Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

Miami Dolphins Sign OLB Ikaika Alama-Francisc to Contract Extension

August 17th, 2010

In what appears to be anticipation of a significant role on defense in 2010, the Miami Dolphins have signed outside linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis to a one-year contract extension through 2011.

Previously slated for restricted free agency as a four-year veteran following the 2010 season, Alama-Francis will now receive a base salary of $640,000 in 2011 in addition to his $545,000 compensation this season.

Originally drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round out of Hawaii in 2007, Alama-Francis appeared in 19 games as a backup defensive lineman for the Lions during his first two pro seasons.

After being waived by the Lions during final cuts in 2009, Alama-Francis was picked up by the Dolphins in late November when nose tackle Jason Ferguson was placed on injured reserve and linebacker Matt Roth was waived. Alama-Francis did not appear in a game last season.

Although he was projected as a defensive end in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, Alama Francis dropped to 275 pounds and has been moved to outside linebacker at the insistence of linebackers coach Bill Sheridan.

Alama-Francis has impressed the Dolphins coaching staff to the point where he shared first- and second-team reps with starting strong side linebacker Koa Misi in the team's preseason opener on Saturday.

Possessing above-average quickness and athleticism for his size, Alama-Francis clearly has the ability to play standing up in the scheme and has the body and tackling skills to be a good run-stopper in the mold of ex-Dolphin Matt Roth.

Entering the offseason as a defensive end on the roster bubble, Alama-Francis appears to be not only closing in on a roster spot in 2010, but also a significant role in the Dolphins' defense.

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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins Web site, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.

NFL Scores: Saturday Night Football Primer With QB Rotations

August 15th, 2010

Here are the preseason news and notes, quarterback rotations, and key player injuries from 

Vikings vs. Rams 

The Minnesota Vikings may get great inspiration from the scheduled miracle return of LB E.J. Henderson. He is coming back from a gruesome fractured left femur injury, which was considered career threatening. 

Percy Harvin is out for the Nordic Explorers. The star WR continues to have migraine headache issues. Two Pro Bowlers, Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice, have also missed significant camp time because of mystery injuries. Rice is definitely out. Bernard Berrian and Jaymar Johnson get the starts at WR. 

Rams star RB Steven Jackson will see very little if any time tonight and throughout the preseason. There is a three-way competition for the backup spot: Kenneth Darby, Chris Ogbonnaya, and Keith Toston. 

This marks the debut of Rams QB Sam Bradford, but he will be the No. 2 behind journeyman AJ Feeley. Feeley will play two or so series and Bradford may play into the third quarter. 

St. Louis is very thin at CB with Ron Bartell and a bunch of nobodies. They are furthermore weakened by injuries. 

Top expert pick on this game: GodsTips of has this side among two Wise Guys. 

Browns vs. Packers 

The Cleveland Browns have a revamped QB rotation with Jake Delhomme the starter, followed by Seneca Wallace and rookie Colt McCoy. The rookie from Texas should see significant playing time in the second half. Brett Ratliff may see mop-up duty. 

Cleveland’s secondary is a work in progress. Eric Wright just got hurt and is questionable. First round pick Joe Haden has gotten mixed reviews in training camp thus far. 

Titans vs. Seahawks 

Tennessee is very thin at TE. Starter William Hayes is doubtful. Top draft pick Derrick Morgan is also likely out and Jacob Ford has missed several practices with a hip flexor. T Jason Jones has been playing a few snaps at DE. 

The Titans starters will be in for 12-15 plays. Vince Young starts at QB, but Chris Simms and Rusty Smith will see a lot of time. Kerry Collins may not play at all. 

For Seattle, QB Matt Hasselbeck isn’t expected to play more than a series—certainly two at the most. He will give way to Charlie Whitehurst, who will play a lot, then followed by J.P. Losman says Mike Godsey of 

Seattle is very thin at LB because of injuries. Two recent signings, guys not even expected to make the team, will be forced into action: Alvin Bowen and Tyjuan Hagler. The big position battle for the Birds is at WR. 

Top expert pick on this game: Matt Rivers, who was the winningest handicapper ever—nobody came close—on a large network of sites. It’s his only pick of preseason NFL betting so far. He also has MLB winners up. 

Lions vs. Steelers 

Detroit is very thin on the OL, and RG Stephen Peterman is questionable. S Louis Delmas is out for the Lions. He played in 15 games making 94 tackles last season. 

Ben Roethlisberger is eligible to play in NFLX. He may see some time with the first team. Also expected to play at QB for the Steelers at QB is Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch, and Dennis Dixon. Starters will play 8-12 snaps. 

For Detroit, it’s Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill, and Drew Stanton. They will be without RB Kevin Smith, who rushed for 747 yards last year and TE Brandon Pettigrew, who had 30 catches last year. 

Texas vs. Cardinals 

Of course Arizona will have a new starting QB with the retirement of Kurt Warner. Biblical bust Matt Leinart continues to struggle and presumed backup, former Browns starter Derek Anderson may make a run at the top spot. 

Leinart will play the first quarter. Derek Anderson will then take over, but the offensive line is expected to play into the second quarter. Conversely, the defense may not play as much. 

For Houston, backup Dan Orlovsky will get the most snaps at QB, says Bob Warner of He will play about two quarters 

John David Booty will also play, as starter Matt Schaub won’t play much. “More than a series for Schaub would be a shock,” says Warner. 

Despite their regular season success, the Redbirds are 2-10 straight up under Ken Whisenhunt. 

For bettors who like position battles, the Texans have a big one at RB. Arizona will have a lot of crowd support as the game is sold out. 

Buccaneers vs. Dolphins 

Tampa starters will play about 12-15 snaps. Colt McCoy and Josh Freeman will each get 12-15 snaps at QB. 

It’s the first year as starting QB for Dolphins Chad Henne. He will be followed in the rotation by Tyler Thigpen, Chad Pennington, and Pat White. Thigpen and White may each play more than a quarter. 

Thigpen has been horrible in practice, throwing a lot of interceptions reports Brian Kayma of 

Tampa is without TE Kellen Winslow, CB Aquib Talib, CB Myron Lewis, among others. 

Bears vs. Chargers 

Chicago starters could play as much as the entire first half tonight said coach Lovie Smith. 

LB Shawne Merriman is out, having just ended his holdout. WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeil are holdouts, making San Diego very thin at LT. Merriman’s backup Larry English is doubtful. RB Darren Sproles is out while LT Tra Thomas is also out. 

Chicago has a revamped offensive line and has struggled greatly against 3-4 defenses in the past. They’ve been practicing against a 4-3. 

Top expert pick on this game: ScoresOddsPicks is already off to a big start against the NFL odds and has their Inter-conference Best Bet of the Preseason on this contest.

The Beast From The East: NFC East Predictions

August 15th, 2010

T-3. Dallas Cowboys

Many people predict the Cowboys to go to the Superbowl, but i'm not buying it.  Don't get me wrong, the Cowboys are loaded with Romo, Austin, ect.. But in the past three years the cowboys have alternately gone to the playoffs one year then missed them the next year. I expect that trend to continue. With win's coming against Philly, NY, Green Bay, Arizona, Detroit, Chicago and Jacksonville. 

2009 overall record: 11-5 1st division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 7-9 T-3 division


T-3 Philadelphia Eagles

Some people think the Eagles are better of without McNabb and some don't. I side with those who don't. The Eagles have a lot of young talent with rising stars such as Brent Celek and Jeremy Maclin. But they do not have enough experienced players. With win's against Detroit, SF, Houston, Dallas, NY, Atlanta and Washington.

2009 overall record: 11-5 2nd division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 7-9 T-3


2. New York Giants

Many people think that the New York Giants are done, but I'm not one of them. I do think they will struggle at times, but in the end it will all come together. I expect them to grab a wildcard in the last few weeks.

2009 overall record: 8-8 3rd division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 10-6 2nd division


1. Washington Redskins

Some may call this crazy but I'm putting my money on the Redskins to be the Beast from the East. Even though it was only a preseason game, the 42-17 victory over the Bills convinced.

2009 overall record: 4-12 4th division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 11-5 1st division 


2010 Fantasy Football Sleepers

August 15th, 2010

QB: Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia

Those that are still doubting that Kolb is for real need to start believing. Not only is the young quarterback the new face of the Eagles franchise, his big arm is definitely for real. He's showed consistent ability to air it out downfield, which is good news for his highlight-reel receiver DeSean Jackson.

Kolb is road roommates with breakout TE Brent Celek, so the chemistry between those two shouldn't have a problem translating to the football field. The Eagles certainly aren't afraid to air it out as we've seen with Coach Andy Reid's potent aerial attack. Kolb should get plenty of opportunities inside the red zone.

With very young, prolific weapons on offense, Kolb shouldn't have any problems establishing himself as a very reliable option as a QB1. For those owners that hate burning an early round pick on one of the top five options, Kolb could definitely be your guy.


RB: Jahvid Best, Detroit

The NFL is often referred to as a game of opportunity. This case is no different.

Best is an explosive rookie out of Cal who fell into the Lions' lap at #31 overall in this year's draft. Incumbent Kevin Smith is still recovering from ACL surgery and Best has been given every chance to be the team's featured back in his absence. If he excels, the rookie could very well hold onto full-time duties even when Smith returns.

The eccentric little back is running behind a revamped offensive line. While Detroit won't be a playoff team, they figure to have a much more feared offensive attack now that Best is in the fold. He has a very good chance of eclipsing 1,000 yards and may push for double-digit TDs as well. He's a legitimate RB2 with definite RB1 upside and is being drafted at an absolute value in most standard leagues right now.

WR: Mike Williams, Tampa Bay

Had this kid not had so much trouble off the field when he was in school, he would've been a top 10 selection back in April. His athletic upside is undeniable and it seems he is making at least one highlight play in every practice thus far through training camp.

Everyone in the Bucs camp think that Williams has "star potential written all over him." It's clear that he's already the best wideout that the team has on the roster. He's been straight up dominant and despite a less-than-accurate QB throwing him the ball, Williams should be able to consistently make plays all season long. Drafted in the fourth round this year, Williams is another example of how NFL teams are putting too much stock into off-field hoopla (Dez Bryant, Percy Harvin).

Currently being selected in the very latter rounds of most drafts, Williams is an immediate WR3 with very high WR2 upside. If he's as good during the season as he has been through this point, owners are going to have plenty of reasons to smile. 


TE: Zach Miller, Oakland

Thankfully for both Miller and his owners, neither has to struggle through the JaMarcus Russell experiment any longer. Now that new QB Jason Campbell is aboard, Miller fans have plenty of reasons to be excited. After establishing himself as Oakland's most reliable receiver last year, Miller is expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of Campbell's presence.

Miller was second among all TE's last season in YPC with just Antonio Gates ahead of him. So, why is Gates an early round, popular pick while Miller is a late-round flier? Perception. I'm not saying that Miller will match Gates' production this season, but simply that owners should keep that early-round pick for an impact player at a more critical position than TE. Owners in re-draft leagues should feel comfortable taking Miller at any point after the seventh round. He could very well turn into Campbell's favorite target by Week 1. 


K: Nick Folk, New York (J)

Remember this guy?

Mr. Folk was a Pro Bowl selection in 2007, but has really toiled in mediocrity since. He fell out of favor quickly in Dallas after failing to match his '07 output and has been dealing with "the yips" ever since. However, the kicker couldn't have landed in a better spot to get his leg(s) underneath him. Jets Special Teams Coach Mike Westhoff is one of the best in the business and has really worked closely with the kid to get him back to his elite kicking ways.

Another critical piece to Folk's resurgence is that he's finally healthy after undergoing a complex operation on his hip in 2009. Designed to alleviate the pain he was feeling in his hip, Folk is expected to come back even stronger than his doctors anticipated. Now in New York, Folk has pretty much fallen off the fantasy radar of most owners and could be a very nice value pick in the last round of the draft.

Do you know what the difference between the top kicker and No. 10 kicker in fantasy football was last season? 33 points. That's less than two points per week, so don't be the owner that takes a kicker early and expect elite production--it just won't happen. 


DEF: New York Giants

Perhaps one of the worst defenses in fantasy football last season, the G-Men were turned inside out on the defensive side of the ball. The team's weaknesses were constantly exposed in its first year without Steve Spagnuolo and the defense didn't look anything like the intimidating unit that we had seen the year prior.

Now in 2010, the defensive unit is coming in with a target on their backs as opposing teams know that they're certainly not insurmountable. However, let's not forget about all the talent that the Giants have on defense as the team suffered several injuries last season as well.

Big Blue could certainly enjoy a very nice rebound year for owners that are willing to gamble, but by no means am I predicting a return to their once-elite status. 


Detroit Lions 2016 Draft: Sweet Dreams are Made of This

August 14th, 2010

I can see it so clearly in my mind’s eye. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stepping up to the podium with that sly smile. He clears his voice, and says:

“With the 32nd and final pick of the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select...Barry Sanders...Junior.”

The Lions fans at Radio City Music Hall erupt into cheers. Barry Sanders Sr. is seen beaming with pride. He knows that his son will be playing for a Lions team fresh off their back-to-back Super Bowl championships.

A Lions franchise that bears no resemblance to anything in his bittersweet experience.

With league MVP Jahvid Best showing signs of the punishment over the years, Barry Sanders Jr. has a chance to be the newest star in the Leo constellation. A Lions dynasty is born.

When ESPN’s Mike Sudds interviewed Matt Stafford, he asked Stafford for his opinion of the two-time All American and Heisman Trophy winner coming to Detroit.

“Mike, I am totally stoked! He’s been on my wishlist for two long years! We’ve had a great run, and Junior will take us all the way again.”

Stafford, who won the MVP trophy in 2014 with his history making performance, did not mince his words when praising Barry Sanders Jr.

“Man, did you see his highlight films? He’s been the talk of our locker room since 2010!”

I reminded Stafford that Sanders Jr. was in high school in 2010.

“Right, Mike. We could see his brilliance on the field even then. I started lobbying Mr. Mayhew way back in 2010.”

For the benefit of those of you who don’t remember Barry Sanders Junior’s high school highlights, take a peek at this.


We were all amazed with the combination of size, speed, balance, and that extraordinary vision that we’ve become so accustomed to.

Barry Sanders Junior looks nothing like the low-running, quick-cutting back that his father was during his terrific career with the Lions.

Those Sanders genes are evident in his ability to visualize the play unfolding, and his ability to exploit the smallest seam in the defense with explosive power.

While his grandfather still insists that Jim Brown was the greatest running back of all-time, I think that Junior’s dad can be proud.

Now, Barry Sanders Sr. has been on the record as saying that his son is an OK runner, but he really has to stop all of that showboating. hot dog stuff.

“It’s embarrassing," Sanders Senior said with a wink and a smile. “Has he learned nothing from me?”



Here’s another look at the young Barry Sanders Junior in his early days at Heritage Hall High School before he matured into the super stud that he is today:


We could see even then that he was going to go on to greatness. That he’s following in his father’s footsteps has brought joy to Lions fans world wide.

The newest Detroit Lion was asked about his father’s No. 20, which the Lions retired many years ago.

“Dad said that he really didn’t care.” That’s typical Sanders Sr. “I would like to make my No. 26 famous some day,” he said. Typical Sanders Jr.

Here’s an old, forgotten interview with Sanders Junior while in high school:

Would he return punts for the Lions, like he did at Heritage Hall? Like this one.

“I’ll do anything that coach Schwartz asks me to do,” Junior replied.


His commitment to bringing a third straight Lombardi Trophy back to Detroit, where it’s treated like the Stanley Cup, is all consuming.

When asked if he would like to take the current Lombardi Trophy out on the town like the other Lions players, he had this to say: “No, I haven’t earned that honor. Not yet, anyway.”

The fans of the two time world champs are going to go wild when Barry Sanders takes the field...“Michael. Michael! Wake up!”

"Uhhh, OK, Honey.”

What a nice dream.


Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for

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