Black and Blue all over: What's next for Lions?
We all like to look ahead in the sports media business -- mostly because by the time news actually happens, the issues leading up to it have been well-covered.
That's especially true for the saga of Matt Millen in Detroit. His failures as the Lions' president/general manager have been widely documented. The reasons are clear: He hired the wrong coaches, drafted poorly and missed on most of his free-agent signings. That pretty much sums it up, right?
Most of the Detroit-area coverage took a similar approach, exploring various versions of "What's next?" There was a monstrous volume of it Thursday morning but we tried to cull a representative sample for you.
In a guest column, recently retired Detroit News beat writer Mike O'Hara suggests ex-Tennessee general manager Floyd Reese for the job. But O'Hara's gut tells him that in the end, the Lions will make their temporary solution a permanent one: A committee system with Tom Lewand handling the business side and Martin Mayhew running the personnel department. That's sure to inspire Lions fans.
Coach Rod Marinelli has a 13-game audition for whomever the Lions hire, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com. And it's not a given that his performance will matter. Kowalski: "There are some who believe that Marinelli is a lame duck regardless and a new general manager will want to start fresh with his own head coach."
And Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom practically begs the Lions to hire a proven executive rather than think outside the box again as they did with Millen. (Does this mean you're anti-Mike Holmgren, Mitch?)
Here's how Albom put it:
"Whoever it is, please, dear Lord, do not make it a former big-name coach who wants to get his feet wet running a team. This job cannot be a proving ground. It cannot be a place where you make your first mistakes. Unless the Fords hire someone with a track record of excellence, in more than one franchise, they surely will screw up the decision. As it is, they won't make it until the end of the year, rendering this season nothing more than Sunday after Sunday of exhibition football."
There are three other teams in the NFC North, of course, and here's what's going on in their worlds:
- Chicago defensive end Adewale Ogunleye made a startling admission Wednesday: The Bears defense has lost focus in the second half of its past two games, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Ogunleye: "We're probably not being as aggressive as we should. We come out the gates in these games and we punch people in the mouth and all that good stuff, and then it seems like we're thinking about off days, you know. Maybe that's the case."
- Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune asked rookie offensive lineman Chris Williams when he will be fully cleared for practice. (Williams returned to the field for individual work Wednesday about two months after back surgery). Williams' response: "Soon as they turn me loose. It will be soon. Get your popcorn."
- After going two years without an incident, Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen is no longer part of the NFL's substance-abuse program, reports Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. This is standard league procedure and means Allen would no longer be automatically in line for a year's suspension if he violates the program in the future.
- You need a calculator to figure out the combined years of experience for the two quarterbacks that will start Sunday's game between the Vikings and Tennessee. Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports it's a total of 29 for the Vikings' Gus Frerotte and the Titans' Kerry Collins.
- Green Bay listed all four members of its starting secondary as well as reserve safety Aaron Rouse on Wednesday's injury report. Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette sorts through the wreckage and suggests that Rouse, cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Nick Collins seem likely to play Sunday at Tampa Bay. Tramon Williams will start at the other cornerback spot.
- Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal profiles Williams, who joined the Packers' practice squad in 2006 and made the team with a strong training camp in 2007.