Game 10 Analysis
The Lions have fallen to 0-10. I'm afraid that they will actually go 0-16 this season, a horrible record to hold that can never be broken unless the league expands beyond 16 games per season. On the bright side though, you would think that 0-16 would all but guarantee a total rebuild, from the talent scouts to the front office to the coaching staff. This is, of course, not a 100% certainty. There is always the owner who is often portrayed as being afraid to make changes. Heck, even the fans are afraid of change to some extent, after all, the last time a major change took place Matt Millen was hired.
There are many other things I am afraid of. For example:
I'm afraid that playing without Raiola is a good thing. For the first time since Millen took over the team the Lions were able to execute a quarterback sneak. Had Raiola been playing, as he has for 8 years, those 3rd or 4th and long 1's would not have been converted, as they have not for all those years. If ever there was proof that the Lions need to make a change at center this should have been it.
I'm afraid that Backus has played well enough the last 4 games (out of over a hundred) to continue to keep his roster spot. I personally would still trade him this off season, but I'm afraid that may not happen if he keeps it up (as I wait for him to revert to his old self again).
I'm afraid that Standeford looked like the best WR out there today… mainly because he was missing most of the season and hasn't had the desire to win coached out of him. That is, of course, stretching it a bit, since Calvin Johnson did some pretty good run blocks and such, but I'm not stretching it by that much.
I'm afraid the Lions have finally, after more then half a season, figured out that Kevin Smith is the better starting running back. Too bad they couldn't have been a little quicker on the uptake.
I'm afraid that after a few series that the DT Darby has completely exhausted his strength even worse then Rogers did when he manned the position.
I'm afraid the Lions are once again showing their bias to play vets over rookies, as they kept Smith in at DE despite his inability to stop the run, over the rookie Avril who should be getting experience as a (hopefully) future DE for the team, something that Smith is not. Why the Lions are afraid to play rookies is beyond me. But they are, no one can deny it.
I'm afraid the Lions have finally shown what is wrong with the team. Why it is they don't win. It's even something I've touched on before. It all boils down to this… they play afraid. They are afraid to make mistakes. That is what the coaches are telling the players, and if we listen, to us fans… limit mistakes and you can win. They want perfect execution like in practice. They don't know why it doesn't translate into the games. Many, inside and outside the team, think it's all talent. The players can't stop themselves from making mistakes. First one, then another. Every play, someone, somewhere, makes a mistake (or nearly every play, some actually go okay). But why is this so?
No… it comes from being timid. From being afraid to make mistakes. To not challenge the other team at any time for fear that you will make a mistake. If you do not take some chances in the NFL you can not win, and the Lions can not win. Far be it for Marinelli and crew to take a chance. Not on rookies, not on plays, and most certainly not in practice. Mistakes are evil. They are to be avoided at all costs. And while that is somewhat true, you can't have your entire team playing afraid all the time. You can not be that cautious from the beginning to the end. You will never win.
A little over 4 minutes to play, you're behind, your defense sucks, and you punt the ball on 4th down? Why? Because the coach is afraid of turning the ball over in their own territory. Well, let me tell you what, punting the ball away will not win you the game. Some may see that as a coach taking a chance, I see it as a coach being afraid. It's got to be getting to the players… having a coach afraid to do anything challenging.
It all comes down to the ultra conservative nature of the head coach and his hirelings. They have all the players playing timid, playing afraid, and when that happens, when the other team knows you won't do anything "crazy", they aren't afraid of you.
That is why the Lions will go 0-16 this year. There is no team afraid of the Lions, there is only Lions afraid of themselves.
Maybe Marinelli could ask the wizard for some courage.