Lions Embarrass Themselves and Fans with Terrible Opening Performance
Hondo S. Carpenter
The Lions said things had changed and showed off a proud 4-0 preseason record. Vegas said the Lions were four point favorites. Well, they both were wrong. It didn't take long for the frustration to show as Lions QB Jon Kitna went after an assistant coach on the sidelines and everyone could see that nothing has changed. The Lions kept a plethora (that stands for 11 of the 53 man roster) of DL and they could have kept 53 and it wouldn't have helped.
The Lions weren't beat by a rookie QB. They were humiliated. The Falcons felt for one season what the Lions franchise and Lions fans have endured for almost all of William Clay Ford's years at the wheel: Embarrassed! Unlike the Lions who have suffered since Ford became the owner in1963, the Falcons fixed it in one season. I know that it was only one game for them, but was there any doubt by anyone that saw this game that this was two franchises coming off of bad years (fifty plus for the Lions) and which one was going in the right direction?
The defense was lackluster. The QB went on a temper tantrum and the result was the same. Lions lose again. I said before the season that this was a six win team. I was ripped, torn and â€œtaken to taskâ€ and perhaps I should have been: for being overly optimistic. I certainly understand that this was one game, but for Lions' fans and a franchise that has a cloud of despair that hangs over it, it was more than one game.
The Lions took a gamble on a TE that was too injured to play all preseason and you saw them pay for it by losing him. You saw that even though they were committed to the run, they had to revert to the Martz offense because the defense couldn't stop the Falcons and they were in a hole.
The OL certainly didn't look good. It also didn't look near as bad as the preseason, but if you watched the play of George Foster you certainly wondered where the highly selected rookie tackle was? He couldn't have played worse. When George Foster started the game you saw all you needed to know. I know that Coach doesn't like to start rookies, but here is a thought. The Falcons had several of them and they made the Detroit Buccaneers look horrendous.
This team lost the opening game. This team is already in a free fall. They can't stop the run. Atlanta ran over them, around them, through them and in case you are wondering the Falcons got 318 yards. HMMM....makes you wonder. What happened?
There is no excuse for this performance. There is no excuse for a lack of toughness. We told you about the Kitna/Buster Davis blow up in camp. We knew that Kitna didn't like that Davis played tough. He screamed at him. Well, you saw that the Lions looked like anything but a tough team today and the man who was playing too tough in Lions training camp (who wasn't good enough to be a Lion) was picked up and placed on the Colts' roster. By the way, Kitna screamed today why other football players played tough, and for the record, they didn't care either.Â You can talk to your coaches and team like that when you play and win like Peyton Manning.Â MEMO to Kitna:Â You don't!
Here is something amazing. Kitna makes no hesitation to scream and throw temper tantrums like a spoiled child, but you notice none of his teammates ever call him out for an inaccurate pass, holding the ball too long and taking stupid sacks or mental errors? By the way Jon, when you scream and rip your receivers, please remember that they play better than you!
How can that be? How can the man who has been given the keys to the family sedan not ever get questioned. The Lions haven't wanted a QB controversy like they have endured in the past and have given Kitna blind support. Unfortunately, the Lions have created a spoiled child who still makes the same mistakes game after game. This regime screams accountability. Everyone knows that it is here, except at one spot: Kitna.
I love Rod Marinelli. I love the way he does things. The sad thing is that he isn't playing. He has to have players that just don't take a pay check. Did anyone see a group of guys playing for pride today? When true QB's step up (the 4th Quarter) did anyone see anything? Did anyone see (or has anyone seen) Kitna pick this team up in the fourth quarter and will them to victory? He has a lot of stats. They are sexy and they look good. I don't care. The fans of this team deserve better.
In the NFL you look at your schedule and see what should be W's. They are so hard to come by. You had to look at the Atlanta game with all that they have endured and rookie QB (and multiple other rookies) and certainly think you had a chance. They didn't. From the opening kick the Lions were out of it.
They were outplayed, and out-coached and out-ownered if that is a term. If not, I nominate it for a new NFL stat. How many of you think the result (a loss) could have been worse if they had benched Kitna for his temper tantrum? MEMO: the worst thing they could have done is lose which they already did. How many of you would have loved to see Orlovsky get a shot? If for no other reason then to tell the crybaby that he needed to act like a leader and how about this: play like one!
The strength of this team was supposed to be the DL and it wasn't. The holes are numerous. The Lions don't have a lot of depth, but they have talent. They have a very good coaching staff. They are lacking heart. They are lacking the killer instinct. They are Lions, but not the traditional kind. This team lacks heart. Maybe Ford should take some of his cash and buy his team a ticket to Oz so they can see the wizard. Better yet, how about see if there is a Wizard of Tampa Bay, maybe they can get him. It would be more fitting wouldn't it?
There are a lot of players on this team who care, who are upset and angry. Sadly, today's performance showed that not all of them feel that way. Marinelli has been entrusted to change a culture. A culture that has been around since a man named Ford has run the team. A coach can change players, but unfortunately Lions fans, he can't change the ownership.
I feel for Marinelli. I want to see him win, as much if not more than the team I have grown up loving. I like and respect WCF. Everyone who knows him loves him. He is a good and honorable man. He isn't a successful NFL owner on the field. It is time for that to change. It is time for that to come to an end.
The Lions are struggling to sell tickets and although everyone points to the economy, we all know that isn't the reason. Lions' fans are tired. They are depressed. Sadly, they still have heart. They still tune in. They still get angry and take losses like someone ripped out their heart. They aren't getting millions of WCF's money, they are contributing to his. Sadly they had their hearts broke enough. This is a joke.
The NFL season is sixteen games and I have belief in Marinelli. Sadly, the nightmare has lasted fifty + years for Lions fans and fixing this season, can't take away that pain.