If I told you that an NFL team used 9 of their last 10 first round draft picks on offensive players, you’d probably assume that team has one of the most potent offenses in the NFL…and you’d be dead wrong. To their credit, the Detroit Pussy Cats have tried their hardest to compile a who’s who list of offensive weapons including two Biletnikoff Award Winners (four wide receivers total), three offensive tackles, and a running back and quarterback who both had extraordinary college careers. To the surprise of many – including me – the Lions’ stockpiling of firepower has led to a whopping zero playoff appearances, and has resulted in a current overall ranking in yards per game and points scored of 22nd and 19th, respectively. After running out of scapegoats, the blame finally found its way onto now-former Team President Matt Millen.
Gone are the days of Barry Sanders and legitimate contender status. I’d bet that if the King of Motown were still alive, he would have sung Mercy, Mercy, Me after every Lions game this year because things definitely ain’t what they used to be. Let’s see if we can figure out exactly What’s Going On:
A wide receiver fetish
I’m a proponent of the run-n-shoot offense, but the Lions ditched that game plan years ago. If they were still running that style of offense today, spending four first round draft picks on wide receivers would likely have been beneficial, as they would all have been on the field at the same time wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. I don’t know if there is a defense in the league that could have sufficiently contained the threat of Calvin Johnson, Mike Williams, Roy Williams, and Charles Rogers all simultaneously running routes on practically every single down. But, what am I thinking? That would have made too much sense.
Jon Kitna is 36 years past his prime
Jon Kitna began his career as a superb backup QB, but as a starter he has been mediocre at best. He is coming off of back-to-back 4,000+ yard passing seasons, but that statistic is misleading. Including those two seasons, Kitna has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in 9 of his 12 seasons in the NFL. In all fairness, the Lions’ defense constantly forces Kitna to play from behind, and that kind of added pressure and sense of urgency isn’t healthy for anyone’s passer rating. Kitna fans should not fret, though, because he has a bright future ahead of him as a color commentator.
The score means nothing to Roy Williams
Nothing is more ridiculous than a player who celebrates after obtaining a first down during a game in which his team is losing. I know this is old news, but that kind of bullshit should never be forgotten and it should be held over Williams’ head until his team emerges from the bowels of the NFL rankings. That type of hubris, along with his numerous victory guarantees, may be giving his colleagues the mistaken impression that they are secretly an awesome football team. His idiocy may actually be advancing his own notion that scoreboards and win-loss records are meaningless and overrated. Maybe Williams should guarantee to shut the hell up until he actually plays in a postseason game – on second thought, he needs to win a postseason game before he can act the fool again without being legitimately criticized and mocked.
I’m not entirely convinced that Matt Millen was the primary cause of the Lions dreary decline over recent years. Contrarily, I don’t have any solid evidence that he wasn’t. What I can confidently posit is the Lions desperately need a makeover on all sides of the ball. Until that major overhaul occurs, Lions fans will be forced to purchase their paper bags in bulk and resort to saying such things as, “I’m more of a Red Wings fan anyway,” and “I just watch Lions games for the articles.” Oh, mercy, mercy, me.