The NFL off season began this past weekend with a flurry of free agent signings. Some bad teams made a splash and signed some marquee free agents, such as Drew Brees in New Orleans, Edgerrin James to the Cardinals, and LeCharles Bentley to the Browns, in an effort to show their fan base that they are committed to winning. Others added role players to improve their teams depth or strengthen weaknesses or in the case of the Dophins aqcuire a quarterback in Culpepper that could take them from potential playoff team to a sleeper Super Bowl contender. On the other hand the Lions....err....well they are the Lions and here are a few observations from their first few offseason moves. With Grades!
1. The Lions signed "Baby Herman" from Who Framed Roger Rabbit to compete with Harrington for the starting quaterback job. Actually the Lions signed Jon Kitna, who always bore a striking resemblance to a big fat cigar smoking baby. I don't know what to make of this move. I like Kitna better then the other stinkbags the Lions were bringing in to compete for the job, especially Patrick Ramsey who is a less proven and potentially crappier version of Joey Harrington. On the other hand I was slightly intrigued by Josh McCown, but once I realized Id be subjected to "Tears of McCown" Bermanisms on NFL Primetime next year I'm glad we didnt sign him. I'm also a hell of a lot more relieved that the Lions won't be going into next season with Harrington/King/Orlovsky/Ware on their depth chart. On the other hand this signing isnt making me want rush out to buy season tickets.
2. Signing Corey Bradford. Let's see the Lions signed a former Packer receiver who runs a 4.3 40, refuses to go over the middle and bobbles/drops a ton of passes. Hmm.....this sounds awfully familiar....hmmm.....where did I see this before? Oh my god we just signed Bill Schroeder again. At least the Lions won't have to rely on Bradford as much as they did on Schroeder, because among our current receivers, Roy Williams never gets hurt, Charles Rogers doesn't smoke weed all the time and Mike Williams doesnt suck....Nevermind, I'm sure he'll be starting by Week 3.
3. Re-signing Kalimba Edwards. I'm torn about this move. The positives with Kalimba are that he's young (26), fast, and has a kickass first name, he sounds like a character from the Lion King, I wonder if his midle name is Rafiki? Also Marinelli has a history of turning players like Kalimba into big time pass rushers, namely Simeon Rice. The negatives with Kalimba are that he's been injury prone, and he doesnt really have any pass rushing moves, as he seems to rely on his athleticism/quickness alone to get to the quarterback, I always trade him in the first season of my Madden franchise, and if someone gets their hands on him, he instantly becomes a non-factor. It also shows how weak of a free agent class it was this season when Kalimba was one of the top defensive ends available. I guess this also eliminates the rumblings that John Abraham and his .215 blood alcohol level won't be reuniting with Donnie Henderson in Detroit. Reports are that the Lions are going to spend the rest of their money to re-sign their own players, (theyve already done this with Backus and Drummond) because who wouldnt want to try recapture the magic that was the 2005 Lions season. (Fire Millen........Fire Millen.....)
Based on the first round of free agency I'm still down on the Lions. It's actually gotten to the point where I don't know if I'll use them for my franchise when I buy Madden 2007, and thats saying a lot, and sadly for me its the equivalent of breaking up with a long time girlfriend, because honestly I invest as much emotionally in my Madden franchise as I do most of my relationships.........moving on. It's not that I disagree with the moves it's just that I'm not excited by them and I was so disillusioned at the end of last season that I don't have the patience for these incremental improvements, especially with the devision shaping up to be the weakest in the NFL in years....possibly ever. The only way I think my attitude will change is if we draft an exciting defensive player (Michael Huff) this April, or make a run at one of the remaining game changing free agents (Lavar Arrington?).......oh who am I kidding, I know I'll be playing in Super Bowl XLI with Jon Kitna come August. God, I hate the Lions.