Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions Television Network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college football and baseball.
Here, he answers a few of your burning questions.
Hometown? Farmington Hills, MI
Marital Status? Married, Lisa, with four children (3-boys 1-girl)
What High School did you attend? North Farmington HS
What is your Favorite sport to watch on TV and your favorite sport to attend in person?
Football on TV...hockey to attend
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
Clint Eastwood/Mel Gibson.....Ashley Judd
Who is your favorite sports celebrity of all time? Wayne Gretzky
Bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the ninth of the Game Seven of the World Series and your team is down one run...Which active baseball player do you want at the plate? Derek Jeter
Who is your favorite cartoon character? Bugs Bunny
What is your favorite national sports moment? Miracle on Ice
What is your favorite Detroit sports moment?
1984 World Series & 1997 Red Wings Stanley Cup
If you could change a rule in sports, what would it be?
I'd just like to see the strike zone called appropriately
What Detroiter do you admire most? Joe Dumars
College or Pro Sports? College
If you could invite three people to dinner, living or dead, who would they be? Jesus....my father (deceased)....my father-in-law (deceased) to see 'em one more time
What was your most interesting interview? Paul Newman at the Detroit Grand Prix
Favorite broadcaster of all time? Dick Enberg....but I really respect Joe Buck
Most embarrassing moment on the air? Stuttering during a line in a sportscast
What is your favorite Sports Team? Detroit Tigers
Shep's Daily Poll Question is brought to you by Art Moran Buick GMC
We all know it's "just the preseason," so we have to keep the Lions performances in perspective, but ask yourself if you actually are doing that before you start your rants about what's wrong with this team. Most will use the "dress rehearsal" game, preseason game number three, as their barometer and I think that's fair. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said this week his team "schemed or prepared" more for the Patriots than the previous two, the Jets and Browns.
Many of my observations are no doubt similar to yours: the defensive line will be the strength of this squad, the special teams are highly enhanced from last years brutal display and, outside of Calvin Johnson, the wide receivers on this team lack playmaking abilities. They can't get seperation on their routes! My biggest concern used to be the linebackers, rightside of the offensive line and secondary. I am still worried about the second level of the defense and who wins the right guard and right tackle battles (my guess is Larry Warford at RG and I think eventually LaAdrian Waddle might be the RT), but now I am as worried about the wide receivers as any other position. Johnson and Ryan Broyles can get seperation, but after that it's been slim pickin's.
Look, Matthew Stafford must improve his accuracy, but that can be a difficult thing to do when his wide receivers are consistently failing to pull away from cornerbacks. Next time you watch a Lions game I want you to really watch how much seperation this team's wide receivers get; how often are they running relatively free in the secondary. It's not often! For as much resources as this team has used on the position, it remains mind-boggling how little they have to show for it. What's equally concerning is the number of guys who have been given a chance and failed to seize the moment: Matt Willis, Terrance Austin, Patrick Edwards, Mike Thomas (since waived), Chaz Schilens, Corey Fuller, etc.... None of them have stood out for a consistent period of time in camp.
The defensive line can mask the weakness at a linebacker spot or even a secondary position, although I like Chris Houston and Darius Slay as the CB combo, but there's only so much a quarterback can do if his weapons are easily covered. We will demand more of Stafford and for good reason, but we need to keep an eye on receivers other than Johnson and hold them equally accountable for getting open, or in the Lions case, their INABILITY to get open.