Tag Archive: Kellen Moore Lions

Although you wouldn’t know it by the weather, (it was in the mid 90’s again in metro Detroit) football season is in full swing as the Detroit Lions have finalized their roster and are now preparing for a week 1 showdown with the Saint Louis Rams.

There were only a couple players that were cut that could have been considered mild surprises.  Corner Alphonso Smith was handed his walking papers in favor of newcomer Kevin Barnes.  Also, defensive lineman Everette Brown was let go.  Brown played well at times during the pre-season tallying 1.5 sacks, but the depth on the defensive line made it difficult for the Lions to keep Brown.  Another lineman that was let go was Andre Fluellen.  The Lions elected to keep rookie Ronnel Lewis instead of Brown or Fluellen because of his expected contribution on special teams.

(courtesy of kffl.com) After being a pre-season All-Star over the past few seasons, running back Joique Bell has finally make an NFL roster and may get a chance to contribute during a meaningful NFL game.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Lions decided on keeping rookie Kellen Moore as their third string quarterback.  Moore looked lost during most of the pre-season, but played better in the Lions fourth game against Buffalo.  His play in that fourth game may have solidified his position on the roster.  At running back, the Lions kept Keiland Williams and Joique Bell.  Although Williams wasn’t a surprise, I didn’t expect Bell to make the roster.  The Lions have been unable to find another affordable option at RB via free agency or trade, so Bell will take Mikel Leshoure’s spot on the roster until Leshoure returns from suspension week 3.  Expect both Williams and Bell to get some snaps  during the first two weeks, as Lions starter Kevin Smith has been dinged up during the pre-season.

Although nothing has been officially announced, it appears that the Lions are ready to put rookie Bill Bentley in the starting lineup week 1 against the Rams.  Bentley looks like a risk taker in the secondary, capable of making big play interceptions but also susceptible to giving up the big play.  His early season play will be an important factor to watch as the Lions’ secondary looks to improve after a shaky 2011 season.

Other rookies to watch will be offensive lineman Riley Reiff and wide receiver Ryan Broyles.  It appears that Reiff will start the season as a back up, but if RT Gosder Cherilus slips Reiff could step into the starting lineup.  It’s unclear how many snaps Broyles will see, but with Leshoure out during the first two games, you could see some four wide receiver sets featuring Broyles in the slot next to Calvin Johnson.  It will be interesting to see just how offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will utilize Broyles in the offense.

Although the Lions have finished cutting their roster down to 53, it doesn’t mean their roster is 100 percent finalized.  With the running back position a weakness and the secondary still having holes, the Lions will be scanning other teams’ cuts and may make a move before next week.

The Lions will kick off the regular season at Ford Field Sunday, September 9 against the Rams.

-Sam Plymale

(courtesy of the Detroit News)

A huge percentage of Detroit Lions fans aren’t happy with GM Martin Mayhew’s handling of this year’s draft.  On day 2, I was one of them.  But now that I’ve had a day to let my anger over the 2nd round WR selection of Ryan Broyles settle, I can take a rational look at how the Lions did overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.

First off, I loved the pick of offensive tackle Riley Reiff.  Drafting a player to learn under Jeff Backus in what could be his last year is a great way to protect your biggest investment, quarterback Matthew Stafford.  In fact, besides the pick of Broyles in the 2nd round, I’m actually fairly pleased with this year’s draft.  Mayhew is getting ripped locally by fans and some local media, but besides the 2nd round pick, I think he did a fairly good job.  Too many people are focusing too much on the 2nd round pick and not the draft as a whole.  The Lions took three defensive backs and three linebackers to address their biggest need, their back seven on defense.  This is exactly what fans wanted heading into the draft, although some would have hoped that they used the first two picks on defense.

(courtesy of MLive)

What I’m most pleased about is the perceived upgrade on special teams.  People tend to overlook this part of the game, but it is 1/3 of your team.  Quality special teams can be the difference between good and great teams.  (Remember the 49ers in last year’s NFC Championship game?) Although I was as shocked as everyone else about the Broyles pick, he will give the Lions flexibility and depth in the return game when he gets healthy.  All three linebackers Ronnell Lewis, Tahir Whitehead and Travis Lewis will get a chance to make an immediate impact on specials, and Ronnell Lewis (nicknamed “The Hammer”) has a chance to be a special teams star.  If R. Lewis is able to bulk up, he could play a role as a defensive end type pass rusher in the future.

Of the three corners the Lions took, it may appear on the surface that they didn’t draft someone who can step in and be a starter day one.  This position is where Mayhew will be ultimately judged this draft.  The third round selection of Dwight Bentley could pay off.  Although he has a small frame, Bentley has speed to keep up with most wideouts, and this showed when he played well against fifth overall pick Justin Blackmon in a game against Oklahoma State last season.  Bentley also opened up eyes at the Senior Bowl.  Although he doesn’t have ideal size, he will be a perfect fit to cover slot receivers in the nickel defense.

(courtesy of BobGretz.com)

Local product Chris Greenwood from Albion College is a bit more intriguing.  Although his skills will need to be refined before he’s able to step onto an NFL field, this kid has the size and speed to be a starter in the NFL, just not this season.  DB Jonte Green will likely be a special teamer that will be developed as a safety.  So where does that leave the Lions the defensive backfield heading into next season?  Unfortunately, the Lions will likely be forced to bring in a veteran corner to start opposite of CB Chris Houston.

Although I’m not exactly ecstatic with this year’s selections, I don’t think Mayhew deserves to be getting crushed by fans as much as he is.  Reiff could prove to be the left tackle that protects Stafford for his entire career.  If Broyles is healthy he has a chance to be an impact player that could replace Nate Burleson down the road.  If one of the three corners selected develops into a quality starter the Lions got what they needed the most.  Although Ronnell Lewis would have been better served being a OLB in a 3-4 scheme, if he can gain some weight, he could replace either Cliff Avril or Kyle Vanden Bosch at one of the end spots.  Although that’s a lot of “ifs,” there aren’t any guarantees with any draft pick for any team.

Mayhew ultimately can’t be judged on this draft until the 2013 season as it appears that most of these players will take a year to develop.  That’s the one disappointing part for a fan base that expects the Lions to be Super Bowl contenders in 2012.  But in 2013, it’s very feasible that  four of these players will be starters.  If that’s the case, the draft was a success.  Although I would have preferred taking a corner that could have been plugged in right away, I’m not sure that player was available where the Lions were picking.

(courtesy of sportsgeekery.com)

Although I was furious after day 2 of the draft, I like what the Lions did in the later rounds.  The Lions also signed undrafted Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore to serve as the team’s third stringer.  Moore finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2010 and holds the NCAA record for wins with 50 during his college career.

Overall, I think it was just an okay draft for a team looking to be a contender in 2012.  The real payoffs probably won’t be seen until 2013.  But Lions fans need to calm down about the spewing of hatred towards Mayhew.  He has turned around this franchise with a specific plan and it appears that he didn’t deviate from that plan.  Fans need to take a wait-and-see approach to the moves he made in this draft.

-Sam Plymale


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