Matt Millen is gone-- 5 years too late. Roy Williams is the latest of Millen's high profile first round draft picks to be dismissed or shipped off to another team, joining Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, Kevin Jones, and Teddy Lehman. Jon Kitna is on injured reserve, out for the season with a back ailment. I think he's played his last game in a Lions uniform.
This season was over when it started 0-4. In that initial run, Detroit lost to Atlanta and Green Bay, both fielding actual or virtual rookie quarterbacks against what was supposed to be a much improved Lions defense.
Yesterday, when the Redskins came to town, I was in my car when the game started so I was listening on satellite radio. Dan Miller, the Lions play-by-play guy, mentioned something that I had not heard in quite some time-- the game did not sellout and was therefore not being televised in the Detroit, Lansing, Saginaw and Toledo home markets. When I got home and turned on the game, I saw what appeared to be a half empty Ford Field. I checked the Lions website and found the news release announcing the non-sellout. It stated that 5,000 tickets remained available as of 1:00 PM on Friday. A sellout for football at Ford Field is 65,000. According to the official post-game stat sheet, less than 55,000 showed up.
Finally, the sponsors are frustrated enough with team management not buy up the remaining block to ensure the sellout and the fans are fed up enough not to show up. Maybe this will finally get William Clay Ford, Sr. to come out of his coma and let his son, William Clay Ford, Jr. take the necessary steps to start moving the Lions in a positive direction. Step One-- dump Rod Marinelli and staff and get some real coaches in there. Step Two-- get some real players in there who know and understand football and who really want to play on this level and WIN. What I saw yesterday was a bunch of guys just there to collect a paycheck. The Lions need to do what 49ers interim coach Mike Singletary did and single slackers out and tell them to hit the showers early. Consider what columnist Ann Killion wrote in the San Jose Mercury News:
On Sunday Singletary, in order: 1. benched J.T. O’Sullivan, who was having another disastrous performance. 2. sent Vernon Davis off the field for acting like an idiot. 3. apologized for the team’s performance.
In an embarrassing, potentially season-finishing 34-13 loss to awful Seattle, Singletary showed that he is not going to just sit back and spout platitudes and clichés. That he’s not going to pretend everything is fine while his team is collapsing around him. That he’s not going to blame the players and absolve himself.
Rod Marinelli should take the same approach with his players. If he doesn't, newly appointed general manager Martin Mayhew should take the Singletary approach with Marinelli.
Oh, Good Evening!