Category: Sports - Original Written by Jordan Brazell
The Detroit Tigers have won three consecutive A.L. Central Division titles. The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs in 22 straight seasons (going for 23). The Detroit Lions made the playoffs in 2011 and are 5-3 this season.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
The Detroit Pistons have not made the playoffs since 2009 and haven’t finished the season with a winning record since 2008.
It’s been anything but smooth sailing for a franchise that formerly enjoyed successive sold-out games, winning seasons, a 2004 NBA championship, and six straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances from 2003-2008.
The most challenging thing for Pistons fans in recent years has been watching a team, which once embodied the heart and blue-collar mentality of Detroit, fall into obscurity in recent years, going from being arguably the city’s best sports team to being undoubtedly the worst.
But, this could be the year it all turns around.
The organization made huge strides this offseason. The most significant were the free-agent signings of forward Josh Smith and guard Chauncey Billups, as well as the trade that brought guard Brandon Jennings over from Milwaukee (for Brandon Knight).
So far this season, as Detroit’s record stands at 2-1, Smith has impacted the game in a variety of ways. In the first three games, he’s averaged 17.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 blocks. Combined with forward Greg Monroe’s 18.3 points per game and center Andre Drummond’s 12 rebounds per contest, the Pistons’ front three have been a threat for opposing frontcourts on defense and on the boards. Hopefully, the more they play together, the better they’ll be as a unit.
Billups, so far, has shown glimpses of what gave him the nickname “Mr. Bigshot”. In the season-opener, Billups put in 16 points and five assists, including a huge 3-pointer to help secure the 113-102 win on opening night, over the Washington Wizards.
Jennings returned to the lineup (from injury) Sunday night against Boston to contribute 14 points, 4 assists and 4 steals to a ten-point victory (87-77) against the Celtics.
The squad has also gotten ample production (in the young season) from guards Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, and rookie first-round pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
To get a feel of the excitement for the 2013-2014 season, from a fan’s perspective, I asked a few Pistons fans how they felt about the team’s pickups and chances to make the playoffs.
One person told me this: “I think Jennings and Smith were both good pickups. They have both established themselves as elite players in the league and should open the door for the Pistons to make the playoffs.”
Another source said it was a good move for the Pistons to bring back Chauncey Billups. “He won a championship in Detroit and has the knowledge and experience to be a leader on the team.” They go on to say, “I think (the Pistons) will make the playoffs as a (No.) 6 or 7 seed. I think they are gonna be better than people think. They have a lot of talent on the team, young talent at that.”
The talent on the team this season has obviously been better than in recent years. However, Detroit’s success will depend fairly on new head coach Maurice Cheeks.
Cheeks has had success in the NBA as an assistant coach, most recently with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has also been to the playoffs with the Portland Trailblazers and Philadelphia 76ers; he looks to make the Pistons the third team he takes to the postseason.
If he and this Detroit team can achieve this feat, they will definitely recapture this great sports city, with chants of “Deeeeee-troooooiiiit Baaask-et-baaaaallllll!”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 11:54
Category: Sports - Original Written by Nick Hopson
Fans who turned the game off early may have missed one of the greatest endings ever. After the Lions went four and out late in the fourth quarter, they were able to hold the Cowboys to a field goal and get the ball back with 1:02 left on the clock. With no timeouts remaining, Matthew Stafford led the Lions eighty yards down the field into the endzone.
The deciding touchdown came at the one yard line with twelve seconds left. Stafford hurried everyone to the line calling for a spike. This is when Stafford made the decision to leap into the endzone instead of spiking it. He caught everyone off guard. Not only was the Cowboys’ defense surprised, so was the Lions’ offensive line.
The Lions out produced the Cowboys in almost every offensive category. They had 623 total yards to the Coyboys’ 268. The difference was that the Lions turned the ball over four times while the Cowboys did not have a turnover.
Calvin Johnson was able to show Dez Bryant why he is the best in the league on Sunday. Johnson caught 14 balls for 329 yards and a touchdown. Bryant was held to three catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson’s yard total is the second highest in league history. Only Flipper Anderson had more yards totaling 336. However, Anderson had 40 yards in overtime which gives Johnson the high yard total in regulation.
Dez Bryant may compare to Calvin Johnson on the field but he has a major attitude problem. Throughout Sundays game he could be seen complaining to the coaching staff and Tony Romo. His complaining looked anything but professional. Bryant has a lot of growing up to do if he wants to be the next Calvin Johnson.
Reggie Bush had another productive day despite being banged up in practice during the week. He ran for 92 yards on 21 carries and had a touchdown. He also caught eight balls for 30 yards. Joique Bell chipped in 32 yards on the ground and had one reception for 22 yards. Mikel Leshoure was once again inactive in favor of rookie Theo Reddick.
The Lions suffered a few key injuries during the game. Ryan Broyles seems to have ruptured his Achilles tendon cutting his season short for the second year in a row. While this is a big loss for the Lions, they do have Nate Burleson set to return after the bye week. Ziggy Ansah and Bill Bentley suffered minor injuries in Sunday’s game. While injures are never good, these seem to be well timed as the Lions go into a bye week.
After the bye week, the Lions face the Bears on the road.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 October 2013 09:47
Category: Sports - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
2013 SEASON CAPS 22-YEAR MANAGERIAL CAREER FOR LEYLAND
DETROIT --- Jim Leyland, the third-winningest manager in Detroit Tigers franchise history, today announced his retirement after eight seasons as the team's manager. Leyland, 68, guided the Tigers to their third straight American League Central Division Championship this season and leaves the game ranked 15th all-time in managerial wins (1,769).
"On behalf of the entire Detroit Tigers organization, we thank Jim for everything he has done for this franchise over the past eight seasons," said Tigers President, CEO and General Manager, David Dombrowski. "Jim’s tenure will be looked back on as one of the great eras in Tigers history; an era that included two World Series appearances, four ALCS appearances in eight seasons, three division titles and two American League pennants. It has truly been an honor to work with one of the great managers in the history of the game.”
"We want to thank Jim for everything he has done over the past eight years to steer the ship, and lead our ballclub to some exciting times in this town," stated Tigers' owner Michael Ilitch. "Jim has been instrumental in the franchise's most recent success on and off the field, and we are forever grateful. We wish the best to Jim and his family in the future."
“It has been a huge honor to have been the Tigers manager for the past eight seasons, so many wonderful days and nights at Comerica Park with almost every seat filled. I can’t thank you enough for your support,” said Jim Leyland. “When I came here all I wanted was a chance and you gave me that. I hope you do the same for your next manager. My goal coming here was to turn talent into team, and with the help of the entire organization, we did that. This is not a good bye, it’s a so long, as I will be accepting another position in the organization yet to be determined. I hope you enjoyed me as much as I enjoyed you.”
Leyland was named the Tigers 36th manager on October 4, 2005 and guided Detroit to 700 wins at the helm, third-most in franchise history. Sparky Anderson (1,331 wins) and Hughie Jennings (1,131 wins) are the only two Tigers skippers with more wins. The Tigers advanced to the postseason four times during Leyland’s managerial career with the club, including three straight division titles (2011-2013), two American League pennants (2006, 2012) and two World Series appearances. Leyland joined Hughie Jennings as the only two managers in Tigers history to lead the club to the postseason in three-or-more seasons. He was the third manager in franchise history to guide a Tigers club to the World Series multiple times, joining Hughie Jennings and Mickey Cochrane.
Leyland guided a club to the postseason eight times in his 22 seasons as a Major League manager and compiled a 44-40 record (.524) during the playoffs. He led the Pittsburgh Pirates to three straight National League East Division titles (1990-92), and he captured the National League Wild Card with the Florida Marlins in 1997. His 1997 Marlins went on to defeat the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series.
Leyland is 14th all-time in games managed with 3,499, including 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-96), two with the Florida Marlins (1997-98) and one with the Colorado Rockies (1999). He ranks third on the Tigers all-time games managed list with 1,297.
Leyland’s Tigers teams finished above .500 in six of his eight seasons at the helm. Detroit has surpassed three million in season attendance four times in franchise history, all during Leyland’s Tigers managerial career (2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013).
Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 15:19
Category: Sports - Original Written by Nick Hopson
The Detroit Lions will play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Both teams come in with a 4-3 record largely due to their quarterback and receiver duos. Tony Romo has tallied an NFC best 15 passing touchdowns on the season. However, he is tied at 15 with Matthew Stafford. The only quarterback with more touchdowns in the league is Peyton Manning with 25.
When it comes to catching the ball, both the Cowboys and the Lions have a receiver with six touchdowns. They are both tied for the lead in the NFC for touchdown with a couple other players. Dez Bryant has more yards with 569 on 42 catches. Calvin Johnson only has 492 but has done it on 33 catches. There is no question that Johnson would have better stats if he wasn’t battling through an injury.
Earlier this week Dez Bryant told the media that he can do everything that Johnson can do. Bryant said, "I think it's just a pride thing. When it comes to football, just being on the field, it's a mind-set and having a mentality. I honestly believe when I'm there, I'll be feeling like there's nothing I can't do."
Fans have to look no further than last week for an example of Johnson’s greatness. He caught a 50 yard touchdown in triple coverage. It is catches like this that have given Johnson the nickname Megatron. Dez Bryant is defiantly a premiere player in this league but he is not at the level of Calvin Johnson yet. When Dez Bryant is naimed after a fiction robot or breaks Johnson’s single season receiving record, the debate can be reopened for discussion
The Lions cut Tony Scheffler in order to make room for offensive lineman Barry Richardson. In his three full seasons with the Lions he caught 113 passes for 1,229 yards and eight touchdowns. In his limited action this year, he has seven catches for 82 yards. Scheffler became dispensable with the emergence of Joseph Fauria. Fauria took advantage of his opportunities in Schefflers absence.
The Lions are currently in line for a wild card spot in the playoffs. They have a long way to go if they want to keep it that way. A win against the 4-3 Cowboys would be a step in the right direction. If the Lions defense is able to force turnovers on Sunday they should be able to come out on top.
The Lions play the Cowboys Sunday in Detroit at 1pm.
Last Updated on Friday, 25 October 2013 10:47
Category: Sports - Original Written by Nick Hopson
Mike Nugent’s 54 yard field goal as time expired gave the Bengals a 27-24 victory over the Lions. This was set up by a poor 28 yard punt by Sam Martin. Nugent had already missed one field goal but was able to make his longest attempt when the game was on the line.
Sam Martin has been spectacular for the Lions minus his last punt. The fifth round pick has an average of 48.2 yards per punt with a long of 72 and 10 punts inside the 20. He also won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his Week three performance against the Redskins. He was the first Lions punter to receive this honor since Jim Arnold in the 1993 season.
The Lions also had a field goal blocked. It was only David Akers’ third field goal miss of the season. He is 11-14 in field goal attempts with a long of 53. The only other game he missed in was the Lions loss at Arizona where he missed two.
Matthew Stafford had another big day but it wasn’t enough for the victory. He passed for 357 yards with a 54.9 completion rate and three touchdowns. He was not sacked and did not throw an interception. Andy Dalton was able to out pass him throwing for 372 and three touchdowns with a 70.6 percent completion rate.
Calvin Johnson was able to rebound from his recent injury and catch nine balls for 155 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown of the day was an incredible. He was able to out jump three defenders for the ball on a 50 yard bomb from Stafford. Bengals receiver AJ Green matched Johnson for 155 yards but was only able to score one touchdown of his own.
The Lions rushing attack was ineffective yesterday as Reggie Bush rushed for 50 yards on 20 carries. Joique Bell added 5 rushes for 27 yards. The Bengals weren’t any better as they rushed for 57 yards on 18 carries.
Stafford was able to spread the ball to eight receivers on Sunday. The leading receive behind Johnson was Kevin Ogletree. He had two catches for 50 yards. The Lions recently picked up Ogletree after he was cut from the Buccaneers. Joseph Fauria was held to one first down dance as he only had one catch on four targets for 15 yards.
The Lions play the Dallas Cowboys at home Sunday at 1pm.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 09:25
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