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NFL Recap
Tuesday, 2007 September 11 - 9:27 am
Detroit Lions 36, Oakland Raiders 21. Carolina Panthers 27, St. Louis Rams 13. Also, there may have been some college football games this weekend.

Okay. So while I'm thrilled that both Detroit and Carolina got their seasons off to winning starts, I'm not really going to start blogging about them on a regular basis. I'm not enough of an NFL fan to do that week after week. I only watch NFL if my teams are playing, or to keep up with my fantasy football league.

But after Michigan got thumped by Oregon 39-7 last weekend, and N.C. State turned the ball over seven times en route to a 37-17 loss to Boston College, I'm simply dreading the prospect of college football blogging week after week.

Michigan's problem is painfully clear: our defensive players can't make tackles. On play after play, a two yard gain turned into an eight yard gain because of poor tackling. At least Lloyd Carr recognizes this. But how can a Michigan team, loaded with talented athletes and prized recruits out of high school, be so shoddy at fundamentals? Both the ASU and Oregon offensive players have characterized our defense as big but slow. Last year we terrorized teams with the speed of our defensive front seven (well, for the first eleven games of the season, anyway). This year, it's like we have eleven large marshmallows out of the field, waving their puffy arms at the cheetahs streaking by them.

And when you put poor tackling on top of bad coverage in the secondary (my God, was that three times that Oregon threw bombs for touchdowns on us?) and poor execution on offense (Chad Henne did not look good in the pocket... and Ryan Mallett, when he came in after Henne's injury, looked like exactly like a freshman quarterback playing his first game), there's just no way we can win. So what's left to do?

Mike Hart, bless him, has guaranteed a victory on Saturday against Notre Dame. I'm sure that if he could play every down, he'd do it. He's the only guy who really seems like he's turning in an effort out there.

There's an interesting thing that's happened among my football-watching friends who aren't Michigan fans: while Michigan's loss to ASU was cause for a good laugh, Michigan's loss to Oregon has made them say, "Oh, those poor kids." Michigan is now an object of pity. Michigan fans will go through the season hoping for wins, not expecting them. Kinda like, um, N.C. State fans... or Detroit Lions fans.

Another thought I've had about Michigan: you know that part in "Independence Day" where they blow up the alien ship, and Robert Loggia says "Get on the wire, tell them how to bring those sons of bitches down"? Well, I feel like Ohio State did that to Michigan after the game last year. Everyone seems to know how to exploit Michigan's weaknesses now. On offense, spread the field and exploit mismatches in the secondary. Run zone-blocked draw plays to zoom by the defensive linemen. On defense, stack against the run; follow the fullback to where the running play will go. Blitz from everywhere to force Henne into making bad pocket decisions.

We have to change, fundamentally. Lloyd Carr is savvy enough to realize this. But I'm not sure how he plans to bring about that change.
Permalink  3 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: sports

Comments

Comment #1 from John C (Guest)
2007 Sep 11 - 8:50 pm : #
I would also like to point out that perhaps we over-estimated Ron English. I am begining to suspect that Ron is the proverbial Emperor with no clothes. I mean he has faced 4 spreads in the last 5 games, and lost ot three of them... um... I would like to think he is smart enough to get it figured out (he certainly looks sharp and in control on the sideline)
Comment #2 from Brett (Guest)
2007 Sep 12 - 1:20 am : #
Ok, first; Detroit Lions fans will not be "hoping" for wins this year. Detroit's defense sucks, with a few exceptions (Sims, Rogers, Redding), but their offense should do enough to keep them competitive.

Second; everyone laughed at me when I drafted Jon Kitna in the 8th round of FF... literally electronically laughed. "Ha ha" they said, "terrible pick" they said. It was the only person drafted that got an electronic scoff. Only week one, but at least I got a laugh back.

Third; look for the Lions to go....8 - 8. You heard it here.

Fourth; loved the Independence Day/Ohio State tie in.
Comment #3 from Brett (Guest)
2008 Jan 7 - 10:49 am : #
Margin for error on season predictions, +/- 1 game.

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