Lions 2007: A quick review at a dissappointing season

Filed under: General, Millen Bashing — Seattle Lion Fan @ 3:56 pm

As we head into the last game of the season with the Packers, I wanted to take a brief look back of the 2007 season.

This isn’t going to be a breakdown of each game but I am going to break it out in thirds:

Games 1-5: W3, L2

Decent opening game against the Raiders and Lions beat Minnesota as at the time, the Lions were the better team. The 56 – 21 smack down by Philly could have caused the Lions to fold but instead, they came back to beat the Bears only to get trashed by the Redskins the following week. No surprise about the Redskin game though, the Lions haven’t won in Washington since the late 1930’s.

Games 6 – 10: W 3 L 2

Beating the Bucs, the Bears (in Chicago!) and Denver should have meant the Lions found there groove. Instead, they lose in Arizona and lose again to the Giants at home in a game

they should have won. Giants didn’t show anything special and the 16-10 score showed that neither team was doing much of anything. A win would have meant a 7-3 record going in against the Packers on Turkey Day. I look at the Giants game as the start of the free fall.

Games 11-15: W1, L4

I didn’t give much of a chance to the Lions facing the Packers. Even though it was at home and on Thanksgiving, the Giants game took too much out of them and the Packers were on a roll. Vikings got revenge for the earlier loss and zipped passed the Lions for playoff contention. Lions played the Cowboys hard but lost to them in the last second. The “prevent” defense did nothing but prevent them from winning the game. If Detroit had beaten the Cowboys, there would have been some life left. But the last second loss just killed them and it showed against the Chargers, giving up 50+ points for the second time this year. Lions finished out the home games with a meaningless win against the Chiefs and KJ is out with a torn ACL. With that injury and his foot injury of last year, Lions are going to be hurting with an already anemic running game for 2008.

The last game against the Packers isn’t going to matter much too either team. I suppose if the Lions do win, it would get two monkeys off their back, one being avoiding yet another losing season and the other actually winning in Lambeau Field for the first time in over a decade. But a win in Lambeau might not really count as the Pack will more than likely have the second string in to rest the front line players for perhaps Farve’s last playoff march.

It’s hard to hope for an 8-8 season after a 6-2 start. But these are the Matt Millen led, Ford owned Detroit Lions. To them, anywhere from a 7-9 to 9-7 season is considered “successful” and if a playoff game sneaks in there somehow, that’s just icing in the cake.

No sense in rehashing as to what the Lions need to do. There have been various strategies tossed about in the forums. But two things that are agreed upon is that at the very least, Millen needs to be shown the door and at the very most, Ford needs to sell the team to an owner that cares more about wins and losses than the bottom line.

If neither of these occur, hell will freeze over before the Lions can be considered a winning and contending team.

December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Filed under: General — Seattle Lion Fan @ 2:11 pm

Sad to say that the Lions have only one more game to play in 2007…I really wanted to say that I was looking forward to watching them in the playoffs but the sad fact is, a 6 game losing streak in a 16 game season, it’s difficult to make them. But, as Lion fans have learned to say over the years, over and over again “Wait til next year!”

With the elimination of the Lions from the playoffs, traffic within the Fire Millen forum has slowed down a bit. One fan even said that he was so frustrated that he was signing off until the draft….and that was two weeks ago. A current project that members of the forum is working on is to somehow get an open letter to William Clay Ford, Jr. published in the Detroit media. One thought was to buy a full-page ad in the News or Free Press but the rates are a bit much…but the members of FireMillen.com are a crafty bunch and I have confindence that we’ll get the message out. I plan on positing the letter here on the main blog sometime next week so it will at least be out on the Internet for non-members to read. Perhaps they will pick up the torch and get the message out there to both Ford and Millen that us Lion fans are tired of waiting and we want a change made from ownership to GM. Bring us a winner, we’ve been waiting a long time for one.

So from Seattle Lion Fan’s family to yours, have a happy and safe holiday season!

December 19, 2007

Lions Favored Over Chiefs

Filed under: Lions News — The Bear @ 11:30 am

The Lions are the favorite over the Chiefs this weekend at Ford Field by 4.5 points. I hope the team can actually win this game because they are a better team than the Chiefs. But I would not be surprised if they lost in the end.

December 18, 2007

Lions Officially Eliminated From Playoffs 

Filed under: Lions News, Millen Bashing — The Bear @ 10:10 am

With a Minnesota’s win last night, the Lions were officially shown the door for the last NFC Wildcard spot. While we could tie Minnesota if they did lose their last two games and we win our last two, we would at best tie the Redskins (who play the Vikings) who have a tiebreaker over us.

Remember when we were 6-2 and in the drivers seat for the playoffs. If we could have manned up and won in Minneapolis, we could still be there. But we fell apart like a cheap suit.

Our playoff chances exited just a week after Jon Kitna’s 10 win season prediction left us as well. Six weeks ago, ESPN was loving Jon Kitna and the Lions and now we are back to being the laughing stock of the league. Even on PTI last night, they had us labeled as the same old Lions. I feel beaten up and battered after this rollercoaster season. I guess I will have to fire up quite a few Miller Lites to make it through the last two games. Maybe the television station will spare me and show “Its a Wonderful Life” instead. At least that movie gives me something to believe in.

December 17, 2007

Key Numbers This Season

Filed under:General — The Bear @ 12:01 am

Key Numbers So Far This Year:

44 – Number of touchdowns given up by the Lions’ defense this year. That is the highest among any defense in the league, with Miami giving up 38.

45.9 – Third down percentage of teams when they play the Lions. The Lions’s third down percentage is 32.9.

52 – Number of sacks given up by the Lions this year. Worst in the league

17.1 – Average number of points scored in the second and third quarters by Lion’s opponents. The Lions have averaged a touchdown less.

17 – Number of Interceptions thrown by Kitna this year. He is tied for first in the league with three other quarterbacks who have all thrown more touchdowns.

0 – Number of wins since the second half of the season started. Also 0 is the chance that the Lions make the playoffs after a 6-2 start.

78.9 – Average number of running yards per game. If you didn’t know, that is last in the NFL. Maybe because we have only run the ball 275 times all year (also last in the NFL).

4th – Rank of the Lions in total passing yards.

17th – Rank of the Lions in total passing touchdowns.

The last two are extra important I think. It shows that we gets lots of passing yards without getting many points. These are the meaningless yards we see so much of from Jon Kitna and the Lions’ offense. The yards at the end of games (like we saw in San Diego). Jon Kitna threw for 302 yards in the Lion’s loss at San Diego. 302 yard sounds nice, but it doesn’t mean squat when you throw 5 picks. Kitna has thrown over 300 yards in three games this year. The Lions have lost all three.

This team is not better than last years’ team. The defense is worst and the offense is about the same. The win total maybe better, but they had some luck roll their way early in the year. Good teams don’t lose six in a row. Hell, even decent teams don’t lose six in a row. Only bad teams do. And this bad team was put together by the man who assembled the rest of the teams the last seven years: Matt Millen.

Things are not getting better. They are the same. Losing season after losing season for the Detroit Lions. Why should I expect things to change?

December 16, 2007

THUNK - Lions hit bottom…

Filed under: General, Millen Bashing — Seattle Lion Fan @ 7:56 pm

Hear that? That’s the sound of a football team hitting bottom. A collective thunk hitting the bottom of the NFL canyon.

The Lions have lost 6 straight games. After staring with a 6-2 record, they are now at 6-8 with a realization facing them that they will not reach .500. Only the Lions can do this to the fans. One more loss and it turns into another losing season.

Not going to get into anything about what they need on defense, offense, special teams or even coaches. It doesn’t matter…and it won’t until Ford and Millen are exorcised from this team. They are the evil cancer that is choking the life out of the Lion fans.

This season is worse than any season in Millen’s reign of putrid and idiotic mistakes. Sure, statistically, they may have a better record than the past 2 years. But this was the first year that anyone even mentioned the word “playoffs”. Was it possible? Could Kitna’s bold prediction of 10 wins be in the cards? Was the Titanic of the NFL righting itself and making a charge to win the NFC North? No, No, No and No again. Bad free agent signings, bad trades, bad drafts….bad, bad, bad. Over and over again, Millen keeps making the same mistakes. He didn’t know what he was doing when he took the job 7 years ago and its pretty evident that he hasn’t learned squat in that time. He is still the inept laughing stock of the NFL. How this man stays employed is beyond my scope of understanding.

Far worse in this scenario is the owner in absentia, William Clay Ford, Sr. It has been said that Billy Boy does not like to lose. Yo Bill, if you don’t like to lose, why have you put with up it for the past 45 years? You do know that you have the wherewithal to actually bring the Lions a Super Bowl, don’t you? You have access to the same players and coaches that 31 other NFL teams have, right? So what have you done to right the sinking ship? Not a darn thing, at least in the estimation of this Lion fan. If your not hiring inept GM’s who don’t have a clue about what it takes to evaluate football talent (sadly, Millen is really one in a long line of inept GM’s…can we say Russ Thomas?) then you draft a star-quality player and put bad players around him. No one needs to question the greatness of Barry Sanders. However, if you had built an offensive line that was half as good as the Dallas Cowboys of that era, Barry could have walked away from the game with 2 rings, minimum.

I can’t figure Ford out. Sure, he is all about the Benjamins….but doesn’t he realize the earning potential of a winning NFL team? Doesn’t he understand that the more playoff games you play in, the more money you can make?

Personally, I don’t think Ford is a bad guy….just stupid. He refuses to give control of the team to his son…Could it be that he sees too much of himself in Jr.? Geez, wouldn’t that take the cake! I can see it now, Ford Sr. finally gives control to Jr. and the first thing that happens, Jr. fires Matt Millen only to hire Millen’s son and we must live with yet another 50 years of futility.

I suppose that we Lion fans will have to accept that William Clay Ford, Sr. is not a committed owner. At least he isn’t committed to the fans. He sees himself as Detroit royalty….I mean he is the grandson of Henry Ford who gave us affordable automobiles. He is the son of Edsel Ford who had a car named after him. Not surprising, it is considered a colossal failure. Guess the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?

Ford needs to sell this team. He can’t bring a winner home, he is incapable of doing it. He will never see the Lions in the Super Bowl under his watch…and he can only blame himself since he is the one that is in control of the Lion’s destiny. It isn’t in Millen’s hands though he has much influence in the Lion’s destiny. It isn’t in any of the coaches or player’s hands. I believe, with the exception of a few of the players, they truly try to do their best. It’s just that when an inept GM and a clueless owner are running the show, it is difficult to maintain a positive attitude.

We may never see the Lions in the Super Bowl. About as close as we can get is to have Detroit host the Super Bowl for a 3rd time…and all the Lion players have tickets to the game.

December 14, 2007

Prediction: San Diego

Filed under: Lions News — The Bear @ 8:26 am

Its Friday and time for another weekly Lions prediction from FireMillen.com

This weeks game at San Diego is a strange one. San Diego has been an up and down team all year. They have dominated some games while looking helpless in others. However, they are leading their division and a win this week will give them their divisional crown.

The Detroit Lions this year have been a woeful team on the road. Outside of the two road victories in which they had to come from behind in Oakland and beat a struggling Bears team, our Lions have gotten beaten badly while traveling. Philly, Washington, and Minnesota blew us out big and we were pretty much man handled in the desert of Arizona.

So what is the verdict on this weekend’s game?

Lions lay down for their sixth straight loss. Chargers 28 Lions 20.

December 12, 2007

Lion issues

Filed under: General — Seattle Lion Fan @ 5:55 pm

Is it me or has the general feeling of the Detroit Lion fan changed toward the team?

Let’s remove the obvious factors as to why…a 5-game losing streak will always bring doubt. And since the NFL plays 16 games, a skid such as this is magnified much more than a 5-game losing streak for the Tigers.

I suppose some other factors that come into play is this 5-game losing streak made the Lion weaknesses even more prevalent: Weak offensive line, poor running game and poor defensive play. Good play is an exception rather than the norm, at least during this streak. When they were winning, it was reversed.

But with the heart-breaking loss against Dallas, there was a palatable let down. One reason was because within a space of 30 seconds, we went from a possible 7-6 record to a 6-7 record. We went back to a losing record, something that when at 6-2, no one would have thought that was ever going to happen.

During much of the first part of the season, the cry to fire Millen subsided considerably. Winning will hide a lot of faults. But for many of us in the Fire Millen forums, that never really left our collective field of view. As much “improvement” as we had this year, did we really improve?

Looking at some comparisons (ITA likes this kind of stuff) that I took from NFL.com:

(2007 stats are over 13 games)

Total Yards - 2006 - Ranked 22nd 2007 - Ranked 16th
The addition of Calvin Johnson may have attributed to this but not much. Running game has improved this year and Shaun McDonald has had a bigger impact than CJ. Granted that is going to change next year.

Sacks - 2006 - 30 2007 - 32
Slight improvement but our defensive line, for the most part, is ineffective. The Tampa 2 requires studs that get after the QB. We saw Rogers have one monster game and then disappear. If that line puts forth the effort every game as how they did in the Bronco game, I wouldn’t be writing this.

Defensive Rank - 2006 - 28th 2007 - 31st
Literally we have gone from bad to worse. Secondary got weaker and Millen did nothing to bolster it. As stated above, the defensive line hasn’t been consistent either. The play of Ernie Sims, currently ranked 2nd in the NFL with 119 tackles, has really been the only consistent player on defense.

Rushing yards - 2006 - 32nd 2007 - 30th
This issue is a combination of things: Martz’s aversion to running the ball, injury to KJ and bad offensive play. KJ and the line have come on strong toward the end of this year and Martz is running more after conversations with Marinelli. But we still need to consider another running back. KJ’s durability has me concerned.

The offensive line needs a huge amount of help. Kitna will be 36 or 37 years old next year. Over the past 29 games, Kitna has been sacked 112 times. That’s an average of just under 4 sacks per game. More than any other area of the team, I think this is the one that needs immediate attention.

So based on just these stats, other than total yards, did we really improve? Did Martz’s genius shine through more this year or was it just inevitable that we were “due” to at least double our wins this year? All the moves that Millen did to find Marinelli “football guys”, did they do any good?

As it has been for the past 7 years, the Lions have more question marks than answers. I think that Millen has finally gotten the wide receiver question answered though that should have been the least of their worries. Playoff hopes are slim this year after a promising start. There has been speculation that perhaps Martz should be shown the door and I agree with this. One of the comments that a Lion offensive player had when asked why there was good success with the run against Dallas was that the plays were simplified. They also had only about 8 blocking schemes, 5 that they used consistently. An offense is viewed as an engine. If you have too many parts in an engine, you have more of a chance of breakdown. Reduce the parts, reduce the chance of breakdowns. Same thing with the offense: A more complicated offense increases chances of mistakes. Reduce mistakes, increase chances of wins.

Regardless of where we end up in the draft, we need to build on that. Martz either needs to step out of his own head and simplify the offense and increase the balance between run and pass or he needs to go. Regardless of either way, it all starts with the foundation, the offensive line.

This isn’t rocket science. The most successful teams have very good offensive lines and uncomplicated offenses…Why don’t the powers that be look at a successful team (say, I don’t know, THE UNDEFEATED PATS) and mimic their building blocks?

Oh wait, we have an owner that is clueless and a GM that is stubborn.

December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Filed under: General — Seattle Lion Fan @ 2:11 pm

Sad to say that the Lions have only one more game to play in 2007…I really wanted to say that I was looking forward to watching them in the playoffs but the sad fact is, a 6 game losing streak in a 16 game season, it’s difficult to make them. But, as Lion fans have learned to say over the years, over and over again “Wait til next year!”

With the elimination of the Lions from the playoffs, traffic within the Fire Millen forum has slowed down a bit. One fan even said that he was so frustrated that he was signing off until the draft….and that was two weeks ago. A current project that members of the forum is working on is to somehow get an open letter to William Clay Ford, Jr. published in the Detroit media. One thought was to buy a full-page ad in the News or Free Press but the rates are a bit much…but the members of FireMillen.com are a crafty bunch and I have confindence that we’ll get the message out. I plan on positing the letter here on the main blog sometime next week so it will at least be out on the Internet for non-members to read. Perhaps they will pick up the torch and get the message out there to both Ford and Millen that us Lion fans are tired of waiting and we want a change made from ownership to GM. Bring us a winner, we’ve been waiting a long time for one.

So from Seattle Lion Fan’s family to yours, have a happy and safe holiday season!

December 19, 2007

Lions Favored Over Chiefs

Filed under: Lions News — The Bear @ 11:30 am

The Lions are the favorite over the Chiefs this weekend at Ford Field by 4.5 points. I hope the team can actually win this game because they are a better team than the Chiefs. But I would not be surprised if they lost in the end.

December 18, 2007

Lions Officially Eliminated From Playoffs

Filed under: Lions News, Millen Bashing — The Bear @ 10:10 am

With a Minnesota’s win last night, the Lions were officially shown the door for the last NFC Wildcard spot. While we could tie Minnesota if they did lose their last two games and we win our last two, we would at best tie the Redskins (who play the Vikings) who have a tiebreaker over us.

Remember when we were 6-2 and in the drivers seat for the playoffs. If we could have manned up and won in Minneapolis, we could still be there. But we fell apart like a cheap suit.

Our playoff chances exited just a week after Jon Kitna’s 10 win season prediction left us as well. Six weeks ago, ESPN was loving Jon Kitna and the Lions and now we are back to being the laughing stock of the league. Even on PTI last night, they had us labeled as the same old Lions. I feel beaten up and battered after this rollercoaster season. I guess I will have to fire up quite a few Miller Lites to make it through the last two games. Maybe the television station will spare me and show “Its a Wonderful Life” instead. At least that movie gives me something to believe in.

December 17, 2007

Key Numbers This Season 

Filed under: General — The Bear @ 12:01 am

Key Numbers So Far This Year:

44 – Number of touchdowns given up by the Lions’ defense this year. That is the highest among any defense in the league, with Miami giving up 38.

45.9 – Third down percentage of teams when they play the Lions. The Lions’s third down percentage is 32.9.

52 – Number of sacks given up by the Lions this year. Worst in the league

17.1 – Average number of points scored in the second and third quarters by Lion’s opponents. The Lions have averaged a touchdown less.

17 – Number of Interceptions thrown by Kitna this year. He is tied for first in the league with three other quarterbacks who have all thrown more touchdowns.

0 – Number of wins since the second half of the season started. Also 0 is the chance that the Lions make the playoffs after a 6-2 start.

78.9 – Average number of running yards per game. If you didn’t know, that is last in the NFL. Maybe because we have only run the ball 275 times all year (also last in the NFL).

4th – Rank of the Lions in total passing yards.

17th – Rank of the Lions in total passing touchdowns.

The last two are extra important I think. It shows that we gets lots of passing yards without getting many points. These are the meaningless yards we see so much of from Jon Kitna and the Lions’ offense. The yards at the end of games (like we saw in San Diego). Jon Kitna threw for 302 yards in the Lion’s loss at San Diego. 302 yard sounds nice, but it doesn’t mean squat when you throw 5 picks. Kitna has thrown over 300 yards in three games this year. The Lions have lost all three.

This team is not better than last years’ team. The defense is worst and the offense is about the same. The win total maybe better, but they had some luck roll their way early in the year. Good teams don’t lose six in a row. Hell, even decent teams don’t lose six in a row. Only bad teams do. And this bad team was put together by the man who assembled the rest of the teams the last seven years: Matt Millen.

Things are not getting better. They are the same. Losing season after losing season for the Detroit Lions. Why should I expect things to change?

December 16, 2007

THUNK - Lions hit bottom…

Filed under: General, Millen Bashing — Seattle Lion Fan @ 7:56 pm

Hear that? That’s the sound of a football team hitting bottom. A collective thunk hitting the bottom of the NFL canyon.

The Lions have lost 6 straight games. After staring with a 6-2 record, they are now at 6-8 with a realization facing them that they will not reach .500. Only the Lions can do this to the fans. One more loss and it turns into another losing season.

Not going to get into anything about what they need on defense, offense, special teams or even coaches. It doesn’t matter…and it won’t until Ford and Millen are exorcised from this team. They are the evil cancer that is choking the life out of the Lion fans.

This season is worse than any season in Millen’s reign of putrid and idiotic mistakes. Sure, statistically, they may have a better record than the past 2 years. But this was the first year that anyone even mentioned the word “playoffs”. Was it possible? Could Kitna’s bold prediction of 10 wins be in the cards? Was the Titanic of the NFL righting itself and making a charge to win the NFC North? No, No, No and No again. Bad free agent signings, bad trades, bad drafts….bad, bad, bad. Over and over again, Millen keeps making the same mistakes. He didn’t know what he was doing when he took the job 7 years ago and its pretty evident that he hasn’t learned squat in that time. He is still the inept laughing stock of the NFL. How this man stays employed is beyond my scope of understanding.

Far worse in this scenario is the owner in absentia, William Clay Ford, Sr. It has been said that Billy Boy does not like to lose. Yo Bill, if you don’t like to lose, why have you put with up it for the past 45 years? You do know that you have the wherewithal to actually bring the Lions a Super Bowl, don’t you? You have access to the same players and coaches that 31 other NFL teams have, right? So what have you done to right the sinking ship? Not a darn thing, at least in the estimation of this Lion fan. If your not hiring inept GM’s who don’t have a clue about what it takes to evaluate football talent (sadly, Millen is really one in a long line of inept GM’s…can we say Russ Thomas?) then you draft a star-quality player and put bad players around him. No one needs to question the greatness of Barry Sanders. However, if you had built an offensive line that was half as good as the Dallas Cowboys of that era, Barry could have walked away from the game with 2 rings, minimum.

I can’t figure Ford out. Sure, he is all about the Benjamins….but doesn’t he realize the earning potential of a winning NFL team? Doesn’t he understand that the more playoff games you play in, the more money you can make?

Personally, I don’t think Ford is a bad guy….just stupid. He refuses to give control of the team to his son…Could it be that he sees too much of himself in Jr.? Geez, wouldn’t that take the cake! I can see it now, Ford Sr. finally gives control to Jr. and the first thing that happens, Jr. fires Matt Millen only to hire Millen’s son and we must live with yet another 50 years of futility.

I suppose that we Lion fans will have to accept that William Clay Ford, Sr. is not a committed owner. At least he isn’t committed to the fans. He sees himself as Detroit royalty….I mean he is the grandson of Henry Ford who gave us affordable automobiles. He is the son of Edsel Ford who had a car named after him. Not surprising, it is considered a colossal failure. Guess the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?

Ford needs to sell this team. He can’t bring a winner home, he is incapable of doing it. He will never see the Lions in the Super Bowl under his watch…and he can only blame himself since he is the one that is in control of the Lion’s destiny. It isn’t in Millen’s hands though he has much influence in the Lion’s destiny. It isn’t in any of the coaches or player’s hands. I believe, with the exception of a few of the players, they truly try to do their best. It’s just that when an inept GM and a clueless owner are running the show, it is difficult to maintain a positive attitude.

We may never see the Lions in the Super Bowl. About as close as we can get is to have Detroit host the Super Bowl for a 3rd time…and all the Lion players have tickets to the game.

December 14, 2007

Prediction: San Diego

Filed under: Lions News — The Bear @ 8:26 am

Its Friday and time for another weekly Lions prediction from FireMillen.com

This weeks game at San Diego is a strange one. San Diego has been an up and down team all year. They have dominated some games while looking helpless in others. However, they are leading their division and a win this week will give them their divisional crown.

The Detroit Lions this year have been a woeful team on the road. Outside of the two road victories in which they had to come from behind in Oakland and beat a struggling Bears team, our Lions have gotten beaten badly while traveling. Philly, Washington, and Minnesota blew us out big and we were pretty much man handled in the desert of Arizona.

So what is the verdict on this weekend’s game?

Lions lay down for their sixth straight loss. Chargers 28 Lions 20.

December 12, 2007

Lion issues

Filed under:General-Seattle Lion Fan @ 5:55 pm

Is it me or has the general feeling of the Detroit Lion fan changed toward the team?

Let’s remove the obvious factors as to why…a 5-game losing streak will always bring doubt. And since the NFL plays 16 games, a skid such as this is magnified much more than a 5-game losing streak for the Tigers.

I suppose some other factors that come into play is this 5-game losing streak made the Lion weaknesses even more prevalent: Weak offensive line, poor running game and poor defensive play. Good play is an exception rather than the norm, at least during this streak. When they were winning, it was reversed.

But with the heart-breaking loss against Dallas, there was a palatable let down. One reason was because within a space of 30 seconds, we went from a possible 7-6 record to a 6-7 record. We went back to a losing record, something that when at 6-2, no one would have thought that was ever going to happen.

During much of the first part of the season, the cry to fire Millen subsided considerably. Winning will hide a lot of faults. But for many of us in the Fire Millen forums, that never really left our collective field of view. As much “improvement” as we had this year, did we really improve?

Looking at some comparisons (ITA likes this kind of stuff) that I took from NFL.com:

(2007 stats are over 13 games)

Total Yards - 2006 - Ranked 22nd 2007 - Ranked 16th
The addition of Calvin Johnson may have attributed to this but not much. Running game has improved this year and Shaun McDonald has had a bigger impact than CJ. Granted that is going to change next year.

Sacks - 2006 - 30 2007 - 32
Slight improvement but our defensive line, for the most part, is ineffective. The Tampa 2 requires studs that get after the QB. We saw Rogers have one monster game and then disappear. If that line puts forth the effort every game as how they did in the Bronco game, I wouldn’t be writing this.

Defensive Rank - 2006 - 28th 2007 - 31st
Literally we have gone from bad to worse. Secondary got weaker and Millen did nothing to bolster it. As stated above, the defensive line hasn’t been consistent either. The play of Ernie Sims, currently ranked 2nd in the NFL with 119 tackles, has really been the only consistent player on defense.

Rushing yards - 2006 - 32nd 2007 - 30th
This issue is a combination of things: Martz’s aversion to running the ball, injury to KJ and bad offensive play. KJ and the line have come on strong toward the end of this year and Martz is running more after conversations with Marinelli. But we still need to consider another running back. KJ’s durability has me concerned.

The offensive line needs a huge amount of help. Kitna will be 36 or 37 years old next year. Over the past 29 games, Kitna has been sacked 112 times. That’s an average of just under 4 sacks per game. More than any other area of the team, I think this is the one that needs immediate attention.

So based on just these stats, other than total yards, did we really improve? Did Martz’s genius shine through more this year or was it just inevitable that we were “due” to at least double our wins this year? All the moves that Millen did to find Marinelli “football guys”, did they do any good?

As it has been for the past 7 years, the Lions have more question marks than answers. I think that Millen has finally gotten the wide receiver question answered though that should have been the least of their worries. Playoff hopes are slim this year after a promising start. There has been speculation that perhaps Martz should be shown the door and I agree with this. One of the comments that a Lion offensive player had when asked why there was good success with the run against Dallas was that the plays were simplified. They also had only about 8 blocking schemes, 5 that they used consistently. An offense is viewed as an engine. If you have too many parts in an engine, you have more of a chance of breakdown. Reduce the parts, reduce the chance of breakdowns. Same thing with the offense: A more complicated offense increases chances of mistakes. Reduce mistakes, increase chances of wins.

Regardless of where we end up in the draft, we need to build on that. Martz either needs to step out of his own head and simplify the offense and increase the balance between run and pass or he needs to go. Regardless of either way, it all starts with the foundation, the offensive line.

This isn’t rocket science. The most successful teams have very good offensive lines and uncomplicated offenses…Why don’t the powers that be look at a successful team (say, I don’t know, THE UNDEFEATED PATS) and mimic their building blocks?

Oh wait, we have an owner that is clueless and a GM that is stubborn.

December 11, 2007

Playoff Update

Filed under:Lions News, Millen Bashing — The Bear @ 8:00 am

The Lions have lost five straight games. So playoffs are really really doubtful. Here is the current Wild Card standings…

Giants (9-4)
Vikings (7-6)
New Orleans (6-7)
Washington (6-7)
Arizona (6-7)
Detroit (6-7)

This is not good for Detroit. They are one game back of Minnesota, but tied with three teams in which they lose the tie breaker.

Detroit’s only hope is to win their last three games and hope for a loss by each of the other teams including Minnesota. In that case, Detroit would win the last wild-card spot with a tiebreaker over Minnesota (assuming they win two of their last three).

Worst case scenario for the Lions is they lose their last three games. That would put them 0-8 in the second half of the season and would be the seventh straight double digit loss season for the Lions under Matt Millen.

If they did lose all three games or even two, I think it might be one of the worst collapses in NFL history.

April 28, 2007

Millen Ruins Draft

Filed under: Lions News, Millen Bashing — The Bear @ 10:18 pm

Calvin Johnson is a great player. I have decided that I am glad he is a lion.

But what has happened after the second pick is beyond me.

We take Drew Stanton who would have been available in the third round while David Harris is still on the board. Mind you, Harris was slated as a first round pick and we have no MLB right now. Yet, we pass on him.

Then we trade back up to get a DE from Hawaii. I guess we still don’t want to fill that MLB spot.

Next, we grab a saftey from Boise State, ignoring our need for a corner or MLB.

And if that is not enough, Millen pulls off the deal of the century. He trades Mike Williams and Josh McCown to Oakland for a fourth round pick. Yes, Williams needed to go, but he should have been cut June 1 to have his cap hit spread over two years and then kept McCown around and picked up a QB in the draft next year. That way, you get Harris in the second this year and maybe, just maybe we could win more than 4 games this year.

Sorry Millen, you have made a mockery of this team. I can’t wait to see the Lions draft grades this year….

A fan can only dream

Filed under:General — Mike Win @ 4:04 pm

How great would it be to get David Harris or Paul Poszluzny in Round 2 and get the Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith in Round 3!!!

Too good to be true, but that would be pure!!

Finally a reason to be excited

Filed under: General — Mike Win @ 3:57 pm

I finally have a reason to be excited about this team. This is a great pick. It is unfortunate that we wasted the pick two years ago on Mike Williams. Calvin Johnson will be a Hall-of-Famer and no one will even notice now when Roy Williams leaves us in two years to play for the Cowboys. Today I am very proud to call myself a Lions fan. NOW let’s hope we get Drew Stanton in Round 2. If not Drew in round 2, Troy Smith in Round 3 and today is a great day for the future of this franchise. To me, it is obvious between last year’s selection and the pick of Calvin Johnson that Matt Millen is probably not involved at all with any of the final decisions of who to pick. He is leaving it completely up to Marinelli and Martz. Finally!!!

Calvin Johnson a Lion

Filed under:Lions News, Millen Bashing-The Bear @ 1:28 pm

I am not sure if Matt Millen blew our pick by picking Calvin Johnson. He is a great player, but I don’t think it is who we need to make this team better.

I really thought we could trade the pick. Word on the street is that Millen was not willing to trade with Tampa unless they gave us two second rounders. That killed the deal. In the end, we get a great player - but we still have massive holes in our offense.

Another Wide Reciever for Matt Millen and the Lions.

April 27, 2007

Draft Eve

Filed under: Lions News — The Bear @ 9:47 am

No more rumors. No more guesses. I am just waiting till tomorrow to get everything figured out.

I will be posting comments throughout the day on Saturday, so make sure to come check back FireMillen.com

April 26, 2007

Oakland Starts Talks

Filed under: Lions News — The Bear @ 6:54 am

Well, another day down before the draft and rumors are just flying around.

The big one right now is that the Raiders have gone into negotiations with Jamarcus Russell. But that did not stop there. They also have entered talks with Calvin Johnson and Brady Quinn.

Even better - it has been reported that the Raiders have made a “lowball offer” to Quinn. The interesting thing here is that a lowball offer for the first pick in the draft maybe higher that what Quinn would get if he went lower down the line - even third to the Browns.

With these rumors flying around, it should be interesting to see what happens on draft day. I don’t really think Oakland will draft Johnson. Their need at QB is too strong.

I have come to the conclusion that there are three possibilities for the Lions come Saturday for their first selection. They are as follows (in no particular order):

1. Stay at the second pick and draft Calvin Johnson. Johnson remains a Lion.
2. Trade the second pick to Atlanta for two second round picks. Move to Eighth and pick Patrick Willis.
3. Stay at the second pick and draft Calvin Johnson. Trade him to the Bucs for Gaines Adams (who they will draft) and get some picks out of the deal.

I don’t see Tampa trading up for the pick. There is not much upside for them. There is potential that Johnson could fall to them at four and they could always work a deal on the backend to get him if the Lions take him.

I look forward to another day of discussing this in the forums!

April 25, 2007

The latest draft rumors

Filed under: Lions News- The Bear @ 7:29 am

Last night on ESPN, it was reported that the Lions will pick Calvin Johnson if they fail to trade their second overall pick in the NFL draft on Saturday.

If the Lions are unable to trade their pick, they may be able to deal Johnson after they acquire him to Tampa Bay or Atlanta.

It is rumored that the Lions are only listening to teams in the top 10 when it comes to trading their draft spot. While Denver has made offers to move up, that is not a likely scenario as Detroit would drop all the way to the 21st spot. The mostly team to make this move is Atlanta who has two second round picks they can deal to Detroit. Tampa Bay has been mentioned as a likely suitor, but they would have to give up more than they want to move up only two spots where Johnson could fall into their laps for free.

The Lions drafting Calvin Johnson is based on the assumption that he still will be there. While most people have the Raiders drafting Jamarcus Russell, that is far from being certain at this point. Rumors in Oakland have people in the organization fighting over Johnson, Russell, and even Brady Quinn! Al Davis is rumored to prefer Russell, so I am guessing that he will be the Raiders pick.

It should be an exciting rest of the week and I can’t wait to see what happens on Saturday.

Fansite of the Week: Ghosts of Wayne Fontes

Filed under: Lions News, Website News — The Bear @ 7:01 am

With all this talk of the draft, we have not really been bashing ol Matt Millen much this week. Shame on us!

Luckily, someone else out there is helping us along the way.

The Ghosts of Wayne Fontes is a well written blog with a nice touch of humor.