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NFL's Big Three Stumbling

   by Bryan Leonard - 09/25/2008

Mess in Motown: Bill Ford Jr. wants Matt Millen out as president of the Detroit Lions. You think? Their head coach, Rod Marinelli, admits he cannot figure out what is wrong with this team and now is 10-25 in his third season. President Matt Millen's record dropped to 31-84 since he took over a 9-7 team.

Good teams are built from the top down. If you have lousy management or poor player development personnel who can’t draft right, a team is cooked before they even take the field. Millen has been CEO and president of the Lions since 2001, and the team is headed for an eighth straight losing season. The Lions (0-3 SU/ATS) suffered their third straight double-digit loss Sunday, 31-13 to the San Francisco 49ers. The final indignity was that the 49ers offensive coordinator, Mike Martz, was run out of Detroit in the offseason.

The Lions have been outscored 113-59 for the season and they enter a bye week. The Lions now have dropped 10 of their last 11 games and are giving up an average of 34.3 points a game. If now changes are made, keep looking to go against this team or over the total, with these half-decent passing game and horrible defense.

And speaking of go-against, is there a worse situation than in Kansas City? Herm Edwards calls it rebuilding, but everyone else says he has run this team into the ground. They allowed 300 rushing yards to the Raiders in the opener. Sunday, the Chiefs’ defense could not come close to stopping a Falcons team that finished 29th in the NFL in scoring last year in a 38-14 defeat. The Chiefs decided to run a sweep on fourth and goal from the 2 and failed.

The mood was dismal in the locker room after the Chiefs’ 12th consecutive loss. QB Tyler Thigpen began the game by completing one of his first 11 passes for minus-1 yard with an interception. They punted 4 times in the FIRST quarter! “Obviously in the first half, yeah, hopeless is probably the best way to describe it,â€쳌 said tight end Tony Gonzalez.

The situation in Oakland is nutty, with stories about coach Lane Kiffin-will-be-fired then he won’t-be-fired. Al Davis should have fired Kiffin months ago if he wants him out, not in September. On the other hand, Davis has done such a lousy personnel job with the Raiders the last 5 years, he should fire himself.

It didn’t help volatile the situation that on Sunday, the Raiders blew a 16-7 lead in Buffalo. The Bills scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to win 24-23. Oakland is a one-dimensional offensive team (running). If they can run the football, they’ve got a chance, but if they have face a team terrific against the run, or have to play in a shootout, it’s a bad matchup. That happened in the opener, a 41-14 loss to Denver.

Making matters worse is the lack of depth, particularly on the defensive line. The Raiders might have lost starting defensive tackle Gerard Warren indefinitely because of a partially torn pectoral muscle. Running back Darren McFadden said Monday he is still bothered by a turf-toe injury on his right foot. If Warren - one of three defensive tackles on the roster - cannot play Sunday, Kiffin said the team might consider using Jay Richardson or Fred Wakefield in that spot rather than sign a free agent. A problem for the Raiders is they face a strong of teams that can score or stop the run (Chargers, Ravens, Jets, Saints, Jets, Panthers, Broncos, Patriots).

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