Hi everyone. Let's do this...
You won't get any sympathy from Lions fans. Yes, it was a face mask, give us about 12 more incorrect, game-deciding calls in our favor and we might be even. The refs have been screwing us for years.
This is exactly what I've been railing against. Every team has calls go against them and for them. That's the nature of the game. I'd like some documentation from someone that the Lions have gotten screwed over more by refs than other teams. And don't cite the fact that they have more penalties called against them. That's their fault.
Hey Kevin, Jared Allen has 17 1/2 sacks on the season. The single season sack record is 22 1/2. How good are his chances of tying or getting the record in the final three games?
They have come in spurts for him, as we saw Sunday at Ford Field. He would need 5 to tie and 5.5 to break the record over three games. It can absolutely be done.
For as much flack as Marion Barber is getting for blowing the game Sunday, doesn't an NFL quarterback have to manufacture some drives throughout the game? The Bears 10 points were by virtue of a 57 yard FG and a 42 yard TD drive. This game probably would have been out of reach with a competent QB playing in my opinion.
It's a fair point. I think Barber deserves a good bit of blame, but the Bears offense has 33 points in three games under Caleb Hanie. That's a telling number.
Okay. All we heard about for about 3-4 weeks was Stafford's gloves and how awful he played with them. But if I'm not mistaken, he had a BROKEN FINGER underneath one of those gloves! My point is this: the broken finger didn't come with the gloves. If he had played without the gloves, he is still throwing a footall with a broken finger on his throwing hand. Why was everyone (including myself before I gave it much thought) talking about the gloves?
Well, they go hand in hand. (No pun intended.) He was wearing gloves to protect the fractured finger. He stopped wearing them when the finger healed. Six in one hand, half a dozen in the other.
I'm picturing a revampled offensive line led by Matt Kalil for the Vikings next year and also a revolutionary new offense designed specifically to incorporte Joe Webb's talents. Not making him QB but having him on the field most of the time and making defenses sweat with fear of "what next". Am I a fool to dream of such things?
You're not a fool, but I don't think they'll center things around Webb. They definitely need a new left tackle. Kalil would be a good start. Webb needs to play more, somewhere, but they'll stay committed to Christian Ponder as the primary quarterback.
Is it possible that the Peterson injury has been a blessing in disguise for the Vikes long-term? It's forced them to develop a playmaking role in the offense for Harvin, (although I'm not sure why they had to be forced to do that) and certainly hasn't hurt their draft stock. When AP comes back, it'll be a little more difficult for opponents to stack the box and ignore the passing game, won't it?
Probably the best thing is that it's kept three games of wear and tear off of him in a lost season. Everything counts when it comes to the longevity of running backs.
How can the Bears be so far off in their evaluation of Caleb Hanie? Any chance they pull the plug if things go south with the Seahawks?
Well, there were varying reports on what Martz thought of him. He pushed hard for Todd Collins last year. I don't think they'll be much better off with Josh McCown, however. Sometimes you don't know about a player until he finally gets on the field.
Kevin, do you know why Ponder was benched Sunday? Was he injured? Will he be ready to start against the Saints on Sunday? If so, might Joe Webb also see some action that day?
He was not injured again. He had the hip pointer all week. I think it was more performance-related. He'll start if he's healthy this week.
It seems to me that B.J. Raji has taken a step back this year. He hasn't made an impact in the pash rush like last year, even with Matthews getting double and triple teamed. Have you heard from the Packers on Raji this year and his lack of production?
The sack numbers definitely haven't been there. I think they're not unhappy with his season, but obviously they haven't gotten as many game-changing plays from him. But for two years, he has been durable and reliable.
You finally touched on this in your last blog post, but the Lions do deserve some recognition for getting to 8 (and hopefully more) wins. Getting to 5-0 made expecations so high that I think a lot of people are starting to view this team as a dissapointment, when in reality, this season can't be looked at as anything other than a huge success considering where we came from. Regardless of the antics of the past few weeks, this is the proudest i've been of a lions team that I can ever remember.
Let me first thank the officials who missed the obvious face mask penalty in the Vikings game Sunday. The loss keeps Minnesota in the hunt for the number two pick in the 2012 draft.
A very positive way to look at it...
I don't get knee injuries at all. Greg looked like he made a routine catch and duck for a first down then gets up limping. Mike Neal gets taken out for 4 months doing routine linemen drills in august. Weird. What's the news on Clifton and his slew of injuries?
On Clifton, it's possible he could practice this week. They haven't ruled it out yet. I have my doubts about whether he can sit out two-plus months and jump back into the swing of things, but we'll soon know for sure.
Can I crash at your place for a while? I'm still good in Minnesota, right?
You have to grant me an exclusive interview first.
The Lions kicked it into high gear last year in December. would you would think they have the ability to do the same thing this year in the playoffs and make a Wild Card to Super Bowl run?!
Well, Schwartz said recently he considered last December a dry run for a real playoff chase. But they will find out it's different on the other side of it. That said, they're set up for two more victories, I think. Going to Oakland isn't as big of an obstacle as it once appeared.
You should try me sometime, Brian Urlacher...
You know what? He was being honest. I'm sure he was a little bitter, but without starting a big Tebow conversation, I'll say I don't disagree with Urlacher in this case.
Speaking of Allen's 3 sacks on Sunday...in a perfect world, this would be Backus' last year at LT. What do you see as the more likely scenario, drafting an LT early and grooming him for a year behind Backus, or signing a FA to take over the spot and moving Backus to guard or RT?
It's also possible to get a left tackle that can start right away in the draft. I haven't gotten a sense for what the Lions will do with Backus yet. Don't forget about the chest injury he had during the lockout. I wouldn't assume his career with the Lions is over.
Finley is becoming the James Jones of last season with all of his drops.
He definitely has gone in the wrong direction. But he's going to get plenty of opportunities to straighten that out in the coming weeks.
Besides New Orleans, who will be Green Bay's toughest challenge in the playoffs?
I know San Francisco isn't playing great right now, but they're a tough, physical team that isn't likely to get derailed by the environment at Lambeau. On that note, I don't see the Saints winning in January at Lambeau.
To cite your "calls against the Lions" I can't speak for other teams, but the Lions have truly been victimized by game changing calls the past couple of seasons. "The process of the catch" a couple of 15 yard penalties that kept drives alive that weren't. I'm not saying it is more than other teams, but when you're a losing franchise the ones that affect the outcome of the game stick out more.
On the Calvin Johnson "process play," the refs made the right call based on the rule. That's been well-established. Bad rule, maybe, but I wouldn't call that getting jobbed in the traditional sense.
How are the Lions going to pay Tulloch and Avril? Both of them have big payday's coming.
And Calvin Johnson also has to be on the Lions' radar. He has a huge cap number next season, more than $15 million.
Hello Kevin! This is a group question from the NFC N blog. Why can't we type "buy appl.e" (without the period in the comment section. If your comment has that in it, it will not post, and if you edit an old comment and add it, it will dissapear! Thanks!
No idea. But I would suggest not using it!
I'm just speculating, but I would imagine Matt Flynn will get some more playing time between now and the end of the regular season, just with the Packers' tendency to get up by a large amount early. That being said, Flynn looked...not so good on Sunday. Could the extra playing time actually hurt his chances of signing as a starter elsewhere? And while we're on the subject, do you have any idea where Flynn will end up?
He got the beejeezus knocked out of him on one of his first plays. Ultimately, he has a better chance of getting signed to be a 2012 starter if he gets more playing time -- and does well -- than if he gets none at all.
Never get to do this but taking a day of vacation. I might be wrong, but I see Wilf not signing any free agents until the stadium issue is resolved. Your thoughts? Thanks
I would be surprised if that happens. Wilf has never let finances get in the way before, and I think he'll operate as if he's keeping the team, not potentially selling. He doesn't want to cut the purse strings, get a stadium, and then have to scramble to rebuild the team.
I'm getting back to clean physical football, much like last season. Considering I'm under the proverbial microscope am I correct to assume I'll get a few unwarranted flags thrown my way?
Not if you don't give the officials a reason to. Everyone is so worried about what will get done to Suh. They need to worry about what Suh will bring on himself.
DJ Smith looks like he may be a keeper at inside LB. He plays the run and pass well, seems like a hitter, and can really move when they run that delayed blitz up the middle. Thoughts?
Agree with all of the above. I'm not sure where that puts him after they just signed Bishop and Hawk to long-term deals. But it's always nice to have a credible option waiting in the wings.
If Jared Allen was within reach of the sack record in the final week of the season, do you think Caleb Hanie would take a dive to get him the record?
Uh, no. Only one guy could get away with that.
Cliff Avril is the Lions best Dlineman. I said it.
Yes you did. He is their most productive, I will say that.
I don't know if you read you read James Walker's piece on Brady being MVP. What are your thoughts on who should be MVP?
I wrote two weeks ago that it was time to stop the nonsense of finding reason that Aaron Rodgers shouldn't get it. Rodgers is the MVP, at least through 13 weeks. So I didn't think I needed to respond to the Brady post.
Will the near season ending injury to Greg Jennings make McCarthy rethink his plans of going for 16-0?
I don't think so. They won't do anything crazy like rushing Jennings back to get 16-0. But they'll just keep playing like they always do. That's my sense, at least.
I started off just about as HOT as one player can, but I've cooled off quite a bit the last 5 or so weeks however, I think I'm just as effective as a threat opening up the door for Young, Petterew, and Burlison. Do you agree?
You're drawing consistent double-teams, which should make it easy for at least one of your teammates.
Wilbon thinks the Packers D will get them beat in the playoffs. Who do you see doing it to them?
I mean, that's the other side of it. It would have to be in concert with that teams' defense shutting down the Packers' offense. Is there any team good enough, at least in the NFC, to slow down the Packers to that extent? I'm not sure about that. Maybe the 49ers. Maybe in the Super Bowl vs. Baltimore.
Flynn will wind up in Seattle.
Not a bad call. The John Schneider connection.
the packers broke their single season franchise scoring record IN 13 GAMES. Do you think that rodgers will continue to break this scoring record in years to come or do you see this record standing for a few years?
That's the question no one can really get their head around. Have we seen the stars align into a 19-game run that is special and unique and never to be repeated? Or are we seeing the level Rodgers is going to play at for the next 7-10 years. That would be scary if true.
Any word on Nick Collins and his rehabilitation?
He's had no reported setbacks, but still no assurances that he will be back in 2012.
The Lions are the only team I have ever seen get a horse collar call for grabbing hair, the only team I have ever seen called for offensive face mask...twice I may be a bit of a homer but I always point out when the Lions get away with one. And they did get away with one against Joe Webb. That being said I truly believe the lions do get screwed alot by the refs. There is no doubt that refs are harder on bad teams. Considering where they have come from it's a no brainer. It's been better the last couple of years but over the last decade it has been ridiculous how many bad calls have gone against them.
I just don't agree. Are refs tougher on poor teams, or do poor teams give them more opportunities to make calls?
Does Carson Palmer's lack of mobility make him a sitting ducking for Detroit this weekend?
The worst thing is that he is playing terribly when under pressure. Tons of interceptions and a poor completion percentage when teams get pressure on him. So I think the Lions will have an opportunity to make a lot of plays against him.
The NFC North seemed to be the best division in football but then injuries and idiots in Detroit have derailed that a bit. Where do you think the NFC North stands with the rest of the divisions in the NFL?
We've still got a chance for three playoff teams. I haven't given up.
Any reason why the pundits, during all this Tebow talk, seem to just pass over the Lions thrashing of them? In Denver? I mean, even Fox, when asked when his team started to believe, said "the Miami game", which was the game before the Detroit game. And still, Detroit hasn't beat anyone.
I think that's a fair question. They totally and completely rattled him, and got way ahead before he could get rolling. The Broncos defense also played terribly in that game, but I'm surprised more teams haven't blitzed him the way the Lions did.
I don't think the Packers D is bad. I honestly think Dom and Mike saw something that lead them to believe they could give up yards, and in the process get a lot more turnovers. I mean 2 INT are almost expected every week for this D.
I don't think they're intentionally giving up yards, but I get what you're saying. They've been able to stomach it because of how consistently the interceptions have come.
So I was playing around with the playoff machine (super cool by the way) and depending on the situation it pretty much looks like a really hard game for the Lions in the first round. What team do you think they'd have the best chance against? (San Fran, Dallas, NYG, Atlanta)
Personally, I'd love for it to be San Francisco for Harbaugh-Schwartz II. That alone would make it worth it.
I think the point of the good call bad call issue is that all teams have good and bad calls happen and its important to not make a big deal out of either. The Lions got a way with one in a win just as the Niners got a way with one on the Ginn return to help defeat the Lions. The good teams don't use either as an excuse for how great or unlucky they are. They move on and get ready for the next game.
Better said than I could ever dream of trying. Thanks.
Is Tori Gurley gonna be called up from practice squad? Might be a boost in special teams (punt blocks with his looong hands)
That's what people were speculating based on his Twitter account, but no confirmation yet.
my birthday is this sunday and all i want is a win by the lions do i have a good chance of getting what i want
Better than I would have thought a few weeks ago. The Raiders looked AWFUL Sunday.
Is Starks going to play this weekend you think or do you think Mike will rest him considering the fact the Packers are slated to get home field advantage.
If he's ready to play, he's going to play. That will be the case for everyone on the roster.
Do you think the Raiders looked awful Sunday because they are awful or because they ran up against one of the best teams in NFL history?
Well, there is that.... Let's call it a combo platter.
Are you a proud owner of the Packers?
I am not. That would be a little weird as a media member, but I've got total respect for those who did or will buy shares this go-around.
If the Packers go 19-0, does that finally shut-up Favre and the 72 Dolphins or will we still be subjected to them begging to get into the news every year?
Favre? He's surprised the Packers didn't go 19-0 last year.
As a beat writer and now as a national blogger, has the massive growth in the popularity of the NFL surprised you?
Not really. It's always been my favorite game to watch. But what has surprised me is how intense the interest is in the offseason. I mean, people are dying for news from rookie mini-camps in May. That's a big change from even five years ago.
If Green Bay goes 19-0, they will have won 25 in a row, thrashed the previous record, and won two Super Bowls in a row. Would a 25-0 GB be the greatest team of all time?
By any measurable distinction, yes.
You think Cobb gets more of a showcase filling in for Jennings down the stretch? i read he's most similar to Jennings in terms of versatility and being able to play all 3 WR slots.
He'll play more than he was, yes, but you also wonder if the Packers will feature the run game a bit more in these cold weather locales.
Last week I asked if ya thought the Bears still had a shot at the playoffs and you said yes. Do you still believe that sentiment? I can see the Bears beating the Vikes to end the season, but other than that there's nothing to be had, agree?
Yeah, I thought they would win in Denver, honestly. And now the tiebreakers for them are tough if they finish 9-7.
Love the response on Favre, who co-stars with him when they remake Grumpy Old Men? Jim Brown?
I would imagine Frank Winters.
Was anybody else embarrassed for Jermichael Finley when his got the football ripped right out of his hands by a much smaller defensive back? Those are not the kind of plays that get you a huge contract extension.
"Embarrassed" might be a little much, but you're right. A tight end shouldn't lose a strength battle.
Does Matt Forte know that he is my starting running back in fantasy football.. and it's playoff time for my league. How inconsiderate of him to get injured.
I'll let him know.
Do you think Mike McCarthy deserves coach of the year?
A coach's job is to win and he has won every game. I'm not sure if that's how the voters look at it, but based on the numbers, he's done the job better than anyone.
Heck, I'm still not over the Drew Pearson offensive pass interference penalty in the NFC title game.
Ah yes, Push Pearson.
Is it ridiculous to think Ponder MAY not be the answer at QB, and that the Vikes should pick one at #2 in the draft?
You took my thunder. I think they made the right decision to draft him. I think he's going to be OK. But then if Andrew Luck and RGIII are both in the draft, that means one of them will be available at No. 2. If the Vikings are No. 2, you would think they'll at least get a little twitchy, right?
I think it'll be an interesting story line in week 17 when the packers play the lions, if the packers are still undefeated at that point. When the lions went 0-16, Green Bay was the final nail on that coffin. Now Green Bay is trying to go 16-0.. could make for an interesting article or two.
It would be a wild week from many angles, yes.
OK y'all, a few more here.
Is Charles Woodson a first ballot Hall of Famer after his Green Bay career resurgence?
I would say so, yes. He's done it all.
It was being said on sunday that 19 different packers have scored this year and that it is a team record, but is it an NFL record?
That's worth checking, and I will do it. Check the blog this week.
Have you had any indication if Frazier plans to play AP today?
Practice resumes Wednesday. I think Peterson will be out there in some capacity.
Is it just me or does Ponder have a noodle for an arm?
I wouldn't go that far. But he doesn't have a Cutler/Stafford arm, no.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week.