Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Feb 2009

Lions Will Say Goodbye to Bodden

The news out of Detroit is that cornerback and former FO binky Leigh Bodden will not be back in a Lions uniform. The team never really used Bodden correctly, but it's interesting that the new administration, led by Jim Schwartz, couldn't find a place for the man who put up six picks in a more man-coverage role with the Browns in 2007 (apparently, Bodden was Jason David in reverse). Then again, his $8.6 million roster bonus may be informing the decision. This means that when all is said and done, Matt Millen essentially traded Shaun Rogers for Andre Fluellen. Ya still want him, NBC?

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 05 Feb 2009

30 comments, Last at 06 Feb 2009, 3:57pm by zlionsfan


by Israel P. - Jerusalem (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:43am

Link leads to a 7 Jan article beginning "As the Detroit Lions continue their search for a new coach, one of the drawbacks to the job is the team's talent-challenged roster."

by Doug Farrar :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:48am

Fixed, thanks.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:56am

Would he work out in man-coverage? If not would he suck less than Dre' Bly? Detroit can have him back any day - allthough that wont help their cap-situ.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 11:24am

Why do people have such a short memory regarding Matt Millen? Prior to his stint as Lions GM, he was VERY, VERY good on television.

He got in over his head as GM, but as a studio and color analyst, he's one of the best in the business.

Sure, it's fun to pile on with the rest of the media, but I don't come to FO to read stuff that is on the same level as the rest of the media.

by Doug Farrar :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 11:28am

You don't think his credibility as a football analyst was impacted by years of horrific personnel decisions? I don't care one bit about piling on with the mainstream media, but I do think it's a perfectly valid question.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 11:34am

No, his credibility is not hurt at all, just as a coach who was a good coordinator who became a horrible head coach can still be a good coordinator.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 11:49am

Cam Cameron for example.. He failed miserably in Miami. But he did it for one year. Matt Millen demonstrated years and years of horrible moves. You can't write that off, as in Camerons case, to poor surroundings.

I'm in no doubt that Millen is as good as any color guy (that isn't saying much, though). But he will never ever work out on the screen, 'cause viewers will ALWAYS have that "sure... like HE would know.." everytime he said something.

No matter how you slice it, it has hurt his credibillity. Before he singlehandedly destroyed a franchise, he had credibillity: He was known as a fine player, who won 4 SuperBowls with 3 different teams. Now he's the guy that destroyed the Lions..

by Unverified Telamon (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 1:13pm

It's funny, I never knew anything about the guy's playing career until I looked it up now, and all I know about his TV time is from people saying "It's too bad he's so lousy as a GM, he was really good on TV."

I see he was even on the 'Skins during their last title run (though he didn't play in that Super Bowl). Personally, I hope that's the last we have to do with him.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 1:27pm

I'm able to separate his time in Detroit from his span as a player and later analyst, and I sincerely hope that other intelligent fans are able to do the same.

Besides, it's not like he took a proud and majestic franchise and destroyed it. Detroit has been horrible for decades.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 4:54pm

Why should intelligent fans ignore it? His time as GM of the lions clearly speaks to his inability to judge player talent.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 02/06/2009 - 10:11am

His work as an analyst prior to that proved that he is an excellent TV analyst and color commentator. Period, full stop.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 9:29pm

It IS like he took a proud and majestic franchise and destroyed it. So they weren't a multi Super Bowl winning team. But they were competent. Now, as you know, they are a joke.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 02/06/2009 - 10:12am

What have the Lions done since Bobby Layne played? And how is that Millen's fault?

Of course, it's Millen's fault that they had one of the top 3 running backs of all time and won nothing with him...

by zlionsfan :: Fri, 02/06/2009 - 3:57pm

They made the playoffs in six of the ten seasons prior to Millen's arrival: they had winning records in seven of those ten seasons, and did so despite having filler at QB the entire time. It was probably the second-best decade in Lions history. They won their only playoff game of the Super Bowl era and reached the NFC Championship game.

Millen inherited a team that was 9-7 and a Paul Edinger field goal from a playoff spot and promptly destroyed it. That is Millen's fault. The fact that he insisted on keeping the job long after it was clear he was incapable of handling it is also his fault.

You can watch him on TV and judge him solely on his commentating skills, as is your right. I will judge him by the fact that he destroyed my favorite team, knowing that I am no less intelligent for doing so.

by Ashley Tate (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 1:43pm

Actually it's pretty simple to explain why his credibility as an analyst should not be impacted: Predicting what player X will do in the future and how much you should pay him to do it (plus the myriad other responsibilities of a GM) is a completely different skill than explaining what player X just did on the field and why.

Not to mention that the GM skills of most (all?) other analysts are completely unknown. So the only basis for downgrading Millen relative to other analysts is an unproven assumption that their GM skills would be better.

by Ashley Tate (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 1:46pm

(On the other hand, if Millen says as an analyst that team Y should sign player X, you have my full support in mocking and deriding his opinions!)

by black president (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 3:37pm

Absolutely not. He's a good broadcaster and a solid analyst, a skillset that has nothing to do with what it takes to be a good GM. Wasn't there a Walkthrough just a month or two ago about how much more than meets the eye there is to being a GM? Millen had zero history in personnel or management, and it showed. He has a good history as a broadcaster. They shouldn't be treated the same.

by underthebus :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 2:28pm

Which team did Millen pick to win the Superbowl? Anyone see the pre-game? I know there was a prop bet regarding this and I wanted to know if it payed out or not.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 9:39pm

He picked the Cards.

by andrew :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 1:35pm

The thing I hate most about Millen is how he ruined it for all the other Network TV color guys hoping to get a shot as an NFL General Manager...

by AndyB (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 2:37pm

"The thing I hate most about Millen is how he ruined it for all the other Network TV color guys hoping to get a shot as an NFL General Manager..."

Are you being sarcastic? Who cares?

by drobviousso :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 1:56pm

Didn't Schwartz run a sort of 4/3 zone blitz scheme in Tenn? I though I remember reading here that they do a lot of 'safe blitzing' like the Steelers do, only out of a 4/3 instead of a 3/4.

by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 2:18pm

In your field gulls post, you didn't go and connect the unconnected dots about Tim Ruskell going heavy after Bodden. Be irrational with me, just this once.

by black president (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 3:39pm

Why do you guys have such a hard-on for this journeyman defensive back? Let it go!!!

by Jerry :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 7:07pm

NBC's management is as bad as the Lions' was.

We now return you to Knight Rider.

by nope (not verified) :: Thu, 02/05/2009 - 8:04pm

No, his credibility is not hurt at all, just as a coach who was a good coordinator who became a horrible head coach can still be a good coordinator.

This is asinine. The guy led the worst eight year span of any franchise in the history of the game, an era that was so bad there was a public fan revolt, and you mean to tell me that the "intelligent" move is to set that aside and not let it impact the viewer's ability to judge his acumen at all? Seriously?


The whole reason people are given analyst jobs to begin with is because they are seen as credible in their field by the viewer or listener . When they show up on the screen with a body of work as worthless as his has been for eight seasons in his field, he is now devoid of that credibility.

Put him in a booth, or put him back on radio. But to put him back in a high profile studio gig and expect your audience to pretend as if nothing happened is absurd, and the fact that someone is dumb enough to buy it astounds me.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 02/06/2009 - 10:15am

You clearly don't remember what he was doing prior to being hired as the Lions' GM. He was easily one of the top analysts on television, but even then people felt that it was a bad hire to make him a GM.

The two are about as similar as taking your top sales guy and putting him in charge of your accounting department. They both know the business, but from two different perspectives.

by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/06/2009 - 10:36am

Sophandros - objectively speaking, you're entirely correct in your comparison. But "Nope" nailed it when he brought up the credibility issue. For a TV analyst, credibility is paramount. Credibility is a cruelly subjective and ephemeral quality, and once it's gone, it's gone.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 02/06/2009 - 2:38pm

"Nope"'s premise is faulty. He said that people are given analyst jobs based on their ability to assess talent. That clearly is not the case, as Millen held an analyst job prior to becoming the GM of the Lions. Prior to that, he was still playing ball.

Millen still knows MUCH more about football than 95% of the people watching football games on Sundays, and in fact, BECAUSE of what happened in Detroit, he will be a better studio analyst and color man than he was before, and he was really good before.

by Flounder :: Fri, 02/06/2009 - 2:27pm

It doesn't affect my opinion of him as a color guy, but I never found him a very good color man in the first place.