Published: November 23. 2006 3:00AM Lions MICHAEL ROSENBERG DREW SHARP: OUR PICKS
How about Lions 33, Miami 28; or Lions 23, Miami 17; or Miami 64, Lions 6? The point is it doesn't matter what happens today. The Lions still stink! They're still clueless! They're in position to gain the first pick in the draft -- five years after they had the third selection (Joey Harrington) and four years after they had the second selection (Charles Rogers). So how is that an indication of improvement?
Welcome to your favorite game show, "How Much More Embarrassing Can It Get?" with your host, Matt Millen! In today's episode, former Lions would-be savior Joey Harrington comes back and humiliates the Lions with three touchdown passes on national television. Meanwhile, the Lions' latest quarterback of the future, Josh McCown, is practicing at receiver. Is this fun or what?
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
I, for one, am not a Lions fan and am going to miss great articles such as the one that began this thread. It isn't what they say -- it is how hilarious they are at saying it. I think it is extremely entertaining for everyone who isn't wearing blue and silver and a bag on their head.
Wonder if he'll get his job back with Fox...nah...I'm betting CBS will pick him up and put him with Dierdorf for their first 3 man booth.
Sunday, November 26, 2006 Terry Foster Millen may be on his way out
Nothing ever seems to change for the Lions and their fans
Rumors of Matt Millen’s firing are boiling now.
The Internet is so hot with Millen dismissal stories they are hard to ignore. But with the way he’s run this team, it is completely understandable why these rumors won’t go away.
The story goes something like this. The Fords were angry over another embarrassing Thanksgiving loss. Last year they acted immediately after Thanksgiving and fired coach Steven Mariucci. Now their target might be Millen.
The stories say they are negotiating a buyout with Millen and they hope to have an announcement on Monday or Tuesday. The reason we are not hearing anything sooner is because they did not want to overshadow the Michigan High School Athletic Association football finals played Friday and Saturday at Ford Field.
I believe there is something to it. I do believe the Fords spoke over Thanksgiving dinner and had a state of the Lions talk.
It is difficult to sugarcoat what has happened. You look at the botched first-round draft picks, the 21-68 record and the threat of losing the Thanksgiving Day game to another team and you see why the Fords might be on edge.
The Lions are going through their worst stretch in franchise history. It is even worse than when Darryl Rogers uttered, “What’s a guy got to do to get fired around here?”
Their six-year record is the worst in the NFL and they still have never played in a Super Bowl.
Let’s take an educated guess here. The Fords have spoken about the state of the Lions in the past few days. And if they are contemplating whether to keep or dropkick Millen, let me give them a gentle nudge.
This is not a case of whether you should fire Millen. You have to. You have no choice.
You are losing your fan base slowly, but surely. It might not reflect in season-ticket sales or television ratings. But people used to renew season tickets because they were encouraged or wanted to see Barry Sanders run. Now many feel like fools because they renew and can't give solid reasons why they should come back.
But they are coming back, reluctantly.
The fans are trying to plan another revolt. It will probably fail because it is difficult to get Lions fans to agree on one plan. But they did pull off the “orange out” last season and a few hundred of them successfully pulled off the Millen Man March.
The plan did not shake the Fords to action, but it showed there is unrest in this town. Some folks want to walk out with four minutes remaining in the second quarter of the last game of the season. Some want another march. Others have made up T-shirts that say “Sack Millen” that are likely to start showing up at Ford Field.
I feared their passion for this team was severely damaged when the Fords refused to fire Millen last season and then the team got off to this horrendous 2-9 start. They appeared apathetic during the Tigers' playoff run. But their anger appears to be back.
I write about these rumors because my email has been flooded with Lions fans that are hopeful the Millen era is over. They believe this is too good to be true. And I am sure a bunch of them went to bed Saturday night with their fingers crossed and a rabbit’s foot under their pillow hoping for this move.
Now one of three things is going to happen.
1. The Lions retain Millen. The rumors go away and they continue losing. Head coach Rod Marinelli and his staff would have two years to bail Millen out or lose their jobs.
2. The Lions fire Millen and hand over control to CEO Tom Lewand and Bill Ford Jr. They already have a game plan in place. If this one happens, they will either stick with Rod Marinelli and his coaches for a couple more seasons to see if they can straighten things out. Or they will turn to Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and hand over the coaching spot to him and his new staff. I also hear former coach Gary Moeller could be in the mix.
The Lions liked Moeller and some in the front office were angry when Millen didn't retain him. I’ve spoken to Moeller a couple of times and he maintains the Lions did not have to be blown up after a 9-7 injury-plagued season in 1999.
He believes he could have rebuilt on the fly with a couple of 8-8 or 7-9 seasons and then take off from there.
3. The entire organization is blown up. That includes Millen and Lewand, the coaching staff and the front office. It would mean starting from scratch and turning the Lions into the oldest expansion team in NFL history.
If that happens, it is my understanding the NFL would give the Fords help in trying to rebuild. The league at the very least would help the franchise find the right man to take over. He would not be a former commentator or ex-jock. He’d be a person who helped build a successful franchise somewhere else or was the right-hand man who helped build a team.
I like a lot of the people in the Lions' front office, but choice three seems like the best alternative.
The new person would get carte blanche over the organization. He’d be able to hire and fire anyone he wants, and that includes Marinelli.
The old Lions way did not work. And the new Lions way certainly is not working. Perhaps it is time to try another way.
I’ve spoken to a few people around the league off the record about Millen. Do you know what the best thing they say about him is?
He is a heck of a guy. People like him.
That’s not good enough. These people are starving for a winning team. They deserve it.
The only thing they had to look forward to this season was opening day and booing Miami Dolphins quarterback Joey Harrington. Both turned into disasters.
Harrington, the guy everybody blamed for the Lions’ woes, trotted out of Ford Field with a blueberry cobbler and a 27-10 Thanksgiving Day victory.
Here is a sobering statistic for you. Since Millen took over, the Lions are 18-37 in games Harrington has started. They are 5-31 in games he did not.
Does that hit home?
My NFL people are right. Millen is a great guy. He is funny and engaging and tells great stories. You’d love to swap stories over a beer or dinner. You’d love to listen to him on television or even sit next to him during a game.
You just don’t want him running your NFL franchise.
I don’t know if these rumors are true. I simply pray they are.
They should have fired this guy the same time as they fired Morhingweg. My final exam persuasive essay for my college English class was why the Lions should fire Millen and Morhingweg.
Just found this online....
From the Weblog Archive
Fri, Nov 24, 2006 at 9:07 PM
Millen Rumors Are Heating up
The rumors are strong this weekend. The chatter is all over the place that Lions President Matt Millen is about to lose his job.
We checked with Millen and he said that is not true. The word is that the Lions did not want to make an announcement this weekend because it would over shadow the prep football finals being played at Ford Field. They were also working on a buy out
I cannot un Earth this. But the rumors won't go away. They surfaced again after an embarrassing 27-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins which threw the Lions into a 2-9 tail spin that does not seem to have an end in place. Linebacker Boss Bailey came to Millen's defense after the game, basically saying the players are the ones playing the game. Yeah but who put this team in place? It was Millen who has led the worse six-year spiral in Lions history. The Lions are 23-68 since he took over.
Now check out these gruesome numbers. We wanted to blame quarterback Joey Harrington for the Lions down fall.
He was 18-37 as starting Lions quarterback which is terrible. But the Lions are 5-31 in games Harrington did not start in the Millen era. Geez. Maybe Harrington was the Most Valuable Player of the Lions. It is so obvious what the problem is with the Lions. But will the Lions do anything about it and do the right thing and fire Millen? This situation sort of reminds me of the ugly girl with a three inch in the middle of her forehead and she can't figure out why she can't get a date.
Any way we are still chasing this story. If you hear anything please let me know.
Plenty of issues face the Lions as they play out another dismal season
THE PRESIDENT Matt Millen probably has too much pride to resign at the end of the season. But he is the object of most of the criticism and the environment in Detroit seems to be toxic. At this point, it is probably a challenge to work under those conditions. ?
Signs have been seen at Ford Field, Comerica Park, in the background at ESPN's "College Game Day" and various other sports venues asking that William Clay Ford do just that. Here is the breakdown of the Millen era: Year Record Coach 2001 2-14 Mornhinweg 2002 3-13 Mornhinweg 2003 5-11 Mariucci 2004 6-10 Mariucci 2005 5-11 Mariucci, Jauron 2006 2-9 Marinelli Total 23-68
THE OWNER William Clay Ford and Millen seem to have a good working relationship. If Ford wants Millen to remain as president after this season, he needs to make that known and talk to the press. His critics might be upset, but it will remove the uncertainty. See full image
T he Lions are out of the playoffs, but not off the firing line. They are squarely in the crosshairs of every blogger, columnist, reporter, talk-show host and general Lions-hater, whose ranks are growing by the day.
Lions president Matt Millen is taking most of the heat, and he might take the biggest fall. The losses continue, with no sign of a breakthrough, as Millen nears the end of his sixth season as franchise president. The Lions are 2-9 this season and 23-68 in Millen's tenure.
A new rumor or report surfaces almost daily concerning Millen's future with the Lions. If owner William Clay Ford decides to make a change after the season, nobody could argue against it. There is no logical way to defend the record.
Speculating on what Ford will do after the season must be prefaced by stating the reality that it is just that -- speculation. There are no insiders with Ford. Until Ford acts, no one can say for certain what course he will take.
There is a perception among many that a post-Millen era would be like the discovery of penicillin -- a cure-all for the franchise. There is no miracle cure. If the solution were as simple as eliminating or replacing one person, the Lions wouldn't be 23-68 under Millen or anyone else. They would have won more games by accident.
The team that will trudge through the last five games clearly lacks confidence and resolve, and injuries have eaten away at the talent base.
"I've never been in this position before," Lions tight end Dan Campbell said after the loss to Miami on Thanksgiving Day. "You've got to change attitudes around here.
"You've got to get more of a winning attitude and know we can win these games."
Millen's status is only one issue facing Ford and his franchise. Personnel decisions, the makeup of the roster, coach Rod Marinelli and his staff, and the overall losing attitude that suffocates the franchise must be addressed.
This is one man's opinion on the issues facing the Lions, and what can be done to get the franchise out of the quicksand:
Millen: If I were Millen, I'd leave at the end of the season. There is too much criticism, and the environment in the community is too toxic. It cannot be fun or personally rewarding to work under those conditions.
Having said that, I'd be surprised if Millen quits. It is not in his nature to give up or have anyone run him out of his job. Millen is an intense, competitive man who never would think quitting is the best option.
Ford and Millen have a strong relationship. Ford attends practice regularly and talks with Millen frequently. Millen has said often how much it would mean personally to produce a winner for Ford.
Millen also has said he believes Rod Marinelli is the right coach for the Lions, and the discipline and intensity he preaches is what the franchise needs.
Millen has four years left on his contract after this year. Finances never have been an issue with Ford.
Millen and Ford have a lengthy state-of-the-franchise meeting after every season. Their meeting after this season will be pivotal in determining what happens going forward.
If there is any hesitance on either side for Millen to stay, then it will be time to part company. Otherwise, it will be like trying to rekindle the romance on a bad marriage.
If Millen were to leave, logic dictates that Ford go outside the organization for a new man to head the football operation. It does not make sense that anyone from the management team of a franchise that has won 23 games in six years could qualify as a rising star to head a football operation.
Tom Heckert, the Eagles' general manager, has been touted as a possible candidate. Heckert is from Adrian and played and coached at Hillsdale College.
In most cases, the first candidate named is the first one eliminated.
Ford: It is time for the owner to speak. When the media has access to Ford, which has been increasingly infrequent in the past few years, he is direct in expressing his feelings.
He once issued a "playoffs or else" edict to Wayne Fontes after a loss in 1995. The Lions won their last seven games to make the playoffs.
Ford's last public comments were in a brief interview in August, before the team's public scrimmage at Ford Field. Ford reaffirmed his support of Millen and spoke highly of Marinelli, but with the qualifier that there never is any certainty on how things will work out.
Nearly four months have elapsed since Ford's comments. That is a lifetime in a football season. The team is decomposing.
If Ford wants Millen to remain as president after this year, he should make it known. The critics will howl, but it will remove a major element of uncertainty hovering over the franchise.
Marinelli: If Millen is replaced, the new man likely would want his own head coach. Marinelli would be perceived as a lame duck the minute a new boss walked through the door.
Marinelli has done some good things that haven't shown up in the won-lost record. There is a level of accountability among players. And despite the record, the team was competitive until the last two weeks, when obvious shortcomings surfaced in losses to Arizona and Miami.
Nothing has erased the losing syndrome that is ingrained in the franchise.
One knock against Joey Harrington during his four years in Detroit was he was positive and upbeat.
When the Dolphins were in town, a team official talked about Harrington's attitude. Players such as Jason Taylor, Kevin Carter and Zach Thomas -- real team leaders -- are upbeat by nature, and Harrington fits in with them, the official said.
After the game, in which he threw three touchdown passes, Harrington talked about his conversation with Marinelli at midfield.
"You need somebody who's going to put up with all the crap," Harrington said. "I absolutely believe he's the right man for the job. You need to weed out the guys who aren't going to buy into your program.
"Stay the course. I know he's the right guy for the job. I know it's going to happen."
Personnel: No matter who is in charge, or who coaches, there must be a thorough review of how the Lions acquire players, both from the college draft and signing free agents. There are too many dead spots in the roster.
Big money has been spent on free agents, but few have come through as expected. The Lions got two Pro Bowl seasons out of cornerback Dre Bly, signed in 2003. That is an exception.
Guard Damien Woody arrived in 2004 with Pro Bowl credentials and two Super Bowl rings from his tenure with New England. His performance as a Lion has been average, and weight issues have reduced his effectiveness.
The offensive line was targeted for upgrading in free agency this year, but there has been no improvement. Jon Kitna has been sacked 41 times -- including eight times by Miami -- or almost once out of every 10 times he has dropped back.
A constant shuffle of wide receivers has been tragically comical. Some blame for that goes to offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who seems to think anyone can run patterns in his offense.
The Lions made a huge miscalculation when they wooed defensive end Kalimba Edwards away from Cleveland and re-signed him to a five-year contract with a signing bonus of $8 million.
Marinelli saw potential in Edwards to be a big-play pass-rusher. In fact, Edwards makes the same outside rush on nearly every play, with no counter move, and has only one sack.
Frankly, the Lions have gotten as much value out of punter Nick Harris -- signed in midseason of 2003 when John Jett sustained a career-ending leg injury -- as they have of most free agents whom they had months to scout.
Every team has draft choices that don't pan out, but drafting in the top 10 for the past five years should have provided impact.
Whatever Ford decides, whatever course he takes, he would do well to come out of character and speak publicly about the franchise he has owned since 1964.