Monday, December 10, 2007

Above the Fold - The Lions continue to crush souls and hope

Kurt, the esteemed blogger behind Mack Avenue Tigers, asked why I let myself get so emotionally involved with such a clueless organization as the Detroit Lions. I didn't really have an answer, as the Lions break my heart in one way, or another, EVERY season. I've been a fan since the days of Greg Landry and Bill Munson. That's a long time to keep coming back, season after season, to have my hopes crushed. I shouldn't be a fan at this point, but I keep coming back.

As a youngster, I sat in front of the TV, crying my eyes out, after the Lions, who may have been the best team in the NFL that season, lost 5-0 to Dallas in the 1970 wild card game. All these years later, though nothing has changed, I no longer cry. Instead, my normal mild mannered self transforms, and I rage away, swearing like a sailor, as the Lions break my heart once again, as the playoffs move farther and farther out of reach.

Why are the Lions, "The Lions?" Is it karma? Did they do something in the past, like trading Bobby Layne, to piss off the football Gods? Is it the need for balance in the universe? Because this town has 3 excellently run pro franchises, that 1 needs to be soul-crushingly inept? If you have a better explanation, let me know.

In the Freep, Michael Rosenberg compares the philosophies between 2 very successful GM's, who will veer from their plan as the situation dictates, and 1 that is functionally retarded, who sticks to a massively flawed, going on 7 seasons long, "Plan," and continues to lose at a record pace.

When Millen drafted receivers with three straight first-round picks, he envisioned a light-'em-up Lions offense. But the third choice, especially, was a bad decision, and not just because Mike Williams turned out to be a bust. The third receiver on any team can never contribute enough to justify the use of a top-10 draft pick.

Then there is this: Dombrowski and Dumars are willing to divorce themselves from their past decisions -- even the great ones, like drafting Cameron Maybin or trading for Ben Wallace.

Meanwhile, Millen clings to past decisions. It is as though he is justifying those choices, even to himself.

Millen will never change. Never. Anyone with even a below average IQ would realize after a few seasons, that their plan is just not working. Not our man Matt Millen!

The Little Fella says that it's just more of the same old, same old...

Oh, the Lions. In some ways, their games are like sunsets. They make you sigh. You shake your head in awe. And no matter how often you see them, you can't stop staring. The difference is you don't want to see them again.

But you do. Tragic loss is a Lions trademark. Sunday, they did big things well but small things badly. Missed field goal. Bad kick coverage. Red-zone drives for field goals, not TDs.

A one-point loss. It might as well be 100.

Speaking of sunsets, when will the sun set on the Millen era? Considering that the nearly as inept Russ Thomas was Lions' GM for decades, mostly because William Clay Ford like him, I expect the same with Millen. He's not going anywhere...

At the News, Wojo treads in the same territory as the Little Fella. When it comes to the Lions, it's always something...

There's always something with the Lions. Asked if the game turned with the missed field goal, Marinelli didn't doubt it.

"You're probably right, but I'd be disappointed if it did," he said. "It shouldn't matter. We had a lot of football left."

Marinelli said he'd throw no pity party for his hard-luck team, and he shouldn't. But if you ever needed evidence the NFL is one giant parity party, you saw it when the stumbling Lions scrapped admirably with the flying Cowboys.

They were there, right to the end. And then, with the season essentially in the balance, bad, strange things happened. With the Lions, they almost always do.

I think Wojo is giving the Lions too much credit. When strange things happen, it's always to bad teams. The Lions are a bad team.

The Killer calls out the most out of shape player in the NFL, Shaun Rogers, as he wasn't in the game during it's most important stretches.

Head coach Rod Marinelli said it was simply part of the rotation of defensive linemen, but that play came just two plays into the fourth quarter so Rogers would've had plenty of time to rest during the television timeout. It could've been a huge momentum-turning play in the game so either the coaches failed by not putting him in there or the coaches felt they had a better chance to stop the Cowboys with Rogers on the bench.

Either way, it's not good.

Rogers is done as a Lion after this season. If Rod Marinelli can't motivate his fat sorry ass, no one can.

Eno's a member of the "Liar's Club."

Let's play a round of Liar's Club.

Who among you actually thought Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo WASN'T going to lead his team to victory in the final drive of yesterday's game, despite needing 83 yards with 2:15 left and sans timeouts?

Who among you were surprised when Lions linebacker Paris Lenon failed to scoop up a Romo fumble in the final drive?

Who among you actually felt that Jason Hanson's miss of a 35-yard field goal in the final quarter WOULDN'T come back to haunt the Lions?

If anyone raised their hands to any of the previous questions, then you are a candidate for the Liar's Club.

Hell, I was lying to myself when I thought the Lions were a playoff team.

At Fire Millen, they are feeling a little melancholy...

The worst thing about the loss yesterday is that I expected it. I am not sure if I expected to lose the whole game or it was a certain point. It could have been after we missed that field goal or maybe when Dallas got the ball back. But somehow I figured this Lions team would follow the same tradition as many teams before them: You can always find a grand way to lose. And lose they did. But I give them credit, it was one of the grandest loses I have seen in a long time.

That's the problem with Lions fans, we give them far too much credit for playing a good team close, even though they lost in the end. Moral victories don't mean shit in the NFL.

In their game recap, Pride of Detroit says the Lions all but kissed their playoff hopes goodbye.

In the end, Detroit missed more than just opportunities in this game. A win would have put them back into the playoffs as Arizona lost yesterday. That knocked them out of the wild card and put the Lions into a tie with only the Vikings, who they miraculously hold the tie-breaker over according to FOX's Joe Buck. Since this game resulted in a loss instead of the upset, Detroit now is tied with 2 other teams (3 if New Orleans wins tonight) a game back of the final wild card spot. Normally that would still leave you with a chance, but the red hot Vikings control that final wild card spot and there is no sign of them slowing down any time soon.

Too much has to happen for the Lions to be in the wild card hunt. They need several teams to lose, absolutely everything has to go their way, and most importantly, they actually need to win a God damn game. I don't see any of that happening.

The newest bloggers in the D, Silver Rush, have given up...

As badly as I want the Lions to be a contender,I know it ain't gonna be this year.Playing good teams tough for 59 minutes doesn't get you to the playoffs,and for the Lions,won't get you out of your dismal downward spiral.

Gorilla Crouch compares the Lions to other bottom dwelling teams, and tells us, in a league designed for worst to first turnarounds, the Lions outright blew their opportunity, unlike the Saints, Bears, and Bolts.

the Lions have simply benefited from the fact the NFL structure is set in such a way that a team that finished in the basement in the league one year can become a playoff team the next. While the Lions’ big turnaround looks like it will result in a 7-9 record, this year’s beneficiary of league parity could be the Cleveland Browns, who went 4-12 last season and are competing for a playoff spot. Here are some recent teams that turned their fortunes around in very short order.

New Orleans Saints
2005: 3-13
2006: NFC Championship Game

Chicago Bears
2004: 5-11
2005: NFC Divisional Playoff

San Diego Chargers
2003: 4-12
2004: AFC West Champion

It was all there for the Lions after 8 games. They just needed to play .500 football in the second half of the season, and they'd be sitting pretty. Instead, they are back with the playoff wannabe's, praying for a Christmas miracle...

Quo Vadimus is already looking towards next season...

At this point, losing the rest of our games will get us a better draft pick, so 6-10 after a 6-2 start seems, well, likely. I can't see winning at San Diego next week, and certainly not at Green Bay the last week of the season, so at this point, why win the Kansas City game in two weeks?

Amazing too, because 6-10 at the start of the year may have been somewhat acceptable. Not great, but acceptable. Now, it's a disaster. At least we ran the ball today.

What to do for next season? More talent, especially on defense and the offensive line, will help, as will a fully healthy Kevin Jones and Calvin Johnson having more experience in the offense. But, wow, there is a long, long way to go.

This season has turned into a disaster of epic proportions. In no way can the Lions spin that the 2007 season is something to build upon, as there's no foundation. There's just too many roster holes to fill, not enough depth, several underachieving malcontents that need to be broomed, and a moron running the front office who will bungle the draft...Again. The 2007 Lions season will be remembered with 1 word. "FAIL."

That's "Above the Fold" for Monday, 12-10-07!

1 comment:

  1. Here's a vote for John Diva, excuse me, Kitna, for team-mate of the year. His look of disdain/disgust after Jason Hanson missed the 35 yarder tells me all I need to know about John Diva. He's a jerk who is willling to blame anyone else for his own failings. If, for example, he had completed a couple of passes in the first half, the missed field goal would never have been an issue. Frankly, I can't wait for the Drew Stanton era to begin and for John Diva to take a hike down that road with Matt Millen. Fire them both.