Lions are a messand they know it

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Lions are a messand they know it

DETROIT -- The Bears held on to defeat the Lions 26-24 at Ford Field, but didnt get the help they needed from the Packers -- who lost to the Vikings -- and will not make the playoffs. While the city of Chicago searches for answers, the people of Detroit also are left wondering how the Lions went from a 10-6 playoff team in 2011 to a 4-12 mess just a year later.
Its tough, Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. You feel like you were turning the corner as a franchise and for the people and for the city and the fans. Its frustrating to let down the guys in the locker room, but for me its more frustrating to let down the fans.
Lions guard Rob Sims couldnt wrap his head around his team's eight-game losing streak.
It does blow my mind, Sims told CSNChicago.com. Matthew Stafford was missing a lot of his weapons for a good part of that time. We couldnt fix it.
It seemed like the pile of Detroit losses was just starting to sink in for defensive end Cliff Avril.
Thats crazy, Avril said. To not have a won a game in two months is tough."
In Week 9, both the Lions and Bears had their biggest blowout wins of the year. Chicago crushed Tennessee by 31 to move to 7-1, while Detroit throttled Jacksonville by 17 , pushing their record to 4-4. The Bears would lose five of their next six games before getting things back on track with back-to-back wins to close out the regular season. The Lions, on the other hand, lost eight straight to finish a dismal 4-12.
In the end the Lions and the Bears just werent good enough this season. Whether a 10-win team that failed to make the playoffs or a four-win team that failed to make the playoffs, you are still on the outside looking in.
Is Schwartz the right fit in Detroit?
My opinion, Jim Schwartz is a real good mixture of being a smart coach and an emotional coach, Vanden Bosch said. I think he understands what players need and this year, for whatever reason, as a group we didnt respond the way we needed to.
There were conflicting job security reports on Schwartz prior to Sundays loss to the Bears, but afterwards his players seemed to still believe he was the right guy to lead them out of their recent slumber.
I think hes a great coach, Sims said. Hes an improving coach, I think well all band together. Once in a while you can hit a bump in the road.
Lions wide receiver Brian Robiskie, who had two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, summed everything up.
Last year we were in it, this year didnt go our way, he told CSNChicago.com. We know we have the pieces to make things work, we just have to get it turned around and get it going.
Melton is no clown to all Lions
Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team earlier in the week and took some criticism from Lions center Dominic Raiola. While Raiola did not speak on the record following Sundays loss, one of his teammates on the offensive line chimed in.
I wouldnt say Melton is spectacular, but hes an emerging player, Sims told CSNChicago.com. I think what he gets he deserves. In the beginning of the week he was running his mouth a little bit too much and we didnt like that.
Better luck next year
So what does Avril think about the Packers and Vikings being at the top of the division and in the playoff discussion, while Detroit is not?
I dont care about them, Avril said. I want to win. I want to get to be one of those teams. It sucks that we werent a part of it.
I think thats something all fans of non-playoff teams, in the Motor City or the Windy City, can agree on.

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

Ozzie Guillen delivered Avisail Garcia some tough love last winter that he figured the White Sox outfielder needed to hear.

They encountered each other during the Venezuelan Winter League season when Garcia played for the Tigres de Aragua and Guillen managed for the Tiburones de La Guaria. Guillen was so taken aback to find Garcia hitting low in the Tigres’ lineup that he offered an assessment on the spot.

For any number of reasons, Garcia has responded with a career season that has him on the verge of his first All-Star assignment. The right fielder is fifth in the American League fan vote as of Monday with 1,292,694 votes.

“About time,” Guillen said. “We've been waiting for this moment. A lot of people bet he would have failed. I know because at work, every week I talk about him. People keep waiting on him to be what he was. I think right now he has more experience. He doesn't live in the past, like 'oh it's the next Miguel Cabrera' or 'he's this guy, he's the best we've ever had.' That's why he got better. It's about time this kid. What he's doing right now I think it's fun. He's showing his potential. I see a lot of players with potential who never make it. I think it started getting too late for him, now he's back on the map.”

Garcia entered Monday hitting .331/.372/.532 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs in 296 plate appearances. While he didn’t remember the specifics of their conversation, Garcia knows Guillen’s main intent was to help him forward. He’s encouraged that his fellow countryman has confidence in his abilities.

“He’s a great human and everything he said to me is going to work for me,” Garcia said. “I just listened. Always listen. I appreciated what he said. He gave me a lot of advice.

“He’s a great person. People that really know, know he is and we appreciate everything he does and that’s it.”

Guillen appreciates what Garcia has done this season after several years of middling play amongst high expectations. Through 72 games, Garcia has produced 2.3 f-Wins Above Replacement, giving him a career mark of 0.9.

Acquired in July 2013 from Detroit in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, Garcia arrived with high expectations that he hadn’t been able to live up to thus far. Garcia has had those expectations since he first reached the majors when scouts nicknamed him ‘Mini Miggy’ after Cabrera. Guillen is glad to see Garcia has started to play up to his potential, especially after he was aghast to find him hitting in the bottom third of Aragua’s lineup.

“I saw him batting seventh and I was all over him,” Guillen said. “I said 'You should be embarrassed you're batting seventh in winter league, you have to be third, or fourth. This is winter league.' When you go to there and you play in the big leagues, it makes it easier. Now he's picked it up. Hopefully he will keep it up. Hopefully he'll keep it up and make some money. That's what we want. Some cash. Take it home.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

WASHINGTON – Less than six months after the Cubs toured the White House as one of the final stops on their World Series victory tour, manager Joe Maddon is angling for another visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Maddon’s childhood friend from Hazleton, Congressman Lou Barletta, is working to arrange a private tour this week while the Cubs are in Washington for a four-game showdown against the first-place Nationals.

“I’m staying in touch with my boy Louie,” Maddon said Monday. “Who knows? We might end up going over there again.”

This wouldn’t be the East Room spectacle the Cubs enjoyed in January, when President Barack Obama’s final official White House event became a kind of farewell gift to his staffers with Chicago connections.

Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican who made immigration a central part of his platform as Hazleton mayor, declined a position in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. Barletta asked Maddon, who stays involved with his hometown through his Hazleton Integration Project, to attend a luncheon on Wednesday for young Republicans.

“And then maybe something else will be in the making after that,” Maddon said. “But for right now, the one thing I got in my back pocket is Louie.”