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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Detroit Lions Preview 2004

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posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 04:10 PM
It was new coach, same results for Detroit in 2003 as the Lions and head coach Steve Mariucci limped to a 5-11 record. Hoping to upgrade the worst offense in the NFL, the Lions made a splash at the draft, taking talented receiver Roy Williams with the seventh-overall draft pick, then trading up to nab running back Kevin Jones late in the first round. Both should make an impact immediately, with Williams adding to an already-solid corps of receivers that includes Charles Rogers, Tai Streets, and Az-Zahir Hakim. As well, free agent signing Damien Woody solidifies the offensive line.

In addition to these upgrades, however, the Lions need to see some improvement from quarterback Joey Harrington, who is entering his third NFL season and will have more talent surrounding him than ever before. The Lions' defense, which ranked 24th last season, features Dan Wilkinson and Shaun Rogers on a solid defensive line, but has question marks at the linebacker and safety positions.

The time is now for Joey Harrington. As the Lions' starting quarterback during his first two oft-turbulent NFL seasons, Harrington has made incremental progress but has presided over just eight wins. A coaching change, from Marty Mornhinweg to Steve Mariucci, has been one major obstacle in Harrington's development, as has the presence of a corps of supporting talent either too young or untalented to push Detroit back toward respectability.



Key matchup(s): September 12th @ Chicago - FOX Sports, November 25th vs Indianapolis - CBS, December 12 @ Green Bay - FOX Sports

Star Power: Joey Harrington, QB, Third-year, Charles Rogers, WR, Second-year, Dre' Bly, CB, Sixth-year

Notable Additions: Roy Williams, WR, NFL Draft (7th Overall), Tai Streets, WR, San Francisco 49ers, Damien Woody, G, New England Patriots, Kevin Jones, RB, NFL Draft (30th Overall), Fernando Bryant, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars.

Notable Subtractions: James Stewart, RB, Still Unsigned, Barrett Green, OLB, New York Giants, Ray Brown, G, Retired, Bill Schroeder, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With former Chicago Bears head coach Dick Jauron on board as defensive coordinator, the Lions stayed pat along the defensive line, last year's teams strength. Defensive tackle Shawn Rogers was a Pro Bowl alternate last year and will once again team up with Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson, a Sports Illustrated All-Pro in 2003, to form one of the best DT combos in the league. James Hall is back at defensive end and will likely be paired with third-year pro Kalimba Edwards. Robert Porcher, the Lions all-time sack leader (91), and second-year pro Cory Redding add depth to the defensive line and both should see plenty of action. Boss Bailey, Champ's younger brother and a member of the and Football Digest All-Rookie teams, emerged as a future star at outside linebacker during his rookie season. This speedy linebacker could be paired with rookie Teddy Lehman to give the Lions tremendous quickness on the outside. In the middle, nine-year veteran Earl Holmes gives the Lions young linebacking group much needed experience. Look for the Lions to experiment with moving Lehman to the middle and using second-year pro James Davis to replace the departed Barrett Green on the outside.

As a team, the Lions are much younger and faster than they were a year ago. Matt Millen turned two of the team's biggest weaknesses, wide receiver and the defensive secondary, into strengths through the draft and free agency. Both positions were hurt by injuries in 2003 but have added significant depth for the 2004 season. The defensive line should continue to be strength for Detroit.

WEAKNESSES: The Lions are very young at the offensive skill positions (QB, WR, RB) and that should translate into inconsistent performances. A similar situation exists at linebacker, especially if Lehman moves into the starting MLB role. The addition of Alexander at tight end is questionable given his recent medical history and could turn into a problem with the release of Ricks.

A battered Lions fan base is expecting a lot from their team this year, maybe a little too much. For all their talent, the skill trio of Jones, Williams, and Rogers have combined to play five NFL games and probably won't be consistent, even if Harrington is. If Detroit is going to contend in an NFC North that doesn't rank among the toughest divisions in football, it is going to be on the back of a defense that, at least on paper, looks to have been upgraded significantly. If that unit holds up, and the team's young offensive phenoms make a few big plays here and there, Mariucci and company could be a surprise entry in the North race. There seem to be too many big "if"s for the franchise to make its first postseason appearance since 2000, but a two- or three-game improvement is hardly out of the question.

[Edited on 13/9/04 by TRD]

posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 08:33 PM
A young team, they will be a surprise in the NFC, challenging for the division title. Possibilities of the playoffs, as there isn't much depth in the NFC. Butif you want excitment, keep an eye on these guys.

posted on Sep, 14 2004 @ 12:05 AM
Huge loss for the Lions with Charles Rogers breaking the same collarbone as in week 2 of last season.


posted on Sep, 14 2004 @ 01:36 PM
To be honest i can't see them making the play-offs...

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 09:38 PM
If they can prove thier mettle against Favre and the pack this weekend, I espect this team to go to the playoffs.


posted on Oct, 25 2004 @ 03:33 PM
After losing 24 straight road games, the Detroit Lions are suddenly a force away from Ford Field.

Joey Harrington passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns as the Lions improved to 3-0 on the road with a 28-13 win over the New York Giants.


posted on Oct, 25 2004 @ 03:49 PM

Lions quarterback Joey Harrington gets sacked by Giants safety Gabril Wilson during the second quarter Sunday.


posted on Dec, 30 2004 @ 08:20 AM
The Detroit Lions opened the season with a road win. They would like to end it the same way. On Sunday, the Lions visit the Tennessee Titans in an inter-conference match-up.

Detroit snapped an NFL-record 24-game road losing streak with a season-opening 20-16 win at Chicago and enter Sunday's game with a 3-4 record on the road. The Titans were 14-3 at home, including a play-off win, over the previous two seasons. But they are just 1-6 at home this season, beating only Cincinnati on October 31. Tennessee's worst performance here may have come last week in a 37-16 loss to Denver.

Billy Volek, who had passed for 918 yards and eight touchdowns in his previous two games, completed just 8-of-20 passes for 111 yards with two interceptions and was sacked five times.

Drew Bennett had been Volek's favourite receiver, catching 25 passes for 393 yards and five scores in his previous two games. But Bennett was held to two catches for 26 yards by the Broncos.

posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 01:14 PM
Roy Williams is some talent! This guy looks like the real thing. He has been granted that much sought after prized possession, a Ming seal of approval.

Mariucci has done a respectable job, given what a mess this franchise has been for way too long a time.

A feisty team, these Lions. Not likely to be playoff bound this year, but consider putting some $$$ on them in Vegas for next year.

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