Sunday, September 21, 2008

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers : Pregame thoughts and linkage

Game information:
Motown @ The City By the Bay.
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. EDT
Stadium: Candlestick Park
Television: WJBK-TV FOX Ch.2
Play-By-Play: Dick Stockton
Color: Brian Baldinger
Sideline: Brian Billick & Laura Omkin
Lions Radio Network Flagship: 97.1 FM The Ticket (WXYT-FM)
Play-By-Play: Dan Miller
Color: Jim Brandstatter
Sidelines: Tony Ortiz
2008 Records: Lions, 0-2; 49ers, 1-1

We all know the plot line being pushed for this game, Mike Martz vs. anyone wearing Honolulu blue and silver. But there's more than just Martz vs. the world to talk about.

At, John Czarnecki is straight and to the point about what's at stake.

Whoever loses this game, Rod Marinelli or Mike Nolan, immediately goes on the hot seat.

Actually, Marinelli is already on the proverbial hot seat with the fans and media. Going 1-9 in your last 10 games tends to do that to a coach's standing. Unfortunately, the 2 opinions that actually count, the porn 'stached goon's and the old man's, apparently don't feel the same way.

This morning on FOX 2's pregame, Killer Kowalski said as much, claiming he didn't see any sort of change in status regarding Millen and Marinelli on the horizon, no matter what the record ends up in '09. Way to be a buzzkill, Killer.

At the News, the semi-retired Mike O'Hara gives us his pick to win...the Lions. Why?

More than anything, it's time for the Lions to step up and play a good game. That's my logic.

Faulty logic.

Sure, the Lions may win, but "just because" isn't exactly a compelling argument. Saying the Lions are going to win because they are, well, due, is the equivalent of saying Millen will have a great draft next year because he blew the previous 7. The Lions tend to break the law of averages.

This isn't exactly a football story, but as it takes a look at the (declining) Ford fortune, and doesn't like what it sees, it's worth reading.

The Truth About Cars thinks Bill Jr, the likely owner of the Lions once his father passes, is having "liquidity problems."

While the Ford family isn’t down to its last $100m, the automaker’s plummeting fortunes must be more than slightly worrying. The last time Fortune checked-in with family’s finances– April ‘07– they’d lost a cool (if paper) $581m.

They continue...

Billy may have something of a liquidity problem. Reuters reports that he’s unloaded one million shares of Ford common stock [not class B] to pay down debt that he took on to exercise options and acquire stock in the automaker in 2004 and 2005.

As the auto industry continues to tank, and the Lions' fortunes being tied inexorably to the FoMoCo fortune, this bears watching. Obviously, the Ford family is far from broke, and won't be anytime soon. But the worse the economy gets, the worse off the Fords, and thus the Detroit Lions, will be.

Enough economic gloom and doom...

The 5 thing's I'm watching, Dammit!
(Why 5? I don't need to give you a reason, just like William Clay Ford doesn't give you one for keeping Millen and Marinelli!)

Will Jon Pickna Shitna Kitna throw another hissy fit?

In week one, Kitna did his damnedest to embarrass Detroit's coaches with his histrionics on the sidelines over personnel issues. Week two, after his last pick, Kitna walked off the field while the play was still live. The Killer even wrote an entire article about Kitna's attitude during the Packers loss, claiming he may still be "seething" over the Lions' change in offensive philosophy.

No matter what's eating at Kitna, for the Lions to have ANY chance of turning the season around, the God Warrior has to play much better. Better than he may be capable, at least over the long haul, to be honest.

Will Mike Martz pour salt into the the gaping wound that is the Lions' defense?

We all know Martz is batshit crazy insane, but he's a savant when it comes to running an NFL offense. You have to think he has something up his sleeve for today, as nothing would make the mad scientist happier than punishing the Lions.

Hell, Martz may even turn the tables, and just run Frank Gore, by far the running back Detroit has faced so far, down their throats. If the Lions' front 7 couldn't stop Michael Turner (who's having a monster game today against the Chiefs, one of of the Lions' main competitors for the title of "NFL's worst team"), do they have any real shot at shutting down Gore

Will the elevation of Gosder Cherilus to the first team help an offensive line that's been offensive to the senses?

Anyone who could help what's been a fairly anemic running game, and protect the bible thumper, has to help the Lions. Which leads us to one this season's biggest mysteries. Why it took 6 quarters into the regular season for the Lions' coaches to determine Cherilus was their BEST OFFENSIVE TACKLE?! At least, better than George Foster, who has yet to see a yellow flag he didn't like?

Marinelli's treatment of Cherilus and Jordon Dizon has been frustrating as all Hell. His handling of the young players is inconsistent at best, and outright fireable at worst. Marinelli claims he's trying to build a "foundation." Yet he totally contradicts himself by continuing to play older players of questionable talent who won't even be Lions in a season or two. Typical doubletalk from a position coach who's so far in over his head, he's looking up at the Mariana Trench.

Will the emergence of Calvin Johnson as this era's Barry Sanders continue?

I don't see why not, as Megatron has become Kitna's 1st, 2nd and 3rd option in the passing game. Considering Johnson causes a huge mismatch with every corner in football, even if it pisses off Roy Williams, not giving him double digit touches is complete and utter stupidity.

What happens if the Lions lose?

If the Lions go into the bye week 0-3 while playing like the worst team in football, the shit is going to hit the fan. The the next 2 weeks will be a living Hell for Marinelli, Millen and the rest of the Lions franchise. The fanbase will be in a full on revolt (again) and the media will be in full attack mode (again). At least it would make Monday's press confrence an entertaining listen!

Just a reminder: I'll only be able to live blog the 1st half, as I have to blow this pop stand for a family committment at 6 PM. The DVR (those things are the BEST invention ever) will recording the game, and I'll do my best to get my thoughts up about the events of the 2nd half before the end of the night.

And thanks for everyone's kind words letting me know how much you enjoy the live blogs. It makes my Sunday meltdowns worthwhile!

See you in the live blog!

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