NFL Thanksgiving

The problem is not Joey Harrington, the receivers, the running backs or the offensive line. The problem is not with the secondary, linebackers, and it sure as heck ain’t with the defensive line.

The problem is Mariucci.

Look at Snake. Used to be a 2 TD for every 3 INT kind of passer. Today, he was intercepted for the first time in 230 throws. (Oh, yeah, Denver did end up winning the game, didn’t they?)

Now look at Mooch putting three different QBs into the game. Look at how the defense stops running long before the whistle is blown. Look at how great, talented players are dropping passes and running the wrong routes.

That’s coaching. Bad coaching.

You may be right, but what does it all have to do with Jake Plummer? Mooch didn’t coach him.

The point is that with good coaching, a loser QB can turn into a winner.

I was surprised to see the number of announcers that have stood up for Harrington, during the game and afterwards on ESPN. I watched that game and while I wasn’t floored by Harrington’s performance, he CLEARLY was not the problem with all those drops, the pick where Williams fell, the fumble that Bryson coughed up, etc.

Once their starting RT was gone, the game was effectively over. Harrington had no time in the pocket at all and Kerney was turnstiling the guy.

Is the NFL on TV? CHECK YO FORUMS, RYAN.

Anyway. Did you hear what Pam Oliver said about Lions coaches? That they told the receivers that Garcia was going to be put in, so they need to come off the line quicker, since Jeff has a quicker release. I mean, is that how it is? How are the players supposed to respond to a guy when statements regarding ability are made like that?

Did you hear them boos? Garcia was no superstar when he went in for sure, but you can sure tell who the Lions fans favor. It’s got to be fucked up to try to play in front of a home crowd that has turned on you. That’s like worse than an away game crowd.

I’ll second Rimbo in that Mooch gets undue props as a QB coach, since he was Favre’s awhile back. He’s not. He had nothing to do with Steve Young’s development, obviously. His scheme worked well in Frisco and it fit Garcia very well, but Jeff came into the club a proven big-time CFL winner with years of football experience under his belt, plus a Grade-A recommendation from Bill Walsh and Young. And he benched him for a game late in the 98 season, to go with Rick fucking Mirer. Plus, Bob McCittrick was a master line coach - look at that running game they had. They were among the bottom of the league in number of sacks given up frequently. It’s arguable how much say Mooch had in SF at any given time in QB drafting decisions. If Rattay could stay healthy, he’d be a legit starting QB I think. But, you had Carmazzi, Doman, all these other dudes, who knows? Furthermore, Matt “Idiot” Millen picked Harrington, and that was in the Big QB Draft year. So he’s not Mariucci’s guy, and they have no line, no running game, and no defensive wunderkind in Mora, and a complete dumbass in charge of personnel.

Yeah. Do you think he knew the whole time the hook was poised to yank him if things got ugly? It’s like the actual in-game reasons don’t matter when the score gets lopsided enough, I guess.

Once their starting RT was gone, the game was effectively over. Harrington had no time in the pocket at all and Kerney was turnstiling the guy.

Garcia neither. Did you see that flattening he took from two dudes on that one errant pass? Argh. If not, wait for #1 or 2 on Countdown’s “Jacked Up!” segment. Madden calls that one a “De-Cleater.”

One other thing – if Bly didn’t have a cast on one hand, it might have actually been a game since he had two surefire picks drop. Crap, if receivers drop only half the number of balls that they did it might have been a game.

I’m leaning towards the coaching argument as well, you don’t have that much talent on a team and suck that bad without a good reason.

Also, not to be Joey’s cheerleader, he wasn’t Morningwood’s boy either – IIRC, Millen drafted him instead of Quentin Jammer over Morningwood’s objections. Harrington isn’t even a West Coast* style QB and he’s been suck with two WC coaches in a row. I have a feeling if these guys were coaching Bledsoe they’d have him doing boots and rollouts.

  • Yeah yeah, “Walsh Style”

I blame the FO. Their drafts have been horrible. The analysts always praise Detroit’s drafts because they always get the sexy picks (top WRs, RBs, whatever). But they don’t have a plan. They go with best value, I suppose but they don’t form a team. Those guys out there were not playing together. That’s coaching, yes, but I think it’s also the players out there. Millen is the one who should be fired today, not Mooch (fire him at the end of the year, maybe).

I bet Harrington ends up with another team as a backup and then steps in when the top guy goes down and becomes a starter again elsewhere. He’s obviously not the problem when the receivers are dropping balls like that.

Detroit is just cursed. Usually when a team is cursed, there are plenty of front office people to blame because bad drafts (where you don’t get people you need but instead get high profile people) are what keeps shit like that going on for years.

Detroit needs to find some defense (Detroit gave up 256 yards rushing) and then get some people that can catch the ball. Didn’t they pay Pollard big bucks to be their TE this year too? He dropped two of those passes yesterday, right? And people wonder why Barry Sanders hung it up so early? He probably saw the handwriting on the wall.

–Dave

Freudian Slip?

Hee hee, Morningwood. Do you think he walks down the street and people shout “Take the wind, Marty!” or shout overtime win percentages when you get first possession or something?

Yeah, I wasn’t entirely sure but I figured Millen made that Harrington pick (ignoring the QBs taken after him, even). Man, over Jammer? Sheesh, you can get a decent QB in almost every draft, guys like Jammer are fairly rare.

I’ll never get that head coaching ego trip where they try to shoehorn a QB into their scheme’s style. And it isn’t just QBs. Last season, Joe Gibbs was trying to make Clinton Portis do his scheme - mostly handoffs up the middle IIRC - which got Portis 40-yard games and goose egg halftime yards. That is, until Gibbs talked with Clinton and he informed him that he was better on swings, screens, and traps. Now, he’s back to form. Crazy, ain’t it Joe? I guess that’s another eason why Garcia - if all other critical defecits are attended to and he stays healthy - is a better fit. I mean, literally, since it’s Mooch’s scheme regardless of QB.

Millen’s firing is long overdue. I can’t outright disagree with drafting the best value over specific need, but I think that works better when your team is at least a .500 level club at minimum. Otherwise, you have to tailor the draft better, and going for offensive skill positions all the time isn’t the answer either. Defensive draft picks take longer to develop (it seems, anyway), but the dividends eventually pay out, and usually well before contract years come up.

I agree they weren’t playing as a team - especially not under Harrington.

Neither is it his fault that line sucks and can’t even run block let alone pass block. If your line can’t run block, which linemen typically prefer doing - your line sucks. I agree with your prediction. It’ll be kind of like what Griese did, with luck. Or, it might more be like what Frerotte or other grass-is-greener, flavor of the month guys do.

Detroit is just cursed. Usually when a team is cursed, there are plenty of front office people to blame because bad drafts (where you don’t get people you need but instead get high profile people) are what keeps shit like that going on for years.

cf. Arizona, Cleveland, Carolina pre-Fox, New York pre-Fassell/Parcells. Am I the only one who scratched his head over the Williams pick? Sure, he’s great, but did Charles Rogers die or something?

Detroit needs to find some defense (Detroit gave up 256 yards rushing) and then get some people that can catch the ball. Didn’t they pay Pollard big bucks to be their TE this year too? He dropped two of those passes yesterday, right? And people wonder why Barry Sanders hung it up so early? He probably saw the handwriting on the wall.

For sure. You know they tried to pin the Lions’ mediocrity on him? Claims that it was hard to be a Lions QB, because you handed off to Barry on 1st down, and he either got you another first down or you had 2nd and long, and the D knew you were going pass. Maybe, just maybe, that’s terrible playcalling and not the greatest, most agile RB the game has ever seen, who never got any fucking help for all his effort. Watching Barry play was the most bittersweet thing I can think of in pro football, watching an insanely talented dude do incredible things, all for a shitty team that never went anywhere. I gues he got paid well for it, but it’s still a bummer to see talent wither on the vine.

It’s no surprise to me nobody can catch the ball in Detroit. SF never had much of a WR coach, they pretty much hoped guys would ask to work out with Jerry Rice (it’s what Terrell Owens did). There was talk of him returning to SF as a WR coach. If not there, then somewhere, because not only did it improve Owens’ game, you saw improvement from all the WRs - Tai Streets and J.J. Stokes played the seasons of their careers the year Jerry was out and they had practiced and worked out with him the prior season. The Lions’ woes, while not all Mooch’s fault, show the places he cruised on back in SF.

Detroit’s D isn’t bad, when they don’t have to start their 5th and 6th string LBs because of a rash of injuries (Boss Bailey just came back, Teddy Lehman is on IR, Earl Holmes is out, that’s #1-#3 right there), and their secondary is likewise decimated (Bly just came back, with aforementioned cast on his hand, preventing what would have been 1 or 2 INTs. Fernando Bryant is on IR…).

QJ wouldn’t have worked out very well if they had him now, anyhow; his whole physical style of play has been made illegal by the NFL’s rules changes.

Also, IIRC, Detroit had a very talented (if young) secondary at the time; it wasn’t an area of need. I might be remembering wrong.

Something I saw in the game was that guys on the Detroit D – and I’m not just talking about the wounded and the replacements, I’m talking about the vaunted D-line – stopped running in the play long before the whistle was blown. It’s one thing to see that when your team’s down by several TD’s in the 4th; this was when the game was still winnable in the first quarter. The best defenses have 11 guys all playing until the whistle blows. That, again, is coaching and conditioning.

By way of comparison, watch the Cowboys’ D. You better believe that Parcells doesn’t let any of those guys slack off while the play is running. As a result, they played a much better Denver team far closer than they ever deserved to. “A” for effort.

Yeah, but go back and watch the first 6 games of the year (and even the 2nd Chicago game).

I think what we saw Thursday was the result of the team giving up on the coach. Rumors started swirling after the Dallas loss that Mooch was in hot water, and after the Atlanta loss there were media reports that he’d be fired today (which were later refuted with the wonderful reasoning that the Ford’s were in Florida).

If the media groundswell hit today, then the players have been aware of things for longer (since players and staff are where the media get the idea from, when it’s not Drew Sharp running his dope mouth off).

I really got the feeling that they’d given up after losing to Dallas and Minny beat Green Bay. They’d just dropped to 4-6 to fall behind “Stick a fork in 'em/Boat Cruise Jokes” Minny, their only wins had come against bad teams and they were pwned by Dallas. Atlanta gashed them on the ground against a decimated LB corps on the first drive, and they just quit.

It’s all downhill from here. About the only thing that’ll save Mooch now is a 5-0 finish, and it’s more likely that I hit the lottery. Knowing the coach is a lame duck, it’s more likely to see 5 games like the Atlanta one.

And yet, I’m going to the Minny game next Sunday. That, in a nutshell, is why the Lions will continue to be mediocre. They sell out and make fat sacks of cash no matter how bad they are, and the Ford’s have no desire to put effort/money into the team, plus they hate confrontation (read: firing people).

It was young, yeah, and so was the LB corps for the most part. But, they had no definite starter opposite Bly coming into the '03 season. Whatever the effect the rules had on his play, Jammer would have likely been a big help. Their biggest area of concern was the line, with lots of injury-prone dudes and little depth.

Also, the Lions had Ty Detmer and Mike McMahon on the roster. They could have made do with one of those guys (seeing as how Detmer was familiar with the Niners game plan, since he was there as a backup back in 98, and apparently McMahon is good enough to start for Philly).

I think the players wanted Garcia to start and were sorely dismayed that he got injured in the preseason.With him out, Harrington got the nod, but considering the other two guys on the roster were a rookie and wide receiver Kevin Johnson, it’s not like he beat anyone out.

It’s all downhill from here. About the only thing that’ll save Mooch now is a 5-0 finish, and it’s more likely that I hit the lottery. Knowing the coach is a lame duck, it’s more likely to see 5 games like the Atlanta one.

No kidding. Minnesota has been on a quixotic tear, Favre won’t go 0-2 against the Lions, the Bengals will annihilate them (since every win counts in the AFC). They could beat the Saints (just like, you know, every team in the league) - who really need to fire their head coach, more than Detriot does - and the playoffs may already be decided by week 17, so they could sneak one in on Pittsburgh (which I doubt, I imagine the team and Roethlisberger are going to want to go into the postseason on a high note, given their deteriorating level of play last year).

On a slightly-related note, I think it sucks that all signs point to Herm Edwards being fired. If I were Houston or New Orleans (technically), I’d hire him immediately.

Mariucci will probably take the fall and end up having success somewhere else, but Detroit is all about Millen’s failings as a team builder. Sure, there’s plenty of skill position talent, but without a good OL that doesn’t mean anything.

My guess is that a good GM might turn the Lions around really fast but if Millen get’s more time he’ll probably blow the whole thing up and who know’s what you’ll end up with in a year or so when he’s finally fired.

Well, down the hatch. Seeya, Mooch.

Now we just need to get rid of Millen.

So, as a Detroit fan, Rimbo, do you feel Mooch was the main problem? I still think it’s Millen. This team has more busts…to be fair, they have a lot injuries helping that happen, but they also just pick poorly. Sometimes there players turn it around (Shaun Rogers), and sometimes they seem to just continue to be mediocre (Charles Rogers).

You know, I thought the aquisition of Marcus Pollard was one of the best FA pickups of the offseason. How is he working out?

I don’t really follow Detroit all that much. My observations are based on the Thanksgiving game. I don’t think Millen’s been a good GM, but it’s also clear the team had quit on Mooch last Thursday. And I still don’t believe Harrington’s as bad as people say. He didn’t look bad in the Holiday Bowl when I saw him in person, and he sure didn’t look bad last Thursday.

Well, ultimately it’s Millen’s fault since he’s responsible for the coaches and the personnel. Mooch lost the support of the team, or so the reports go, and that ends up being a serious issue. Sometimes a good coach can lose a team and then go elsewhere and do alright (Schotty from Washingto to SD; Coughlin from Jax to NYG).

One problem is that people are looking at Mooch for results based on the team today. But last year he didn’t have Mike Williams. The year before that he didn’t have Roy Williams or Kevin Jones. So really this team full of offensive skill players basically exists today.

Charles Rogers has been hurt, a lot, so it’s tough to say whether he’s all that good or not. The suspension for drug use is a bigger red flag than anything else. Mike Williams is destined to become Mikhael Ricks pt. 2.

Millen has drafted pretty well IMO, other than Williams. Instead of Williams he could have had DeMarcus Ware, Shawn Merriman, Alex Barron, Marcus Spears, Luis Castillo, Heath Miller, Logan Mankins, etc. etc. It’s nice to say “best athlete available”, and I believe in that philosophy, but this is more of a case when you have a “need” that involves a significant reach vs. an impact player at a position you might find yourself solid at. If you have needs all over, then consider drafting, I dunno, somewhere OTHER than the place you’ve blown two consecutive first round picks. PARTICULARLY if you’re trying to win sometime before 2010 (receivers are notorious for taking a year or two to excel).

Dre Bly was an awesome FA pickup, and everyone was busy saying that he was overpaid. Schroeder and Hakim were poor FA pickups, but I’m not sure if Millen brought those guys in.