Nick Baumgardner Detroit Free Press Published 6:01 AM EST Dec 7, 2018 Listen to the latest episode of The Michigan Rant podcast It's December, which means Michigan is in the business of shooting down Jim Harbaugh to the NFL speculation. It also means questions for what's next as the program heads toward a bowl game and the offseason. Welcome back to the Ask Nick mailbag. Let's get started. You’ve mentioned that the passing game needs to be modernized. From a play-calling/route-running standpoint, what might that look like compared to what we saw this year? — @ncholasmartn Some people are going to yell about this because they're angry, but Harbaugh's offense does run some good concepts from a passing standpoint. In 2017, it was too much — his players weren't ready for it. In 2018, I'd argue it wasn't enough. The balance between what you want to be and what your strengths can allow you to become is what needs to be examined. … [Read more...] about How Michigan football can further develop its pass offense
Seven step rpo
Carlos Monarrez Detroit Free Press Published 11:00 p.m. UTC Sep 3, 2018 Free Press sports writer Carlos Monarrez predicts records for the other teams in the NFC North heading into the 2018 season: Chicago Bears (7-9) Why they're better than the Detroit Lions: They got rid of coach John Fox after three terrible seasons, including a 5-11 finish last year. The Bears hired Matt Nagy, 40, an offensive-minded rookie coach who is expected to get the most out of second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. As the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs last year, Nagy ignited Alex Smith’s deep-passing game and used plenty of run-pass-option plays — a strength of the Bears last season that should only get better under new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, an RPO expert from Oregon. Why they're not: This is a very young team that has only three players in their 30s. It’s going to be hard for players to lean on veteran leadership during a coaching … [Read more...] about How Detroit Lions stack up in NFC North: Record predictions
Nick Baumgardner Detroit Free Press Published 4:00 p.m. UTC May 23, 2018 (NOTE: This is the first installment in a series examining Michigan's position groups this offseason) The most important piece is in the middle. For Michigan, in 2011 it was David Molk. In 2015 it was Graham Glasgow. More: Michigan football hoping Cesar Ruiz is first answer to complex OL puzzle Simplification of terms and overall comprehension were the buzz concepts this spring for the Wolverines with new offensive line coach Ed Warinner. But the real catalyst for Michigan’s quest toward becoming a functioning front five again resides at center: Cesar Ruiz. “Helping direct traffic. Your center makes a lot of calls in there that set your protections. If he sets them wrong, you've got problems. ... He's been very good at that this spring," Warinner said this spring. "We go through all the looks, have our rules, it's all coached up. But you can tell him in meetings and then go … [Read more...] about Michigan’s offensive line has potential, but how much?