October 20, 2005

The Disarray Blues

For the second week in a row the Browns are playing a team widely regarded by the national media to be "in disarray". Last Sunday the Ravens were 1-3 and fresh off of their embarrassing 21-penalty, multiple-ejection debacle of a loss to the mediocre Lions. All the pre-game talk was about how Coach Brian Billick had "lost control of his team", but it turned out that a home game against the Browns was just what the doctor ordered.

So this week along comes Michael Smith of ESPN.com with an assessment of those lowly Lions, just coincidentally this week's Browns opponent, that makes them sound like they're too screwed up to find their way to Cleveland:

The Lions are the NFL's sorriest franchise and there is no excuse for it. Not with a state-of-the-art stadium and a first-class facility and all the money the Ford family spends on free agents every offseason and all the so-called "great drafts" they've had with Millen at the helm. Detroit is 2-3 and tied for first place in the NFC North. The way the Lions have handled prosperity, I shudder to think what the locker room would be like if they were 1-4 or winless. And you thought the Vikings had problems? Minnesota is a disgrace. Detroit is dysfunctional...

...And the disarray in Detroit starts not with the quarterback who, no matter what the coaching staff does to help, can't get it right or the receivers who just don't get it, but with the coach whose job it is to keep it together and the exec who hired him. If the Lions players seem like they're out of control it's because -- word around the campfire is -- Steve Mariucci doesn't have control. Maybe he never had it to begin with. Funny thing about control: You never realize how little of it you had until you have none at all.

Stop, I've heard this one. Smith goes on to rip just about everyone, especially Herrington and his receivers. But if the Lions are " the NFL's sorriest franchise", what would that make the Houston Texans? They're 0-5, they look completely hapless, and guess what. They play the Browns next week.

Posted by dan at October 20, 2005 6:53 PM