Archive for Retro Tuesday


Retro Tuesday: Charles Rogers

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I’ve been ranting in this space for over five years, having started “Out of Bounds” in April, 2005.

So I thought it would be kind of fun to step into the vault every Tuesday and drag out a delectable morsel from the past.

So “Retro Tuesday” will appear here every week—a blog post culled from the last five-plus years.

Today’s piece comes from August 2, 2006. The troubled Lions receiver Charles Rogers was struggling to make the team in his fourth season.



(from August 2, 2006)
Rogers’ Career As A Lion On Life Support

Chuck Long. 1986′s #1 draft pick, a stud QB out of Iowa. A can’t miss kid, they said. Just you wait and see. We waited. We waited some more. Then the Lions could wait no longer, and drafted Rodney Peete out of USC.

Reggie Rogers. 1987′s #1 draft pick — a fleet-footed defensive end who could chase down running backs, sideline-to-sideline. But Reggie was involved in a car accident in which a person was killed, and in which Reggie himself was badly injured. There was a trial. Vehicular manslaughter. End of career.

Andre Ware. 1990′s #1 draft pick — a record-setting arm at the University of Houston. Drafted into the frenetic, ADD-like offense of the run-n-shoot that the Lions were playing around with. But Ware lacked one significant ingredient to being a serviceable NFL quarterback: the ability to throw the ball anywhere near an intended receiver. The poster boy of all bad Lions’ draft picks.

Juan Roque, 1996′s #1 draft pick — a six-foot-eight, 330 pound tackle out of Arizona State. Supposed to be a pillar of the offensive line for years to come. He ended up being simply a pillar — the inanimate kind. Career over in short order.

Stockar McDougle, 2000′s #1 draft pick — a six-foot-six tackle out of Oklahoma. If Wayne Fontes was still here, he would have said McDougle could “block out the sun.” Turns out Stockar couldn’t block his way out of a paper bag — parchment paper, even.

And now….

Charles Rogers, 2003′s #1 draft pick — an amazingly talented receiver out of Michigan State.

Rogers is perilously close to being lumped into the above group.

Already, training camp just six days old, there’s talk that Charlie Rogers is having trouble grasping the convoluted offensive schemes of new coordinator Mike Martz. He didn’t participate in one single play yesterday, the scuttlebutt is. Whispers are floating around questioning Rogers’ cranial capacity. Well, at least that’s different; they used to question his commitment, his work ethic, his durability.

Charles Rogers: not smart enough to play in the NFL?

Now they wonder whether Charlie Rogers has the smarts to be a competent NFL receiver.

If I had some dough to toss away on a gamble, I’d place some cash that says Rogers will no longer be a Lion when the regular season begins next month against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field. Not traded, not placed on injured reserve, or the PUP list. Just … cut.

Rogers and 2005′s #1 pick, Mike Williams, were mentioned as the two players who had to have perhaps the two best training camps on the entire team. Both are under the microscope of doubt and skepticism.

Neither is impressing, by all accounts, and it’s certainly fathomable that one of the two — doubtful both of them — will be released by the Lions within the month. My bet is on Rogers, because he’s had a couple more seasons in Detroit than Williams. Yes, the Lions would have to chow down on Rogers’ contract if they cut him, but as team president Matt Millen said last week, the club wouldn’t hesitate to do that if it was for the betterment of the program.

Rogers’ latest setback is yet another in a series. There was the freakish broken collarbone suffered midway through his rookie year in 2003, followed by the freakish broken collarbone suffered during the first series of the opening game in Chicago in 2004. Last year, Rogers was suspended for four games by the league for violating its substance abuse policy. Now the “he’s not very smart, after all” training camp.

Too much to overcome? Certainly too much to blame the Lions, should they cut him.

Time is running out for Charles Rogers in Detroit. Odds are.

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Retro Tuesday: A New Feature

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I’ve been ranting on the Net for over five years, having started my blog “Out of Bounds” in April, 2005.

So I thought it would be kind of fun to step into the vault every Tuesday and drag out a delectable morsel from the past.

So starting today, “Retro Tuesday” will appear here every week—a blog post culled from the last five-plus years.

To kick things off, I’ve selected a piece from five years ago to the day—August 10, 2005. It’s kind of funny, actually, because you could pretty much substitute Jim Leyland’s name here, with what’s been going on with the Tigers recently.

The question: Should the Tigers fire Alan Trammell?



(from August 10, 2005)

Last year I wrote a column that wondered, basically, how the Tigers could ever fire Alan Trammell. I said it already was, at that time, difficult to imagine the Tigers NOT being managed by Tram – he seemed firmly set, even in his second season.

Now, if he’s firmly set in anything, it might be cement boots.

Just one year later, Alan Trammell’s name is slowly turning into mud. The whispers actually started last year, but most of those folks were ignored; it was too soon, cooler heads said, to accurately judge Trammell as a big league manager.

But after 112 games in 2005, those whispers have not only gotten louder, they’ve gotten more frequent and have gained credibility. The Tigers sit at 53-59, once again hopelessly out of the playoff hunt, even the wild card variety.

Like I’ve indicated here before, Trammell may be in over his head a bit with this managing thing, now that he has genuine big leaguers to guide. On paper – ahh, the dreaded words – the Tigers’ lineup seems formidable. Yet, they have trouble scoring runs. The pitching staff has been above average, yet the team still can’t win because the offense has been inconsistent. Does Alan Trammell go to bat? No, of course not. Does he pitch and play defense? No. But neither has any manager who’s ever been fired, unless you’re Lou Boudreau or Frank Robinson or one of those other playing managers from the days of yore.

So it’s not about Trammell doing it on the field himself. It’s about how he can motivate his players to do so. And it’s also about in-game strategy, which has been suspect. How else can you explain the ills of a club who, by rights, should be bobbing along a few games over .500?

The feeling is here that Alan Trammell should get one more season to prove himself. I never have liked the idea of firing managers every couple of years, especially when Year One in Tram’s era was a mockery of big league baseball. So next season would be, in my eyes, his third season of managing genuine major leaguers. By then, we should certainly know whether he has what it takes.

I must say, however, that I am getting the sinking feeling that Tram is the guy that takes you from Point A to Point B, but that another man may be needed to go from Point B to the playoffs, which I guess is Point C under my logic. Call it point-to-point managing.

The other night the Tigers managed to win one.

“We’re going to keep battling,” Rondell White said afterward. “There are a lot of games left to be played.”

That’s something, I guess. Maybe Trammell hasn’t lost the troops after all. That buys him another season, too, in my book.

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