Five Good Questions with Pride of Detroit

I had the good fortune to exchange five questions with Sean, the head guy over at SBNation's outstanding Lions' blog, Pride of Detroit.  I just sent my answers to Sean's questions over to him, and I'm sure they'll be up there at some point during the course of the day.  I got Sean's answers to my questions last night, and here they are.

1)  Since the Vikings weren't on this past Sunday, I watched quite a bit of Lions/Bears.  Am I imagining things, or has Roy Williams quit on this football team?
I wouldn't necessarily say he has quit on the team, but he is letting his frustration get the best of him.  Roy has been unhappy all season long because of how poorly he and the Lions have played.  His frustrations finally boiled over in the second half against Chicago when Dan Orlovsky took over as the starting QB (Jon Kitna left with an injury).  Orlovsky had trouble hitting his targets, and when Roy was the target and passes inaccurately sailed by, he threw his arms up in disgust each and every time.  Once he even stormed over to the sidelines and ripped off his gloves and threw them.  I was certainly upset with his antics, though I understand why he is angry.  However, maybe Roy Williams should catch the passes that are thrown to him before he complains.  After all, he had four drops against Chicago and has had at least a couple in every game this season.  He needs to worry about his own play before he starts ripping on others.

2)  Staying on offense, Jon Kitna has not yet practiced to this point in the week.  Who do you think we'll see behind center for the Lions this week and, if it's not Kitna, could you tell us a bit more about them?

If Jon Kitna is healthy enough to play then he will.  However, I don't expect him to be healthy enough considering he hasn't practiced at all this week.  Given that, Kitna is probably going to miss Sunday's game, and my guess is that Dan Orlovsky will get the start isntead.  Orlovsky has been a career backup for the Lions and only got his first real playing time last week.  There is a reason he has always been a backup as he simply isn't that good.  As stated in the first answer, his passes are usually thrown off target and are easily intercepted.  Plus, he seems to panic under pressure, and given how poorly Detroit's offensive line normally plays, we should see a few interceptions on Sunday if he plays the entire game.

The other QB the Lions have is Drew Stanton.  He is in his second season and just recently returned from a thumb injury that kept him out the second half of the preseason and the first four weeks of the regular season.  The injury really was a setback considering he missed all of last season with an injury.  In the preseason he was making great progress and looked pretty good, though it was against players that aren't even on NFL rosters anymore.  Even so, most Lions fans hope Stanton becomes the starter sooner rather than later simply because he is viewed as the future QB of this franchise.  That's not necessarily a good thing, but most fans, myself included, just want to see if he is any good.  Obviously he still has a lot to work on since he has such little experience, but the Lions really need to at least get an idea of if he will be any good down the road.  If not, then they need to start making future plans at quarterback.

3)  The big story out of Detroit the past couple of weeks has been the firing of Matt Millen.  While this is a dark day for the other three NFC North teams, please tell us what you thought when you first heard what I'm sure was very welcome news.

My exact reaction was this: "Finally!"  All Lions fans wondered when that day would come, and it sort of was surreal that Matt Millen actually got fired.  Considering he survived such mediocrity for as long as he did, many figured that William Clay Ford would never fire him, especially three games into a season.  Regardless, when he was fired there really was just a big sigh of relief let out in Detroit.  Obviously the Lions still suck right now and rebuilding will take time, but Lions fans were at least given some hope that things can get better.  The owner has to go out and hire a competent GM, which is why many are still skeptical that anything will really change, but for now, at least, Millen is gone and Lions fans can be hopeful that positive change is coming.
4)  Rod Marinelli's reputation when he accepted the Lions' head coaching job was that of a defensive guru.  With that being the case, can the Lions' defensive struggles be attributed to bad players, a bad scheme, or a little bit of both?
I would say the Lions' defense is as bad as it is due to a combination of the wrong players and poor coaching.  Marinelli's son-in-law is actually the defensive coordinator, and he has proven that he shouldn't be.  The scheme itself, the Tampa-2, can work if the right players are plugged into the system and the coaching is good.  However, the Lions have neither of those things.  There is some talent on the defense, but not nearly enough.  That is a direct result of poor draft strategy and poor signings.  I don't even need to explain how bad the Lions have been at drafting, but I will elaborate on their free agent acquisitions.  The basic strategy Detroit employs is to sign former Buccaneers that know the system.  On the surface you might think that is a good idea.  Problem is that most of the former Bucs are on the back end of their careers and just aren't as talented as they once were.  That shows in the Lions' defense, especially in the secondary since there are a few former Tampa players there.
5)  What do the Lions have to do to give themselves the best chance to win this Sunday?
For starters, they have to play some defense for a change.  They can't turn Gus Frerotte into an MVP like they have done with every quarterback they have played this season.  They also must try to contain Adrian Peterson.  Detroit's rushing defense is terrible, so I don't expect that to happen, but if they want any chance to win, they have to try to limit him.  Offensively, the Lions must start scoring on a consistent basis.  Regardless of what the defense does, the offense can't let the Vikings get ahead as every opponent has done this season.  Usually the opponent will go up 21-0 or something like that and the Lions might make a comeback attempt.  Against the Packers they did come back and even led for a few minutes before Jon Kitna had a meltdown.  However, in the other games the opposing team simply has blown Detroit out for the most part.

Honestly, I don't see how the Lions could win on Sunday.  Even if you took Adrian Peterson out of the equation, this still would probably be a comfortable win for the Vikings.  That is how bad this Lions team really is, and sadly, it's only probably going to get worse.

Thanks to Sean for taking the time to answer all of these questions, and be sure to check out Pride of Detroit leading up to tomorrow afternoon's clash.  We'll have more stuff here throughout the course of the afternoon.

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