Monday, January 24, 2011

Who Makes the Lions Roar?

As I sat and pondered what my first topic would be on for this blog, I decided to start off by talking about the rebuilding stage of 2010. I asked myself, “Who made the biggest impact this year for the Detroit Lions?” My list consists of Brandon Pettigrew, Nate Burleson, Jahvid Best, Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, DeAndre Levy and Stefan Logan. Then I asked myself, “What was the best pick-up the Lions made this season?” I wanted to say Nate Burleson or Kyle Vanden Bosch, but I believe the Lions’ pick-up of Stefan Logan off of waivers in September was the brightest spot for the team and the fans.

Stefan Logan played his college ball at South Dakota. Logan is a running back at heart but converted to the WR/return specialist role. He went undrafted in 2007 and later signed with the Miami Dolphins.  In 2008 he was playing football in the CFL for the BC Lions. In 2009 the Pittsburgh Steelers gave him a shot, and he rewarded them by breaking the Steelers single-season record for return yards. On September 4, 2010 he was cut. Unfortunate for Logan at the time, but the next day the Detroit Lions signed him and the rest is history. When the Lions made the acquisition I was more than excited. I have seen what this guy is capable of and he gave me hope for a recently awful special teams squad.

The Lions’ last special teams score came by a Casey FitzSimmons returned onside-kick for 42 yards against Chicago back in 2007. But the last real “traditional” kick off touchdown was in 2004, a 94 yard return for the score by Eddie Drummond. The Lions hosted the Rams on October 10, 2010 where Stefan Logan broke the horrible streak by returning a kick off in the 2nd quarter 105 yards for a score, tying a Lions record that was made by Terry Fair in 1998.

Logan had 1,448 Kick-off return yards this year, and average of 26.3 a return to go with the one TD. He had 362 yards on 30 punt returns with a long of 71 that almost went to the house. He was awarded by being selected as NFL Special Teams Players of the Week for his performance vs. the Rams and was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate for Return Specialist. Logan should be starting in Hawaii next weekend. The man starting in his place is Devin Hester. This season Hester recorded 427 return yards and no TDs.
His most production came from 564 yards on punts with 3 touchdowns. Martin Mayhew expected him to be selected to the Pro Bowl and Logan had the same expectations.

"If we go off stats alone and despite the record and being on TV all the time, I should have a chance of making it," Logan said. "But if you go off popularity as far as names and guys in the league, you got DeSean Jackson, you got Devin Hester," Logan said to the Detroit Free Press.

The Lions established a lot of hope this season. I predicted an 8-8 season, and had Calvin Johnson been awarded a touchdown, (“The Process”) which I do not even want to get started with right now, closed out a game at home either vs. the Jets or the Bears, we would be 8-8, not 6-10. But it is optimistic. If Matthew Stafford stays healthy in 2011, we can add some impactful corners, a couple linebackers, improve the offensive line to protect Stafford a bit and even add one for receiver, we are talking playoff capability. We were able to still win our first road game since 2007 when we beat Chicago, which was also our last divisional win. We broke the record for most consecutive road losses at 26. We set the previous record of 24 during the 2001 to 2003 seasons. We broke the divisional losing streak when we beat the NFC champion Green Bay Packers on December 12th. We snapped our road-losing streak when we went into Tampa Bay the following week.

Logan was able to help us break those streaks with his explosive returning ability. We have not had a bright spot on special teams since we had Eddie Drummond and Desmond Howard at the end of his career. He also used his speed on some running plays later in the season, fulfilling my wish of using him more in the offense. I have read many comments saying he is “undersized” and I laugh at that. Many have said the same things about Best, and I laugh at them, too. You can be as little as you want, but when you’re that fast and are that mobile, the only people laughing will be the ones celebrating with him in the end-zone. Special Teams is called what it is for a good reason—it’s made for special players. Stefan Logan is one of them.

1 comment:

  1. Great article. You know your stuff. You make great points, and I completely agree with you on Stefan and his Pro Bowl situation.