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2011 NFL Draft – Detroit Lions Prospects Round One

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 8, 2011

Obviously the Lions can go with any position at any point on draft day. We’ve watched some surprise picks over the years, Pettigrew, Delmas, Levy, Spievey, and Best are all solid examples. When you consider that list comprises 5 out of the 8 picks the Lions have had in the first three rounds under Martin Mayhew, I think it’s fair to make that assumption. I think the other fair assumption is that talent has been valued over perceived need.

Currently by my last count the Lions have picks in every round but the 6th. The 7th round it isn’t sure whether it’s an original pick or the Jet’s pick. That’s pretty much a non-factor though.

Let’s look at some of the players that may be available and options in each round. Guys to be mindful of for draft followers. I think it’s safe to say a QB is highly unlikely so I won’t be looking at any QB prospects. Every other position is fair game.

First Round:

The first round all depends on what happens before your pick. The Lions will take the best player they can get within reason.

Von Miller and Akeem Ayers are the most likely linebacker prospects at this point but Ayers is high risk and may fall. Miller may not be around when the Lions pick.

Nate Solder is a real possibility to take over as a future franchise left tackle. He has bust concerns but is physically impressive. His draft position is somewhat unpredictable. I say he ends up in the top 10 because of the position he plays. I just expect a team to fall for him, so to speak. It is almost Valentine’s Day.

The corner class is impressive this year and there are 5 first round candidates in my opinion. Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara headline the class but Aaron Williams, Jimmy Smith, and Brandon Harris are all first round prospects. One or two of them could fall into the second round thanks to the need for Quarterbacks and the strength of the defensive line prospects.  If any one of those 5 guys were available in the second round I would consider them to be the best available for the Lions most likely. The thing about corners is that they are highly unpredictable and without looking up the numbers, I would guess the bust rate to be high. The draft stock of a corner is greatly influenced by raw combine numbers so many of  these guys could rise or fall and a few other  second round guys could fly up the board like a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

I don’t see a center or interior lineman worthy of a top 15 pick. Yes, that includes guys like Pouncey. He is a second round prospect that is being buoyed somewhat by his big brother. He may be a really good guard or center but has a way to go, most likely. I don’t see defensive lineman being a consideration unless an elite talent like Bowers is still there for some crazy reason. I would hope to trade down if that was the case.

There are 2 high level wide receivers and 1 high level running back in Mark Ingram. I see several other wide outs and backs being mocked in the first but I think many of them are overrated including the Virginia Tech running backs, Torrey Smith from Maryland, and Mikel Leshoure from Illinois. Good players but second to fourth round guys in my opinion.

Ingram is a possibility. He is underrated in my opinion. Ingram is a great running back prospect who could be a real, every down running back. I think he will be in the hunt for rookie of the year if he gets on the right team.

A.J. Green would be a steal outside of the top ten and is one of the top 5 prospects in the entire draft. Julio Jones is a solid talent, I don’t know that I would spend a top 15 pick on him in Detroit but they could do worse.

All in all this year has some perceived strengths and weaknesses but as evaluations occur the true first round guys will emerge. I think there are several players that are still somewhat unknown and will move significantly. Nate Solder and Cameron Jordan have already begun the process. Jimmy Smith, Robert Quinn, Ryan Mallett, and Adrian Clayborne are all on my watch list to move around a lot.

I’ll look into some of the guys I see in the second round next. Thank you for reading and for your feedback.

Dave

Posted in 2011 NFL Draft, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Michigan, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 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?

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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 »

Detroit Lions 2011 Draft First Round Prospects

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 10, 2011

Updated Prospect Discussion 2/8/11*

As we gear up for the Nation Championship Game tonight between Auburn and Oregon it’s almost time to turn full attention to the 2011 NFL Draft. Between the CBA and underclassmen declarations there is a fair amount of uncertainty right now. Let’s take a look at players that have declared for the draft that the Lions may be targeting with the No. 13 pick.

I’ve discussed in the past how the Lions go with the Best Available Player(BPA). Some think he employs the Best Available that fits a Need (BATFAN). I think it’s more of a Best Player Available With Common Sense (BPAWCS). We all know a QB won’t be on the scouts radar. Well, all of us common sense people get that anyways.

Michigan native Mark Ingram is probably the most dynamic player that might be on the radar. He can do everything as a running back except run away. I think Ingram could be compared to Adrian Peterson. His injury this year will likely effect people’s opinion of him but he is a fast, elusive, powerful runner with solid vision and instincts. He’s a No. 1 feature back from day one in my mind. Running backs seem to get different value in the draft by different teams and experts but any player that can come in and improve the run game, score points, and demand the defense accounts for them on every play is worth a first round pick. Ingram’s combine work outs will determine where he goes in the first round.

Mike Pouncey has grades that place him in the middle of the first down through the second round. His brother’s success can’t be overlooked and his ability to play Guard and Center makes him a valuable addition. The Lions struggled to open holes on run plays. They were solid in pass protection except when Dominic Raiola was being run over by a nose tackle like Jay Ratliff in Dallas. With the Miami fan incident and the rumored legal charges for an incident with a female up north, Raiola may be on thin ice. I don’t see his performance this season as anything more than slightly above average. He makes good calls and is consistent but the off field issues and his inability to move the larger interior defensive linemen it might be a solid idea to bring in a good center prospect to push or replace him or Stephen Peterman. I think Peterman had an injury that slowed him significantly this season for the record. Pouncey appears to be dropping and as a deveopmental center he probably is a second round prospect at this point.

The group of potential 4-3 line backers does not have any true stand outs. I think there are several guys that you expect to play okay and possibly start somewhere but no one jumps off the page to me. There are a few unpolished prospects with good potential and several highly polished guys with less upside. I’m not sold on going with a backer in the first unless you find someone you think can play the strong side. I’ve mentioned Akeem Ayers in the past, Von Miller and Justin Houston are also worth looking at. Last year it was believed that Koa Misi was a potential target to make the transition to backer. If one of these guys show the lateral agility to play pass coverage then they could be a solid option. I think Miller and Ayers possess the ability but I’m not sure about Houston, he is a good athlete though. Ayers is so raw, Miller has been more of a rush specialist, and so has Houston. Workout evaluations will be big for these guys.     *UPDATE: Von Miller

Wide receiver is a real option. After Burleson and Johnson the receiving core is like a hot dog or bologna. Mystery meat. You never know what you’re going to get. The Lions don’t need a return man, they don’t need someone who can take the top off the defense. They just need a good route runner that can beat a nickel or line backer consistently. Getting Calvin and Burleson in single coverage situations is the key. There are two ways to do this. Take the top off with a speedy receiver or use the short passing game to suck the safeties up so Calvin can get behind the safeties. You want to make them choose. In the first round a guy like Julio Jones or Justin Blackmon could be sitting there. Both are good prospects that have produced at a high level this season. I know it’s a receiver in the first round but the amount of three receiver sets the Lions use a receiver could make a solid impact. i have been impressed at times with Julio Jones’ blocking. Receiver blocking can be the difference between a nice gain and a touchdown.

Brandon Harris is a very realistic candidate. There is a coaching connection just like with Randy Phillips. I believe it’s the Lions secondary coach that came from Miami after Schwartz took over. I think the Lions will take a very close look at Harris. He is the only corner prospect that is a consensus first rounder that should be available. Amukamara could drop if his 40 times are slower. That is the knock on him, but the same went for Joe Haden last year. He still was drafted relatively high and has played well for a rook. Aaron Williams has lots of potential and if he’s available in the second I think he’s a solid option as well. Janoris Jenkins went back to school, Jimmy Smith is too raw to go in the first, same goes for Devon House.

I haven’t seen an offensive tackle worth drafting this high myself. There are some possible prospects that could elevate their status like Jason Smith did two years back but I’m not seeing any true elite prospects just yet. Sorry Backus haters. Second round is a better bet.

The defensive line could see a player, the first round is full of defensive tackles and defensive ends. I don’t see it as a major focus. If Da’Quan Bowers drops then you pull the trigger but the line has great talent and depth right now and unless it’s an obvious steal then I’d focus on more impactful positions personally. You can never ignore talent though.

The only safety I see that could elevate to the first round may be Rahim Moore. He’d need to test very well to be considered this high. I think safety is a significant need. It’s tough to rely on Amari Spievey for next year. He has a long ways to go still. Ras-I Dowling should make the transition to safety in my mind. He’s built for it and could excel there. He may be a good corner but I worry that NFL receivers will beat him deep unless he plays too far off. He has solid size and tackles well. Playing safety he could cover tight ends and backs out of the backfield and support the run game rather well.

That’s a quick look at some of the potential prospects. If you want my opinion on anyone specific let me know in the comments.

Dave

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

Detroit Lions 2011 Off Season Preview and 2011 Draft

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 7, 2011

For the purposes of the article I am not going to concern myself with the potential lockout and I’ll assume that money will talk and an agreement will happen in time. That said, the annual Lions super bowl has taken less meaning in some respects, no longer is Detroit the talk of the nation after the #1 and #2 picks. Obviously as a fan, this is a good thing. It means we actually won some games.

There are several common lines of thinking for the Lions draft, most of which I disagree with so let’s address them first. Misconception numero uno: The Lions are targeting a corner or line-backer in the first. Misconception numero dos: The Lions need to get an elite left tackle so Stafford doesn’t get hurt again. Misconception 3: The pass defense was the biggest problem this season. Misconception 4: Millen’s biggest problem was drafting players with no talent. There are more but those are the top ones it seems like.

As far as drafting is concerned, the Lions DO NOT target positions. They may see a player they like and align themselves to get that player ( see Javhid Best) but they will not reach or gamble on a player because of the position they play. They employ an almost strict Best Player Available strategy. There are general rules, they won’t draft a kicker in high rounds and they won’t draft a QB in high rounds, but most standard positions are fair game. The idea in the NFL is to gather talent. A great LG is worth as much on the field as a great safety. The financials aren’t equal but the impact on the game is similar. Point being, an elite RG would have a significant impact just like an elite corner would. In the draft, you have to try to get elite players almost regardless of position. Even though we may be set, in some peoples minds, on the defensive line doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t draft a player you believe will be an elite defensive end because there is a good corner sitting there. We saw this with Pettigrew, many felt Oher should have been the pick but the Lions weren’t sold on him being an elite player and they believed pettigrew was an elite prospect. Oher has played well and was a good pick up for Baltimore but Pettigrew has the makings of a true Pro Bowl caliber tight end. You may want to value a tackle more but the truth is that a tight end like Jason Witten or Dallas Clark have immense values to their teams.

I said all that to say that needs are secondary come draft time, as they should be. Get talent and worry about holes later. The more talent you bring in the less holes you will have down the road. It’s the best long term solution. You can use trades and free agents to plug holes on the roster. If we’ve learned anything this year it should be that you can never have a team that is too deep.

As for Backus, he’s not one of the top left tackles but he had another great year, he was consistent, and he shut down many of the best pass rushers in the game. Just because Peppers made one play doesn’t mean Backus is garbage. Peppers gets paid for a reason too. If that’s your logic than Suh is garbage and it was really just the offensive lines he faced that were no good. Give credit where credit is due. He had a good year and probably has a few more left.

The pass defense graded much higher than expected. This is a team that has statistically ranked at or near the bottom in both run and pass defense the past several years. A testament to how truly awful things were at one time. This year the pass defense was actually better then the run defense and outside of a few big plays earlier in the season, they held together decent. Coverage was tighter and there was an emphasis on keeping plays in front them in the last 6 games.

As for Millen, who admitted recently how horrible a job he did, there was a bigger problem than his drafting blunders. You can find that article over on Detnews.com by the way. Millen’s biggest problem in my mind wasn’t just drafting the wrong guy. I think the lack of development is what destroyed so many draft picks here. Run down the list of guys he brought in and they all had skill, maybe less than he thought they did at times, but they had potential. The obvious choices are Calvin Johnson and Cliff Avril. Avril is a great example. They talked a lot about how they thought he could be a really good DE. You didn’t see it with previous coaching staffs but the jump from last year to this year has been outstanding. Despite being slowed by injuries Cliff has had an outstanding season. Statistically speaking, he had a better season than Julius Peppers, Mario Williams, Brian Orakpo,  and Ray Edwards. 33 tackles and 8.5 sacks while battling an injury mid-season is a solid effort. I think he will be even better next year.

Another example, this one from a different view was my favorite prospect from 2009. Sammie Lee Hill was one of the rawest prospects in the entire draft but he had strength, size, and athletic ability that you can’t teach or coach. When you have players that have the natural ability, those are the players that you have to look at in the draft. The natural abilities are the start, what you are able to get them to do with it, that determines how good they can become. I truly believe SLH is good enough to start on any 4-3 team in the league. He still has significant upside and the way he can collapse the pocket and still get after a QB is impressive. His development throughout the year last year and heading into this year has gone unnoticed by some. He picked up 2.5 sacks and 30 tackles by being a back up the entire season. That’s a quality rotation guy. He could have gone downhill after having some issues in the off season but the coaching staff woke him up and got him heading back in the right direction.

When all is said and done the Lions have the most significant need at LB. The system Detroit runs calls for very versatile guys that can cover the pass just as well as play the run. I think the LB play is the crucial piece to the Lions defense. The run defense was the weakest link on defense based on stats.

What happened late in the season, after Suh’s injury, the Lions went to a 3 man rush with Suh playing like he did at Nebraska. He would read and respond. I think this was a big reason for the improvement in run defense. It also was smart because teams were double teaming Suh and by staying back he allowed for true one on one match ups for his teammates. They were able to keep the pressure on and Suh is amazing in space for a DT. It was a great scheme. It took some pressure of of the backers who could focus on receivers and reading plays more than worrying about a QB stepping up or a run in the middle.

Teams will notice this and adjust by blocking him one on one more next season and the scheme will not be as effective. The Lions really need to target a guy that can move really well in space, has the size to knock the bigger backs backwards, and has the speed to go sideline to sideline. We need a big time player on the strong side. That will make all the difference in the world. For everything Julian Peterson has done in the NFL, this scheme didn’t fit his strengths. It was still a decent trade but Julian is better when blitzing and playing the run. He’s probably best suited in a 3-4 at this point. Less reading and reacting and more going will show his true abilities.

The weak side spot is also a concern, we have several guys that might fit the bill but on a really good defense, they should be relegated to back up duty. I like the potential of Carpenter, he did well in pass coverage which was a big boost down the stretch and he did decent against the run. He wasn’t dominant and he didn’t necessarily stand out but he gave good production. Ashlee Palmer showed some good hitting ability, decent speed, and he made some plays against the run that made you think the potential is there and it very well may be. Landon Johnson was better against the run than the pass but I can’t see him being an everyday starter if the Lions want to take the jump to playoff contender. Dizon looked good to start the pre-season and I think he is a very solid depth player as well.

So looking forward at the draft I see one player in the first round that has the kind of potential that warrants consideration. I’m not sold on a lot of the prospects this year and I’m not sold on this prospect but the raw talent is there. He just looks like an under developed kid who is still growing into his body to me. That man is Akeem Ayers. He has the size/speed combination and is a decent natural athlete. He needs to develop an aggressiveness towards attacking the ball and he needs to work very hard on his ability to function in space. He shows flashes that he can move and change direction but he wasn’t asked to cover screens or backs out of the backfield like he will if he ends up in Detroit. His combine and workouts will be very telling. He’s the top OLB prospect so he fits Detroit’s drafting criteria. The best at his position, and he will grade out high enough to warrant a 1st round pick. The only problem with Ayers is I have to wonder if he can make a difference right away or will we have to wait a year or two? But again, you draft talent, not production, not need. I think he fits a nice combination of need, production, talent, and potential. He’s a good fit.

Some other LB prospects on my radar that aren’t talked about as much would be Nate Irving over at NC State. He had injury problems but has flashed some really good potential, if he’s around in the round 4 I would be very interested in him. He is more of a run stopper but plays a very aggressive, hard hitting, style of football. He has decent size and shows the ability to drive ball carriers back. I like his instincts and speed to the ball. Colin McCarthy, although he doesn’t jump off the screen, he has plenty of potential as well. He is well rounded and has decent size. If he’s in position he seems to make the play. I would look at him later in the draft as well.

As for the secondary concerns, I think they need two pieces to take that leap forward. A nice CB prospect will be available in multiple rounds of the draft. It’s a matter of what you are looking for. Aaron Williams is a really nice round 2 prospect. I like the potential of Devon House and Jimmy Smith as well. They may be available in round 3 or 4. Ras-I-Dowling has potential as a number 2 corner in the league or he could role back to a safety role with his size. Same goes for Jimmy Smith. The thing about Smith is that he is kind of like Sammie Hill. Gifted but very raw. There is lots of potential there but he needs some time to develop his talent.

Another thing I can see this team doing in the middle rounds is going after one of the big raw tackles. Ben Ijalana and Marcus Cannon are the kind of players that can be real road graders on your offensive line. Cannon could be a Phil Loadholt type right tackle but I think Ijalana is the guy that can move into guard and make a difference if coached up right. The potential is definitely there. Both guys have that size and athletic ability that only God can give.

So, as we move into the off season, watch for Mayhew to get to work finding a player or two in Free Agency to plug known holes while using the draft to stock talent, regardless of position.

 

– Dave

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Desperation For Money Shows up in 2009 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on August 8, 2009

Let me preface this by saying I don’t get into politics very often, although I certainly pay attention.

I was at K D Outdoors in Waterford, MI (which is a great local shop) today and picked up the 2009 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide. My son later picked up the Guide because he saw wheels and tires from an add on the back page. He’s young and loves trucks. I wasn’t sure what paper he had grabbed so I turned it over.

The Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide?

In total I counted 22 adds, not including the Classifieds section. I admittedly am torn. It is great to see such resourcefulness from the Department of Natural Resources, however, it is also a deeply disturbing reminder of how much money has been diverted away from the DNR.

The truth of the matter is that hunters and fishermen pay for the vast majority of the DNR budget. License sales for these outdoorsmen have become increasingly costly over the years, while parks, ramps, and piers are being shut down.

Money from the general fund is now the equivalent of bringing home one 6″ Bluegill to feed my family of four.

It is quite odd to me that people that bike on park trails, camp on state land, pleasure boat on lakes, mushroom hunt on state land, enjoy photography, and the list goes on, do not share the same financial responsibility.

Do they deserve to use land more than the rest of us?

My point is the way things are running is so far off from common sense it is almost sickening.

I applaud the ingenuity of the DNR, harnessing the power of marketing to supplement an important program, I do not see why such measures have now become necessary.

Everyone always wants a hand out or something for free, seems like outdoors-men( and women) are the only ones willing to put the burden on our shoulders. If more interest groups had this mentality, the state would undoubtedly be in much better shape.

I applaud my fellow hunters and fishermen and women, your commitment to the resources of this great state are commendable, appreciated, and vastly undervalued.

Posted in Detroit, Fishing, Michigan, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Summer Bass Fishing: Boat Docks and Cover

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on August 1, 2009

I went to a large private lake not far from my home in South East Michigan. The lake is clear and sandy over most of it’s bottom. It has significant weedy flats and strong weed lines in many sections. The size of the lake gives it a lot of variety although the sand and moderate weed cover dominates the underwater landscapes.

I set out in my small 14 ft. row boat and made my way to a small weed line near a drop off to start my mid-morning fishing(read: catching) trip. It was approximately 6-9 ft. in that location. I had a texas rigged Zoom finesse worm in watermelon red on a 4/0 eagle claw wide gap worm hook with a 1/4 oz. tungsten weight in green pumpkin. I was running 20 lb. Power Pro braid on the rod/reel I had on me.20.25" and approximately 5 lbs. 12 oz.

I also had another reel in my bag spooled with 30 lb. Power Pro braid but I did not need it. The lake has only a handful of spots where the heavier braid would come in handy and I did not plan on visiting them this trip.

I was not having much success to start out and the wind was creating some problems. I decided to make a big move, well big for a row boat, and I oared my way directly into the wind that was blowing steadily out of the South West.

There is a sunken island out towards the middle of the eastern half of the lake so I went there. I switched my presentation to a screw-in style football head jig. It was a 3/0 standard hook with no other dressings, just the jig head, hook, and a spot to screw your bait on. It was brown with red eyes and 1/2 oz. in weight. The wind made the weight necessary.

I made several casts across the top of the sunken island, trying to hit holes in the weeds. After several casts I decided another move was in order. I headed across a small saddle to a point that extends from the south shore out towards the sunken island. I could not fish the saddle as it sits underneath a ski course. It is typically a nice sandy spot to find a few small mouth bass. This lake has both large and small mouth bass along with rock bass.

I worked the point and missed on a hookup. Bites were tough to judge with the constant waves from the boat traffic and the persistent winds of about 10-15 mph.  Gusts near 20 mph were the main problem though.

After fighting mother nature I decided the best place to fish was the south shore, where I could tuck into the shallows away from the worst of the wind. Two bays on the south shore provided lots of room to fish away from most of the wind. I slowly oared my boat into position in between two docks.

The shore line on the south shore often has dark patches of bottom with moderate weed cover, including the occasional lily pad patch. Old tree stumps are located through the shallows as well. They do not hold fish but are used as cover for fish that are on the move. The occasional meal found by these structures cause bass to check them out regularly. The cloud cover became a little thicker around this time, approximately 11 a.m. I switched back to a texas rig with the same 4/0 wide gap worm hook and 1/4 oz. tungsten weight. This time I employed a Zoom Brush Hog in green pumpkin.

With the sun still showing strong the dull color looks realistic still. A little color or flash can turn fish off in high visibility situations.

I made my first cast over a lily pad patch. Instead of letting the bait fall I quickly popped it p to the surface of the lily pads. I twitched it along the surface of the pads and up onto one. You want to do this as quick as needed when you have weight on there. The pad patch was only 6 or 7 feet across and 9 feet wide. I stopped near the edge closer to me and twitched the Hog on top of the pad trying to draw attention. I then pulled it back through the remaining lily pads. Just as it reached the edge a big explosion occurred.

No hookup.

So I repeated the same sequence a few feet left. Same explosion, same result. Time to switch it up. I casted further left, just off to the side of the lily pads and brought the Hog up next to the far corner of the patch. I let it sit, motionless for about 15 seconds. I gave it a slight pop, just enough to get it up and out of the weeds, and let it settle back down. I watched as a bass came out from the lily pads and stopped right next to my bait. I gave it a subtle twitch. The bass began to swim slowly back into the lily pads as I drove the hook in.

Like a race horse out of the blocks, he exploded out of the lily pads and gave a picture perfect head shake. I dropped the rod and worked him to my right. The braid was more than enough to bring the 19 inch bucket mouth to the boat. I lipped him, admired him, then let him go back to his patch.

I continued down the bank in much the same fashion. Checking spots on the spot. I would fish small spots like the lily patch, focusing on corners or structure within weed patches or shady overhangs. I pulled another bass from under a raft, only about a 14 inch large mouth. Moving on I found another small weed patch next to some lily pads. I dropped my Hog on the back corner and let it sit. One twitch and Boom! Another nice fish, this one about 18 inch put on a good show before I let him go.

Further down the bank I came across a large oak tree that lost a limb into the water. It was still attached and was covered in green leaves. I swung my rod tip low as I casted. I was off to the right side, moving right to left down the shore. I skipped my lure under the back side of the tree and gave it a few mild twitches. This time nothing happened. I thought for sure I would catch one there.

I began to retrieve my lure through the open water about 5 feet from the tree when something caught my eye off to the right. I stopped reeling and let my lure fall to the bottom. Right across the open water I saw a nice bass swimming towards my lure. I waited, he must ave seen it fall and went to inspect it. I waited until he acted like he may turn around and I gave the Hog a quick solid twitch.

It was like the fish was made of lightning. He covered about 4 feet of water in a flash and began to swim back the way he came. I drove the hook in hard and the fish used that same lightning speed to drive towards the weeds. He was pulling considerable drag, despite my aggressive setting, until he turned towards the boat and made a bee line for it. He took a lap and a half around the boat and then performed some water acrobatics about 4 feet from the side of the boat. He was getting some serious air too.

I had enough of that and went to landing him. I quickly pulled him up into the boat with my rod and lipped him to take the hook out. A small mouth, which would explain the fight and show. He had a minor injury to his eye but was still as beautiful as ever. He was a healthy fish other than that and measured about 17 inch, maybe slightly more.

What a treat. Small mouth bass have become a big favorite of mine of the years.

Next I continued down the shore and began to get back into the wind. I had to use my anchor to keep my boat in place long enough to cast and make a decent presentation.

I was almost out of Zoom Brush Hogs and switched to a comparable 4 inch Berkley Tube in green pumpkin color. It is a little darker and has less character than the creature bait. I flipped the shallows and caught a few large mouth bass in the 11-14 inch range. I even caught two rock bass. You have to admire a 7 inch fish that eats a 4 inch bait.

I decided to go back to the Brush Hog when I came across a nice area with multiple types of cover. I threw a few casts and wasn’t catching anything. I casted to small section of dock under an oak overhang and had a bite, but missed a hookup.

I ripped a low cast under the tree, there was approximately 5 feet of clearance under the tree that extended over 20 feet out from shore. I landed my Hog about 3 feet past a large section of dock that was laying flat on the bottom in about 3 feet of water. I popped the lure up onto the dock and paused. It was far away but my instincts told me something had moved up there. I twitched my lure and felt a very slight pressure. Acting on instinct I slammed the hook home.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

My reel began screaming, as if to tell me to chill out or something. A big bass began diving into the weeds. Despite the tight drag, the bass took the line he wanted and tried to dive into pieces of cover as I pulled him towards the boat. After several attempts to bury himself, the big boy ran under and circled the boat. I followed him around and guided him back to the side of the boat. Perhaps finally wearing down he relaxed for a brief second. I quickly dropped down and lipped him.

The biggest bass of the day was a 21 inch beauty. The large mouth had a solid body and held good weight. I estimated him to be a shade over 4 pounds.

I continued on with my Brush Hog and Berkley Tube and caught several more fish as I made my way back. In one spot I skipped the Hog up under a double wide dock. About 6 feet under the end of the dock a nice 19 inch fish hooked up and came to see me. 20 feet down the side of the dock and 4 feet under, another nice bass, about 17 inches, took the offering. A nearby weed patch produced a 16 inch and 15 inch bass.

In the heavy waves also took advantage of a small break along a sea wall to catch another nice 18 inch fish.

I finally gave into the wind and let it push me back towards my dock. Along the way I tested some weed patches across some large flats, catching one decent 16 inch bass and two smaller fish, 11 inches and 12 inches respectively, before I left.

All in all it was a very successful trip. The standard summer pattern of boat dock and cover fishing near shore proved to be the right pattern for the day.

I hope I can return one more time before the summer ends to try another section of shore.

If you want more detailed information about cover and dock fishing in shallow water, leave me a comment here and I WILL GET BACK TO YOU.

Remember to share your passion for fishing with others and take someone fishing if you get the privilege to do so.

_David

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John Kuester Looks to be the Next Pistons Head Coach

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on July 8, 2009

John Kuester’s name has been on the list from the start, well depends on whose list you were looking at. I knew he was on the Pistons radar but assumed he was further down the list perhaps. After Collins pulled out of the running, Johnson must have thought he was a good position to negotiate, apparently not. Dumars didn’t want to pay Johnson or give him a long term deal it appears, which is not a surprise with his record at Dallas.

Kuester has an impressive background, as an assistant, including considerable time with Larry brown. He was here for the 2004 championship and is acquainted with Detroit Basketball. Considering an offensive mind(much like Flip Saunders, gasp!), he has been credited with running Cleveland’s offense.

Kuester has about 15 years of assistant experience, certainly more than Michael Curry, and is widely respected in the NBA as a solid coaching candidate. The only drawback is we haven’t seen the results as a head coach.

It could be a situation where he’s a great assistant and a lousy head coach, or he could be due this opportunity and excel with it. Only time will tell. Either way the team is upgraded, the coaching appears upgraded, and we should be in for a solid season.

Detroit is still a player away from being considered an elite team right now, but winning changes everything.

Expect an official announcement very soon.

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Ben Gordon and Charlie Villenueva are Unofficially Detroit Pistons

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on July 2, 2009

Reports are out that both Villenueva and Gordon will sign with the Pistons. Gordon’s deal is reportedly a 5 year $55 million contract, while Villenueva will receive a 5 year $35 million contract.

This is more than I had hoped they would spend on the two. I was thinking something along the lines of 6 years and $54 million for Gordon and 6 years $39 million for Villenueva. This would have left them a few million dollars to work with. Money that could be used to sign a role player or as part of a trade to bring another front court player.

Ben GordonThe Pistons will be very good this season whether they make another move or not. They won’t be top three in the Eastern Conference though. Boston, CLeveland, and Orlando are still likely to be the top three. Orlando could fall of with the loss of Hedo Turkoglu and Martin Gortat. The addition of Vince Carter may help, but I think Orlando has gotten slightly worse, not better.

Boston may make moves this off season that take them down a notch as well. The addition of Rasheed Wallace is a real possibility. I believe that would really change the team chemistry and they will be less productive because of it. Stephan Marbury and Wallace on the same team could make for a volatile situation. The leadership of Kevin Garnett will be crucial. They may also lose Glenn Davis.

Cleveland will add another forward. A guy like Antonio McDyess may become a solid option. They may be involved in a sign and trade deal. They only have mid-level exception money available right now, roughly $5.6 million. Their year to win has become right now. They need to make a deal and bring in another post player. I strongly feel Antonio McDyess is a great fit there. They may also do a sign and trade for a forward like Brandon Bass or pay a forward like Glenn Davis. They have options and need front court depth that can contribute.

If the Pistons find the right coach, it will be up to team chemistry to take them past the above teams. They just added close to 40 points of offense to the roster and they will be competitive. The front court is still missing one piece, in my opinion.

The coaching search seems to be narrowing, Doug Collins is reportedly out of the running. This leaves Avery Johnson and John Kuester as the most likely candidates. I am still expecting Avery Johnson to be here. An important thing to consider, Johnson has the strength of person and intelligence to manage a back court with three starters playing two spots. He knows the positions and would be a good teacher for Stuckey and Afflalo.

If the Pistons decide to keep Richard Hamilton here, Avery Johnson is the best candidate for the job.

He represents Detroit basketball in many ways, he was able to make the Dallas Mavericks a top defensive team, that should be all the resume you need.

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Avery Johnson’s Agent Has Been Contacted For the Detroit Pistons Coaching Vacancy

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on July 1, 2009

Vince Ellis is reporting is reporting on Freep.com that a source has said that the Pistons have contacted Avery Johnson’s agent and that he is very interested in the head coaching position. With only two teams in a coaching search, Detroit should be poised to get who they want.

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