Sunday, November 09, 2008

Prospect Of 0-16 Makes Lions Accident By The Side Of The Road

DETROIT
Everybody has been in the traffic jam when it isn't rush hour, and none of the lanes are closed. Yet, the cars move slowly, or not at all.
It's because of an accident on the shoulder of the road. And the "rubber neckers," who just have to stop to take a look.
The Lions are that accident by the side of the road. The only difference is few are stopping to look.
The eyeball test on how many people were actually at Ford Field for the Lions' 38-14 loss to Jacksonville Sunday is about 40,000 - 45,000 tops.
And what they witnessed was the Lions taking awful to another level.
The possibility of the Lions ending this season as the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 is very real. Daunte Culpepper showed some arm strength and mobility, but he is way too little, far too late. The Lions' defense was scorched. The Jaguars, who had lost to the only other winless team at the time last week, the Cincinnati Bengals, beat the Lions in every way.
Drew Stanton made his NFL debut and seemed to either make a good play or get sacked. Obviously, he should start from this point on because the Lions have to determine whether he is their quarterback of the future before the NFL draft. It was impossible to get much out of his performance Sunday because he only really played, other than an early series, at what was essentially garbage time.
Either way - Culpepper or Stanton - the Lions appear doomed.
First of all, the small crowd was embarrassing. The lack of excitement at an NFL game in this town stunning. The Lions have pretty much been bad my entire life, but never like this.
There is a danger, with an entire nation held hostage by the Lions, that the Thanksgiving Day game will not be sold out. The Tennessee Titans are 9-0. The game could be a rout. It's the last scenario the Detroit area needs or deserves.
The Jaguars were primed to be beaten again. Linebacker Mike Peterson, perhaps their best defensive player, didn't play Sunday because he was suspended by the team and booted from two practices last week. It doesn't matter the situation of the opposition, though. The Lions find a way to be the great elixir.
This time it was their defense. For Jaguars' QB David Garrard, whose arm strength was better than I had anticipated from seeing him play on television, it was like stealing candy from a baby. There are so many holes in the outdated Tampa 2 defense it was if Garrard was competing in a 7-on-0 drill. Slant patterns aren't supposed to be that easy to complete. The Lions run defense is brutal. And while Lions deserved some credit for selling out in terms of effort in recent weeks, that wasn't the case Sunday. They rolled over - and were rolled over.
There was some imagination from the Lions' offense Sunday, although it was difficult not to wonder how much sense it made.
Stanton came in for a goal line package. He did throw a touchdown pass on his first NFL attempt. Yet, logically, it does not make sense to start Culpepper after just three full practices - presumably because of his experience - and then put in Stanton for his NFL debut at the most important portion of a drive.
It wasn't like the Lions went to some sort of spread formation package designed to take advantage of Stanton's mobility (he took the snap under center). Or if Culpepper wasn't moving well (he looked plenty mobile Sunday).
Can't argue with the result. Stanton was deliriously happy after completing the TD toss to wide open tight end John Owens. Too bad those turning to local television for the game saw the Steve Martin movie "Shop Girl" instead because of the local blackout.
The silence at Ford Field at times Sunday was scary. There wasn't that much booing, except at halftime. Culpepper and Stanton both got modest cheers as they ran onto the field for the first time as Lions. Nothing more. You could hear this little rumble at times, however. It was as if Lions fans were grumbling to themselves. Perhaps they wondered why they were the few and not-so-proud to actually show up for this game.
Ultimately, the Lions will be become intriguing. It will be for the wrong reasons.
Going 0-16 has its advantages. It equals the accident by the side of the road. People will have to watch more and more as the season goes on and the consecutive losses mount.
Even if they don't want to.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point, can we agree that we would even settle for "men" who don't even like football that much, but play it well for a paycheck?

4:45 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey the Lions might as well get the 0-16 record. Every bad record in the NFL is held by the Lions anyhow so why not. The only way to hurt Ford further is to go to the games and not by one concession so he doesn't get his pocketbook filled from that.

6:48 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, right on. Bob Valente Novi

8:48 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
You're point is well taken. You win with talented players. Period.
Caputo

10:30 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
I don't see where an empty stadium helps the situation. I understand it, though, based on the Lions poor performance. Ford has enough money to last 1,000 lifetime. You can't really punish him that way.
Caputo

10:31 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bob,
Thanks
Caputo

10:32 AM 
Anonymous Dave said...

It's nice having the black out of the Lions and watching an exciting game, i.e. the Packer's vs Viking's game. Too many times with the Lions on tv by half time I'm doing yardwork or off to the movies..
Dave from Waterford

11:26 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

I still cannot believe that Culpepper started. That alone will keep me from having any respect for the lions for the rest of the year. At least when Rudi Johnson started over Kevin Smith, even though Smith was obviously better in every aspect, I knew that Smith was injured from the previous week. But, there was no excuse for starting Culpepper over Stanton. It looks like Marinelli is intentionally trying to lose, week after week. Not starting his best players, and avoiding getting those that do start the ball. I figured that they didn't throw to Calvin Johnson once they were 0-3 because they were trying to force feed Roy Williams to increase his trade value. It worked, but then they didn't throw to him for another 2 weeks after Williams was traded. WTF? I am fed up with this team. I hope they bring in someone next year who can really run the show. Too bad Polian isn't available. I don't want the guy from New England - when was the last time they drafted anyone good? They have about as bad a track record with early draft picks as Millen. What they are good at is bringing in free agents for low cost that fit well in the system - which is a good trait, but our advantage now is our draft position, not our flexibility in getting free agents.

-Marty

11:44 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

dave,
the football is unquestionably bad. It's tough, though, because people around here tend to be interested in local items above all. They miss the Lions, if not their football, in a way. Or so it seems.
Caputo

5:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
Nothing against Culpepper or his signing - he did OK under the circumstances - but I feel like you do about it. Marinelli talks often about respecting the game. How is that respecting the game by starting a QB after just three practices at midseason.
Caputo

5:25 PM 

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