Friday, October 27, 2006

5 Questions with the Lions

Well, the Redskins may be off, but our prurient interest in football and blogging never takes a day off. So this week, we are pleased to bring you a Very Special 5 Questions...Bye Week Edition! We recently exchanged questions with Sean from Pride of Detroit, who blogs the Lions, also on a bye this week. Although the Lions are not on the Redskins schedule this season, we thought it might be interesting to get a look inside the team and get the fan perspective on the Lions, former Redskin Matt Millen and new coach Rod Marinelli. My answers to Sean's five questions can be viewed here.

On to our questions.

Curly R: Coach. The Lions arestruggling, but playing some competitive football. The first part does not surprise me, what with a new coach, new system and player questions, but the second part does. Seven games into the season, are you seeing progress? Where is the fanbase on Rod Marinelli? Is he a solid coach and a good fit, or do you think he's a rest stop before the next coach?

Pride of Detroit: Although the record doesn’t quite reflect things, I do think there is improvement being made on the offensive side of things. The offense got off to a very slow start this season and is continually getting better, but that’s the opposite of what the defensive has and is doing. Shutting down the defending NFC champs in the opening game looked good, but since then it just keeps going downhill. Mind you, injuries have decimated the defense to an extent, but I still don’t like what I’m seeing there. As far as coaching, I think Rod Marinelli has the right idea on things, but is taking a while to execute. The fans aren’t displeased with him all that much just yet, but that’s mainly because everyone is concentrating on the Fords and Millens. Marinelli will probably be around for quite some time if he can start winning more.

Curly R: Players. Since 2000, the QB carousel in Detroit has gone through Charlie Batch, Mike McMahon, Joey Harrington, and now Jon Kitna. What did you think when you heard he was signing with the Lions, and do you have a different opinion now? How about Mike Williams? Play the cocky SOB, or make him bend to the team? Who's the Lions player that's overlooked in the media?

Pride of Detroit: Initially, around draft time is when I really started to hate the signing of Kitna. We passed on Leinart (which we’ll have to see about in the future if that was smart or not) and I felt made a bad move at the time. Now, Kitna is statistically one of the best QBs in the entire NFL. So, I really don’t think the Lions downfall this season involved the QB as it has in year’s past. Mike Williams I’m really not sure about. If they would actually give him a chance then he could prove himself, but he just never gets the opportunity. Part of that is a bad work ethic, but I would be pissed off too if I never saw the field during a game. Finally, without a doubt in my mind Mike Furrey is overlooked the most. He’s starting to get some recognition now, but he isn’t talked about all that much. It’s really interesting about how he became the Lions #2 receiver. He was actually a safety under Mike Martz at St. Louis and came to Detroit back as a WR. Since then he has simply worked hard to get as the 2nd starting WR and has proven to be a solid target. Plus, he keeps his mouth shut and lets his play do the talking.

Curly R: Stadium. Lions Stadium is in its fifth year. What's your take on it? What's the best thing about the stadium? Is there any shortcoming(s) the stadium that makes you say, WTF were they thinking?

Pride of Detroit: I love Ford Field. It’s one of the nicest-looking stadiums in the entire league and is very professionally-feeling. The best part about it would probably have to be the look of it actually. From the outside to the inside it just has a great appeal to it. I wouldn’t really say there are any shortcomings, but if there’s one thing I could change about it then I would put a retractable roof on it instead of the regular dome. How awesome would it be to play that annual Thanksgiving game outdoors in the chilling Detroit weather?

Curly R: Ownership and Management. Redskins fans have great memories of Matt Millen and will always love him for helping get the Redskins a Super Bowl Championship after the 1991 season. Later, Millen looked like the heir to John Madden in the booth, a big guy that can explain the game in an entertaining fashion. But since he signed on as the Lions GM, it's been one incapable coach, one failed draft pick after another that were supposed to save the franchise. Where are you on Millen? Why does the ownership stick with him? What's your take on the ownership overall?

Pride of Detroit: I absolutely hate Matt Millen. To me, he just seems like a smug person who doesn’t care or take responsibility for his actions. I want him fired and if that ever happens soon, I think it should be a sanctioned-holiday in Detroit. He just doesn’t know how to run a football team successfully, and I truly believe that the Lions can’t be good until he is gone. As far as ownership, I want the Fords to move the hell away from this team. The Fords are to blame the most because they have stuck with Millen throughout this bad spell in Lions history and aren’t doing enough to change that.

Curly R: Nostalgia. Do you pine for the days of Erik Kramer / Andre Ware / Rodney Peete or are they memories best left in Wayne Fontes' size XXXXXXL Hawaiian shirt? Who (besides Barry Sanders) is the greatest Lions player of your time?

Pride of Detroit: In my time personally, there isn’t necessarily just one player that sticks out in my mind. And other than Barry Sanders, no one compares (ed. note: not even Herman Moore, Germane Crowell, or Matt Blundin? Wahoowa! -Ben). I’d just like to go back to the days when people took Detroit seriously and the Lions could actually put up an impressive win. I’m not even calling out for a playoff berth just yet, a .500 record sounds best right now.

Curly R BONUS QUESTION: Speaking of 1991, the Redskins destroyed the Barry Sander-less Lions 45-0 in the opening game on their way to an 11-0 start. Redskins and Lions met again in the NFC Championship, which the Redskins won 41-10, featuring 5 sacks of Erik Kramer, 44 yards rushing for Barry Sanders and a pick-6 for Darrell Green. Since that game, the Lions are 0-5 in the playoffs, have had five winning seasons in 14 years and gone through seven head coaches. 1991 was your year and the Redskins were the cockblock. Does this memory make you bitter, or truly bitter?

Pride of Detroit: Really, it doesn’t make me bitter at all. It should, but since there has been so much crap that Lions fans have had to take in the last 5 or so years, those memories are almost long gone it seems like. Bad draft picks, choked games, and taking the wind in overtime are just some of the things we’ve had to suffer through. That is what I’m bitter over. If you go back in time just in the new millennium, there are probably a hundred different things you could fix to turn everything around almost 180 degrees. But, since you can’t do that, living with the present Lions will always feel bitter until some actual winning takes place.

Thanks to Sean for swapping questions with us on his team's bye week. Head over to Pride of Detroit, get a login and drop a comment on him. Fans of crappy teams need to stick together. And good luck to the Lions, who will be playing the Falcons on Sunday.