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Monday, October 6, 2008
Detroit Lions: Three answers, one question

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

After the Lions' 34-7 loss to Chicago, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:

1. Receiver Roy Williams isn't fooling anybody. I have no doubt he prefers to win and is frustrated by the Lions' colossal offensive incompetence. But showing up his quarterback on the field only adds to the problem. Call me ultra-traditional, but pointing out the deficiencies of a teammate is unsportsmanlike -- and, in the case of backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky, is unfair. Orlovsky runs the scout team all week in practice and it's not unheard of for the No. 2 quarterback to need a few passes before getting into a rhythm.

2. We didn't get into it too much Sunday, but there is some significant confusion in the Lions' backfield. Rookie Kevin Smith told reporters last week that he had been demoted in favor of veteran Rudi Johnson, but Smith started Sunday against the Bears. Afterwards, Smith wouldn't address the topic and Johnson said he had never been informed he was the starter. In truth, it makes sense to find a way to use both players effectively rather than emphasizing one over the other.

3. The vultures are starting to circle around offensive coordinator Jim Colletto, who had the unfortunate task of implementing a new offensive scheme this year. Through four games, the offense looks like it's only been half-installed. While working on their running game, the Lions have completely lost their sense of how to utilize Williams and Calvin Johnson. Even veteran quarterback Jon Kitna is struggling with it.

And here's one question I'm still asking:

What will the Lions do if things don't get better -- and quickly? Ford Field was half-empty before the fourth quarter began Sunday, and at least some fans aren't going to stick around for 12 more games of this. Team officials want to let coach Rod Marinelli finish out the season, but how much pain are they willing to endure?