Monday, December 03, 2007

Above the Fold - The Lions cornbread has left an awful aftertaste

The Detroit Lions were crushed by the Minnesota Vikings, 42-10. The game was over by halftime. The score very easily could have been much worse, if the Vikings didn't let off in the 3rd quarter.

Words can't truly describe the carnage. Awful. Horrific. Embarrassing. Ugly. It was the sort of defeat that gets people fired. Especially after a 6-2 start. Not that heads will roll, as that just doesn't happen with William Clay Ford. If anything, the senile old curmudgeon will think this season is an improvement, and contract extensions will be granted to all.

The Book, Pat Caputo, in today's Oakland Press, thinks that Rod Marinelli is heading down the same road as every other Lions head coach, irrelevancy.

During this losing streak, though, the Lions have been up to their old tricks. And it's not just the mistakes, but it's the desire. They didn't show much of it Sunday. The Vikings ran over them like a Mack Truck in a collision with a Tonka Toy. The Lions didn't put up much resistance. Marinelli's message about playing hard one snap at a time appears to have become just another trite cliche' from a coach that is falling on deaf ears. Marinelli has no answer for this mess. It seems like the apex of his coaching career was the Lions' rout of the Broncos that turned so many heads. It has certainly been downhill since.

Marinelli's "Coach 'em up" and "Pound the rock" philosophies don't work when you're lacking in personnel. It's just talk. Talk that will get thrown back in your face.

In today's Detroit News, Bob Wojinowski has come to a conclusion. "The Lions aren't nearly tough enough in the trenches." No argument from me...

But if you really want to know why this team is wobbly horribly at crunch time, I'll say it once more, with feeling: The Lions aren't nearly tough enough in the trenches.

You can dress up an offense with high-pick receivers and you can adopt the famed Tampa Two defense, but when you don't have enough grunters on the offensive and defensive lines, you're putting lipstick on a porker, with perhaps a touch of rouge.

This was the lowest point of the year, although it looked exactly like blowouts in Philadelphia and Washington. This was worse because there was more at stake.

The Lions had the best "grunter" in the draft, Joe Thomas, there for the taking, but went for the glamor pick, Calvin Johnson. Wojo does the 20/20 hindsight thing...

The Lions made a horrific mistake drafting receiver Calvin Johnson over Peterson and they will pay for a long time.

Wait a second. Didn't Wojo say the Lions suck in the trenches? That they need toughness? Then wouldn't Thomas have been the better pick, rather than Peterson? In all actuality, the Lions had holes at both positions, but took a wide out despite having a pro bowler on one side, and the NFL receptions leader on the other. At this point, complaining about the draft is just crying over Millen's spilled milk.

At Mlive, the Killer asks the same thing, would Peterson have been the better pick?

It's difficult to look through the Lions' recent draft history and find someone who they shouldn't have drafted instead. Peterson is an explosive talent, no doubt about it, but so is Johnson. The larger issue is why the Lions aren't getting the most out of him.

Once again, Johnson was a non-factor in the offense on Sunday. Before Roy Williams got hurt, Johnson was in and out of the lineup and wasn't a target in the passing game.

The Lions have made a huge mistake here, either in drafting a guy who didn't deserve to be the second overall pick or not effectively using a guy who did.

That's the chicken or the egg question. Is Johnson a bust, or is Mike Martz's offense not using Megatron corretly? Let's hope to God that it's an issue wth Martz's offenses I don't think the fanbase could survive ANOTHER wide receiver bust.

Michael Rosenberg chimes in at the Freep, saying the Lions are who we thought they were, the 6-2 start was mirage.

The most popular question after this debacle was, "What happened to the team that started 6-2?"

I understand the question. But I think it is flawed. I think it's like asking why that woman who looked good when she was across the street was not so attractive when you saw her up close.

Why should we assume that the Lions who started 6-2 were the "real" Lions, and the ones who have lost four straight are imposters? By any objective measure, the Lions are fortunate to be 6-6. For the season, they have been outscored by 44 points. They have lost three games by at least 30 points.

Does that sound like a good team?

No Mike, it's doesn't.

At Quo Vadimus, Scott had "Nothing to say about the Detroit Lions" after the ugly loss, but he tried anyway...

It's over. The 2007 season is over. And it likely ended in the first quarter, Lions had the Vikings backed up 3rd and 14 from their own 10, and the Vikings were content to run the ball and punt, but the Lions defense folded, Chester Taylor gained 15 yards on a draw play, and the Vikings drove 80+ yards for the score. It was over then. Mike Furrey almost pulling a Plaxico Burress at the end of the game, and giving up the ball despite potentially not being touched, that was just gravy.

I agree with Scott wholeheartedly, the Lions' season is over. I just can't see the Lions rebounding from this 4 game losing streak. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that the streak reaches at least 6 games. In fact, I'd make the bet that the Lions finish 0-8. I never thought I'd be saying that a month ago, but these last 4 games give me no reason to hope they can turn this around.

Lionbacker, in their game recap, also believes the playoffs are out of reach.

The first half record was built on playing poor teams and getting plenty of turnovers, both of these keys to their winning ways have vanished along with the Lions post season aspirations.

The Kool-Aid and cornbread has gone bad and been thrown in the trash. There will be a few who still believe, perhaps having been on a month long vacation out of the country. Rod Marinelli preaches "one play at a time", but he will have his hands full trying to get this team to recover from this meltdown.

The cornbread and Kool-aid were tasty for the first 8 games. Now? We're gagging on it...

At Pride of Detroit, the comments in Sean's open thread shows the true despair felt by Lions fans as the game progressed. It's a sad read, as fans realize the inevitable...

That's "Above the Fold" for Monday, 12-3-07.


  1. I thought all along they should have drafted Johnson. I don't think Peterson was really ever in the equation. I think he surprised people with his talent, frankly.

    The Lions have to start thinking like a midwest team. Not that Millen ever will.

  2. I still go with CJ too. He was considered by everyone-literally everyone- to be a once in a generation talent. And he's shown flashes of it, but isn't getting enough chances to grow. But hell, even Rice had a rough rookie season at times.

    As for Peterson, I seem to recall there being a concern with his injury history. Wasn't there once a question of whether he'd even be able to play this year? The Vikings got lucky when he dropped to them. Which is odd for a back that is considered to be the next Dickerson, no?

    Oh, and I also recall reading that his style of running was considered to be dangerous-too upright, and thus too likely to get hurt.

    All of which made him a risky choice for number 2 in the draft. Especially if you have a (theoretically) pretty good running back already.

    Finally, remember that our hero Dwew "Sharp as a marble" called CJ a bust, and announced that the Puddys should've drafted AP. That would be the day that AP got hurt.

    Anybody want to go on record agreeing with that idiot? Not me.