Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Trash Talking

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Lions: Notebook
Lions defend alma maters
Even though they're pros, they still pledge allegiance to colleges and talk a good game.

By Jim Spadafore / The Detroit News

ALLEN PARK -- There's some trash talking in the Lions locker room, and it's not about their next opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It's about the players' alma maters. Who has the best college team? Is it Southern Cal, Texas or Virginia Tech?
And how about surprising Michigan State?
Wide receiver Charles Rogers was doing a lot of hooting and hollering about his Spartans and their game Saturday against Michigan.
But rookie wide receiver Mike Williams was hooting and hollering the most, because his Southern California team is No. 1.
USC is fresh from a 45-13 victory over Joey Harrington's Oregon Ducks. Did Williams call Harrington during the game?
"Joey knew since they scheduled the game that they were going to lose, so there was nothing really to talk about," Williams said. "But I called him when it was 13-0. But he wouldn't answer the phone."
Said Harrington: "I didn't answer my phone at all. It was family weekend."
Williams was ready to take on all comers regarding USC. He started yelling at running back Kevin Jones, whose Virginia Tech Hokies are No. 3.
"(Virginia) Tech would go down there and lose every game," Williams shouted.
Jones just smiled.
"When it comes to USC, opponents think there's a little light at the end of the tunnel," Williams continued. "There is. It's a train.
"We have the best quarterback in the country (Matt Leinart); the best running back and the best all-around player in Reggie Bush, hands down. We have the biggest, fastest and strongest offensive line. We have a defense that's lights-out."

Will Cadillac ride away wih Rookie of the Week Honors?

Running back Ronnie Brown of the Miami Dolphins, linebacker Leroy Hill of the Seattle Seahawks, linebacker DE
Marcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys, running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and wide
receiver Troy Williamson of the Minnesota Vikings are the finalists for Diet Pepsi Rookie of Week 3.

Fans can vote for one of these five players on up unril Thursday to The winner will be announced Thursday afternoon on

After the regular season, five players will be nominated for Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for
the winner on throughout the month of January. The winner will be announced at a press conference at Super
Bowl XL in Detroit.

A closer look at the Week 3 finalists:

• Brown carried 23 times for 132 yards and one touchdown in the Dolphins’ 27-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Brown scored on a one-yard run in the first quarter and had a 58-yard run that set up a field goal in the fourth quarter.

• Hill tied for the team lead with five tackles and recorded his first NFL sack in the Seahawks’ 37- 12 victory over the NFC West-rival Arizona Cardinals. Hill helped anchor a defense that held Seattle to four field goals.

• Ware recorded three tackles and one sack in the Cowboys’ 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Ware’s sack, the first of his NFL career, helped stop a 49ers drive in Dallas territory in the first quarter.

• Cadillac ran for 158 yards on 37 carries in the Buccaneers’ 17-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Williams, who had a long run of 26 yards, has rushed for an NFL record 434 yards in his first three FL games.

• ViQueens Williamson caught three passes for 83 yards and one touchdown in the Vikings’ 33-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Williamson scored his first NFL touchdown on a 53-yard reception in the second quarter.

Stayed Tuned...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Can Detroit stop a Cadillac?

That's what the sportswriters really want to know as the Lions prepare to face Tampa Bay this weekend. No doubt the fleet Carnell "Cadillac" Williams is on the mind of Coach M as well.

The team began preparing for Tampa Bay after several days off and a bye Sunday. Bucs' coach Chucky said that Cadillac is the best running back he's ever been around. Coach M. agreed.

"He has sure started off the season fast and well. Over 100 yards three times in a row. That is more than anybody ever to start off a career. That is quite an achievement and against some decent teams too. He will be a guy that we have to stop because they like to run the football. They can throw it when they need to with a veteran quarterback. I think the key is going to be keeping that guy (Williams) from getting 100 yards or 80 yards and keep him bottled up. He runs between the tackles well. He is very smart. It was very smart the way he stayed in bounds in the game - twice. He is very veteran-like and smart at the end of the game in the four-minute drill."

Although the team imploded against Chicago in Week 2, for the past several years, the Lions have played solidly against the run allowing just 9 runners to reach the 100-yard mark in the past 49 games.

Here's the list:

+ Bears RB Thomas Jones had 139 yards on 20 carries (9/18/05),
+ Thomas Jones also ran for 109 yards on 22 carries (12/26/04),
+ Colts RB Edgerrin James had 105 yards on 23 carries (11/25/05),
+ Jaguars RB Fred Taylor had 144 yards on 23 carries (11/14/04),
+ Redskins RB Clinton Portis had 147 yards on 34 carries (11/7/04),
+ Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander had 110 yards on 20 carries (11/16/03),
+ Packers RB Ahman Green had 160 yards on 23 carries (9/14/03),
+ Falcons RB Warrick Dunn had 132 yards on 30 carries (12/22/02),
+ Jets RB Curtis Martin had 112 yards on 22 carries (11/10/02).

Monday, September 26, 2005

First Place NFC Black N Blue

All right. The Lions are right back in the hunt for the division crown. For now that 1-1 record doesn't look too bad.
Of course, as with everything in life, there is a caveat -- namely Honolulu Blue and Silver takes on Tampa Bay this week.  It might not be pretty. Tampa's defense seemed tough against the run, which means more air time for Joey H and company. That's bad news because up til now the passing game has been non-existent. (5 picks vs Chicago) Coach M. spent most of last week fielding questions about that.
So, where we'll be at this time next week is anybody's guess. We're going to come out of this 2-1 or 1-2. Both have their implications.
No doubt ,1-2 puts us in the hunt for Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart. I'd prefer Leinart; he's one of a kind. We'll have to shoot for a 49er-like season. Great RBs can be taken early in the second round -- just takes some superior scouting to seperate the talent from the chumps.
On the other hand, 2-1 might signify playoffs down the road. How long has it been since that happened?? Still, it's a long row to hoe ... My gut sez 7-9 or 6-10. That buys nothing but more grief next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Orleans game set for Alamodome

It's official. The Lions will play the Saints at the Alamodome on Christmas Eve. Kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. EST. National Television via FOX. Here's the whole release from Wednesday evening.

For Immediate Release: Sept. 21, 2005

The kickoff times for the New Orleans Saints 2005 home games to be played at the Alamodome
in San Antonio and LSU Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge have been finalized, it was announced by the club today. The schedule and start times for the club’s seven home games are as follows (all times CT), with four being played in Baton Rouge and three held in San Antonio:

WEEK 4 – Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. the Buffalo Bills at the Alamodome, Noon
WEEK 6 – Sunday, Oct. 16 vs. the Atlanta Falcons at the Alamodome, Noon
WEEK 8 – Sunday, Oct. 30 vs. the Miami Dolphins at LSU Tiger Stadium, 3:05 p.m.
WEEK 9 – Sunday, Nov. 6 vs. the Chicago Bears at LSU Tiger Stadium, 3:05 p.m.
WEEK 13 – Sunday, Dec. 4 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at LSU Tiger Stadium, Noon
WEEK 15 – Sunday, Dec. 18 vs. the Carolina Panthers at LSU Tiger Stadium, Noon
WEEK 16 – Saturday, Dec. 24 vs. the Detroit Lions at the Alamodome, Noon

Tickets for the trio of Saints games held at the Alamodome are on sale now by calling the Saints
at (210) 208-9520 or Ticketmaster at 1-800-877-0898. Tickets are also available at the
Alamodome box office and online at and

Salt in our wounds

I know this is old news but it tells the story of just how brutally the Lions were taken apart last Sunday.

This is taken from the NFL's weekly NFC Player of the Week press release issued Wednesday.

• Wade helped break open a close game in the second quarter of an eventual 38-6 win over Detroit Lions,
scoring on a 73-yard punt return for his first career touchdown. With Chicago holding a 10-6 advantage,
Wade’s punt return extended the lead to 11 points, and the Bears never looked back, scoring the next 21
points to close out the victory. Wade returned three punts on the day for 87 yards and also added one
reception in the win.

In his third season from Arizona, this is Wade’s first career Player of the Week Award.

Should we be surprised it came against the Lions????????

This says it all about SD NY game

Lions are off. Here's my game of the week!

The NFL is selling it like this: STORYLINE: Eli goes to San Diego.

You might remember that Eli Manning was drafted No. 1 overall by the Chargers in 2004, then immediately traded to the Giants for Philip Rivers (Who?)

Well, the Giants didn't do shit last year, but the Chargers behind Drew Brees went on to a division title. Brees was voted NFL comback player of the year YEE HAW.

Manning, as the starter in New York’s final seven games in 2004 led the team to a 1-6 record. But began to improve at the end of the season. This year he's taken the Giants to their first 2-0 record since 2000. The Chargers, on the other hand, are going nowhere fast behind the brain-dead coaching of Marty Shitenheimer.

Sunday's game will also feature a matchup of two of the best backs in the NFL who both wear No. 21. The Giants’ Tiki Barber comes off an 83-yard, two-TD game Monday night, and the Chargers’ LD last Sunday established the
NFL record for most consecutive games with a rushing TD (14).

Two stats put the teams’ seasons in perspective. The Giants have dominated their two games this year, scoring 69 total
points, the most in a season’s first two games in their 81-year history. The Chargers are indeed 0-2, but have lost those
games by a total of only seven points -- after blowing early leads. Thanks Marty.

Charger officials are warning San Diego fans to be on their best behavior Sunday -- "You stay classy San Diego." Don't know how laid back San Diegans can be anything else ...

So, that's my game of the week. But because I live within 100 miles of the stadium, I might not even get to see it. Blackout rule's in effect as there are still 3000 unsold tickets......stayed tuned. This is the Sunday night ESPN game. Should be fun.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


It's "Bye Week" in Motown. Although the team will be off until Monday, September 26, the Lions practiced in full pads on the outdoor fields today at the team's headquarters and training facility in Allen Park.

Writers at the team's training facility wanted to know what Coach M thought about the early season break, speculating that the NFL had mysteriously given the team early season "bye weeks" for unknown reasons over the past few years.

"It wasn't as early last year, but you just take it when you get it and you make the best of it. You try to get some extra practice in, extra meeting time to do what you need to do. We try to give them a little bit of break. We have been together nine weeks, so to have a couple of days, there or four days, for the players to be off and away from us is a good thing. They are not going to get out of shape in a few days after all the training we have done. We have encouraged them to shut it down here and have them rest and heal their joints and their bones and their aches and pains and get treatment because we are always open. Some will travel and be back on Sunday, because we will have a busy Monday with preparation for Tampa."

So what's the team (and coach M) going to do with the time off?

"We have some meetings on various topics as a staff. We have work on Tampa. We have evaluations of this practice film and a self scout evaluation. We usually use our bye-week to do a really good self scout and see where we are. There are only a couple of games that we can evaluate, and some pre-season I suppose. We also use it on the next opponent."

So does a guy like this ever forget about football. No way.

"Forget about football? I don't know what that is. When you get into a season, you are always working and if I am home on a Sunday, we are watching the games of the teams we are going to be playing and taking notes. You might be in a different place, but you are still working and trying to get ready and watching what is going on and getting a little bit more information."

As for coaches wives: "Coaches wives - they go straight to heaven. They wear a lot of hats for a lot of years."

Lions Re-Sign K Remy Hamilton to the Practice Squad

The team announced Wednesday that they have signed K Remy Hamilton to the practice squad. Hamilton was originally signed to the practice squad September 16 and then to the active roster September 17. He was active at Chicago (9/18) in place of injured veteran K Jason Hanson.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

No Panic in Motown (yet)

Coach M says that while fans of the Lions seem ready to push the panic button on the 2005 season, he's not yet worried about what lies ahead for his team.

"There is no panic here. We have a sense of urgency to get better quickly. We are doing everything in our power that we need to improve and work on some things and come together as a team. These guys are not shy of sweat and work and they come to work and that is what is required to get better. My guess is they will do that every day."

So who's panicking? Some fans apparently, but not me. I am after all a true Lions fan. A .500 start to what will likely be a .500 season suits me just fine after so many years in the toilet.

another pic

Just another Lions pic for later use...

Helmet Head

Have to get this picture up on the site ...

Blogosphere pummeling

The Lions are getting pummelled in the Blogosphere today.
The questions remain the same. The outlook (for this week at least) bleak.

So, what's wrong with this team? Coach M says the Lions can't put the ball in the air without a ground game. Also, the defense can't stop the run.

"There were a lot of things that we have to improve upon in a game like that. But the two obvious would be running the football on offense, which is something that we are making a commitment to and it is going to be important for us to do that; and conversely stopping the run on defense. We got neither one of those done (against the Bears) - nothing like our game with the Packers, nothing like it.

"The run game, we abandoned early because of the score, so there was some reason to hold back on the attempts. Nevertheless, we have to be able to run the football in all of our personnel groups; whether we are one, two, three or four wide receivers. The other thing was in the passing game: protecting the quarterback and conversely putting pressure on the quarterback. Those are the two things that we are looking hard at right now."

Lions fans calling for Joey H's head will be sorely disappointed. Coach M is sticking with his No. 1 QB. Period. End of story.

Here's how the Oakland Daily Press summed up the situation:

Lions prove they╩╣re still the Lions

ALLEN PARK - Inexcusable. Inexplicable. Unacceptable. And oh
so typical. Get used to it. "There are no magic beans falling from the
sky," Joey Harrington admitted Monday, a day after the Lions were
humiliated, 38-6, at Chicago. "There's no Barry Sanders coming back."
Smart man, Joey. And a realist. The Lions are what they are. "It's
what we got," Harrington said.
Don't misunderstand. "I love the guys we have in this locker
room," Harrington made a point of insisting, more than once. "And I
believe we can win with the guys we have.
"The thing we have to do is learn from the mistakes we made -
He can say that again.
"We didn't do anything yesterday," conceded the quarterback who
probably would have been benched by now if veteran backup Jeff
Garcia were healthy. "We played bad football. It was a bad day for
everybody. Nobody played well. I was terrible. When you play
quarterback, you are the last line of defense. My mistakes compounded
what was already happening."
Mariucci resisted the invitation to throw his quarterback under the
bus, dismissing Harrington's first interception as a fluke and his second
with the fact that he and receiver Roy Williams were reading different
pages of the same playbook.
"He had a tough day," Mariucci acknowledged, "but we have to
help him a little more than that."
And Mariucci rejected the suggestion that the Lions should have
picked up another veteran QB off the scrap heap after Garcia went
down in the fi nal exhibition game. "There is nobody out there who
would have come in and played this game," the coach said.
In other words, Sunday's game - and probably the rest of this
season - are Joey's to win or lose.
Asked if he thought the play calling was too conservative Sunday,
Mariucci delivered a Bill Clinton-esque response. "It depends on what
you mean by conservative," the coach deadpanned.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Freep Writer Rips Lions


Lions Re-Sign G David Loverne


>The Lions met as a team today and reviewed film from yesterday's loss at Chicago. The team will practice Tuesday and Wednesday.

>The team announced today that they have released K Remy Hamilton and signed G David Loverne. Loverne was released September 17 to make room for Hamilton who the Lions signed from the practice squad for the game at Chicago (9/18). Loverne originally signed with the Lions March 24, 2004 and started 13 games at left guard last season.

>K Jason Hanson, who was inactive for the first time in his 13-year career against the Bears, ended his 209 consecutive games played streak. Before missing yesterday's game at Chicago, Hanson was tied for third among active players with Chiefs TE Kendall Gammon. Giants P Jeff Feagles is first with 274 games played followed by Steelers' P Chris Gardocki who has played 214. Rounding out the top five is Packers QB Brett Favre (209) and P Chris Mohr (208).

>Lions KR Eddie Drummond is currently ranked fourth in the NFC with a kickoff return average of 23.5. He had six returns for 159 yards (26.5 avg) at Chicago, including two returns of 41 yards. Drummond trails Giants KR Willie Ponder (47.8 avg.), Cardinals KR Reggie Swinton (24.7 avg.) and 49ers KR Maurice Hicks (23.7 avg.).

>Detroit is currently ranked sixth in the NFL and fourth in the NFC in total defense, having allowed an average of 276.0 combined yards (running and passing) through the first two games. The pass defense is sixth in the NFL and fourth in the NFC with an average of 159.5 yards-per-game.