Detroit Sports and More

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Archive for January, 2011

Identifying Cougar Tracks in Michigan

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 31, 2011

The stories have been around for longer than I’ve been around about Michigan’s cougar population. It seems like a myth until you find some concrete evidence. Tracks in the mud and snow are the most common sign that people find. Unfortunately, they are also the least reliable forms of identification. Well outside of sounds they are the least reliable.

The DNR posted a link to this chart on their Facebook page showing the differences between dogs, bobcats, coyotes, and cougars.

The chart is very useful if you think you’ve found something. Look at the differences, they should be obvious if you have a good track sample.That way, if you think you may have something, try setting up a trail cam if the tracks are common to an area or trail.

I used to question the existence myself until I saw trail cam photos of a cougar. The only reason the camera caught it was because it was slowed by the deer it was dragging off to hide and eat. It was incredible to see real photo evidence. Other reports of deer being spotted in the branches of a tree also make you think twice. Usually the rope gives it away but when they are that high up and the only evidence is claw marks and a bloody neck, my money is on it being a cougar.

The other dead give away is when it’s a young buck that is being picked up. Definite sign of a cougar.

Posted in Hunting, Michigan, Outdoor Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Senior Bowl – Von Miller Looking Like a Potential Draft Pick for the Detroit Lions

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 28, 2011

The Senior Bowl has been good for several players. I’ve been doing my best to pay attention to the reports and stock of players in attendance this year.

The Lions like to take the Best Available. That could be the best tackle, or backer, or running back. If they have a need and can get the best player at that position then I consider them to be a real prospect to consider. I don’t think they will go for a corner this year unless they truly feel they are getting an elite talent. That leaves a player like Prince Amukamara in consideration but if they could get the top line backer prospect in the entire draft then history tells me that they will go that direction.

Von Miller is emerging as that guy. Anyone that has seen Von play knows he can rush the quarterback from almost anywhere on the field. At 6’2″ and 237 pounds he is not a realistic defensive end or outside line backer prospect. He just doesn’t possess the size he would need in the NFL.

His college numbers are impressive but it is obvious that he must transition to the line backer spot if he wants to be a starter in the NFL. Transitioning from a rush specialist to a strong side line backer in a 4-3 scheme is a very significant transition for most players. The athletic skill set is very different. There is no doubt Von is an athlete and that he is a real football player but being able to move laterally and have the instincts and quickness to play in space takes different skills.

The Senior Bowl has given Von the chance to give line backer a try. His size is ideal for a 4-3 scheme and his athletic ability and strength appear to be translating. Reports are that Von has made the transition and has far exceeded expectations. He has shown the ability to cover underneath and the instincts to read and respond. He has also proven two other important things. Most importantly, he has the physical skills to play the position. The next most important thing you look for in a player is whether or not they can respond to coaching. I think it’s safe to say Von has shown he is capable in both regards and that makes him a very real prospect for Detroit. He fits a need, has elite skills, has elite intangibles it appears, and will likely be one of the best available players when Detroit is drafting. If he lasts that long.

I’ve talked about Akeem Ayers, mainly because I had two major questions about Miller. Whether he could play line backer and whether he’d be available when they pick. Right now it looks like it’s a matter of whether or not he’ll be on the board. If not, maybe that makes Prince fall to Detroit.

Nate Solder is another guy that I think will be a top 5 pick before it’s all said and done. I know the four letter network wants to call him a mid first round selection but the best left tackle in the draft with impressive physical attributes will turn into a top 8 pick. You can bet on that. If he keeps up his impressive play and does decent at the combine he’ll be a top 8 lock, probably even a top 5 pick.

I’m rooting heavily for Solder, the better he does the more likely a player of greater need will drop. It’s also nice to know that a really good tackle prospect could be there in the mid first round. The positional value would make him an interesting pick if it came to that. I highly doubt it will but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

The coverage of Cameron Jordan may help the Lions as well. He is moving up the draft and becoming one of the best 3-4 end prospects in the draft. That may make him a top 10 pick if he continues to show well. I think his strength numbers at the combine will be the deciding factor for many teams. If he has the strength he could sneak up to the top 10.

Two other players to watch in the middle rounds are Demarco Murray and Terrence Tolliver. Murray is underrated  in my opinion. I have him as a sleeper prospect right now. I think he can be a feature back. He has the ability. He has had some injury concerns that are costing him in draft status. I think he could be a nice player in the third or fourth rounds if available. I could see him getting drafted in the second though.

Tolliver is interesting because the opportunities weren’t really there in LSU for him to make a big name for himself so he’s tougher to judge. Character concerns are significant as well. Again, in the middle rounds Tolliver strikes me as one of those receivers that could turn into a real starter or a solid rotational receiver that you have to account for. He has the physical tools and has shown he can turn it on. I would be very interested in him in the third or fourth rounds as a No. 3 receiver in Detroit.

So Von Miller in the first followed by Murray and Tolliver in the third and fourth respectively. Second round, I would hope one of the next level corners are there. Aaron Williams and Jimmy Smith are guys I’m keeping my eye on. Williams is a bit under the radar and Smith is very raw. His coach-ability and workout/combine numbers will have a significant effect on his draft position.

David

Posted in 2011 NFL Draft, Detroit Lions, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Local Detroit Area Musician Highlight – Celldweller

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 27, 2011

This is the first of a new series of posts highlighting Detroit and Michigan area artists. I am going to start with artists that I have met or have affiliations with and move on from there.

First up:  Celldweller

Celldweller isn’t exactly a household name but I am confident that every person that reads this has heard his music, whether you realize it or not. Celldweller could be best described as having a multiple personality disorder and all of the personalities know music. An aggressive electronic blend of rock, trance, hip-hop, pop, and metal comes pouring out on almost every song.

From video games, to movie soundtracks, to major album releases, Klayton has been producing amazing music as Celldweller throughout the 2000’s. I’ve heard his music so many times just sitting down to watch a show in the evening I think I just assume he is a part of any good soundtracks. You can look him up on iTunes, Facebook, and YouTube. You can access his channel here. You can visit his main web page here.

If you like rock, metal, and aggressive beats than you owe it to yourself to check out his music. I personally like it for work or working out. The music is very driven and it can definitely motivate you to move.

I think you could sum up Klayton’s work by saying it is driven. There is a drive, a creativity, and a musical force behind each track. It’s obvious to me that music is a true passion and each song seems to be a birthing of that creativity and passion. I hope you check it out, enjoy it, and keep trying to support our hometown musicians!

Dave

Posted in Detroit, Detroit Artists, Michigan, Music | Leave a Comment »

Response to Zack Follett Calling Matt Stafford a China Doll

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 26, 2011

I normally would view this as a non-story in most situations. This story has taken on a life of its own though, probably due to the lack of NFL news out there right now but I thought it would be worth sharing my take after reading up on it and listening to Zack’s response.

I have watched several of Zack’s videos over on Vimeo. You can get to his response to the whole thing here. I have at least an idea of the type of person Zack is. He has a dynamic personality but I have not seen a true malicious side to him. That doesn’t mean that he’s innocent or that he is always right. It simply lends to me leaning towards giving him the benefit of the doubt.

That said, I do think that things are getting blown out of proportion. The phrase he used was a poor decision. That’s all there is to it. He could have phrased it better. If that’s not making a mountain out a mole hill then I don’t know what is. It was obvious to me that he thinks Matt is very gifted and talented. I got this message from Zack’s initial interview: Matt Stafford has some real potential, he has the ability to be great, he has shown it in practice, and he needs to find a way to stay on the field. That’s what I heard. Matt has taken some odd injuries and seemingly has had bad luck. It is what it is.

If I was Stafford I would take this somewhat personally, not that Zack was attacking me, but that it is up to me to get my body built up so I can be there for my team and so I can prove myself to the world. Matt has the ability to be a top 5 quarterback. I wanted him to be drafted. I saw it, the Lions saw it, most fans have seen it at times. It’s there, Matt could propel this team to be a legitimate contender but he HAS to do whatever it takes to be there on Sundays.

Zack’s response and some of the comments surrounding were more interesting to me. Reading comments in response to his video and on some local news sites it’s amazing to me how so many people are attacking him. On the radio this morning, WDFN 1130 AM, one of the morning show guys made some comments that were really off base. He stated that Zack was a guy who is essentially a media whore and bashed him for bringing God into it. The other host was simply upset that he didn’t back up his comments. Tom Kowalski, who I think is a respectable reporter overall, wrote this article in response to being mentioned in Zack’s response. I think Tom’s initial impression of things is pretty close to reality. It’s true that everything you say has consequences, intended or not. The only media issue I see with this story is the countless opinions that want to make his comments something other than what they were.

A lot is made about context, what question was asked, what was the setting, etc. Not enough is made about ‘context’ with regards to who is making the statement. If you view the comments from a perspective where Zack is a good guy that typically means well and likes Matt, then you get one perception. If you just read them without any context of who Zack is than it’s easy to try and paint a picture that isn’t reality.

I believe he made a poor choice of words and he admitted as much. I think he did owe Matt an apology and an explanation, which he said he has done. To me, it’s over there.

The next twist is where people are bashing him for bringing God and satan into the mix. Stating he’s calling people satan and not taking any responsibility. Again, I think that is people hearing what they want to hear. Another popular radio personality in Detroit, Mike Valenti over on 97.1 the ticket, has made this statement many times. “Perception is reality.” I whole heartedly disagree with that statement and having listened to Mike for years now, I am confident he understands the difference between the two. Perception isn’t actually reality, but it is our version of reality. The perception by some is that Zack is hiding behind the Bible. Although the first thing he did in the video is admit he was wrong and that he had to apologize.

My point is, there is reality and then there is your version of reality. Perception is your version of reality but it is almost never true reality. That is precisely why it amazes me how so many will pass a judgment on Zack for so many things without understanding who he is, his relationship to Matt, what he really meant by his statement, etc. It also amazes me that we are so willing to forget that he is human and he will make mistakes. Those statements apply to many other situations. It’s too common to judge something based on our perception without understanding the true reality of the situation.

As far as the God and bible bumping that Zack is being ripped for. Again, that’s who Zack is. Zack views the world through the gospel. I don’t know what specific version of Christianity he follows but I do know that his entire world revolves around his faith. To expect anything different is simply ignorance of reality. We all view the world according to the things we believe to be true. We can’t explain or prove most of our believes but we believe them and live by them none the less.

Taking it a step further, how much has been made of President Obama’s religious affiliations? While the individuals he allows to influence his life may tell you something about the man, it doesn’t define him. You can’t make assumptions from it. Ultimately he is his own person, with his own beliefs, and his own version of reality just like the rest of us. I have read things where people want to say there is a plot to destroy the country because he’s an evil muslim. The problem is that the people making the comments don’t know the man. They don’t even know if he is a muslim.

My whole point is that we are too quick to judge people based on our perceptions and not willing to give people the chance to be themselves or make mistakes. We don’t value people for who they are, rather than who we think they are.

Zack is a Christian that believes that God and Jesus and the Bible are all very real and very relevant. He didn’t call anyone satan in any comment I heard. He was simply discussing how he believed that satan used things to try to attack us, simple things like a poor choice of words or a comment that you make. What I got out of that rant is that it is incredibly important to be above reproach. Meaning, don’t just have good intentions, guard your actions as much as possible so that it’s almost impossible for anyone to perceive them wrong. There’s that word again, perceive. Zack was getting at a point that although perception isn’t reality, understanding that others perception matters means that you have to try to be a person that they are forced to perceive as honorable or good. You may be that in your own mind, but if you want to impact the world like Zack says he does, then you have to be a person that is perceived as a ‘light’ as he calls it.

I guess I’m curious what your perceptions of Zack or the media are. My perception is that Zack meant no harm but should have been more careful about the words he spoke. My perception is that some people get that this is somewhat of a non-issue but others want to make this a hot button issue. My perception is that too many people are willing to decide what Zack meant and what his motivations are, while not allowing him to decide that. Only Zack knows what he meant and what his motivation was. I choose to take him at his word personally. I haven’t seen anything yet that would make me be skeptical of his explanations.

What’s you perception of things?

Posted in Detroit, Detroit Lions, Michigan, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Weekend NFL Playoff Prediction

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 22, 2011

The Pittsburgh and gets will play an intense game, much like last weeks games for each. I think Pittsburgh is the better team. I would like for them both to lose somehow but since that won’t happen I’ll take the Steelers. 27-20.

The Packers and bears match up is already too good to be true. The more they lower their draft status the better in my mind. This one is also personal as I still think the Bears are beneficiaries of a weak schedule. Even in the playoffs they’ve gotten a lucky draw. The Pack proved they could beat the Bears when they had to. I say Green bay pulls away late and more points are scored than some anticipate. I say Packers 31-24 over the Bears.

The super bowl should be a really good one. I think Green bay will rise to the occasion adn win a game that many feel they won’t win. The NFC North was tougher than most give it credit for. I think the Packers win it 27-17.

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Michigan’s Early Spring Fishing May be Tougher Than Usual This Year

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 19, 2011

The early cold snap that covered much of Michigan with snow has helped to bring about one of the colder winters I can remember. My dreams of Detroit becoming a fresh water Cancun by the time I’m ready to retire are slowly dwindling. Global warming, get your act together will ya!

The additional ice and frozen ground moisture is likely to create a lot of run off this spring. I’m not writing a forecast but the basic idea is more snow and ice equals more water that will need to find its way out to bigger waters. The other concern is timing. The ice out and snow melt will likely last longer than normal. I think this spring will be marked by a later start to many of the spring fishing opportunities and many rivers will be muddier than in years past.

The next part of the chain reaction will be to the lake temperatures. Colder water inflow will result in delayed spring runs of many common sport species. On the flip side, fishing spots like the Detroit and St. Clair rivers may be great spots to go in late spring and early summer. A few weeks of delay can mean you get to fish in 60 degree weather instead of 50 degree weather. It’s a small plus. I’d also expect walleye to remain in the west side of Lake Erie a bit longer which is nice for those of you making long runs to go after them.

It’s far from a perfect science, just my opinion on something to watch out for. If your planning trips to rivers like the Maumee you may want to delay just a bit or take some extra time to check out the conditions.

Posted in Detroit, Fishing, Michigan, Outdoor Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brady Hoke Surprises Many and Hires Defensive Coordinator from Baltimore Ravens

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 19, 2011

Michigan fans rejoice!

Now come back down to earth.

This really is a solid hiring and a big win for the University. Hoke received mixed reactions but Mattison is about as good as you could have imagined the new defensive coordinator to be.

Greg Mattison has only been a defensive coordinator in the NFL for two years, his main experience has been in the Big Ten and with Notre Dame and Florida. Three items that jump out about his history for Michigan fans are that he has coached in Florida and has seen the SEC and all the speed and talent everyone claims to be superior there. Second, he knows what Big Ten football is all about. He has significant mid west ties and significant Big Ten and Michigan roots. Lastly, he understands what it takes to play the game at the very highest levels. I’ve seen some people point out that the Baltimore D isn’t what it once (Buckeye fans perhaps?) was but they were still the No. 5 rushing defense in the NFL this year and were a playoff contender. He still has worked with Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs.

To me this hiring has one major impact above all else right now. It changes recruitment. If you are a defensive prospect and a guy looks you in the face and says I coached Ed and Ray and Haloti and I believe I can get you to that level. It’s hard to not believe him.

We all know that the defense will change dramatically this year and if there is any decent progress look out for next year’s recruiting class at Michigan.

Posted in Michigan, Michigan Football, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Michigan Moose Hunting Viability Being Researched

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 13, 2011

In an article on Mlive.com, really a small series of articles, I have been paying attention to the possibilities of Moose hunting becoming an option in coming years. The feedback is very interesting to me.

Right now there is an estimated 500 moose roaming Michigan’s upper peninsula. That’s not all that many obviously but the question is whether or not the population could sustain a harvest season and, if so, how many moose could be harvested in a season. Make no mistake, moose hunting is not allowed and is not going to be allowed soon, they are simply doing the research at this point.

I think it is great overall. If the research concludes hunting isn’t sustainable then that’s good. Hopefully we will know what the herd needs to look like to support a hunting season. If it is plausible then I am happy whenever we are allowed to make use of the resources of our great state. Moose hunting can be quite special and any time you get the opportunity to harvest big game like elk or moose you have something special and unique. Most of us can’t afford to fly in to Alaska and to have the ability to go on Elk or Moose hunts close to home is a real blessing.  The harvest season may consist of a 10 bull season, kind of like some of the inland sturgeon seasons we see, but even that is a big improvement over no opportunity.

I sincerely hope that if we go down the road to a moose season that some of the money goes towards improving habitat. Habitat and predation are too major factors for the moose population. The rebound of wolves and industry present more danger than a hunter in my mind. It will become important to protect and enhance the environments if we want continued moose hunting privileges.

I will do my best to follow up on progress as I hear about it. If you have any thoughts on the subject or are following/familiar with it please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Keeping it Simple – Michigan’s New Football Coach Brady Hoke

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 13, 2011

I’ll be honest, I started writing a huge post about Hoke and Michigan and all the different points I wanted to make but it’s really this simple:

Hoke wants to be at Michigan and he has the passion and desire that you want. He seems to know the game well and understands what Michigan is.He also has broad support from former players. On the down side his experience is very questionable.

Harbaugh has a better record thanks to his success at Stanford and would have had everything else that Hoke had.

Les Miles is the same as Harbaugh.

The only difference between Hoke and Miles or Harbaugh is perceived experience and recruit respectability. The truth is that all Hoke needs to do is win and be competitive in his losses. That will gain the recruit respectability. If he can find a way to do that then he will be fine. He has to revitalize Michigan’s winning tradition, even if he’s 7-5 or 8-4 but plays teams tough, that’s all that’s needed. The team was 7-5 this year with a horrid defense and questionable offense. I don’t see that as out of reach. If he can find a way to get to 7 wins and then goes and wins a bowl game I think everything else falls in place.

I equate this move to drafting the underclassmen or small school kid that is a little raw but full of potential. If it works than you make out big time. It’s like getting a Tom Brady in the 6th round. He’s likely to develop here and will be a lifer if given the chance. Hopefully he realizes the potential that Michigan sees in him and leaves a legacy of excellence like the University expects.

Best of luck Michigan fans. I’d love to see Michigan and Michigan State fighting for the Big Ten championship year in and year out.

Posted in Michigan, Michigan Football, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Michigan Turkey Hunting Application Reminder

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 13, 2011

Just a reminder to all the Michigan hunters. If you want to get in on the spring turkey hunt now is the time to get your application. The application deadline is February 1, 2011.

You can go to the Michigan DNR site to see a listing of all limited access hunting seasons, juts click the link.

Posted in Hunting, Michigan, Outdoor Sports, Turkey Hunting | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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