by Dallas Jackson - 11/29/2005
Lions' President Matt Millen is to blame for Steve Mariucci's failure. With that said, it is Mariucci's fault he didn't adapt to what Millen gave him. The team president did give him a ton of talent. Unfortunately, it was not right for Mariucci's system. So naturally, Mooch takes the fall.
What is next for the Lion's? Not Dick Jauron. He should be retained, as the defense has been tough this season -- and he did win a Coach of the Year award in Chicago -- but he is not the long-term solution in Mo Town. The solution is simple. Mike Martz.
That's right I said it.
The self-absorbed, self-proclaimed genius is exactly what the Lions need. Install the "Mid-West Coast" offense. Move the "fun and gun" north. Take it up the interstates from St. Louis to Indianapolis to Detroit. All three are turf teams, with three effective wide receivers, a good punishing runner and a reliable tight end. Martz has already burnt his bridges with the Rams, and will be interviewing next season -- it's perfect. Even change the name, make it the "Chuck and Duck." Throw quick slants and posts; just have the receivers get down so they don't get killed. It's fast, it's fun, and it would work!
The pieces are already in place.
Joey Harrington can play. He was a gunner in college, a prototypical Pac-10 quarterback. At 6-4 he would be the best "natural athlete" Martz has had under his tutelage. Shotgun, quick throws, slants, posts and hooks are his forte and exactly what Martz likes to run.
The wide receiver corps are comparable to those of the late-nineties Rams, except the Lion's receivers are taller -- what a terrible problem to have.
Mike Williams, this year's first round pick, was the best wide receiver in college two years ago. He fell off the map a bit by missing a year of play, but he was still a great pick. He, like Harrington, is a Pac-10 guy, and has played with Carson Palmer and Matt Lienart (maybe you've heard of them). He can stretch the field and rarely drops a pass. The biggest of the three, M-Will, is also the possession guy, a crisp route runner and has a knack for finding the endzone - he is a WR in the mold of Isaac Bruce.
Roy Williams, first round pick in 2004, was teammates with Major Applewhite and Chris Simms in Texas, and led the Big 12 in receiving. He is speedy and can stretch the field, at 6-2 he is still taller than many corners he'll face and can run by guys like Torry Holt.
And Charles Rogers, considered a bust so far, was the first of the three-straight wideouts picked by Millen. Rogers came out of Michigan State as a lock for success, but his career has been slowed by two shoulder injuries and some off-field problems. However, I think he can be a great slot receiver, a la Az-Zahir Hakim.
What's more is that they already have a great running-back. Martz had to trade for Marshall Faulk, and later draft Stephen Jackson. Detroit already has Kevin Jones, who is more like Stephen Jackson than Faulk, but effective none-the-less. All of these toys are complemented by veteran Marcus Pollard at tight end.
This is dream sequence for Martz.
For Millen to turn this franchise around Martz is a great hire. Allow the mad scientist to install his offense and spend the draft finding a stud linebacker. Keep Jauron, because his defenses are usually successful, and realize you are in the NFC were anything is possible.
Dallas Jackson can be contacted with question or comments, email@example.com.