Monday, April 25, 2005

Pete Prisco - Putz?

Well, I won't go quite that far, mainly because I doubt Mr. Prisco had the same misfortune of watching as many Lions games as NFL fans in Detroit did last year. Still, his "Lions Lay an Egg" column about the Lions alleged mistake in drafting Mike Williams reeks of sports-radio shock journalism, complete with the expected one-sided analysis. Pete's claims are basically 1) the Lions didn't need another receiver because they drafted two the last two years with their high first round picks and 2) the Lions needed help for their 22nd-ranked defense.

As to the first point, while I obviously agree that the Lions did draft receivers in those spots, I totally disagree with the conclusions Pete draws from that. When he says "Let's assume Rogers stays healthy" and "all three players can take the field at the same time," I shudder. On what evidence is there to base an assumption that Rogers will stay healthy? And did Mr. Prisco watch the Lions the second half of last season, when Rogers was out and Roy Williams was playing on one leg? I watched pretty much every second of it: Az Hakim's attempt to handle the duties of a number one receiver, David "Circus" Kircus' ill-fated promotion from the practice squad, and a parade of drops the likes of which the NFL hadn't seen since the 2003 version of the Lions. Anyone who sat through that display (Matt Millen? Steve Mariucci?) knew that the Lions were not exactly over-burdened with receiving talent, whatever rounds their receivers had been picked in.

Now, I could see if there had been a dominating defensive player waiting there at the 10th spot that the Lions passed up they would be open for criticism. Derrick Johnson was the closest thing to that playmaker, but there were a lot of questions about him too. If one of the top 3 corners had fallen, the Lions would have likely taken him, but when they're gone and the player rated by some as the top talent in the draft falls to you, I think that pulling the trigger is the right thing to do. And color me jaded, but I'm having a hard time imagining the day when the Lions are so dominating offensively that they aren't enough balls to go around for their plentiful playmakers.

Mr. Prisco's second point annoys me more. Yes, the Lions were ranked 22nd in defense last year. Guess what they ranked in offense? 24th in scoring and 24th in yards per game. I would suggest to Mr. Prisco that perhaps, just perhaps, the Lions also had a need on offense.

But that wouldn't have made for as exciting a column, would it?


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