This week we traded some questions with SBN Lions blogger over at Pride of Detroit. Both the questions answered here and the ones answered for the Lions, which are located here, were handled by ChiFan13 this week.
1. One of the big stories last week was Matt Millen’s firing. I noticed from POD that some are happy and some aren’t. What’s your take on it? Do you think Marinelli is coaching on borrowed time?
I actually haven't heard a single negative reaction from anyone. This move was long overdue and all Lions fans are thrilled that Matt Millen is finally gone. It doesn't mean that this franchise is suddenly going to be turned around by any means, but it is the first step in a new rebuilding process. The hiring of a new and competent GM will be the difference in whether or not a turnaround ever does happen, and my guess is that any new GM would want to bring in his own coach, meaning that Rod Marinelli really is on borrowed time. Obviously circumstances could change or something could happen where a new GM isn't hired and Martin Mayhew keeps the job (he replaced Millen for now), but that would just be another sad day for all Lions fans.
2. Jon Kitna seems to be doing a decent job at the helm for you this year; his numbers are pretty similar to Orton’s. Why are so many calling for Stanton? And second, is Stanton the answer from what you’ve seen thus far?
Jon Kitna is one of the biggest reasons this team is 0-3. Of course, he's only one of the many reasons, but he is a big contributor to their lack of success. His management of the offense has been terrible at times where he isn't hitting receivers or isn't getting rid of the ball quickly enough. The breaking point for most Lions fans with regards to Kitna was in the later stages of the fourth quarter against Green Bay a few weeks ago. The Lions needed only a field goal to re-take the lead and possibly win the game, and Kitna threw not one, not two, but three interceptions on three consecutive drives. The last two interceptions were actually returned for touchdowns, turning what should have been a close game into a blowout.
The reason so many want Drew Stanton to start is because it would be a change. At this point there is nothing to lose and the Lions have to start planning for the future, especially since Kitna has proven that he isn't helping this team win games. I will say that Drew Stanton probably isn't even close to being ready.. After all, he's played in two preseason games and that's it. Even then he only looked sort of good at times, and that was against players that aren't even on NFL rosters right now. Stanton could end up being the solution to the Lions' QB problems or he could be yet another terrible draft pick. Even so, the only way to find out is to play him, and if the Lions don't start to win some games that is likely what will happen by the end of the month.
3. The Lions have Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams at WR, and Williams was quoted taunting the Bears DB’s. It seems like most of your success has come through the air, not the ground. Is Williams gone after this year? And second, how will those two fare against our DB’s?
I really am not sure if Roy Williams will be back for 2009 and beyond. I would say the most likely scenario is that he gets the franchise tag, but then again, if a new GM comes in, he may see Roy Williams as a chance to trade for draft picks to build for the future. Obviously it would be great to have both Roy and Calvin Johnson around for years to come, but whoever the GM is after this season has to ask himself if it's necessary to keep both. Would it be better for the Lions to keep one of the top receiving duos in the league together or break it up in hopes of building the team from the draft? I suppose it depends on what the GM's philosophy is, so only time will tell..
As far as how Roy and Calvin will do against Bears defensive backs, it depends on a lot of different things. For starters, both receivers have to stop dropping the ball. There are times when Jon Kitna can barely throw passes to either one of them on target, yet when he does both receivers have had lots of drops. Roy has had at least a couple in each game and has been called for an offensive pass interference penalty in each game this season as well. If both can catch the ball and Kitna is even remotely on his game then the two should have pretty decent days. I hope their stats aren't too great, though, because that would probably mean the Lions were playing from behind again, which is why the passing stats have been inflated a bit. I would prefer to see decent days out of Roy and Calvin and a solid day from Rudi Johnson or Kevin Smith as that would mean the Lions likely were in the game the entire day.
4. I have to admit that I haven’t really followed the Lions much this year, but I was surprised to see that the defense ranks last in total defense and points allowed. What will the Lions D throw at the Bears to stop Orton and Forte?
The Lions have to get their pass rush working and the secondary must limit big plays. It is a given that Matt Forte will have a pretty good day simply because the Lions defense hasn't defended the run well at all this year. For Kyle Orton, though, he can be stopped if the Lions are able to put pressure on him. Since that isn't something they have been able to do against quarterbacks in the first three games of the season, Orton's chances of having a big day himself are pretty good. If he is given time to make a play then chances are he will. The secondary for the Lions has been terrible this season and it doesn't seem like it will be getting any better anytime soon.
5. I noticed that after the Millen firing, there seemed to be a team-wide refocus to beat the Bears. First, what’s your prediction of the game, and second, what do the Lions need to do to beat the Bears?
Although I do have a feeling that the Lions could come out and pull off the upset due to all of the recent events, I think the Bears will win by a field goal or so. Detroit can win if they play a balanced game where they don't get behind early. If they can keep it close after three quarters and never get down by more than a touchdown, then this is definitely winnable. The most important things are that the offense limits its mistakes and the defense doesn't give up any big plays. It is expected that Chicago will have a pretty good day offensively as most teams do when they play the Lions. However, if Detroit can contain Kyle Orton and Matt Forte and put some points up on the board themselves, then this could be closer than many expect it to be.