Tag:Detroit Lions
Posted on: December 20, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 11:22 am
  •  
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 15

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 15 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman Hernandez  Smith Succop Belichick
Prisco   Brees  Babin  Lee Crennel
Brinson   Brees  Smith  Lee Crennel
Katzowitz   Brees Abraham  Suh Crennel
Wilson  Stafford  Smith  Lee  Turner
Week 15's a wrap and that means the NFL's regular season is just about over. Sigh. Anyway, hardware time.

Drew Brees moved well within range of Dan Marino's passing yardage record on Sunday and the near-perfect performance earned him our Eye on Offense Award.

And Aldon Smith's beasty performance on Monday night locked him into our Eye on Defense Award pretty convincingly as well. His teammate Andy Lee's big-footed evening was enough to warrant an Eye on Special Teams nod.

And though Romeo Crennel made some mistakes on Sunday with his clock management and fourth-down decisions, taking down the previously undefeated Packers and getting his first Gatorade bath was enough for him to pull in the Eye on Coaching Award this week.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Ryan Wilson
Aaron Hernandez Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots
The other Gronkowski destroyed a solid Denver defense with nine catches for 129 yards. Actually, Tom Brady should win this award, but he wins the damn thing every week. When the Broncos shut down Gronk, Brady shifted to Hernandez, and Hernandez, like a growing number of players at his position, presents huge matchup problems for a defense.
Matthew StaffordMatthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Sure, the Raiders didn't play much defense on that final fateful drive, but Stafford threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns (with no picks), including the game-winner to -- you guessed it -- Calvin Johnson with 39 seconds to go.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Drew Brees Drew Brees, QB, Saints
He threw for 412 yards and five touchdown passes and sat much of the second half against Minnesota. Brees did what he wanted to against an overmatched Minnesota defense.
Drew BreesDrew Brees, QB, Saints
Brees is probably going to win the award next week too when he breaks Dan Marino's passing record ... with a week to spare. Want real proof QB rating is dumb? 32 of 40 for 412 yards and five touchdowns somehow doesn't garner a perfect rating. Brees was just that on Sunday.
Josh Katzowitz
Drew BreesDrew Brees, QB, Saints
I don’t think I’ve voted for Brees once this season, but come on, the guy has been spectacular. Against the Vikings, he was 32 of 40 for 412 yards and five touchdowns. If not for guys named Rodgers and Tebow, Brees would be THE story as he hunts down Dan Marino’s passing yards record. Somebody should give that dude a raise.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Wilson
Aldon SmithAldon Smith, LB, 49ers
One play he drove Max Starks so far into the Pittsburgh backfield, Starks was in San Jose. Once the 49ers play better offenses with quarterbacks not on one leg, that defense will truly get tested. But for now, it's dominant, and Smith might be its most dominant player.
Aldon Smith Aldon Smith, LB, 49ers
Steelers LT Max Starks should get some credit for his turnstile-tastic effort. To paraphrase Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football, if the game had gone on much longer, Smith would've earned a trip to Canton on that singular performance. 
Prisco Brinson
Jason BabinJason Babin, DE, Eagles
He had three sacks against the Jets, whipping tackle Wayne Hunter all day long. Babin leads the NFL with 18 sacks and has been one of the best free-agent pickups this season.
Aldon SmithAldon Smith, LB, 49ers
The real culprit for the blown transformer prior to the Monday night game? Smith, who ate the damn thing and used it as a source of power to terrorize the Steelers offensive line all night, repeatedly pummeling Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh's backfield.
Katzowitz
John Abraham John Abraham, DE, Falcons
He took over the game in the third quarter when he sacked Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert 3 ½ times and forced fumbles on consecutive Jacksonville series. Abraham is 33 years old, but he’s now got 8.5 sacks on the season, showing that even though he keeps getting older, his level of outstanding play isn't decreasing.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Wilson
Ryan SuccopRyan Succop, K, Chiefs
Succop kicked four field goals in Arrowhead on Sunday afternoon and was one of the main catalysts for knocking off the previously unbeaten Packers.
Andy Lee Andy Lee, P, 49ers
He punted six times, always changing field position in the process. He had punts downed at the Steelers' 5, 10, 8 and 14. David Akers gets all the notoriety but Lee is just as important to the 49ers' success.
Prisco Brinson
Andy LeeAndy Lee, P, 49ers
He averaged 47.5-yard per punt and 49.2 net yards  -- the latter speaks volumes about hang time -- and he also had four punts inside the 20 against the Steelers Monday night.
Andy LeeAndy Lee, P, 49ers
Turns out the only way the Steelers were winning on Monday was by generating some turnovers and getting good field position. Lee made sure the latter didn't happen, sticking the Steelers inside their own 20 four different times and averaging 47.5 yards per punt on the night.
Katzowitz
Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions
If there’s anybody in this world who can make a game-winning, NFL record 65-yard field goal, it’s Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski. Suh wouldn’t let that happen. After sitting out his two-game suspension, Suh helped save the Lions by getting a hand on Janikowski’s attempt.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Wilson
Bill BelichickBill Belichick, HC, New England Patriots
Solved the riddle that is Tim Tebow. Now, the Lions were able to shut down Tebow earlier in the season, but that wasn't this Tebow. The Patriots, after a disastrous first quarter, battered Tebow and made him throw the football. At this point, he can't do that consistently well.
Norv Turner Norv Turner, HC, Chargers
He won't get many more chances to win this award since he could be looking for work in a few weeks, so I thought I'd honor him after blowing the doors off the Ravens' defense Sunday night. Philip Rivers looked like, well, Philip Rivers. Looks to be too little, too late, though … or does it?
Prisco Brinson
Romeo CrennelRomeo Crennel, HC, Chiefs
He takes over for the fired Todd Haley and his team pulls off one of the biggest shockers of the season in beating the Packers, ending their chance for an undefeated season. Who else could win this award this week?
Romeo CrennelRomeo Crennel, HC, Chiefs
For some weird reason, I'm enthralled by the picture of a Gatorade-soaked Crennel getting love from his players after beating Green Bay Sunday. He took down an undefeated behemoth as an interim coach and did it with his speciality: defense. How could it be anyone else?
Katzowitz
Romeo Crennel Romeo Crennel, HC, Chiefs
The Chiefs were a different team with Crennel. They played hard, and we didn't have to see Tyler Palko go out there and fling the ball around. My favorite moment from the Chiefs win? With the victory in hand, Crennel is smiling and clapping. He gets a Gatorade bath. For a second, Crennel stops, startled by the cold. Then he smiles and begins clapping again.

Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:08 am
 

Hue Jackson thought McClain could cover Johnson

In a shocking development, linebackers can't cover Johnson. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Raiders had no business losing to the Lions Sunday. And yet they did, in a manner befitting a team that probably doesn't deserve to make the playoffs. During the final, fateful drive, one in which Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford played pitch and catch with Calvin Johnson, Oakland's defense consisted of some variation of "Let's single-cover Megatron and hope for the best!"

We thought Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan made it clear earlier this season that such strategies will fail spectacularly.

Jackson was asked about the defense's coverage philosophy in Sunday's loss to the Lions and he seemed to think it had more to do with execution than play-call. Even though the execution included linebacker Rolando McClain trying to cover one of the league's premier wide receivers.

“It isn’t a scheme issue. The ball’s laying up in the air. You gotta go make that play. Their guy made it and we didn’t. So they won the game." Jackson said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore.

As mentioned, "their guy" was Calvin Johnson. And the Raiders guy was a linebacker. There isn't a linebacker on the planet who can stay with Johnson, especially on "balls laying up in the air."

Here's the play in question.

PFT.com's Gregg Rosenthal asks a question that must've crossed McClain's mind as he was helplessly getting outrun by Johnson: the linebacker is supposed to stay with Megatron 40 yards down the field?

“Yeah, that’s called the Tampa-2," Jackson said. "That’s what the middle linebacker does — he runs right down the middle of the field. They made the play and we didn’t.”

Most teams game-plan to get these sorts of matchups. Apparently, the Raiders were happy to oblige.

We mentioned it on the Week 15 recap podcast, but is there any chance that Jackson's job could be in danger? We suspect no since he'll presumably have a say in hiring the general manager, but he's now on the hook for Carson Palmer (who hasn't worked out) and some questionable in-game decisions that will keep the Raiders out of the postseason.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 10:22 am
 

Suh: 'I made a mistake...and am moving past it'

Suh redeemed himself in Oakland Sunday after serving a two-game suspension. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh returned to the field against the Raiders Sunday after serving a two-game suspension for stomping on a Packers offensive lineman back on Thanksgiving day. Turns out, Suh has pretty good timing because he ended up blocking Sebastian Janikowski's game-winning field-goal attempt as time expired. (Granted, it was 65 yards -- and would've been a new NFL record -- but if anyone's going to make that kick it's Janikowski)

But after the game, Suh had more on his mind than that last play.

"I wanted to address this," he said, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter John Kreger. "It's something that I've dealt with and am trying to move forward with. I have apologized about it, obviously on my Facebook page, but also after the game.

"I made a mistake. The biggest thing for me is that I've dealt with and am moving past it, and happy to be back on the field with my team. The biggest thing for me is just wanting to sincerely move forward from it. … I’ve spoken to [Packers lineman] Evan Dietrich-Smith, and I feel we’re on very good terms. He’s a great guy."

So maybe Suh's time away from the game gave him a chance to reflect on what he had done and where his career might be headed if he didn't reevaluate his after-the-whistle behavior. And who knows, maybe we'll be saying the same about Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who will miss Monday's night's game against the 49ers while serving a one-game suspension for a Week 14 helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

For now, Suh is happy to be able to help his team win an important late-season game. He called the block a "great moment,"

"I put my hand up and it hit my thumb and I looked back and saw it twirling and that's when you see me run off and I take my helmet off," he said, via the Detroit Free Press. "I'm usually not that excited about things, but it's what you play the game for."

The Lions are now 9-5, the No. 6 seed in the NFC, and two games clear of the Seahawks, Bears, Giants and Cardinals with two games to go.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 18, 2011 1:52 pm
 

Jim Schwartz tweets pic of Raiders fans 'welcome'

By Will Brinson

The Oakland Raiders are known for having very ... passionate fans. They're enthusiastic, if you will.

And that enthusiasm was on full display towards the Lions team bus as the team rolled into the black hole for today's game against the Raiders.

We know this because Jim Schwartz tweeted the accompanying picture of a few Raiders fans firing off the one-finger salute towards the Lions bus as it cruised through the parking lot en route to the stadium.

What's interesting about this tweet, besides the obvious humor involved in Schwartz calling it the "Black Hole welcoming committee" is how it paints the Lions publicly. After all, they've been the "bad guys" for the last few weeks if you ask anyone around the NFL.

But maybe I'm reading too deep into it; there's a pretty good chance that Schwartz appreciates this sort of enthusiasm from fans towards the opposing team.


Follow all the Week 15 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games: MIA-BUF | SEA-CHI | CAR-HOU | TEN-IND | GB-KC | NO-MIN | WAS-NYG | CIN-STL
4 p.m. ET games: DET-OAK | CLE-ARI | NE-DEN | NYJ-PHI


Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 2:48 pm
 

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

By Will Brinson

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)

Steelers linebacker James Harrison was suspended one game by the NFL this week. He also filed an expedited appeal, and the NFL announced on Friday that his appeal was denied, meaning Harrison will miss the Steelers game against San Francisco Monday.

James Harrison suspended

It's hardly a surprise that Harrison's suspension held up, although because of the way of the hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy unfolded (McCoy became a runner and then decided to pass at the last second), there was a possibility of the punishment being overturned.

"It is clear from the video that you squared up and led with the crown of your helmet when you contacted Colt McCoy," on-field appeals officer Ted Cottrell, who heard the appeal, said in a letter to Harrison. "This is precisely the technique that you must avoid using as a defender. I have determined that your actions were particularly egregious and warranted the discipline imposed by Ray Anderson."

The linebacker's history of violent and/or flagrant hits (the NFL says Harrison's been punished five times for illegal hits on a quarterback) contributed to his punishment and clearly the appeal as well.

 "I'm not surprised. You're appealing to the same people who put the suspension in place, so no, I'm not surprised at all," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. "I don't care about the league's message anymore. It's about us as a football team playing the type of football that's going to help us win championships, despite who gets suspended, despite who gets fined.

"We're going to try to play within the rules. We're going to stop fighting this battle of talking to them. That's what this is about."

Harrison's hit on McCoy led to plenty of controversy -- not only with Harrison's suspension and Mike Tomlin telling Steelers players to keep quiet, either. McCoy was never checked for a concussion and re-entered the game.

Additionally, the NFL is reportedly set to start handing out lengthy suspensions for on-field violations.

"Like I said on Wednesday, my disappointment is for James," Clark said. "He's been trying really hard to comply with what's being asked of him. For him to be suspended for this situation, to us, is disheartening. To me, it was a between-the-whistle play. They're making an example out of him for it this year. I don't think it's right.

"We have to continue playing and just roll with the punches and try to win games without one of our best players."

Harrison's suspension was the first for an "illegal hit" and he could potentially miss multiple games if he doesn't change his approach to playing defense.

"Oh well. It is what it is," Harrison told Josina Anderson of ESPN. "That's the decision I was expecting anyways. I'll deal with it and move on."


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:15 pm
 

Keep an Eye on: Week 15's finer points

Palmer and Netwon face stiff tests this week. Suggs, meanwhile, has been a beast in 2011. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Lions vs. Raiders

A few weeks ago, Carson Palmer was throwing interceptions but still playing great football for his new team. Lately, Palmer has just been throwing interceptions. What’s changed?

For one, Oakland’s pass protection. It has been shaky the last two games, particularly when it comes to sorting out blitz pickups. Also, general protection on the right outside has been an issue. Even when the Raiders go with a six-man line – which they do frequently – Palmer knows that Khalif Barnes and Stephon Heyer don’t consistently move their feet well. Consequently, Palmer has started to anticipate, and even perceive, pressure. This makes him jittery in the pocket.

What’s interesting is that one of Palmer’s brightest shining traits earlier this season was how firm he was in the pocket even when there was pressure closing in on him. You’d think that the time away from football would have made Palmer more frenetic in the pocket, and that he’d settle down after getting more games under his belt. Instead, the opposite’s been true.


A lot of Palmer’s interceptions have come when he’s trying to force a play. He’s made some careless decisions outside the pocket and on third-and-long situations. That may partly be a function of not knowing his own personnel (no other quarterbacks have found Darrius Heyward-Bey as trustworthy as Palmer has).

Things won’t get easier this week. The Lions picked off Christian Ponder three times last Sunday and, with Ndamukong Suh back, have a pass-rush that Palmer can legitimately worry about.

Panthers vs. Texans

Cam Newton is facing his most difficult test yet. The sensational rookie has gone up against some good cover corners (Charles Woodson, who played exclusively outside against the Panthers in Week 2, Cortland Finnegan in Week 10 and Aqib Talib in Week 13). He’s also faced some aggressive pass-rushes (Ray Horton’s blitzing Cardinals in Week 1, Gregg Williams’ blitzing Saints in Week 5 and Gunther Cunningham’s tireless Lions in Week 11).

He’s yet to face a combination of both, though. That’ll change Sunday. The Texans’ pass-rush is as fast and relentless as any in football. Their four-man linebacking unit might be the only group capable of chasing Newton down. Behind them, Johnathan Joseph is not just a good cover corner, he’s a great corner period. Joseph is one of just three players in the league this season who appears to possess the skill set necessary for shutting down Steve Smith (the others are Darrelle Revis and Champ Bailey, though strong arguments could also be made for Ike Taylor, Corey Webster and Patrick Peterson).

What sets Joseph apart is his acumen for defending the deep ball. And it’s the deep ball that has set Newton and Smith apart (they’ve hooked up for a league-high 25 passes over 20 yards). Aside from in the Week 3 monsoon at Jacksonville, Newton has not yet faced a defense that could wipe Smith out of the equation with just one player. We’ll find out just how much the young quarterback has really grown as a progression passer this Sunday.

Chargers vs. Ravens

Ray Lewis is an icon. Ed Reed is perhaps the greatest free safety who ever lived. Haloti Ngata is unblockable. But the best player on Baltimore’s No. 3 ranked defense is Terrell Suggs. In fact, one could argue that Suggs has been the best player on any defense this season. We’ve highlighted him in previous Film Room posts, but not with an outright endorsement for his Defensive Player of the Year campaign.

Last week against the Colts, Suggs forced three fumbles and recorded his second three-sack game in 17 days. He has a career-high 13 sacks on the season. Great as he’s been rushing the passer, his impact has been larger in other areas. His dropping back into coverage to take away quick slants played a big role in Baltimore’s win at Cleveland two weeks ago. In all games this season, Suggs has been a demon against the run. His length and speed are critical in backside pursuit, and his leverage and sheer physical force have long made him the best playside run defending linebacker in the game. Right now, there isn’t a better all-around defensive player than the ninth-year pro out of Arizona State.

Suggs is in perfect position to make a late push for Defensive Player of the Year this week. He has a game on Sunday Night Football, where you can bet Cris Collinsworth will share with the national television audience many of the items we’ve covered here. That game happens to be against a Chargers team that, because of Marcus McNeil’s neck injury, is starting recently signed journeyman Jared Gaither at left tackle.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:54 pm
 

NFL to hand out 'substantial' bans to violators?

By Will Brinson

Harrison's physical style finally caught up to him. (Getty Images)

Roger Goodell's handed out just a few on-field suspensions during his tenure as NFL Commissioner, but two of those came in the last three weeks, as both Ndamukong Suh and James Harrison were suspended. And if either of those gentlemen cross the line again, they could reportedly face "substantial suspensions."

James Harrison suspended

That's according to NFL.com's Steve Wyche, who reported Tuesday night that "there might not be much latitude" for guys like Harrison and Suh who have already been suspended once by the league.

"Three games, four games, five games, six games? It could happen depending on the circumstance," Wyche's source said. "They are repeat offenders, which mean suspensions are more likely."

Wyche's source also indicated that had Harrison not hit Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in the head, Harrison "probably have been fine" and avoided a suspension from the league.

Suh finished serving his two-game suspension on Sunday and will return to the field this week. Harrison was suspended on Tuesday morning and is waiting on an expedited appeal to determine his status for Monday night's game against the 49ers.


There's no mention of a specific timeline that encapsulates the not-quite-official warning for Harrison and Suh in Wyche's article, but as we talked about on Tuesday's podcast, Harrison actually played fine-free for quite some time, one has to assume it's permanent.

Additionally, the headline on the league's homepage at NFL.com -- "Harrison facing lengthy ban for next hit" -- doesn't leave much to the imagination when it comes to what will happen to the Steelers linebacker (or the Lions defensive tackle or any other player who's suspended) with continued violations of on-field policy.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 14 review + MNF preview

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 14's just about taken care of and several things are abundantly clear. Well, OK, not that much is clear, but we know that Tim Tebow is a winner.

On Monday's podcast, we break down Tebow's success against the Bears, who's to blame for the Cowboys latest fiasco, whether T.J. Yates can help the Texans win in the playoffs, if Greg Jennings injury is an indication that the Packers will sit or start their players the rest of the way, if Detroit's righted the ship with a narrow win against the Vikings, whether Raheem Morris is on the hot seat, plus much, much more.

Also, we preview the Seahawks-Rams Monday night scorcher of a matchup.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com