Believe it or not, half of the Lions’ 16-game NFL schedule has been played, so after a suggestion from Big Al Beaton, my co-host on the weekly gabfest “The Knee Jerks”, we gathered around the campfire and had ourselves a mid-season review.
Our guests were Michael Schottey and Dean Holden, two of the premier Lions writers for Bleacher Report. Those two guys chimed in with analysis, mid-season letter grades, and a look ahead at the season’s second half. It’s not “feel good” radio, but these are the Lions, after all!
After burying the Lions for about an hour, Al and I delved into some juicy topics around Detroit sports.
We segued into the mess in Ann Arbor as it relates to the football program. Once again, we openly wondered how much time U-M officials will give coach Rich Rodriguez after yet another second half collapse, this time to Purdue at home. I went off a little bit (understatement) on the type of football being played at Michigan, and it was Al, believe it or not, who was the voice of reason!!
Next, it was time to, as Al put it, talk about something more uplifting: the Tigers’ hiring of former third baseman Tom Brookens as the team’s new first base coach. Al wondered if this was a set up to replace Jim Leyland down the line. Interesting thought. So we talked about Brookens and whether he’d make a good big league manager.
Then, more happy stuff: the induction of Steve Yzerman into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. Yzerman went in with 2002 teammates Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, which caused Al to ask where that ’02 Red Wings Stanley Cup-winning squad ranks among the all-time best NHL teams. Then I rained on the parade and lamented the hiring of Dave Lewis as coach of that team after Scotty Bowman retired.
By that time, we were running out of clock and with no timeouts remaining, we had to go to our “Jerks of the Week.”
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Nov. 16 Ansar Khan, Red Wings beat writer for MLive.com and Booth Newspapers
Nov. 23 U-M/MSU football post-mortem
Nov. 30 TBD (likely Pistons-related)
Dec. 7: NHL Central roundtable with Bleacher Report writers from Columbus, Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis
Some highlights from Monday’s show:
On Michigan football: “If anything is going to happen with Rodriguez, it probably won’t happen until after NEXT season. I wonder if AD Bill Martin timed his September retirement so that they can’t shove Rodriguez and him out the door at the same time.”
On Tom Brookens: “He was a blue collar player. That’s why the fans in Detroit liked him so much. Maybe he was born to be a big league manager.”
On Yzerman: “Words fail me as to how classy this guy was. The ovation they gave him in Toronto was deafening.”
On Rich Rodriguez: “Something about this guy isn’t right. It never felt right to me, from the moment of his first press conference when he admitted that he never had set foot in the state before.”
On Tom Brookens: “Tommy’s a smart guy. And he’s a Tiger. I think he would make a terrific big league manager.”
On the 2002 Red Wings: “If you were to corner GM Kenny Holland over a couple of beers, I bet he’d tell you that he should never have hired Dave Lewis to coach after Scotty Bowman retired. They could have won two more Stanley Cups with a more experienced coach.”
You can listen to the episode by clicking HERE.