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The W - Football - Report: Lions fire Mooch
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.85
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FBN_LIONS_MARIUCCI?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT


    Nov 28, 12:29 PM EST

    Lions Reportedly Fire Coach Mariucci

    By LARRY LAGE
    AP Sports Writer

    DETROIT (AP) -- The disappointing Detroit Lions fired coach Steve Mariucci and some of his assistants on Monday, a team official told The Associated Press.

    After Detroit lost 27-7 to the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving to fall to 4-7, reports swirled that the team was considering firing Mariucci. When Mariucci was not let go over the weekend, some thought his job was safe for the final five games of the regular season.

    Mariucci and the assistants were fired late Monday morning, said the team official, who spoke with the AP on the condition of anonymity because the team had not yet made the official announcement.

    [MORE]


Couldn't'a happened to a nicer guy, but while they're assigning blame they *probably* should have cut loose Matt Millen as well while they were at it.



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Since: 8.5.03
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.05
Between this and Seifert's collapse in Carolina (also due to bad management), the San Fran coaches aren't shining as brightly as they used to.

(edited by Matt Tracker on 28.11.05 1113)


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Since: 25.4.03
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.52

Yeah, because Mariucci drafted WRs with the team's 1st round pick in the last 3 drafts. No need to get any defensive players.

Stupid Millen.
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Since: 9.11.03
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.25
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    Originally posted by Mayhem
    Yeah, because Mariucci drafted WRs with the team's 1st round pick in the last 3 drafts. No need to get any defensive players.

    Stupid Millen.


Except that the problems with the Lions aren't due to their defense (most of the few defensive problems can be accounted to injuries), but due to extremely inconsistent offensive performances (most specifically, the erratic play of Joey Harrington and Jeff Garcia).

Oh yeah, and horrible play calling.



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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.62
They're beyond stupid.

Millen should be the one on the unemployment line, not Mariucci.



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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.55
I wonder if that means they're going with Harrington for another year. Since he didn't play in the West Coast offense in college, it seems like it MIGHT be a good idea to give him a head coach that doesn't live by it. (See, Carson Palmer at USC.)



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Since: 10.2.03

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.39
    Originally posted by Texas Kelly
    They're beyond stupid.

    Millen should be the one on the unemployment line, not Mariucci.


With all due respect, have you WATCHED the Lions this year? Unfortunately, as a former Detroiter, I have, and this season has been cover-your-eyes awful, the likes of which we haven't seen since the days of Darryl Rogers.

This team has been absolutely lifeless all season; there has been a laughable lack of effort on the part of the offense (I'm looking at you, anyone that plays wideout not named Scottie Vines) all season long. Players have been sniping at each other all season long (Kevin Jones and Roy Williams most notably), so Mooch's lack of leadership is apparent there. The big three wideouts don't run their routes hard half the time (Charles Rogers is notorious for this).

The team is woefully undercoached and unprepared. Watch Roy Williams on plays where he goes in motion or shifts - he does not know the plays, often forcing Joey or Jeff to correct him from under center. Mooch's inability to get his "stars" (the highly-touted skill players) to focus has been a huge problem this season.

The defense, arguably the "strength" of the team, is a bunch of individuals playing for themselves to pad their stats. How many times has James Hall and Kalimba Edwards been drawn offsides this season, trying to get a jump on the edge for the sack?

The most damning problem with the team, and one that should have been obvious since the middle of the 2004 season, is a fundamental difference in team structure, from Millen's vision of the team (clearly he has been following a 1999-2001 Rams template in his approach) and how badly it is mismatched with Mariucci's. Not to pile on (okay, maybe a little, because I have been screaming for Mariucci's firing after the season since the GALLING loss and Detroit quit job to the Bears in Week 2), but in this instance the problem falls squarely on Mooch's inability to adjust his scheme to the personnel.

Essentially, Millen has set out to acquire a Ram-like collection of skill players, with the one explosive, home-run hitting back in the Faulk role (Jones), and then the big receivers whose game is to catch the ball downfield (the "Big 3" wideouts), and the drop back QB who can make all the throws (Harrington in the Warner role, which is a more accurate fit than people think). Instead, Mariucci has been doggedly clinging to the Bill Walsh plan of 3 and 5 step drops with the ball getting out quickly. Mariucci's inability to tinker with the playbook to better match the personnel is his downfall, coupled with his inability to properly reach and motivate the players to continue to play hard.

Clearly, the QB situation has been the root of the problem, as its been coming out more and more lately that Mooch is a Garcia guy, and Millen wants Harrington. Mooch's obvious dislike of Joey essentially poisoned the team, as there was a palpable "waiting for the other shoe to drop" element to the team while Garcia's preseason leg injury healed.

I was as excited as anyone when Detroit actually got an accomplished coach seemingly in his prime for the first time in my life (no, cantankerously old coot Bobby Ross doesn't count). Mooch's colossal failure actually disappoints me more than the, ahem, Mornhinweg era.

That said, that was yesterday (er, earlier today). Now we move forward.

Obviously, Millen is still calling the shots, as indicated by the Ford family paying off the final two years and such change of Mariucci's contract. So now Millen must find a head coach, preferably one that already fits his "Rams Clone" vision.

Oddly, the early word out of Detroit (which I'm getting 2nd hand, mind you) is... Mike Martz!?!

That idea intrigues and terrifies me. On the one hand, Martz certainly will have a chip on his should and something to prove, given the way the Rams have unceremoniously dumped him this season (not letting him contract "his" assistants while he was recuperating), and he's certainly familiar enough with the system seemingly Millen wants put in place on offense. But, on the other hand, it is Mike Martz, who has made more strange (putting it kindly) strategic decisions in the NFL in the last decade.

Ultimately, he was on hand for the resurrection of another seemingly "cursed" (an alleged quote from one of the Rams' assistants, after the fateful Trent Green injury in the 1999 preseason, clearing the way for... Kurt Warner) and moribund franchise.

It's an intriguing gamble, and potentially the last big call Millen would get to make for the Lions.

Anyway, I didn't mean to get off on a rant, but I have been holding my tongue for a season and a half now.





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Since: 2.12.04
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.79
Danke, AlphaDog, you summed up the whole Lions problem for the past two years well. The team Millen was building was not the team Mooch could coach, and the problem does not lie with Millen. Millen wasn't calling draw plays on 3rd and long. Millen wasn't the one unable to maintain discipline. Millen wasn't the one on the sideline, it was Mooch and he's the culpable one. Not Millen.

Martz coming in here will be one of two things. Either it'll be a rebirth of the Lions (we were good in the 50's, dammit!) or we'll show promise but there'll be issues off the field. We'd have to see. I personally want to see how Jauron and Olsen handle things.



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Since: 23.1.02
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.61
While I'd certainly be terrified of handing any team over to Martz, the Lions have been drafting offensive talent for three straight years now, and you definitely want someone who'll make use of that. Aren't there any offensive coordinators who could step up to the Head Coach roll, though? Or maybe some HC's who are bound to be fired after this season?



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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.90
20-55 through all but 5 games of Millen's first 5 years really does show he has earned that contract extension. Forget pictures of ownership with farm animals, does he have the photos of the Ford family driving Japanese vehicles?
At least during the Wayne Fontes Era, they were mediocre at best, but they would at least wake up in mid November and make a run, thus ensuring that the Thanksgiving Day game would at least be watchable.
The way the Lions have played during the Millen era, the league should move the early Thanksgiving game out of Detroit.



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Since: 2.12.04
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.44
For the last time, the win-loss record "under Millen" is a statistic that means absolutely nothing. Millen's job is to draft and scout talent, and to hire the head coach. That is his contribution to the Lions football team WINNING GAMES. He has drafted well, the Lions are now stocked with a number of athletes never before seen on the team. Harrington is the one question, but for the team Millen is building for (*not* a West Coast offense) we have yet to see whether he is a bust or not. He has certainly failed in hiring head coaches, and that is where the problem lay for the past two seasons. Millen was not the one on the sidelines failing to control his players, that was Mooch. Millen was not the one who failed to curb youthful problems and turn the draft picks into star players, that was Mooch. Millen was not the one so stuck in his system that he could not change it when it is glaringly obvious the players aren't right for it, that was Mooch. Mooch, Mooch, Mooch. Not Millen.

(edited by PsychoticMidget on 29.11.05 1119)


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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.16
I offer another perspective, that of beat writer Dave Hogg over on a post he made on tOA (otherarena.com). I'm not sure where he falls in the range of opinions I've seen here, but I DO know the "summary" paragraph probably belongs in a time capsule somewhere as sports writing of the year for 2005. ;-)




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Since: 22.7.05
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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.81
    Originally posted by Texas Kelly
    They're beyond stupid.

    Millen should be the one on the unemployment line, not Mariucci.


Ditto...or should have been fired as well.

(edited by britishiles on 29.11.05 1212)


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Since: 25.8.05
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.90
This team is awful, just awful. I can't figure them out. Are they a loose collection of talented athletes without proper coaching or are they a bunch of overrated players that won't amount to anything no matter who coaches them? You can't blame just one person. Yes, Mooch is responsible for discipline, which is obviously lacking, but 3 first round WRs over the last three years? Joey is a bust. Yes, I know the WRs haven't done him any favors this year by dropping passes. But I have seen him make too many stupid plays. There was a play earlier this year where Pollard was open in the end zone due to botched coverage. All Joey had to do was throw a nice crisp pass for a completion. Instead, he floats a touch pass that gets knocked down well before it reaches the end zone. Joey doesn't have the balls to be an NFL QB. So, now that Mooch is gone, what's next? I don't see any quick fixes for this team. They need to get rid of Joey, find another QB (or two), and add some defensive depth. And I don't know who they should target as head coach, but how about this time, I don't know, follow the rules and at least INTERVIEW a few minority candidates. The future is not very bright, so, um GO BEARS!?
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The O-line isn't exactly helping matters, though. They need to open up holes for Ricky - he can't do much when there are multiple defenders in the backfield.
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