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News » Lions sink to new depths but haven't hit bottom ... yet

Lions sink to new depths but haven't hit bottom ... yet

Lions sink to new depths but haven't hit bottom ... yet
It's gotten to the point where fans in Detroit can no longer bear to watch the 0-11 Lions and where even those who still care are denied the opportunity.

The Lions' game against Tampa Bay on Sunday was the third consecutive home game blacked out in the Detroit market.

Prior to an Oct. 26 visit from Washington, every regular-season game in spectacular Ford Field's six-plus seasons had been sold out in time (72 hours in advance) to televise.

This week, the Lions had to sweat out an extension of the NFL's blackout deadline until 12:30 p.m. Tuesday before learning their 69th Thanksgiving Day game would be televised locally.

Those unable to tune in to see Lions-Buccaneers missed a classic example of what the Lions have become.

Their 38-20 setback included the Lions sprinting to a 17-0 lead before surrendering 35 unanswered points. That result came on the heels of the Lions' 10-0 advantage the previous week at Carolina before succumbing, 31-22.

The organization finally rid itself of former president and CEO Matt Millen three weeks into the current campaign, but the unavoidable stench remains.

The Lions are 31-92 since finishing 9-7 and narrowly missing the playoffs in 2000. Millen was canned after Detroit was outscored 113-59 to start this season.

With Millen, the Lions failed miserably in three critical areas: coaches, quarterbacks and No. 1 picks. They either couldn't find or couldn't keep good ones:

? Millen's first head coach was Marty Mornhinweg, who lasted two seasons and begat Steve Mariucci, who was replaced on an interim basis for the final five games of his third season by Dick Jauron. Next came Rod Marinelli, now in his third and, presumably, last campaign.

? Since September 2001, the Lions have tried 10 quarterbacks: Charlie Batch, Ty Detmer, Mike McMahon, Joey Harrington, Jeff Garcia, Dan Orlovsky, Jon Kitna, J.T. O'Sullivan, Dante Culpepper and Drew Stanton. You might see an 11th Thursday, as Drew Henson was signed off the practice squad this week.

? The list of No. 1 draft picks under Millen consists of OT Jeff Backus (2001), Harrington ('02), WR Charles Rogers ('03), WR Roy Williams and RB Kevin Jones ('04), WR Mike Williams ('05), LB Ernie Sims ('06), WR Calvin Johnson ('07) and OT Gosder Cherilus ('08). Harrington (third overall), Rogers (second), Roy Williams (seventh), Mike Williams (10th), Sims (ninth) and Johnson (second) were top-10 selections.

No wonder Alex Karras identifies himself these days as the guy who played "Mongo" in "Blazing Saddles," rather than the Lions' first-round pick in 1958.

Somehow, Detroit was 6-2 midway through last season.

The Lions are 1-18 since.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Teams with the worst records since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978:

Year Team -- Season-Opening Losing Streak -- Final Record

1980 Saints -- 14 -- 1-15

1982 Colts -- 6 -- 0-8-1*

1982 Oilers -- 1 -- 1-8*

1989 Cowboys -- 8 -- 1-15

1990 Patriots -- 1 -- 1-15

1991 Colts -- 9 -- 1-15

1996 Jets -- 8 -- 1-15

2000 Chargers -- 11 -- 1-15

2001 Panthers -- 0 -- 1-15

2007 Dolphins -- 13 -- 1-15

* -- strike-shortened season

The Cardinals outgained the Giants, 371-321, and had 27 first downs to the Giants' 18 but still lost last Sunday, 37-29, thanks to horrific special-teams play.

Safety Matt Ware was penalized 15 yards (facemask) on a punt that went out of bounds, 10 yards (illegal block) on a punt return, and five yards (offside) on a kickoff. New York's Domenik Hixon returned the re-kick after Ware's offside penalty 83 yards to the Arizona 17-yard line, part of a three-return, 180-yard output from Hixon on kickoff returns. Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers missed badly on a 68-yard free kick. cornerback Ralph Brown failed to handle an onside kick that bounced right to him with 3:52 left and Arizona down, 34-26. And receiver and Woodland Hills product Steve Breaston accounted for minus-5 yards on two punt returns.

Pat White, QB, West Virginia: He has the skills, but at what position? Most likely, the guy who will quarterback WVU in Friday's Backyard Brawl will be a receiver in the NFL. But it's conceivable a team will fall in love with his strong, but inaccurate, arm and consider him a quarterback project, much as the Steelers did Oregon's Dennis Dixon in April.

White (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) would be quite a project as a quarterback because of West Virginia's passing game, which lacks sophistication to the extent that it resembles Backyard Ball more than it does Sunday's version.

Some scouts believe White will practice at least a day or two at wide receiver at the Senior Bowl.

He could even be considered a "Wildcat Offense" specialist, dependant on continued proliferation of the formation.

Whatever, White's speed (high 4.3s to low 4.4s) and productivity are intriguing enough that his name will be called between the third and fifth rounds of the upcoming draft.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 27, 2008

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Chris Crocker Name: Chris Crocker
Position: S
Age: 28
Experience: 6 years
College: Marshall
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