Obviously when it comes to Bob Quinn there are going to be mixed reviews, the Lions are seemingly more talented than in years past however the results are still the same. Is that his fault, is that the coaching, is that a result of trying to get players to buy into a changing culture? I don’t know, what I do know is that he should be afforded more than a “make or break” year to prove his vision. We cannot allow ourselves to become the Browns and fire people before they even get time to see their own rosters compete. It’s easy to look at the 49ers and think “why can’t we do the same” but the 9ers rebuild was a long process that just happened to come to fruition quickly and see players blossom at the same time. With that being said, Quinn entering his 5th year, should be able to prove himself as a franchise leader. If anything at this point we can say the book on Quinn is out and we can reasonably expect what he will do next. We can look at his drafts and his free agent signings and see what his tendencies are. The one thing that pops out at me and what I think is his Achilles heel is that Bon Quinn doesn’t take the sexy draft pick and similar to the Patriots he drafts for need and depth. Does this work for the Patriots? Obviously yes, can this work for a team starving for talent at multiple levels with a history of losing? No. The Lions are not the Patriots and we do not have a system that works with a head coach that knows the winning formula that has proven year in and year out to draft players that fail elsewhere but excel in his system. Wont happen, will never happen for the Lions. With that being said I think Quinn has drafted relatively well. The Lions are more talented than they have been in years past and before all the injuries hit last year were one of the most competitive teams in the league and could hang with anyone. So while Depth is a great foundation for this team and this roster it’s not going to win you games. How do you add to depth to make a competitive team a winning team? Make a splash in free agency. This is where Quinn has failed miserably. In 4 years I can honestly say Quinn has only made 1 good signing, Marvin Jones. The jury is still out on Flowers, Coleman, Wagner and TJ Lang was never himself and at this point in time those are not looking favorable on the field or for the salary cap. How do we sum this up? Quinn is going to make the unsexy pick in this year’s draft, or draft down to acquire picks to continue to build depth. I personally prefer the latter, especially with the buzz around some of the top picks in this year’s draft. Does he feel the pressure of the Ford family and really make a play in free agency? I say yes, he needs to win and win now even if he is afforded a few more years. Entering his 5th year this roster can rightfully be called his so we should see, if anything, major improvements with a healthy Stafford. The only caveat to that is will his splash in free agency pan out and be a difference maker off the edge or in the secondary where we need it most? History says otherwise. Oh also, please god don’t trade Slay.
It’s always fun to see a young athlete come into any league and shatter expectation, what is even better is when those special few take those expectations which are already blown out of proportion and surpass the bar that has been set for them. Zion seems to be doing that right before our eyes and the media hype machine is already turning at a record pace. Let’s get the obvious out of the way, Zion is already the most explosive player in the NBA and he is shooting something like 80% from the paint which shows you he is already a man who can bang with the bigs at only 19 years old. CJ McCollum said on his podcast Zion already has the best second bounce in the league, meaning he is getting off the floor faster and more explosively than everyone else on second chance opportunities. His per 36 minute stats on the season are 30.1 PTS 8.5 RB 2.7 AST and 1 STL. There is no argument over the course of an entire season those stats, if maintained, would be elite. Honestly with how big he is and how quick his bounce is its surprising he is grabbing less than 10 rebounds but with more seasoning and coaching and really learning of the game he will average closer to 12 rebounds per in his sleep. In other words we are looking at a potential 25/12/5 guy as quickly as next year. Kid is the real deal; imagine if he can develop a mid-range game? Yikes it’s scary.
To me Zions ceiling as being some sort of cyborg hybrid of Charles Barkley and Blake Griffin. Someone who is extremely powerful in the mold of Chuck who can run the floor and be the best athlete on the court but also whose explosiveness and jumping ability for his size is unmatched. This makes Zions ceiling through the roof, if I told you in 5 years Zion would be averaging 28 PTS 13.5 RB and 5 AST would you be surprised? I wouldn’t, those are pushing Shaq-type numbers. What worries me however is while he is listed at 6’6” 285 (he is definitely more than 6’6”) without the proper conditioning and diet all the sudden he is pushing 300 lbs and he starts to lose that explosiveness and worse his knees start to take on more pressure and weight than they are used to and the injuries start to creep up on him. In other words let’s hope he starts to chisel out like a mid-80s Barkley and not fill out like a mid-90s version. Fame and fortune is coming and its coming quick so I hope the Pelicans have begun to surround him with a good team that will successfully manage both his on and off the court responsibilities and treatment. They have something special with Zion and that young core so it’s going to be fun to watch in the decade to come, I’d be buying every share of that team that I could get my hands on.
I feel bad even writing anything that will diminish what the Astros did because what they did goes beyond even cheating. This isn’t a pine tar or spit ball scenario or even a guy on second trying to pick up signs; this is a blatant breach of code that borders on disgusting. What they did does not fall into the “game within a game” or “unwritten rules” category and to be honest I think AJ Hinch should be banned from baseball perpetually. When I dove into the stats however, from 2019 and 2017, for some of the core players I don’t see any clear and glaring advantage (Correa may be the exception). In fact the majority of the players had better stats on the road then at home. So this begs to question while egregious how much did the system the Astros implemented actually help?
2019 Home – .306/.372/.608 18 HR 37 RBI
2019 Away - .291/.336/.500 13 HR 37 RBI
2017 Home - .311/.371/.463 9 HR 35 RBI
2017 Away - .381/.449/.633 15 HR 46 RBI
2019 Home – .287/.366/.565 18 HR 47 RBI
2019 Away - .297/.398/.614 21 HR 49 RBI
2017 Home - .273/.366/.509 16 HR 42 RBI
2017 Away - .292/.367/.534 18 HR 43 RBI
2019 Home – .278/.400/.523 16 HR 50 RBI
2019 Away - .315/.446/.663 25 HR 62 RBI
2017 Home - .278/.343/.444 9 HR 30 RBI
2017 Away - .290/.360/.503 10 HR 41 RBI
2019 Home – .323/.404/.630 11 HR 31 RBI
2019 Away - .242/.320/.516 10 HR 28 RBI
2017 Home - .333/.406/.581 11 HR 40 RBI
2017 Away - .301/.379/.525 13 HR 44 RBI
2019 Home – .311/.351/.615 19 HR 62 RBI
2019 Away - .287/.336/.479 12 HR 42 RBI
2017 Home - .285/.322/.470 8 HR 33 RBI
2017 Away - .312/.340/.500 10 HR 42 RBI
Sorry my Lions Brethren but this ain’t happening and nobody should want this to happen. The best chance the Lions have next year and for the foreseeable future is to have Stafford under center. Say what you want, love him or hate him, but he has been a warrior for a terrible franchise that honestly isn’t doing anything to even try and win or produce a winning culture. As a lifer I say this with love, the Lions management and front office has never set this team up for success and as a result they have wasted many a players careers. The Ford family needs to sell, but that is an argument and discussion for another day. The Lions actually made some decent strides last year and up until Stafford got hurt were competitive. Stafford too was on his way to one of his more efficient seasons and was flourishing in Darrell Bevell’s system. Ownership has made it clear the Lions need to win now or ANOTHER new regime will come in not to mention if they trade Stafford they will be on the hook for a cool $32M, so it’s not happening. If you want to make the argument for drafting Tua hoping the early competitiveness turns into wins early in the season and then they can look to sit on Tua until its finally time to part ways with Stafford then I’m all for that but flat out trading him is not going to happen. Not to mention he’s coming off of back issues so his value is at a low point. My personal opinion is either take Okudah and hope last year’s positive steps continue while enforcing your secondary and sign another pass rusher, or trade out of the 3 spot and take a QB you can develop in the mid-late first or second. Stay the course for once.
That one option is staying with the Patriots. We all have to be honest with each other here Tom Brady is not the same guy anymore, yes I get it his supporting cast was as weak as it ever had been but that’s a weak excuse, there are a lot of quarterbacks with weak supporting casts. For instance Ryan Fitzpatrick played for arguably the worst team in the league and had a higher QBR, Ryan Tannehill had a rookie as his WR1 and had a higher QBR, Derek Carr had 0 weapons and had a higher QBR, Kyler Murray a rookie had a higher QBR. Get where I am coming from? It would be terrible to see the greatest QB of our lifetime and potentially ever jet off to SD behind an average O line and look completely washed up for a team that misses the playoffs. It would be sad quite frankly. At least with the Patriots we all know there is a winning formula and you have a great defense. He knows the system better than anybody so even with diminishing skills he can at least win games. Not to mention N’Keal Harry should presumably take a step forward and the staff will sign somebody, they don’t have an option. If they don’t go out and sign a big FA who can take pressure off of Edelman and help them stretch the field all the sudden you are the 3rd best team in the AFC and everyone is riding off into the sunset. This is not news but you aren’t beating the Chiefs or even coming close without another weapon, big weapon, like A.J. Green type weapon. This is why I don’t pay attention to any of the rumors, there is no other option for Brady, he knows and we know it, stay and continue to at least win or go and flame out.
Trevor Bauer has many talents, he is a great pitcher but lately he has been making headlines more for what he says than what he accomplished on the bump. Whether it be attacking the Houston Astros players, coaches, and entire organization or attacking the commissioner whatever comes out of his mouth is pure gold. His most recent statement I am 100% on board with. Maybe I wouldn’t have worded it like he did but the new proposed expansion of the MLB playoffs is flat out stupid. As Bauer said “No idea who made this new playoff format proposal, but Rob is responsible for releasing it, so I’ll direct this to you, Rob Manfred. Your proposal is absurd for too many reasons to type on twitter and proves you have absolutely no clue about baseball. You’re a joke.” So Trevor tell us how you really feel? Love it. I completely agree, first off why does the MLB feel the need to change the current structure. Yes I understand that it all comes down to Money but the MLB is one sport that has a fair and competitive playoff structure. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet the proposed changes are below.
It’s just common sense that there really is no haul you could get that could ever equal the impact and talent that Mookie Betts brought to the table. He is a generational talent that will compete for MVP’s for the next decade. I will say this though, version 1 of the Betts trade was a complete and utter slap in the face to every Red Sox fan on this planet. Version 2 while still not what you’re looking for at least returns Boston some highly regarded prospects that could turn into everyday players for years to come. Believe me I completely understand the Red Sox main goal in this trade was dumping the David Price contract so they were going to get the short end of the stick either way but at least now that have rebuilt their system a bit and have some pieces for positions that are in need. Connor Wong was selected in the third round of the 2019 Draft and while he has yet to play in the big leagues and spent his time last season split between Double-A and Single-A he hit .281 with 24 home runs, 82 RBIs and 24 doubles. This is from a guy who has only been catching for a few years so the potential is there to not only be a catcher of the future but he is athletic enough to move in necessary. Jeter Downs was drafted in the first round of the 2017 Draft and like Wong, has yet to play in a big-league game. He spent most of last year in Single-A and only briefly played in Double-A. Between the two leagues, the 21-year-old batted .276 with 24 home runs 86 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. The belief is that he will move to 2B to be the guy who takes over once Pedroia officially retires. These are promising numbers for young players for a system that was desperate for talent. I have touched on Verdugo before but he has already proved himself to be a really good player, he was actually the Dodgers #2 prospect behind Walker Buehler in 2018 and 32nd overall in the MLB and as a 23 year old in 106 games hit .294 with 12 HR’s 44 RBI’s and a .342 OBP with only 49 SO’s. That is a very impressive hit tool for a 23 year old in a major market and he grades out as a plus fielder. I think version 2 of this trade lessons the blow for the Red Sox Nation a little bit and as is the case with young players you never know how things will end up but at least now the farm system has been injected with some talent and the team is set up to make some moves in the near future, all eyes are now on how Bloom will use that money.
I was listening to the R2C2 podcast this morning (www.uninterrupted.com) and CC Sabathia made a great comment that I one had not heard before and two completely blew me away. With all of the focus these days on Black QB’s and the NFL communities reluctance to accept them as true QB’s why hasn’t the media talked more about Patrick Mahomes being only the 3rd black QB to ever win a Super Bowl? Especially in 2020 when all things considered we are seeing the NFL transitioning from the Bradys, Brees, Mannings, and Rivers of the world to the Mahomes, Watsons, Jacksons, and Wilsons of the world? In theory this was the year of the black QB was it not? We had an MVP, a Super Bowl Champ, and another that could potentially win the Rookie of the Year. It makes no sense and I am curious as to whether this is the media focusing more on Andy Reid and the Chiefs finally winning one or the NFL is just blatantly missing out on a huge opportunity to anoint a new face of the NFL and appeal to the communities that it has continuously clashed with as well as pretends to appeal to? It’s a weird message that I can’t seem to wrap my head around. It doesn’t matter how you feel about the Colin Kaepernick situation but I feel like the NFL missed a huge opportunity to further distance itself from that topic and capitalize on the changing face of the NFL.
Where do I even start? The loss of Mookie Betts is devastating to all of Red Sox Nation; it is a sad day in the Nation that is for sure. I want to get this out of the way first though, I do not blame Chaim Bloom he was put in a very tough position when he came on board and was hit with some decisions that would immediately define his tenure in Boston. One of those decisions was how to cut payroll and get under the luxury tax threshold. To be honest I blame Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox ownership. Everyone knows this is the situation a guy like Dealing Dave puts you in. He may win you a World Series but in doing so he sets your franchise back years. Now Bloom has come in to clean up his mess and packaging your best player with your worst contract is the painful, yet quick and easy way to do this. What pisses me off is you’re not getting a May or a Lux, or a Ruiz or a guy that projects as a perennial All-Star. A talent like Mookie should fetch you an absolute HAUL similar to the haul the White Sox got for Sale. A Haul that single handily takes your farm system from bottom third to top 10. I understand the Dodgers are taking on the albatross that is David Price’s contract but come on man this is a generational type talent that does not come around often. Mookie should have been the face of the Red Sox for the next 10 years. Don’t get me wrong Alex Verdugo is a really good player, he was actually the Dodgers #2 prospect behind Walker Buehler in 2018 and 32nd overall in the MLB and as a 23 year old in 106 games hit .294 with 12 HR’s 44 RBI’s and a .342 OBP with only 49 SO’s. That is a very impressive hit tool for a 23 year old in a major market and he grades out as a plus fielder. As far as Brusdar Graterol he is a top 100 prospect and was the best pitching prospect in the Twins system and has a 100 MPH fastball so he has plenty of promise but this is Mookie Betts we are talking about. Mookie has multiple Gold Gloves, an MVP, is a World Series Champion and is entering only his golden age 28 season. That does not grow on trees folks.
I was talking with a friend today who said at face value this deal looks awful but you get a few nice pieces and you free up a ton of money. I guess the moral of the story is I am depressed today but I am going to give Bloom the benefit of the doubt and give him a year or two to see how he uses these funds to set up the Red Sox to compete. It is hard for me to say but congrats to the Dodgers, you got a special one and it would not surprise me to see Mookie win at least another MVP and more World Series titles, he is special. There are not many guys in this league that are put even near the same level as Mike Trout but Mookie is one of them.
This is by far one of the best stats I have seen in a long time and it totally shows you the greatness of Mahomes and why teams like my team the Lions are, well, the Lions. I have been a Lions fan my entire life and yes it has been really really depressing and growing up in New England makes it even worse since I had every right to be a Patriots fan but Barry Sanders was my guy and my hero and I have for better or for worse been a Lions fan ever since. So I saw this stat today on Mahomes and what he has done this year including the playoffs when the Chiefs we 3rd and 15+ yards. It is already incredible impressive but what makes it even more incredible to me is that even though the Lions have a top tier QB when they have 3rd and 10 even its a guarantee punt. If I had a quarter for every time the Lions threw a bubble screen to Tate on 3rd and 10 form 3 yards I'd be a part owner with Martha. It is either the bubble screen or a quick dump off over the middle or a well covered slant that goes for 5 yards. The Lions franchise and coaching has just never given their players the chance or put them in a position to succeed. How can you not trust Stafford in that situation? Yes he tends to hold onto the ball to long but give your franchise player a chance to make a play. Anyways the real story of this post is that on 3rd and 15+ yards during this past season including the playoffs Mahomes and the Chiefs were 13-17 for 299 yards and 3 TD's. Outrageous.