Published: November 20. 2006 3:00AM Lions DREW SHARP: Blame game: Millen needs to go
November 20, 2006
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
Cardinals 17, Lions 10 GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's approaching the point where it's impossible for even the stubbornly delusional William Clay Ford Sr. to ignore. It's time for an organizational intervention.
Do whatever it takes! Lure the man into an empty room with a glass of warm milk and a plate of cookies and don't let him leave until he signs off on Matt Millen's presidential execution orders.
The lone remaining shred of future promise with the Lions -- and, trust me, it's microscopic -- is the NFL mission statement of even the mangiest dog one day earning his flea collar. But when you can't beat a team that has already quit on the season, you shouldn't collect a paycheck without a police investigation on larceny charges.
In Millen's case, there's no honor among thieves.
If he possessed an ounce of conviction, he'd resign this morning. Surrendering contradicts football's "man law," but watching the Lions tremble in fear before Arizona's desert dregs Sunday challenges all semblance of football decency.
The Lions had that look again after their 17-10 loss to the previously 1-8 Cardinals. That same combination of frustration and resignation brought premature ends to Mr. 23-67's previous five seasons.
And it's showing the effects on the newest patient in the asylum -- Rod Marinelli.
The worse the effort, the more discouraged everyone becomes and the message of sustained discipline and work ethic that Marinelli consistently has drilled in his players' minds loses resonance.
Marinelli kept his head high above the madness after another loss, but even he must grow tired espousing the same mantra of working harder after another effort in which the Lions looked disinterested in working at all.
But this is what occurs when incompetence runs unchecked. A potentially good head coach gets lost in all the confusion.
So tell us, Mr. 23-67, how do you pump life into an offense that once again grows increasingly cold to the touch?
Even Roy Williams' limitless pool of optimism dried up.
And look who's on the schedule next, Mr. 23-67.
Joey Harrington returns to Ford Field on Thursday with something he never enjoyed during his momentary sentence in purgatory -- a three-game winning streak.
Mr. 23-67's lone consistency in six years is finding further depths to fall just when you think he found the basement.
"I don't know what the answers are, man," said Williams. "We're a good football team, but we just ... look, we're 2-8. That's all that needs to be said."
No, they're 23-67. That is the only record that matters.
I don't care if that's a broken record. Too bad!
I don't care that it's an insult to those with a boundless capacity for blind devotion.
The Lions are reverting to their old habits. Their quarterback is struggling. The play selection is bland. And the head coach begins his postgame debriefing with the litany of injuries, creating a palatable explanation for yet another uninspired performance.
"We're not getting better," Marinelli said. "We're losing. The thing I see is that we're losing at the end. We can't close the deal. We're still getting opportunities to win the games and that's what we've got to close the door on."
He doesn't have the players. And that falls under Mr. 23-67's domain. He's the skipper of the boat with the single oar that constantly steers the craft in a continuous circle.
As bad as the Cardinals are, they've done a far better job drafting than the Lions. While Mr. 23-67 wasted the No. 2 draft pick overall in 2003 on Charles Rogers, the Cardinals stole Anquan Boldin with the 54th overall selection.
And then there's Matt Leinart, getting his first win as an NFL starter. The Lions had the ninth pick and he fell into the Cardinals' laps at No. 10.
The issue isn't whether or not they should have taken Leinart over Ernie Sims, a battering ram who certainly filled one of the many immediate needs on this roster.
The crime is that they never reacted to the surprising yet ultimately accurate predraft buzz of Leinart slipping to the back end of the top 10 of the first round. The good front offices are responsive. They're flexible
Leinart said the Lions never spoke with him. That was probably the happiest non-call anyone ever didn't receive.
You know he's destined for greatness because of that. And when they're fitting him for that Hall of Fame sport jacket in another 15 years or so, perhaps he'll ask Mr. 23-67 to make his introductory speech since without Millen, none of this would have been possible.
Of course, he'll probably be Mr. 43-277 at that point.
They did have a rally or something in Detroit last year. And there was that one fan who got tackled by security at Ford Field for waving around a "Fire Millen" sign or something like that. Tried to fill Ford Field with "Terrible Towels" too when Pittsburgh visited last year. I'd say newspaper articles calling for Millen's head is about on par for this season. Well, actually, maybe it should have started when Detroit was 0-5 early in the NFL regular season, lol.
Funny stuff happening up here in the NFC North, lol.
Munboy wrote:Why does everyone blame Millen? It's not like he got a hold of this great team and dragged it down. He was hired by a crappy franchise and has done nothing but keep that tradition.
23-67 and a less talented team than when Millen took over. And remember he has had the team for 5 years. In that period of time the Panthers and Bears have won a division titles and finished last....then won again. This league is designed for teams to be able to totally rebuild in 4 years time, yet Millen's folly shows no signs of improvement. In fact an arguement could be made that this team is getting worse! This was a 9-7 team than he took over and gutted. He has proceeded to make poor draft picks and poorer FA choices all the while embarrassing himself with comments about players before learning that the best policy is a speak no evil one. He is a total failure as a Pres/GM who's only smart move was to find an employer even more clueless than he is: William Clay Ford.
I think, therefore I am. I think fantasy, therefore I am unreal?
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I've heard that Josh McCown has been practicing some at WR, meaning in essence, he's above Mike Williams on the depth chart now...
And to think back on how many people in Chicago wanted him to be taken over Cedric Benson in the draft.... gives me chills. But I do wonder if he's really that bad (attitude, work ethic, weight problem, etc) or if it's just that he doesn't fit into Martz's system. Salvageable perhaps, or tradeable maybe?