Robert Saleh says he’s not paying attention to coaching chatter

Once the initial surprise wore off when news broke that the Detroit Lions decided to part ways with maligned head coach Matt Patricia, speculation immediately began to abound as to who his ultimate replacement would be.

Naturally, one of the first names that came to mind of both fans and media alike is San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

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A Dearborn, Mich. native, Saleh grew up a Lions fan and played college ball in the state. He later attended Northern Michigan and coached at Michigan State, Central Michigan and Georgia.

Addtiionally, a bipartisan group of 36 Michigan House legislators released an open letter to the Detroit Lions Principal Owner Sheila Ford Hamp requesting she consider Saleh to officially succeed Patricia.

However, Saleh maintains that he’s not distracted with his name popping up in such rumors, and is instead focused on the immediate task at hand for his team.

“To be completely honest, I didn’t see anything or hear anything until coming off the practice field,” Saleh said. “So I don’t know what to make of it or anything like that. So it’s just whatever, I guess, you know.”

“This league is so week to week and the most important week right now is Monday Night Football against Buffalo and we’ve got a team that’s in the middle of the playoff hunt, so it’s really a non-issue for me,” Saleh said. “I don’t talk about it. I don’t really even see it. I don’t have social media, I don’t look into the news. So it’s probably more for family and friends to enjoy and get a kick out of than it is for me. We’re completely locked into Buffalo.”

Lions fans, do you see a homecoming in the near future of Saleh?

– – Quotes via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk Link – –

WR Marvin Hall to be waived by Lions

The Detroit Lions have made the first big roster move following the dismissals of head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn last weekend.

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According to NFL Network reporter Mike Garafalo, the Lions are planning to part ways with veteran wide receiver Marvin Hall. The decision will allow younger players on the team to demonstrate their abilities.

So far in 2020, Hall has recorded 17 receptions for 290 total yards and two touchdowns. Hall was originally signed to the Lions practice squad in 2019, and then soon promoted to the active roster.

As noted by Garafalo, Hall recently had a career game, hauling in four receptions for 113 receiving yards.

Latest NFL COVID-19 protocols could mean no games in California

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County, Calif. officials introduced a temporary ban on all high school, collegiate, and professional sports. The San Francisco 49ers will play their next two scheduled home games in Glendale, Ariz.

And now, we could potentially see the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers follow suit in playing their home games in alternate locations.

On the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest round of COVID-19 safety protocols, sources told Yahoo News that the NFL is in contact with the Rams and Chargers regarding moving their practice and home game sites to neighboring states.

“[NFL] operations may not be able to continue [in California] soon and considering where we’re at in the schedule, dramatic changes like the 49ers’ relocation of operations could encompass the remainder of the season,” one source said. “That could be the case for all of the teams [in California]. The situation is being monitored and how it will impact the rest of the season is a little fluid right now. But the best thing everyone can do is just prepare for any eventuality.”

The NFL has seen a rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, which forced the rescheduling of the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers matchup twice. The League also halted all team activities earlier in the week.

– – Quotes via Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports Link – –

Jim Harbaugh responds to 97.1 The Ticket host Rico Beard’s accusations

There has been plenty of speculation about whether or not Jim Harbaugh will be the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines past the 2020 season.

Though Harbaugh has refused to fuel the fire at all when asked by the media about his future with the Wolverines, a report from 97.1 The Ticket’s Rico Beard got his attention.

On Friday, Beard, while doing his afternoon drive show with Mike Valenti, casually mentioned that he heard Harbaugh “could not give a definitive answer” to prospective recruits about whether or not he would be Michigan’s head coach in 2021.

Well, Harbaugh quickly caught wind of Rico’s accusation and he has fired back saying the report is false.

Getting a lot of questions about (Jim Harbaugh) supposedly telling recruits he’s unsure if he is coming back,” Webb’s tweet read. “Here’s an answer directly from Harbaugh: ‘It’s not true!'”

Who do you believe? Rico Beard or Jim Harbaugh?

Wolverines spurned by 4-star safety Isaac Thompson

The Michigan Wolverines, currently mired in a disastrous strech of play, just received yet another bit of negative news.

Four-star 2022 four-star safety Isaac Thompson officially announced his committment to Missouri, spurning the Wolverines who had been a finalist to land his services.

He had also been contemplating Arkansas, Florida and Texas. This means that Michigan has just a single verbal committ (four-star linebacker Branden Jenning) since the start of October.

“I chose Mizzou because I really just wanted to stay close to home,” Thompson said. “I don’t think I can get any better than playing SEC ball just an hour away from home with the whole state supporting me.”

Thompson, who visited Ann Arbor in mid-November, is the No. 157 overall prospect and No. 11 safety in the class, per 247Sports’ Composite ranking.

– – Quotes via Ryan Zuke of MLive Link – –

Danny Amendola, Reggie Ragland react to Matt Patricia’s dismissal

The Detroit Lions pulled the trigger on a franchise altering pair of moves on Saturday, presenting maligned head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn with their walking papers.

They went through their first week of practice under interm head coach Darrell Bevell as they prepare for their divisional tilt with the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but haven’t forgotten the connections they had with Patricia.

Linebacker Reggie Ragland admitted to feeling down about the personnel change, and was sure to reach out to Patricia after the move was made official.

For wide receiver Danny Amendola, he’s focused solely on the things that he can control.

“We’re always going to have relationships throughout this league and throughout our careers, and it’s no different here,” he said during today’s media Zoom session. “Business is business and I can’t control a lot of that, so I focus on what I can do, and what I can control.”

The Lions and Bears will get underway from Soldier Field in Chicago at 1:00 PM EST.

Tarik Skubal leapfrogs Casey Mize in latest prospect rankings

It’s certainly not a surprise to anyone in the Motor City to see 2020 1st overall Draft Selection Spencer Torkelson solidly in 1st place in the latest edition of Baseball America’s Top Ten Prospect rankings.

However, one notable switch took place.

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Pitcher Tarik Skubal leapfrogged fellow pitching prospect Casey Mize after both made professional appearances for the Tigers in the 60-game shortened 2020 campaign. Skubal recorded 37 strikeouts with a 5.36 ERA, while Mize finished with 26 strikeouts and a 6.99 ERA.

Here is the full list:

1. 1B/3B Spencer Torkelson (1)

2. LHP Tarik Skubal (4)

3. RHP Casey Mize (2)

4. RHP Matt Manning (3)

5. OF Riley Greene (5)

6. 3B Isaac Paredes (7)

7. C Dillon Dingler (6)

8. OF Daz Cameron (10)

9. OF Daniel Cabrera (9)

10. RHP Alex Faedo (8)

Darrell Bevell has the respect of Bears coach Matt Nagy

The Detroit Lions are gearing up for their first game since the franchise-altering facelift that took place last weekend, as maligned head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn were shown the door by team principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp.

They’ll be going up against their divisional rival Chicago Bears, who currently sit at 5-6 on the season.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy, a fan of interim head coach Darrell Bevell, knows that the Lions will come prepared at Soldier Field on Sunday.

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“I know Darrell Bevell, I have a lot of respect for him,” Nagy said. “I know that he’ll have those guys ready.

As far as adjustments that the team is making with the new faces in charge of the scheme, the Bears know they must be prepared.

“That’s always a factor in a situation like that, but at the end of the day you can’t overwhelm yourself with that factor, or what that may be,” Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson said. “You know, it may be something, but you can’t try to really prepare around the unknown.

“We know what their DNA is. We know what they like to play. For us, we just have to be prepared to adjust to whatever change or whatever that difference might be.”

Is quarterback Mitchell Trubisky expecting the Lions to continue their traditional man-to-man style of defense this time around? Even with the coaching change, he knows it’s a possibility.

“I think you have to expect that because that’s who they are and that’s what they’ve done for the last 11 weeks,” Trubisky said. “But you gotta expect the unexpected with the new coach being in there. They might throw some different looks at us so for us it’s just worrying about what we’re doing on the offensive side of the ball, being in the right place at the right time, executing our plays, trying to take another step forward from last week, and obviously my focus is ball security and taking care of the football.

“But yeah, you gotta expect the unexpected but that’s who they’ve been the last 11 weeks so to change during a week, we’ll see, but you gotta be ready for it.”

– – Quotes via Gene Chamberlain of SI Link – –

Schedule released for 1st half of 2020-21 Season

Fans of the Detroit Pistons will soon be able to get a look at the new-look Detroit Pistons, albeit only on television.

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The first half of the upcoming schedule has officially been released by the team, and they won’t have to wait long to say hello to one of the former faces of the franchise. They’ll officially start the new season on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at the Minnesota Timberwolves at 8 p.m.

Detroit opens the home portion of their schedule December 26 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and former center Andre Drummond, who returns to the Motor City for the first time since his trade last season.

The full first-half Schedule:

3 Player ruled OUT for Lions Week 13 matchup vs. Bears

The Detroit Lions will play their first post-Quinntricia game on Sunday vs. the Chicago Bears with the hopes of turning their season around.

Just moments ago, the Lions released their final injury report of the week and as you can see, Kenny Golladay, Da’Shawn Hand, and Jeff Okudah have already been ruled OUT.

Player Position Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Kenny Golladay WR hip NP NP NP Out
Da’Shawn Hand DL groin NP NP NP Out
Jeff Okudah CB shoulder/groin NP NP NP Out
Austin Bryant DE thigh LP LP LP Questionable
Matthew Stafford QB right thumb LP LP LP Questionable
D’Andre Swift RB illness LP NP NP Questionable
Tracy Walker S not injury related not listed not listed NP Questionable
Danny Amendola WR hip LP FP FP
Hunter Bryant TE concussion FP FP FP
Quintez Cephus WR not injury related NP NP FP
Mike Ford CB concussion FP FP FP
Christian Jones LB knee NP LP LP

Jim Harbaugh gives first hint that he may not be back in 2021

Will Jim Harbaugh be the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines by the time the 2021 season rolls around?

What is a question that a growing number of people have been asking as the Wolverines have continued to lose football games in 2020.

Now, we seem to have a hint that Harbaugh himself may not be so sure about whether or not he will be coaching at Michigan in 2021.

According to 97.1 The Ticket’s Rico Beard, Harbaugh had not been giving recruits a definitive answer about if he will be the Wolverines head coach next season.

Nation, do you believe Harbaugh will coach UM in 2020?

Robert Saleh and John Dorsey emerge as 2 candidates of ‘interest’ for Lions

Who will the Detroit Lions hire to replace Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia?

That is by far the biggest question that will have to be answered during the offseason and we now have our first report that the Lions are interested in a pair of candidates to replace Quinntricia.

According to Pro Football Network insider Benjamin Allbright, the Lions are interested in San Francisco 49ers DC Robert Saleh to replace Patricia and former Browns and Chiefs GM John Dorsey to take over for Quinn.

“Robert Saleh is one of the hottest names out there right now,” Allbright said. “He’s absolutely sought after. Jacksonville was very interested last year, Detroit is interested this year.”

“I’ve heard John Dorsey is a name to watch out for in the general managership portion up there in Detroit,” Allbright added.

Nation, do you think this would be a good combo? Personally, I am sold on Saleh but would take a hard pass on Dorsey.

6 Teams who could trade for Matthew Stafford includes one who would ‘Win a Super Bowl’

There are plenty of HUGE decisions that will have to be made in Allen Park during the coming offseason, including hiring a new general manager and head coach after the Detroit Lions decided to move on from Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn.

But another decision that will have to be made is whether or not to continue on with Matthew Stafford or if it is time to cut ties and attempt to trade him.

In a piece published in The Athletic, Mike Sando suggests six teams as potential trade partners for the Lions if they do decide it is time to move on from Stafford.

San Francisco 49ers

Coach Kyle Shanahan helped Ryan become the league MVP and reach a Super Bowl. He just knocked the Los Angeles Rams out of first place in the NFC West with Nick Mullens subbing for Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. Think Shanahan could win big with Stafford? His Falcons offenses were more pass-oriented than his 49ers offenses have become for a simple reason. Shanahan had greater faith in throwing the ball with Ryan than he has with the quarterbacks in San Francisco. Stafford would open the playbook.

“They would win a Super Bowl,” an offensive coach said. “Stafford would be in a real organization finally. He would bend to Shanahan and that offense because there is such a history of success with that system. And Stafford would know he’s not going to get hit in the head all the time like in Detroit.”

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees, despite tossing 40 touchdown passes with four interceptions in his past 16 starts, is winding down physically and might not project as a full-season starter if he decides to keep playing. Sean Payton loves Taysom Hill, but does he really want to risk being stuck with a one-dimensional offense for the long-term if Hill does not develop? Jameis Winston is also on the roster, but his off-the-charts interception rate in Tampa was no aberration. Winston threw far too many picks in college as well. Stafford is the more appealing alternative if the Saints can keep open their championship window the next couple of seasons.

“Sean would do it if he needed to and they would roll and Stafford would go there first over any other place if the choice was his,” another offensive coach said. “They have talent, they know how to pass protect, they got running backs and the defense is really good.”

New England Patriots

After three-plus seasons under Patricia in Detroit, living by the Patriot Way in New England might not rank high on Stafford’s wish list, especially without sufficient weaponry on the roster to support a quarterback. But Stafford could win in New England. Josh McDaniels could still be there to run the offense. Key players could return from COVID-19 opt-outs. Bill Belichick will have time (and salary-cap resources) to restore the roster this coming offseason. Stafford, like current Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, comes with some injury concerns at this stage. Unlike Newton, Stafford does not need rushing contributions to be effective.

“I think Stafford has lacked some accuracy this year and while some of that is protection and receiving corps, what kind of dynamic receiving corps do they have in New England?” an exec said.

Indianapolis Colts

Philip Rivers turns 39 on Dec. 8. How the rest of this season plays out could determine whether Rivers wants to keep playing and whether the Colts want him back.

“I think Frank (Reich) is too loyal to Rivers and would not do that with Stafford,” an evaluator said.

The Colts’ roster is ready to win now. Some of the concerns surrounding Rivers’ propensity for taking risks could apply to Stafford as well, but if Indy needs a quarterback ready to win from Day One, Stafford could qualify more than a developmental prospect would.

“They are doing it with Rivers and in their minds, they have to be thinking they are gearing up to who they are drafting next so they can have a real succession plan,” a veteran coach said. “It’s not out of the realm, but to go back-to-back with veterans, I don’t know. They need a long-term fit for the coach.”

Cleveland Browns

This one might seem odd on the surface with Cleveland 8-3 and Baker Mayfield in only his third NFL season, but I’m not sure Mayfield has the talent to elevate the Browns. Stafford could. Coach Kevin Stefanski would know the Lions’ QB well from his own days in the NFC North. The Browns have the offensive line and run game that Stafford hasn’t had in Detroit and that he could use as he transitions into the latter part of his career.

An exec wondered whether Cleveland would invest the draft capital and salary in Stafford without having an obvious connection to him, but we should also remember that the Browns’ current leadership has relatively little invested in Mayfield, who was inherited from the previous regime. And there could be one Stafford connection through Darrell Bevell, the Lions’ interim coach. Stefanski worked with Bevell in Minnesota for five seasons.

Denver Broncos

The organization has its own issues. Ownership is in flux. GM John Elway cycles through coaches. There is some young talent on offense, however, and the team ranks among the top 10 in combined EPA on defense and special teams. Stafford would give the Broncos at least a chance at keeping pace in an AFC West packed with talented quarterbacks. The odds are against Drew Lock playing as well as Stafford has played, let alone as well as Patrick Mahomes or even Justin Herbert and Derek Carr have played.

“Elway might not do that because his name is on the young guy,” a coach said.

Nation, if the Lions do decide to move on from Stafford, where would you like to see him traded to?

Former Wings F Thomas Vanek says NHL ‘Isn’t that tough anymore’

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek is a veteran of 14 seasons in the National Hockey League, and he’s seen just about everything over the course of the 1,029 career games he appeared in.

And to that end, he apparently wants to make one thing clear – the NHL isn’t as tough as it once was.

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Vanek offered a rather frank assessment of the League’s toughness, or rather lack thereof during a recent appearance on “The Instigators” podcast.

“The last four-to-five years, besides (Zdeno) Chara, the league isn’t that tough anymore. I think we can all agree on that,” Vanek explained. “I think early on when we all played together and you got the (Chris) Pronger’s, the (Derian) Hatcher’s, that was tough.”

“Standing in front of the net, there were no penalties back then. The ref would say, ‘Hey, loosen up Pronger’ and Pronger would look at the ref and was like ‘Don’t ever talk to me again.'”

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Of course, fans of the Red Wings are all too familiar with the bruising Pronger, who had plenty of run-ins with the team during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fellow defenseman (and one-time Red Wing) Derian Hatcher was also known for his physical presence, while 6’9 Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara continues to intimidate opponents.

However, the NHL has seen a reduction in so-called “goon” players, who offered little in terms of offense and made their living with their fists while protecting their squad’s star players with physicality.

“I don’t know if it was really dirty (in the past), that’s the way it was – if you go in front of the net, you’re taking a punishment,” Vanek said. “Now the game has changed. You’ve got a lot of smaller defensemen who are more mobile. They cross-check a little bit, but those guys are nonexistent really anymore.”

Vanek, while not officially retired, currently coaches an under-14 single-A team in Stillwater, Minnesota. During his career, he tallied 373 goals and 789 total points.

– – Quotes via Brandon Maron of Link – –

There was ‘tension’ between Matthew Stafford and Matt Patricia

During his time as head coach of the Detroit Lions, Matt Patricia seemingly made more ‘enemies’ than he did friends and according to Kyle Meinke of MLive, one of those enemies, at least early on,  just so happened to be Lions’ quarterback, Matthew Stafford.

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In a recent mailbag piece, Meinke was asked a question about whether or not Stafford got along with Patricia, and his response was telling.

From MLive:

Nobody was spared. Not even Matthew Stafford. The veteran, franchise quarterback wasn’t a fan of Patricia’s talking-down style, according to multiple sources in a position to know. I believe there is more to the story, but that’s what I have confirmed and feel comfortable reporting at this time. I don’t think it was a toxic relationship at any point, but there was tension between the coach and his quarterback, period.

Meinke did make sure to mention that Patricia did change his ways after that first season and that his relationship with Stafford was “fine down the stretch.”

And as I’ve written many times, Patricia also softened some over time, wasn’t so toxic with players, and that’s a big reason why guys who weren’t around for 2018 tend to have a higher opinion of Patricia than guys who were. In the end, the Patricia-Stafford relationship was fine down the stretch. It just wasn’t always that way, as it wasn’t for many players.

This comes absolutely no surprise at all to me as I have written about how Stafford has seemed unhappy ever since Patricia took over. In fact, Stafford has already seemed more upbeat and happy now that Patricia is gone.

HOF wide receiver begs Lions to do right by Matthew Stafford

If you are like me, you have always wondered how good Matthew Stafford could be if the Detroit Lions put a solid team and a great offensive minded head coach alongside him.

Well, Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin also wonders why Stafford could do if he had a “real offensive minded head coach,” and he is begging Lions ownership to make that happen.

From 97.1 The Ticket:

“I’ve always wondered, always wondered — I don’t care what anybody says — I always wonder what Matt would be with a real head coach, offensive-minded head coach,” Irvin told 97.1 The Ticket. “What would he be with Andy Reid? If you can’t get Andy Reid, then I want the closest thing to Andy Reid. You see what I’m saying?”

“I want the closest thing to Andy Reid to get my quarterback, who understands defense, who has a great arm, who has great talent, to play with this kind of talent on offense.”

From there, Irvin says Bieniemy can handle the rest.

“And then I’m going to ask Bienemy, ‘What are your thoughts toward the GM? Who understands how to build the kind of (offense you built) in Kansas City? Who understands how to go find this great speed guy? You got (Kenny) Golladay, so you already got your main receiver, but you still want to get a speedster guy.”

“And I’m going to say, ‘Hey, Matt Stafford. Your last few years, buddy, we’re going to get the most out of you and build this thing around you the right way.’ And I don’t think he’s ever had that.”

Nation, who would you like the Lions to hire as their next head coach?