Let's close the book on the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Day abomination. It's better for everyone.
The Lions' 47-10 loss to Tennessee was their worst defeat in 69 years of playing on Thanksgiving. Drew Henson became the fifth quarterback to take a snap for them this season, and you know what they say about quarterbacks: If you have five, you have none.
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com writes that this Lions team is the worst he's covered in 28 years on the beat. Ouch. And veteran place-kicker Jason Hanson, who tied an NFL record for most career field goals of 50 or more yards, said it was hard to argue with critics after Thursday's performance:
"Well, we only confirmed what everybody was thinking about us as far as outside of Detroit and in Detroit. I should say outside of the locker room. You can only say you're better than this so many times and then you can't say it anymore.''
Coach Rod Marinelli was asked afterward if he thought he would be fired immediately. But as Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press points out, nothing has changed about the alternatives:
Who replaces Marinelli? His defensive coordinator is his son-in-law, and replacing the head coach with his son-in-law would add a whole new layer of dark comedy. I mean, if the Lions do that, they'll have to sell the movie rights to the 2008 season to the Coen brothers. The offensive coordinator is Jim Colletto, who is overmatched already. You can't make him the head coach.
The other possibility would be Kippy Brown, the Lions' assistant head coach/passing game coordinator. But if the Lions hadn't fired Marinelli before, it's hard to imagine why they would be compelled to now.
Elsewhere around the NFC North as you prepare to hit the malls -- or run far, far away from them:
- Chicago defensive tackle Tommie Harris made one of the biggest plays of his career at the Metrodome in 2006, slicing between Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson and center Matt Birk to force a Chester Taylor fumble in the fourth quarter. The Bears recovered and soon scored the winning touchdown. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times examines Harris' importance to Sunday night's matchup with Minnesota.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune notes the Bears are 7-3 in domes since 2006.
- Vikings right tackle Artis Hicks, who replaced ineffective starter Ryan Cook last week at Jacksonville, missed practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a right elbow injury. As a result, write Judd Zulgad and Chris Miller of the Star Tribune, the Vikings might have to go back to Cook against the Bears.
- Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin has given up a lot of passing yards this season, but he does lead the team with four forced fumbles, writes Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Green Bay coaches want tailback Ryan Grant to take his play up a notch, mostly by breaking more tackles, in the last month of the season, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Said offensive coordinator Joe Philbin: "We have to provide opportunities and then [Grant] has to take advantage of those opportunities. Sometimes he has to create his own and make some of those yards on his own."