Answering your Detroit Lions emails!

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Lions open training camp looking for answers!

As the 2006 version of the Detroit Lions prepares to take the field and begin training for the upcoming season, one thing is certain…. there are questions and now they need answers.

Here are some of your questions and I will also provide what I think are some answers.

#1 Will the Lions offense ever be offensive? Pete-Lowell

Yes! I like many things about Sarge but what I like the most is that he wants the best people around him. He isn’t afraid of great coordinators being at his side, I think he relishes it. He has brought in a great offensive leader in Martz and although many call him a genius (most notably Jon Kitna, Josh McCown and Dan Orlovsky whom all have used that term about him talking to me) the real genius is Sarge who had the stones to bring this guy in and give him his space. I for one think that hire showed us more about the character of Sarge then anything. This offense will be better.

#2 Will the Lions have enough on defense? Roger-Lansing

I hope so. Let me say this. I have a lot of respect for Matt Millen. I for one am glad that he is leading this franchise. You all know my reason you have heard me on the radio and TV and on the Internet tell you why. That said, I know that I trust them, but it would appear to me that they way over paid for Kalimba Edwards. They spent a bundle on a guy that has not produced and at times has looked less then shall we say enthused. I talked with guys on this team and one even said to me: “I really like Kalimba, he is a great dude, but this is about winning and I am just shocked they paid so much.” I heard this from all over the league. One agent told me: “getting that contract was amazing and that agent should have gotten a 10% bonus.” I think that Bailey and Lehman have to stay healthy and play with the talent they have. If the LB corps is as good as I know it can be: Lehman, Bailey, Sims, then this team will do well. I have all the faith in the world in Rogers and Cody at the DT. The DB situation is also interesting. I think that they have to have a CB step up and be the man. Bryant is coming off an injury and when healthy he has not played worthy of his contract. Bly’ has to take care of business and he will and Kennedy and Bullocks have to develop some cohesiveness. I can tell you this, Henderson will not tolerate anything other then their best. They may be a player or two away from being dominating, but they also could be there if guys step up. The biggest question follows however.

#3 What does this team need most? Larry-St. Johns

A gut check! This team has to step up and do a gut check. They have talent, now they need to demonstrate character. I am not talking about the whole squad, many and I would say most, have demonstrated that and they now need the entire roster to demonstrate it. Sarge will hold them accountable, but they need to hold themselves accountable. We need more of what Dre’ did last year to Joey, but it needs to be closed door. I know what several players think, and I don’t repeat it. They keep it closed and should. This season needs to be balls to the walls. If one guy screws up they need to all hold him to the proverbial fire. I can tell you this, these guys are hungry and on fire more then I have ever seen. They know that Sarge’s camp is going to be hell and one player told me: “I am looking forward to it. I think that he is going to be watching for guys that love football and the heat and us guys that love it, us guys that would play for free and we will shine.” Now folks that is a direct quote of someone who is a solid starter and not in danger of losing his job, he is on fire and ready to go at it. I am totally convinced that we will see this in the training camp, and if we don’t you know that I will tell you.

#4 Hondo if you were GM for a day what would be your first move? Brian-Battle Creek

Fire Marcus Bell and Mike Williams. GONE! These two are not good for this football team and they are a cancer. What makes me even sicker is what I learn and can’t say. Get them out of here please!

#5 Is Kitna the man? Ryan-Leslie

Yes! End of discussion he has the grasp and the attitude that Martz likes. That said, Martz loves Orlovsky and McCown is a fine QB also.

#6 Is Sarge able to take this team to a playoff being a rookie coach? Courtney-Okemos

The only rookie thing about Sarge is that he is a rookie coach. He has surrounded himself with great people and they are not at all hesitant to speak up, but most of all, he isn’t afraid to listen. That is a sign of character and integrity. Marinelli is a leader of men; he was born for it and he fits is.

#7 Will Sarge send a message to this team that they mean business? Matt-Perry

I would say that they already have done that. I will however tell you that I think that Sarge isn’t a message sender. What I mean is that I don’t think he sits up hoping someone screws up, that said, I do for sure think that there are a couple of wake up calls on the horizon and that is all I can say.

#8 Will Kevin Jones have a break out season? Beth-Jackson

Yes. In this offense you have to have a feature back. Under the old regime it was openly said that he was not the 3rd down back and that was true. Well in this offense Martz doesn’t screw around. Keeping Kevin in is smart and unlike the last coaching staff that just complained about Kevin’s 3rd down ability, they are actually coaching him and showing him what they want. Kevin is a good kid and he is a hard worker. Say what you want he has never on or off the record ripped this management team or this coaching staff. He relishes getting better and he is a hard worker. He was frustrated reading how bad he was on 3rd down and no one telling him how to get better.

#9 How about the O-line Hondo that is your specialty? Christopher-Howell

That is tough. Backus got the big money and if he shows us that last season was not the real Backus we will be o.k. I think that he Woody and Raiola will be great anchors. I have faith in Verba (he also shares my faith in him… LMAO) and I think the Rex Tucker and Kelly Butler battle will be very interesting. I know that Tucker has the inside edge but they are rooting for Butler and so am I. I just plain like this kid. He has a huge heart, being from here, he loves the Lions and he is teachable.Â

#10 Can Pollard have a huge season? Kenny-Chelsea

No doubt about it. Campbell is a great locker room guy but Pollard is an athletic freak and a great guy. Campbell is probably a better blocker but let’s wait and see both of these wryly-old veterans are going to battle all summer.

#11 We bought your optimism Hondo and renewed our season tickets, are you still positive? Katy-Hillsdale

Thanks Katy, I appreciate your respect for my opinion. I am excited. Sadly I don’t think they make the playoffs, you can look in the Lions folder and see my season breakdown. That said I think they go 9-6 and I think that sets the stage for a very good push in 07.Â

#12 Hondo how is C-Rog? As much as you love MSU and the Lions if you say he has to go then I know it’s bad. Sean-Charlotte

Sean C-Rog is really working hard to fix his issues. I certainly am rooting for him but not at a price too steep for the Lions. C-Rog has to start earning. He has to start producing. Unlike Mike Rogers who in my opinion (and many others) is lazy, and feels like he is owed his success, Charles has at times demonstrated some of those traits but it isn’t necessarily who he is as a man. Let me explain, do we all know someone who may once or twice had too much to drink yet we still wouldn’t classify them as a drunk? I have no respect for Mike Williams but I do for Chuck. He admits his mistakes and at times had the huge posse because he couldn’t say no to people. I am rooting for Chuck because he is fallible and because he has a huge heart. With all of his problems with the Lions he has NEVER ONCE said anything on or off the record that has ever been bad about the Lions. I know that he truly loves Millen and his heart is to turn this around. Chuck’s leash is short, and it should be. I for one think he will do well. I am not going to talk specifics, but he has made some great changes and has put himself in a position to succeed. I for one would rather see him get cut and become a great man, then make the team and fail. I truly care for Charles, but let’s hope that he makes the team and blossoms into a great young man. Charles has talent, what he needs and Sarge has a lot of it is discipline. Charles has made some poor choices that are totally 100% his fault. Charles also has been a man since last season ended and addressed them. No they can’t get answered overnight, but they also can’t get fixed without his addressing them and he is…daily! I know for a fact that his teammates and coaches were impressed by his OTA and mini-camp effort.

#13 Hondo why is it here in Detroit all we hear is how Millen is an idiot and the Lions suck, yet when I read the website I get a more balanced version? Bill-Novi

WOW Bill that is a sad question. First of all I am constantly asked this and that is a sad statement. First of all you have to understand that as wonderful as the Tigers are doing, as happy as we were with the Pistons and Red Wings being #1 in their collective sports over sometime in the last year all of that pails in the shadow of the Lions. Howie Long said it best in my opinion when he said: “baseball is America’s past time, but football is America’s passion.” There is no sport, individual or team that is bigger then the Lions in this state. Some journalists and I certainly would not say all, would rather rip and tear then be responsible and dig out truth. It is easy to say that with the lack of success that Matt Millen has had that he is a stupid dumb buffoon and destined to be a loser. That is easy. To say that takes no effort, it requires no work and it makes the fans all excited and warm to have someone to blame. The fact is that it isn’t true. This man is very smart, he is a proven winner and he has endured and taken criticism for things that he hasn’t even done and never rose up and defended himself. He understands that he is the head and that comes with the heat. He laughs at the fire Millen signs but also genuinely feels sorrow for you the fans and what you have endured. He is not a cold gothic creature that plays with Mr. Ford’s checkbook for fun. He LOVES football and he feels true sadness for all the fans. I promise you that when he turns this around, he will NEVER look to the fans or those members of the media that have unfairly ripped him, and demand anything. He knows football and he is a 100% class act. Has he made some mistakes? Sure. He has had a learning curve but he is the first to point it out. Look at how the media has crucified Mr. Ford. ANYONE who calls him a terrible owner is simply a fool. He consistently pays a huge % of the salary cap. That is not true of all or even most owners. He is willing to pay big bucks for coaches, free agents and a GM because he wants to win. When he needed a new stadium he didn’t ask a struggling Detroit to build it, he opened his checkbook. Mr. Ford does not have to win a Super Bowl to be classified in my book as one of the best owners. He cares and his wallet proves it. Go ahead and pick on an old billionaire. That takes class, but at the end of the day he is getting ripped by media members that wouldn’t be at the games unless they had a free media pass, eating free media food and enjoying free media parking because they don’t care enough to spend their money for it. He would, and he pays for it all. Has he made some bad decisions? Sure, he is a car guy not a football guy. Has he done all that we could ask? Without a doubt. You see my friend, I am not mad at all the media. Many are good hard working folks, but I am angry at the few lazy ones who put no effort into their job and incite the great fans that follow with passion this great sport and team. My job is to tell the truth about what I cover. My job is to dig and find out all that I can. Last year on a particular play one of our offensive lineman made several errors that hindered Kevin Jones in one particular game. The next day I heard how terrible Kevin had played and how he “just couldn’t perform on third down.” Well as an ex offensive lineman I noticed immediately that it wasn’t Kevin’s error and had this person dug, they would have also. Sometimes people think that the truth is boring and to be honest, sometimes it is, but that is what people deserve and some places aren’t willing to serve it.

Thank everyone for writing. I cannot answer all your emails in this format, but I do try to choose the most asked questions and attempt to pick folks from different cities. As you know if you write me, I personally respond to every email just not all get posted.

On a side not I want to thank all of you who found about the loss in my family. We are very sad but also resilient. Thanks for caring. Best to you all and go Lions.