Lions – Trap or Statement For Packers?
This week’s Green Bay Packers’ opponent, the Detroit Lions, are bad. They’ve been bad since a guy named Barry Sanders left town, and hell, they weren’t even that good when he was there (anyone remember Scott Mitchell?).
But if their week one performance against the Atlanta Falcons, who started a rookie quarterback and have a rookie head coach, is any indication, this year’s version of the Detroit Lions is even more pathetic than usual.
Detroit lost to the Falcons 34-21 last week. Atlanta was 4-12 last year. Detroit gave up 220 yards to running back Michael Turner. His backup, Jerious Norwood, added 93 yards. The aforementioned rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan, completed 9-of-13 passes for 161 yards. That’s a 70 percent completion percentage – to a rookie quarterback!
In short, the Lions defense looks atrocious, which I suppose should be expected considering they were starting Packers’ castoff Paris Lenon at linebacker. Personally, I don’t think the Falcons will come close to 30 points in a game the rest of the season.
So, that begs the question – do the Packers, coming off a prime time, emotional win against the hated Queens from Minnesota experience a letdown against Detroit this weekend, or do they make a statement and win big, staking claim to their rightful spot at the top of the NFC Norris?
On paper, it looks like a no-brainer – the Packers win big.
The Lions are shaking up their defense in wake of last week’s debacle. Two new starters will be installed, along with one on offense.
The Lions made two defensive personnel changes for Sunday’s game, Leigh Bodden will start for Travis ‘The Whiffer’ Fisher and Dan Bullocks will start for Gerald ‘Grabbin for Air’ Alexander. Dizon is expected to get more playing time and split time with Paris ‘Tackle? I thought this was Touch’ Lenon. Offensively, Manny ‘not that ManRam’ Ramirez will start in place of Stephen ‘Don’t Hurt Me’ Peterson.
Other than Paris Lenon, I’ve never heard of any of these guys. And frankly, if you couldn’t start for the Lions at the beginning of the year, you can’t be that good anyway, right? This is, after all, the defense that finished dead last in yards and points allowed last season.
But surely, these guys are professionals, and they must have some pride. They can’t be as bad as they were against Atlanta every week.
Well, the Detroit Free Press has its concerns:
“We’re better than that,” [defensive end Jared] DeVries said.
But no one is going to believe them until they prove it on the field — not just in Sunday’s home opener against Green Bay, but on a consistent basis.
“Absolutely,” DeVries said. “It’s our job to show them that we’re a better football team than we showed on Sunday. Absolutely.”
Tackling is about technique, toughness and, yes, talent, too. The Lions lack top-end talent on defense, especially among their front seven. They have a long way to go to even be considered a decent defense.
So the Lions defense is awful, they can’t tackle, and will have at least two new starters this week. Also, I think its safe to say Ryan Grant is a better running back than Michael Turner, so this so-called defense could be in for another long day.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, quarterback John Kitna is busy getting into it with receivers coach Shawn Jefferson. Kitna would apologize for the incident, but not really apologize for the “conversation.”
So, let’s see, did he apologize or not? Well, he did, but not for the conversation, so I guess he’s then apologizing for raising his voice. So if he had said whatever he said in a polite, controlled manner such as, “Excuse me, Mr. Jefferson, I think you’re fucking receivers are running the wrong goddam routes, and I was wondering if you could ask them to remove their heads from their goddam asses, please?” – then it would have been OK and no apology would have been necessary.
Oh, so back to the letdown – Green Bay is favored by only 3, despite all of this nonsense.
My prediction: no letdown, Packers by 14, Detroit coach Rod Marinelli loses his job by week 4, and GM Matt Millen drafts another highly-touted wide receiver with the first pick in next year’s draft.
Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.