or not, I would say "pass."

In my mind, there is only one quarterback who fits the mold of what the Lions need: Tim Tebow. He is big, fast, tough, smart, and makes quick decisions. Sure he makes mistakes, too. But he has one trait that the other quarterbacks in the draft and those with the Lions don't have and haven't had for some time: he won't settle for anything less than winning. And he won't settle for anyone who will settle for less. So I agree with Scout's assessment that he should be the first pick. Tebow is the size of an NFL tight end. He has the speed of an NFL receiver. He may have the strength of an NFL lineman. He certainly has the character that is missing in the Lions' organization. He could be their "game changer."

Yes, the Lions need players at every position... especially at offensive line where they have been small and slow... or in the defensive secondary where they have been, uh, small and slow... or the defensive line where they have been small and small... or linebackers where they have been small and slow. But most of all, they need someone who can play well despite the deficiencies around him. That is probably not Matthew Stafford.

The NFL draft is a month-and-a-half away. I've given the Lions what they need to make the right decision. Let's see what they do with their first round pick. Another bad decision there guarantees more future failure. Another Jake Long might help more quickly, but not as much in the long run.

We'll see how the Lions' management... carryovers from the Millen era... can make decisions then. Or if the former Tennessee Titans' defensive coach lobbies for a middle linebacker.


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)