Motor City Renaissance: Detroit Lions Year 1

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Winuvas, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Motor City Renaissance: Detroit Lions Year 1

    Coach Winuvas announced as new Lions coach

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    The Detroit Lions have been through two head coaches in six games. Seeking stability and a secure defensive mind to go with their young talent, general manager Martin Mayhew called up the Denver Broncos and asked for permission to talk to their head coach, Bob Winuvas, about taking over the Lions.

    The Ford family was pleased when Coach Winuvas not only said yes, but was emphatic about going to Detroit. So was Mayhew.

    "I was pleasantly surprised with the enthusiasm Coach Winuvas showed for coming into our franchise and wants to help us turn it around," Mayhew said before introducing Coach Winuvas as the Lions' head coach.

    Coach Winuvas had a big smile on his face when he walked up in blue and silver.

    "Denver was a good gig. Don't get me wrong. But I wanted a chance to build something from the ground up. This place has a lot of young, big time potential in lots of players. This isn't gonna be easy. For ANYONE. There will be lots of turnover in the next few weeks. It will not be an easy task to turn this team around. But we have a good core of young guys in place. We'll build around them," Coach Winuvas started.

    "We won't win a lot of games right now. But with good drafting, good free agent moves, and good personnel choices, we can win in Detroit sooner rather than later," Coach Winuvas said.

    Coach Winuvas was asked about his offensive and defensive philosophy coming onto a team that is ranked in the lower third of the OMFL in both offense and defense.

    "Offensively, we have to protect our defense. That means ball control and smart throws from (quarterback Matthew) Stafford to get the offense into the end zone. We stay out there longer with our offense, protect our defense which is young and needs work, and we'll be fine. On defense, though, we will attack. We will take chances. We will build around our young defensive tackles," Coach Winuvas said of his defense.

    Coach Winuvas has gotten into more than he can chew in Detroit. But his optimism and enthusiasm are a refreshing change from previous regimes. Is it enough? Absolutely not. But confidence in the coach is what this team, this city, and this community needs right now.

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  2. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Coach Winuvas Makes Immediate Impact

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    Coach Winuvas marched into Detroit like his backside was on fire.

    He immediately called all players into the conference room and promptly slammed the doors to all media personnel there.

    The media waited patiently for an hour and a half. Slamming could be heard throughout the hour and a half wait.

    The players then walked out with mostly long faces. Any questions asked to the players was answered very tersely with, "No comment."

    Coach Winuvas was the last one to walk out of the conference room in Detroit almost thirty minutes after the last player left. He then confronted the few media people that remained on hand.

    "The players have been informed that I am actively looking at any upgrades to all positions. Some guys that showed up to that meeting today will not be here by next week's game. They don't like that. No player likes to be told he will be cut. But we're developing an attitude here that we won't tolerate mediocrity anymore," Coach Winuvas said of the meeting. "Other than that, I pointed out what we are doing now offensively and defensively. Some players did not like that. They won't be here next week. Period."

    Lots of waiver claims have hit the OMFL wire over the last 5 hours, with a few of Coach Winuvas' former players in that list. Former Coach Winuvas players included quarterback Brady Quinn and cornerback Nathan Jones.

    "I know what I need here. I need winners. I believe those guys we are claiming are possible winners here in Detroit," Coach Winuvas said of the waiver wire claims.

    Will they help? Only time will tell.

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  3. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Popular kicker Hanson part of coach's chopping block

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    I never thought I would ever see the day when loyalty would be so callously tossed aside. Coach Winuvas, in his attempt to better the team and get younger at lots of positions, ended Jason Hanson's career in Detroit when he cut the kicker in place of rookie Aaron Pettrey out of Fresno State.

    "(Jason) Hanson has been a vital part of this community and this team for twenty seasons. He has been loyal beyond compare to this organization, its fan base, and its community. We are rewarding that - just not any longer on the football field. Hanson wants to finish the year out and possibly get a job with a contender and get a ring before he retires. Why would I stop him from doing that?" Coach Winuvas asked the media. "Besides, Hanson and I talked at length the other day and I want him to be part of this organization long term. So he will come in and be a special assistant to (general manager) Martin Mayhew once he hangs up his cleats. We reward loyalty in Detroit, and he's been as loyal as ANYBODY who's put on the silver and blue."

    Coach Winuvas then talked about all his cuts he made, mostly to the defensive side of the ball, which currently ranked 28th in the league.

    "I'm not changing for change's sake, believe you me," Coach Winuvas smirked. "These guys are coming in playing hungry. Because if they can't/won't perform, they know (expletive) well I will replace THEM with someone who can/will perform. I don't expect supreme results. But I WILL expect effort. EVERY play. EVERY practice. UNTIL the whistle blows."

    Among those happy with the new attitude is defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, a guy whom Coach Winuvas has previous ties with in Kansas City when they were on the same sideline together.

    "Coach (Winuvas) is a good guy. He demands effort, and that kind of thing appeals to me," Vanden Bosch said in an interview.

    Other players that survived what Detroit media is politely calling, "The Purge" were Ndamukong Suh, Bart Scott, Braylon Edwards, Kevin Smith, and Jahvid Best, among others.

    "We kept good players. We got rid of subpar ones for guys I feel can perform better in my system. Simple as that. No different than when a coach comes in during the offseason and cleans house. I'm just doing it midseason," Coach said of the purge.

    Guys such as cornerback Nathan Jones and quarterback Brady Quinn appreciate the second chance they have to prove Coach Winuvas wrong about cutting them in Denver earlier this year.

    "Both those guys were tough decision cuts in Denver," Coach said of Jones and Quinn. "I liked those guys a lot, but they just didn't have enough to do well on that roster. On this roster, these guys will be expected to lead and perform well. And I am confident that they, and all the guys I have put claims on, will."

    Coach sounds confident heading into next week's game against the Jets. Confidence don't win ball games, though. Talent does. Can Coach Winuvas lead the Lions to a .500 record? If so, can he do the unthinkable - get to the playoffs?

    We'll all watch together, folks.

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  4. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Detroit Purge Done...For Now

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    In a flurry of movement on the waiver wire, contacting agents, getting players in for practice reps, and signing contracts, Coach Winuvas should be exhausted. He isn't.

    Over the last 48 hours, the Lions have signed half a roster of new players and cut half a roster of old players. Twenty-three players that were not Lions 48 hours ago are Lions now.

    "Like I told you guys when I came in, I'm happy to be here. But we need a culture change. And that starts with me, and in the locker room. These guys are here because I believe they will give effort and can perform at this level. Now they have the ability to prove me right. If they don't, we'll have more changes in the offseason," Coach Winuvas said of his roster upheaval.

    Gone are most of the free agents from the previous regime, such as defensive end Adewalde Agunleye, Anthony Henry, Ahmad Carroll, and Brian Witherspoon. Guys with big contracts that were either bench warmers or not playing when Coach Winuvas arrived.

    "Our depth as far as payout is more even now. We are under the cap pretty good now, as I understand it. We'll have room for next year's free agent class and we should be able to make a play for at least 2 big guys in free agency. Combine that with our draft, and we'll have a solid crew coming in for next year," Coach Winuvas said.

    But what about the here and now?

    "Now don't take this talk for 'I'm giving up on this year'. Far from it. These guys have 9 more games to prove their worth to this franchise. These fifty-five. If they can't do that, we will lose, and they will be replaced. I think they can get the job done. They have to prove me right, or wrong," Coach Winuvas responded.

    Coach Winuvas has already crossed swords with talented but troublesome wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

    "Yeah, Braylon (Edwards) is not practicing 100% hard like he should. He's dropping balls in practice that receivers of his calibur should come up with. When guys like newcomer Jabar Gaffney impress me in practice more than Braylon, that tells you his work ethic," Coach Winuvas criticized.

    But the coach was quick to praise Edwards for his in-game effort.

    "He does turn it on during real fire," Coach Winuvas said. "He's a gamer. However, if you play for me, you practice like you play. Otherwise you'll only be good. You'll never be great. EVER."

    Other guys looking good in practice are newcomers Raheem Brock (defensive end), Jabar Gaffney (wide receiver), Buster Davis (wide receiver), Nathan Jones (cornerback), Craig Steltz (safety), and Cody Brown (linebacker).

    "I never said I couldn't judge talent. My biggest hurdle has always been on the offensive side of the ball. We still have offensive line issues, but hopefully we can put a front five that can keep (quarterback Matthew) Stafford vertical and open holes for (running back Jahvid) Best and (running back Kevin) Smith. We do that, and we can win a few games down the stretch and, at worst, play spoiler in the OMFL. Don't think Detroit will be an easy win, coaches," Coach Winuvas warned. "New attitude, new era here. Get used to it. We may be down now, but we ain't out yet. And don't count us out."

    Bold words from a 2-4 team's coach. Can he live up to them, or will Coach Winuvas end up eating those words at the end of the year?

    Keep up with Lions coverage here!
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  5. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Lions Roar in upset of Jets

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    Coach Winuvas said that during what we now call "The Purge" in Detroit these days, he was bringing in what he thought were "winners". Well, in their first test together as a new crew, they surprised a lot of OMFL experts with a 33-32 upset of the New York Jets this Sunday at Ford Field.

    The scoring began with Detroit's opening possession. With a power running game attack, the Lions moved down the field and busted it through the end zone with a 1 yard run from rookie tailback Jahvid Best and got ahead 7-0.

    The Jets, however, were up to the task as well, using their monstrous offensive line to open holes for Shonn Greene, Ladanian Tomlinson, and even Joe McKnight, for a touchdown which was capped off by fullback John Conner's 3 yard rumble to tie the game at 7. Late in the first quarter, a busted coverage left former Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson open, and Sanchez found him for a 24 yard pass to bring the score to 14-7 to end the first quarter.

    The Lions managed to get to the 40 yard line before stalling early in the second quarter, and they brought in rookie kicker Aaron Pettrey for a 56 yard field goal, which he nailed.

    "Kid has quite a leg and lots of upside," Coach Winuvas commented.

    The Lions played bend, but don't break, defensively, and late in the first half Sanchez found Dustin Keller for a 9 yard pass. Detroit immediately put their two minute offense into play, and got within range of Pettrey for another long field goal, this time 51 yards, to end the half at 21-13.

    A big interception in zone coverage by former Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery kicked off the second half for the Lions, getting them a turnover they desperately needed to stay in the game. Detroit made it pay dividends, getting tailback Kevin Smith in from 8 yards out for a 21-19 score. Detroit attempted, and failed, the two point conversion. Late in the third, Ladanian Tomlinson ran in from 7 yards out to get the fourth quarter started at 29-19 after the Jets completed a 2 point conversion.

    The running attack for Detroit made its mark in the fourth, as the Jets could not get Jahvid Best down until after he made 4-5 yard gains. Best scored from 2 yards out to make the score 29-26 early in the fourth. Another Jets drive marched down the field, but the Lions stalled it deep in their own territory, and Jets kicker Nick Folk came out to get a chip shot 19 yard field goal to make the score 32-26.

    Then, against all logic, Coach Winuvas came out and ran the ball with 3 minutes left. Again and again the coach called runs, allowing Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to audible out if he saw some line discrepancies.

    "I let (Matthew) Stafford do his thing out there. I know what I wanted, but I let him make changes if he saw something he didn't like. He made good decisions," Coach Winuvas said after the game.

    Stafford got them to the 1 yard line with less than a minute left, and powered it in with Jahvid Best for his third score of the game and giving the Lions the lead at 33-32. Forty-two seconds is a lot of time in the OMFL, though, and Coach Winuvas knew it.

    "We forced the Jets to burn their timeouts, but I still would rather have taken a bit more time off the clock. Can't argue with the results, though," Coach Winuvas commented.

    The Jets got out to the 34 yard line before a Sanchez rollout ended badly with a throw into coverage. Cornerback Chris Houston came through with an interception to end the Jets' day and get the win for the Lions. Houston was nicked up on the play, but it was nothing serious.

    "Think he just had the wind knocked out of him from that pass," Coach Winuvas joked.

    For the Lions, quarterback Matthew Stafford was solid, going 14 of 21 for 183 yards and no touchdowns, but also no interceptions. Stafford was also a force in the running game, getting 6 key scrambles for 48 yards. Rookie halfback Jahvid Best showed why Detroit drafted him in the first round, getting 19 rushes for 97 yards and 3 touchdowns. Halfback Kevin Smith also got a score on 4 attempts and 18 yards. Receiving wise, with cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie tying up Lions receivers all day long, Stafford went to his tight ends, with Tony Scheffler (2 receptions, 41 yards) and Brandon Pettigrew (3 catches, 12 yards) key contributors. Defensively, the star was cornerback Chris Houston, who had 4 tackles, 1 sack on a corner blitz, and the interception which iced the game.

    For the New York Jets, Mark Sanchez went 16 of 25 for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 2 interceptions. The rushing attack was split between Joe McKnight (6 carries, 21 yards), Ladanian Tomlinson (6 carries, 45 yards), and Shonn Greene (7 carries, 40 yards). Receiving was led by former Lion Calvin Johnson, Jr., with 5 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Ladanian Tomlinson had 3 catches for 106 yards, but one of them was a 57 yard coverage bust by Detroit. Tight end Dustin Keller had 4 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown as well. Defensively for New York, safety Brodney Pool had 6 tackles on the day.

    "We played well, but we still have room to improve on both sides of the ball. We didn't stop the Jets by any stretch. We just didn't turn the ball over, and they did. That won us the game. We have to play stiffer defense though. Offensively, these guys surprised me, to be honest. The offensive line moved the Jets' front seven around well. (Rookie Jahvid) Best ran like a man possessed and hit holes well. Stafford hit guys when they were open, and ran when nothing was there. We play like that, with stiffer defense, we'll be all right the rest of the season and next season," Coach Winuvas said during his post game press conference.

    Detroit (3-5) goes to Buffalo next week for another AFC East game against new coach Matt. The Jets (5-3) go to Cleveland to take on the Browns.

    Coach Winuvas gets a huge win in his first game in Detroit against a more talented Jets team. Will this win carry over as confidence to Buffalo? Or will the Lions suffer a hangover and get sloppy? Right now, the city is happy. But one loss will get them back where they are used to being: down on the Lions.

    Keep up with Lions coverage here!
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  6. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Coach Winuvas Gives Pats Bulletin Board Material

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    Well, Coach Winuvas is certainly walking around with a lot of swagger for being the head man of a 4-6 team.

    "When I got here, the team was 2-4. I'm at 2-2 right now. And this team is playing inspired football," Coach Winuvas said of his Lions. "They may not have all the talent that the other teams out there have, but they have heart and they don't quit until the final whistle. I can't ask any more of them than that. Give me 110% from snap to whistle, every snap, every whistle, until the final one. They do that, and they will win ball games."

    And the Lions have won football games. After Coach Winuvas' opening game loss against the Redskins, the Lions came back with an upset victory over the highly favored New York Jets, 33-32. Then after a defensive battle which ended in a 10-7 Lions victory against the Buffalo Bills, the Lions hung tough against a superior Cowboys squad before succumbing in the fourth quarter in a 23-10 loss.

    Since Coach Winuvas has come in, the Lions have worked on a "bend, don't break" type philosophy on defense, which goes against Coach Winuvas' liking, but is necessary given his talent level.

    "We just don't have the horses to go all out like I would like yet," Coach Winuvas said of his defensive personnel. "That doesn't mean these guys can't be successful, though, if coached properly. That is what we are doing. I've always been willing to adapt to defensive personnel I have."

    Then Coach Winuvas came out with a bold statement certain to rankle the feathers of his next opponent.

    "We are gonna give the Patriots their second loss of the season on Thanksgiving."

    The media was in stunned silence as Coach Winuvas continued.

    "Coach Gaddy and his boys are due. They been running this season on high octane offense and thinking they are the (expletive). We have the strategy to get the job done offensively, and I'll take my defense against his offense and take him out. I said last week to some friends that if Coach Jeremy and the Colts couldn't get the Patriots a loss, I guarantee that the Lions would. Jeremy didn't get it done. I will," Coach Winuvas bluntly said.

    So what gives Coach Winuvas this confidence that his Lions will win on Thanksgiving?

    "Nobody thinks we will do it. No one at all. Not ONE of you out there that is not a member of the Detroit Lions. There are 55 guys in that locker room that suit up that think that not only will we compete, we will win. The coaching staff believes it. And I believe it. We don't NEED you to believe it. We'll prove it on Thursday," Coach Winuvas said.

    Most local media are dubbing this game now the "Turkey Day Massacre". All the media, including this reporter, are completely convinced that the coach has lost his mind in challenging one of the supreme coaching minds in the OMFL like he has.

    It'll be a massacre, all right. For Detroit. What is that song lyric? "Don't tug on Superman's cape, don't spit into the wind, don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger....". You can add to that the following: "Don't poke Coach Gaddy before you play him".

    Keep up with all Detroit Lions coverage here!:
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  7. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Lions Sign Springs for Stretch Run

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    Earlier today, the Detroit Lions extended a waiver claim contract to veteran cornerback Shawn Springs, who accepted the contract tender after the 24 hour compulsory wait for other teams to put a claim out as well.

    "(Shawn) Springs may be a bit long in the tooth, but he's perfect for us right now - a veteran who knows how to win at this level and understand defenses. Hopefully, with him being out there starting, he can show our youngsters (cornerback Dwight) Lowery and (cornerback Chris) Houston how to operate at this level. He still has some gas in the tank, I think," Coach Winuvas said of the signing.

    Springs, recently of the Arizona Cardinals, thanked the Lions organization for the opportunity.

    "I know I can still play at the highest level," Springs said of his signing. "I'm thankful to Coach Winuvas and the Detroit Lions organization for the chance to prove that I still can play."

    Springs got to the Lions practice facility early Tuesday and immediately suited up for practice and played with the starters alongside Chris Houston. Dwight Lowery was moved to the nickel cornerback, and Dre Bly was moved to the dime cornerback spot.

    "Nothing against those guys. They have played as hard for me as they can and have shown glimpses. However, the cornerback spot is one of our weaker areas on the team, and heart can only get you so far. Springs has the talent still, even at his age, to play and start in this league for us, and he will this Sunday against Green Bay," Coach Winuvas said.

    Springs has lost a step in recent years but still exhibits the cover skills that made him the third overall pick in the 1997 draft. With his addition, the boost to the defense is noticeable, and Springs enjoyed the little bit of defensive playbook he digested during his sole practice with the team on Tuesday.

    "I like the aggressive style that they are implementing here," Springs said. "If we at the cornerback position do our jobs, the front seven have a chance to be special."

    The Lions and Coach Winuvas are banking on him being a huge upgrade at the cornerback spot.

    "Look, believe it or not, we have a shot to make the playoffs in the NFC," Coach Winuvas said bluntly. "But we have to win games now. (Shawn) Springs can help us do that, period. While we are gearing up for next year, we have to make a push now. I think if we can manage to sneak in the playoffs - and make no mistake, folks, it would be sneaking in - we will be dangerous for teams to play against. Because we have something that those other teams don't have - no pressure. We are relaxed and just playing to have fun right now, and that is special to have for a team that can fight for a playoff spot. Playing loose and together is a great thing."

    It would take a small miracle for Detroit to make the playoffs, as they are currently three games back of Philadelphia for the six seed in the playoffs with four games to play. The Eagles under Coach Vishal are the defending OMFL Bowl Champions. They know how to win. Detroit and Coach Winuvas are still learning. But so far, it is a promising experience.

    Keep up with all Lions coverage on the sister website:
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  8. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Lions Officially Home Bound After Season

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    It wasn't much of a shot, but, mathematically speaking, the Detroit Lions still had a chance to get into the playoffs. It was a long shot, but a shot nonetheless. At least until their loss at Ford Field earlier this Sunday to the Packers, a heartbreaking 27-24 loss that officially ends the Lions' season after week 17.

    The scoring began quickly, with the Packers exposing the coverage schemes of the Lions quickly and efficiently, and in thirty seconds, Aaron Rodgers hit tight end Jermichael Finley to get the scoring going at 7-0. A Lions drive stalled near the 35 yard line, and Detroit called on rookie kicker Aaron Pettrey to nail a 52 yard field goal to get the score at 7-3 Packers.

    An exchange of possessions gave the ball back to Detroit late in the first quarter, and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford made it count, connecting with troubled wide receiver Braylon Edwards on a 16 yard strike to get the score at 10-7. Again the Packers offense mustered a strong attack, with running back Ryan Grant attacking Detroit's interior and exterior in three wide receiver sets. Rodgers again hit a touchdown pass, this time to receiver Greg Jennings to end the first quarter at a 14-10 score.

    Both teams' defenses would adjust, however, and no further scoring would occur until the third quarter, when Packers running back Brandon Jackson rumbled 19 yards for a score and a 21-10 Packers lead. Midway through the fourth quarter, Packers kicker Mason Crosby would extend the lead to 24-10 when he kicked a chip shot 22 yard field goal. Then the Lions offense and defense responded in a big way.

    On the kickoff following the Crosby field goal, Packers coverage lapsed, and Matthew Stafford took advantage, hitting wide receiver Braylon Edwards on consecutive plays to get a quick strike touchdown and trim the lead to 24-17. However, the Lions still needed a stop and a spark defensively - and it was given when cornerback Chris Houston stepped in front of an Aaron Rodgers pass and got a key interception with around 2 minutes left in the game.

    Stafford took advantage, navigating the team down the field and hitting Bryant Johnson in the slot for a 19 yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 24.

    Only one small problem: the Lions left 1:25 seconds on the clock. And that is far too much time for a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback to have to get a score. And Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers did just that, taking his team down the field methodically and lining up at the 36 yard line for a field goal attempt with :03 seconds left. It went right between the uprights for Packers kicker Mason Crosby, and the Packers celebrated the much needed victory.

    On the other side of the field, a slightly dejected Coach Winuvas stood, arms folded, and nodded his head in disappointment and approval at the same time. When asked about his reaction (or lack thereof) after the game in his post game press conference, he was surprisingly calm and insightful:

    "Our guys gave me everything they had against a superior opponent. They put their butts out there, knowing they were outmatched, outgunned, and fought like demons anyway. They made plays that no one thought they could make except themselves and our coaching staff. All I can ask from them is to give me 110% effort every play, every game. They showed me that today, and I couldn't be more proud of a 3 point loss than I could of a 40 point victory. These guys have heart - you can't say that about a lot of teams in this league. And they are young. So remember that, those of you that watch this tape: we may lose these close games, but we are learning how to win while losing. We will be better next year, and these close losses will become close wins. Count on it."

    Coach Winuvas could be seen fighting back a tear or two as he was at the podium talking, a la Dick Vermeil.

    For the Lions, quarterback Matthew Stafford had a decent game, going 14 of 23 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns to go with 2 interceptions, one of which was a third down throw which essentially functioned as a punt for the Lions. Rookie running back Jahvid Best was bottled up by an aggressive Packers defense, getting only 28 yards on 14 carries. In the receiving game, Braylon Edwards, hearing the trade rumors and knowing his doghouse role with Coach Winuvas, lit up the Packers secondary, getting 5 catches for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns. On defense, new starter at middle linebacker DeAndre Levy had 8 tackles taking over for injured Bart Scott.

    "Levy was a force out there today," Coach Winuvas said. "He's a fast guy who loves contact."

    For the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 18 of 27 for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 1 interception late. The running game was especially effective, as Ryan Grant carried 24 times for 90 yards. In the receiving game, wide receiver Greg Jennings had 6 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. For the Packers defense, linebacker Nick Barnett had 8 tackles on the day. Cornerback Al Harris had both picks of Stafford to go with 3 tackles on the day. However, the Packers defense took a blow as stud defensive tackle B.J. Raji injured his collarbone and is done for the season.

    "You hate to see anyone injured like that in a game like this, but things happen," Coach Winuvas said of the injury to Raji. "I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to facing him next year."

    In a game where Coach Winuvas' team gave up 420 yards of total offense, including 119 on the ground, he was surprisingly chipper in his press conference.

    "Well, the Packers were doing a good job blowing us off the ball. We changed up a bit and had some success running blitzers into the backfield, but their team is just overall a good ball club. We are striving to get to that level of quality in our organization, and we will get there with this crew we have," Coach Winuvas said. "We have to do a better job defensively, but the guys can only do so much. We as a coaching staff have to put them in a better position, so we will do that with what we have in the book."

    Also asked about his running game, Coach Winuvas said, "That was a disappointment. I think we can do a better job there, but we did get down a bit late in the third and had to give it up a bit. Plus some of their defensive looks encouraged us to throw more. That is my fault though for not forcing the issue more with the run. Gotta get (running back Jahvid) Best going early so he and (running back Kevin) Smith can push it through late in the game and play ball control for us."

    Coach Winuvas also expressed some disappointment at officially being out of the playoff hunt.

    "It would have been a nice story for those kids in there," Coach Winuvas said of the playoffs. "But they will learn more from this than they realize, and that knowledge, combined with us doing some things to get bigger talent into Detroit, will only make this club stronger as a unit."

    Coach Winuvas seems to have gone away from his "fire and brimstone" and gone to positivity training. While it's not showing up right now in the wins and losses, it is showing up somewhere - in his locker room.

    Numerous players have said, anonymously, that the move to Coach Winuvas and his always bright outlook have been a good move. The only player to speak on record was a former Coach Winuvas player in Kansas City - defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.

    "Coach has a young crew right now," Vanden Bosch said. "These kids need that kind of positive attitude. With veterans like myself, we can do the yelling at the players and get them playing right. He keeps them loose and confident, and that shows in our overall effort, I think."

    It does, Mr. Vanden Bosch. While he isn't winning games, fans in Detroit and elsewhere are believing that this team will be a team to watch next year.

    Keep up with all Lions coverage on the franchise website:
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  9. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Coach Winuvas Weighs Sitting Players

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    Now that the Detroit Lions are officially out of the playoff picture and can only play spoiler, Coach Winuvas is debating on sitting some key players for the rest of the season to prepare for next season.

    "Look, football is a violent game, and while I don't want to give the impression we are quitting on the season, I do want to see if the guys I think are quality depth are actually quality depth. I have faith in their ability to get out there and get the job done if I put them in the starting lineup, though," Coach Winuvas said.

    Guys that Coach Winuvas is debating on sitting include quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Jahvid Best, tight end Tony Scheffler, defensive end Adewalde Ogunleye, rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, outside linebacker Julian Peterson, and safety Louis Delmas.

    "I may keep these guys out there, sure, but I think considering sitting them for a bit or increasing their rest time is paramount to our future success. I need these guys ready to go for next season and beyond," Coach Winuvas said. "However, I do not want to sit guys to the point of not being able to compete. We'll get a better rotation these last four games and get it situated."

    Coach Winuvas is keen on trying out his young free agent signee linebackers Cody Brown and Will Davis, as well as test out outside linebacker Zach Follett in a starting role as he held when starter Angelo Crowell was banged up earlier in the season. Rumor has it that Coach Winuvas still has some contracts he is looking to trim down to free up yet more cash for the offseason.

    "We are looking at the budgets to make sure we can make competitive offers to guys we need in here," Coach Winuvas said. "I want to be able to bring in at least 3 high profile free agents at key spots, and I think we are close to having the kind of budget we need to get it done. With trade talks underway with teams I cannot yet mention (due to league restrictions), I feel like we are on the cusp of bringing in quality guys here without giving up too much of what we have."

    Coach Winuvas continues to show optimism despite his team's 4-9 record. It's admirable to be sure. This town and this team need some optimism, but they also need some wins.

    Keep up with all Lions coverage on the franchise website:
    www.traditionsportsonline.com
     
  10. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Coach Winuvas Q & A

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    Arnold Driver: Today we have a very special interview with Detroit Lions coach Bob Winuvas. Coach Winuvas, thanks for sitting down with me today.

    Coach Winuvas: No problem, Arnold. Glad to do it.

    AD: Coach, you've had a little success here since you've arrived, but encountered a lot of adversity with the roster issues and play of the team. How is the morale of the team right now?

    CW: The morale is high considering. I've told these guys that are here that I want to be competitive with every team we line up across from. If they play from the snap of the ball to the whistle, we will be successful, even if it doesn't show up right away.

    AD: Coach, you've been known in previous places as a bit of a hothead. Honestly, the Detroit media was anticipating some fire and brimstone. Why the change?

    CW: Arnold, these are young men right now. They are very few veterans on this squad. Yelling at them about how they need to win now isn't gonna cut it. Coaching them up and getting them in a position to be able to use their talent to win is what we need to do right now. This is not an overnight process, and I know that. Right now the only thing that upsets me is a lack of effort. When I see that, then you'll see hothead come out. The veterans like (defensive end) Kyle Vanden Bosch, (safety) Roman Harper, (outside linebacker) Julian Peterson, and (center) Dominic Raiola can do the fussing about winning now. It means more coming from them right now as leaders on this team.

    AD: Coach, rumors abound that you are dealing Braylon Edwards in the offseason. Any comment on that?

    CW: Sure. Braylon has done good things in this league, but personality wise we aren't "gelling" right now. He's a phenomenal talent, though, and there is a deal in place to get him to a better situation for him, as well as bring some solid talent back to Detroit. League mandates, however, restrict me from talking more than that.

    AD: Any draft plans at this point?

    CW: Right now we have a blockbuster type deal in place that would drop us out of the first three rounds of the draft. However, with the talent we have possibly coming back, I think we can live without drafting. However, with the league talking about trade changes, I may have to do some college scouting and read up on (OMFL.com blogger Antoine) Buckman's Big Board and see what is available out there.

    AD: What are you focuses this offseason?

    CW: Well, Arnold, I think right now just making sure the kids we have now get better while going aggressive after 2 or 3 free agents. We have a few holes to fill, but between the growth of these young, talented players and the trades previously mentioned, I think we'll hopefully narrow it down to a few spots.

    AD: Any idea which positions you'll be looking at?

    CW: Right now I think we need some depth at linebacker, and we need a speedy defensive end to accentuate (defensive tackle Ndamukong) Suh's pass rush in the interior. Cornerback has been a struggle all year, so that will be a focus this offseason, as well as the offensive line and wide receiver.

    AD: Coach, what do you see in store for Detroit Lions fans next year?

    CW: For one, we will get back to smashmouth style football. With running backs like (rookie Jahvid) Best and (Kevin) Smith, we can compete with anyone if the offensive line opens up holes. That will open up the play action game for (quarterback Matthew) Stafford, and will help our young wide receiving corps. On defense, these last two games of the season, and next year, will be all about getting after the quarterback and being aggressive. We fell back a bit in the last few weeks, playing a bend, don't break style. That ends this week. We will make mistakes, but we will do it aggressively and trying to make plays on defense.

    AD: Coach Winuvas, thanks for the time today and good luck this week against the Miami Dolphins.

    CW: Arnold, a pleasure. Let's do this again sometime and I appreciate the well wishes.

    Coach Winuvas is high on his team, even with a 4-10 record. His optimism is refreshing, but wins need to start coming soon. While the Lions have remained competitive with every team they've lined up across from, wins have been few and far between.

    Keep up with all Lions coverage here!
    www.traditionsportsonline.com
     
  11. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Lions Tamed in Miami

    By Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    In Miami, the Detroit Lions played their worst game of the season, and still managed to stay within striking distance all game long before finally falling to the Dolphins 30-17 this Sunday.

    The game started with a drive by Miami that stalled out, ending in a Dan Carpenter field goal to get the 3-0 lead. On Detroit's opening offensive drive, Matthew Stafford found Vontae Davis - Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis - who returned the pass back for a pick six and a 10-0 early lead on Detroit.

    The Lions did not quit, however, and went to a run game with a little passing mixed in to get close enough for halfback Kevin Smith to score from 9 yards out and making the game 10-7. A Ricky Williams 3 yard touchdown run late in the first quarter ended the quarter at 17-7 Dolphins.

    Detroit's defense then solidified and began to hold down the Dolphins a bit, but the Lions offense was out of sync all game. A second interception by Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis set up another Dan Carpenter field goal to end the half at 20-7.

    The third quarter saw more Detroit Lions anemic offense, which made for Miami drives in the third quarter that ended in a Chad Henne pass to Joey Hynos and another Dan Carpenter field goal to bring the score 30-7 going into the third quarter.

    With the Miami defense relaxing, the Detroit offense finally started to move the ball, and a touchdown early in the fourth quarter by running back Jahvid Best brought the score to 30-14. A drive by Detroit later in the fourth ended in an odd field goal rather than the Lions attacking and going for it.

    "At the stage in the game we were at, I didn't see a shot at us legitimately winning the game," Coach Winuvas explained. "Our offense was not great all game, and caught a bit of a spark, but it was highly unlikely to get two touchdowns and two 2 point conversions."

    For the Lions, Matthew Stafford had his worst game as a pro, going 13-35 for 233 yards and 3 interceptions, all to Vontae Davis. In the running game, rookie Jahvid Best ran 18 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. Braylon Edwards continued his demolition of secondaries, getting 4 balls for 123 yards in the receiving game. On defense, Ndamukong Suh had 5 tackles, while Sammie Hill had 4 tackles and a sack.

    For the Dolphins, Chad Henne went 12 of 21 for 240 yards and a touchdown to go with an interception. The running game was solid, with halfback Ronnie Brown running 20 times for 106 yards. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall went nuts on the Detroit secondary, getting 4 catches for 114 yards. On defense, cornerback Vontae Davis was the star, getting 3 tackles and 3 interceptions to aid in the Dolphins' victory.

    "Vontae Davis was a beast today," Coach Winuvas said of the Dolphins' defender. "We should have gameplanned better, and we didn't. That is my fault."

    Detroit also lost two players for the remainder of their short season, with linebacker Julian Peterson and tight end Tony Scheffler out with partial groin tears.

    "It's what happens when you don't stretch," Coach Winuvas said, trying to make light of a serious situation. "(Linebacker) Julian Peterson and (tight end) Tony Scheffler are valuable and will be missed. But right now it's got to be next man standing to step in and play."

    Coach Winuvas was also asked about playing backups in the last week against the Minnesota Vikings.

    "I think backup quarterback Brady Quinn will get the start in this last week just to see what he has," Coach Winuvas said. "I think we'll also sit (defensive tackle Ndamukong) Suh, (free safety) Louis Delmas, and (strong safety) Roman Harper. All will still be dressed, but won't start and won't see a whole lot of action, I don't think."

    "We need to test our depth and find a positive note to end the season on, hopefully. Got some hope for next year and we'll be ready for the offseason and getting better as a 55-man roster for 2011," Coach Winuvas said of this year's Lions. "We have a good core in place. We have to get veterans in here to surround that core with a winning attitude to teach them how to win. We're going to do that next year. Count on it."

    Coach Winuvas seems confident about his ability to build talent on a team. Can he do it in lowly Detroit with so little to work with? We'll see come this offseason.

    Keep up with Lions coverage on the franchise website:
    www.traditionsportsonline.com
     
  12. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Lions Win Thriller Against Vikings

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    In the final game of the season, against a division foe in the Minnesota Vikings, Coach Winuvas finally put it all together and with some luck, squeaked out a 3 point win, 24-21.

    The game began with turnover issues. After a Vikings 3 and out to start the game, rookie running back Jahvid Best got the ball on first down and promptly fumbled the ball. Minnesota, however, could not muster any closer than the 27 yard line, thanks to a stiff defensive effort by the Lions. Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell then hooked a field goal left, and no scoring came just yet.

    The scoring began with the big play. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford saw man coverage and audibled to a deep pass, which he hit wide receiver Braylon Edwards in stride for a 75 yard bomb and a 7-0 lead.

    The Vikings then methodically marched down the field, using the legs of Adrian Peterson and the hands of Sidney Rice to get a touchdown late in the first quarter and tie the game at 7-7.

    Both defenses stiffened in the second quarter, learning tendencies of the offenses and keeping the score at 7-7 going into the half.

    The Lions came back firing in the second half, taking the second half kickoff and running a near 6 minute drive and ending it with a Jahvid Best touchdown run from 10 yards out to get a 14-7 lead.

    Vikings veteran quarterback Brett Favre quickly marched the Vikings back down the field, hitting Sidney Rice for a deep 79 yard strike to tie the game up at 14.

    The fourth quarter had action late. Another long drive by Detroit ended in a Aaron Pettrey 21 yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead with less than 2 minutes left. Brett Favre then hit Adrian Peterson in the flat with a pass, and AP went all the way to the house for 59 yards and a 21017 lead with 1:21 left in the game.

    Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford then showed the Lions why they had the faith to draft him #1 overall last year, as Stafford quickly marched the troops down the field and scored on an 8 yard pass to reserve tight end Richard Quinn to get a 24-21 lead with :32 left. A pass play late by Favre across the middle to go with a fumble ended the game before Favre could work his magic one more time.

    For the Lions, Matthew Stafford went 17 of 25 for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rookie halfback Jahvid Best carried the rock 20 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. Best was also a force in the passing game, catching 4 balls for 42 yards. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew also caught 4 passes for 50 yards. On defense, linebacker Angelo Crowell had 5 tackles and a sack, and rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had 4 tackles and a sack. The defense as a whole had 4 sacks of Brett Favre on the day.

    For the Vikings, Brett Favre, in possibly his last game in the OMFL, went 13 of 24 for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns to go with an interception and a fumble. Adrian Peterson carried the load in the running game, getting 14 carries for 77 yards. Wide receiver Sidney Rice was a beast for the Vikings in the passing game, getting 5 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, defensive end Ray Edwards had 3 tackles, a sack, and 2 forced fumbles.

    "We played a helluva team today out there in the Vikings," Coach Winuvas said during his post game press conference. "Our defense helped tremendously and really played solid. We ran some different schemes today and threw some zone at Brett, which he may not have seen a lot this year. We tried to throw some sneaky blitzes in, and I think it worked."

    Coach Winuvas also was asked about his ball control scheme he implemented in the game.

    "That is the kind of offense we want here in Detroit," Coach Winuvas explained. "We're trying to build a power running attack here with the Lions. This is what we are trying to do, and I think today is something we can build on. (Rookie halfback Jahvid) Best had a solid game minus 2 fumbles. Matthew Stafford was spotty at times, but he made plays when he had to. These kids had a solid game all around, and instead of losing a close game, they won one. THIS is what we've been preaching to them - stay competitive, be close late, and eventually the talent will earn a win instead of a loss."

    Coach Winuvas was beaming with pride about his squad during his post-game conference, even with 3 fumbles, 2 of them lost.

    "Turnovers are a part of the game. If we limit them, we win. We got lucky today, and the defense helped out Jahvid's confidence after he dropped the ball a bit. This was a total team effort by those guys. Those 55 guys earned the victory in there because they wanted it," Coach Winuvas said of his team.

    Coach Winuvas got a solid victory against a divisional opponent in his last game of the season to get the Lions record at 5-11 on the year. With the team giving maximum effort and playing well and competing in every game that Coach Winuvas has roamed the sidelines, ownership and fans have something they have not had in a while in Detroit for the Lions: hope.

    Keep up with all Lions coverage on the franchise website:
    www.traditionsportsonline.com
     
  13. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Reasons for Optimism in 2011

    by Arnold Driver
    Blogger, Detroit News

    The Detroit Lions have finished another campaign in the OMFL, and finished with a 5-11 record. Normally, this time of year in Detroit is talk of firings and new coaches - change. However, no such talk erupts from the Lions headquarters these days. Most of that lack of discussion comes from the fact that finally the front office feels they have the right man at the right time as the head coach in Detroit - Coach Bob Winuvas.

    But what reasons could Detroit Lions fans have to be looking forward to next season? Here are a few:

    Coach Winuvas' GM skills: Say what you will about his questionable calls on the field in some occasions, but Coach Winuvas has few peers when it comes to the negotiation room and analyzing talent for his teams. This offseason will be very challenging in that regard, but Coach Winuvas has some high draft picks he can use as leverage as well. Look for an instant upgrade, but this team is still a multi-year project.

    Young running backs with talent: Coach Winuvas values a good, solid running game, and he has two solid running backs that have young legs in Kevin Smith and Jahvid Best. Best is more of a slasher, elusive style back, while Smith is more a bruiser, power type back, but both can start and run in Coach Winuvas' offensive schemes.

    Young future stars on defense: Ndamukong Suh. Louis Delmas. DeAndre Levy. Chris Houston. Dwayne Lowery. Sammie Hill. These names are probably not all big names in homes across America, but with Coach Winuvas' background in defense, look for these guys to be household names sooner rather than later. Suh, Delmas, and Levy will be building blocks for Coach Winuvas in the middle of the Lions defense, along with Sammie Hill at the defensive tackle spot. While there are some holes still to fill in, Coach Winuvas is quite happy with his middle three.

    More aggressive gameplan: Coach Winuvas is striving to get a more aggressive offense and defense in place in Detroit to put some teeth in a non-feared franchise. Combined with his GM abilities, look for a harder hitting, more aggressive blitzing style defense and a more vertically-oriented pass attack, which will open up the smashmouth running attack for Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith.

    Effort in games THIS year: Yes, effort does not equal wins. But one thing that Coach Winuvas has preached week in, week out is not to give up on any play, and to play from snap to whistle. The team has bought in, and the few veterans that are around in the locker room are doing the browbeating for the coach, allowing him to praise the players when the do well. While 5-11 doesn't seem like a lot of good things happening, Coach Winuvas was only out of two games in his stint as Detroit's coach: the Thanksgiving Day game versus New England and the game against Miami in the second to last game of the season. They played tough even in those games and showed a lot of moxie, and while that doesn't make victories appear, it is the start of a change in attitude. And that will pay dividends in the future.

    So there are a few reasons to look forward to next year under Coach Winuvas. The offseason will make for an interesting time for Lions fans and media alike.

    Keep up with Lions coverage on the franchise website:
    www.traditionsportsonline.com
     

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