Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

28 Nov 2005

Lions Fire Head Coach Mariucci

Not really shocking news here after the Thanksgiving Day debacle, but the real question is, how does Matt Millen still have a job? Didn't he hire Mooch? Didn't he draft three straight first-round receivers and a QB who still looks like a confused rookie in year four?

Posted by: Russell Levine on 28 Nov 2005

67 comments, Last at 01 Dec 2005, 5:20am by ammek

Comments

1
by buddha (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:16pm

About time.

2
by charles (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:31pm

and mds will be speaking in 5...4...3....2...

3
by Joey (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:38pm

I really thought Mooch would turn them around...instead they regressed even further. I feel sorry for Harrington. In a decent organization, he might have had a chance.

4
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:41pm

Why do I think the happiest man of all is Steve Mariucci?

5
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:41pm

Anyone else think they should hire Al Pacino as interim head coach?

6
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:46pm

You could see Mariucci was done in the clip from the NFL Films Game of the Week whe Detroit lost to Tampa.

At the end of the game, Mariucci came over to former colleague John Gruden to give the usual post-game small talk. Mariucci can be heard at the end of it saying to Gruden "Hey, see you in the playoffs!" while Gruden's body-language reaction is along the lines of "Get this creepy loser away from me before his bad karma rubs off and jinxes us."

7
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:46pm

What is Mariucci's track record overall with young players (particularly young offensive players)? If memory serves, in San Francisco he relied on Garcia, who, while not necessarily in the NFL, had been around a while; older running backs; and Terrell Owens. They never seemed to develop young running backs or wide receivers.

While Harrington isn't a great quarterback, his mistakes seem to be those that a coach could address and minimize. Is it possible that Mariucci just isn't very good at "coaching 'em up?"

8
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:48pm

I do think this is the right move, but if Millen is going to pick his successor, and pick the players who will play for his successor, it does seem ultimately pointless. Also, as much as I've criticized Mooch as a coach, I should mention that from all the interviews, press conferences, etc., I've seen, he seems like just about the nicest guy in the coaching profession.

9
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:49pm

Now fire Millen, hire a good personel guy, hire Ron Rivera as your head coach (as much as I would hate to lose him as the Bears D-Coordinator) or maybe the Steelers O-line coach (can't remember his name-but good with discipline), trade Rogers and Harrington, move Mike Williams to TE, draft Vince Young, get a nice solid 3rd or 4th round wide reciever, re-sign Garcia to a 1 year deal, get a CB, OT and a WR in free agency and then maybe the team will be on the right track again.

10
by Nicolas (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:57pm

Isn't Matt Millen like 20-55 as the Lions GM, while Mariucci won over half of his games coached? To me it seems that Millen should be held responsible for their failures.

11
by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:59pm

Is there any way that Millen survives this? Has he shown even the slightest hint that he knows what he's doing?

Has anybody else ever been given a GM job, with no front-office or coaching experience? (At least, I don't think he ever did any coaching.)

12
by Kevo (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:59pm

Re: JonL

Mariucci was the QBs coach for the Packers from 1992-1995. Something tells me he did okay "coaching 'em up" there.

13
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:10pm

Re: 4

I think you're right about that. I believe the Lions owe him something like $11.5 million NOT to coach the next two seasons.

Hmm, he's pretty telegenic, ESPN looks like it might have an opening on the Countdown set real soon ....

14
by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:25pm

Millen used to be some indistinguishable ex-jock chattering head. How in the world has he got to be the Marquis de Evremonde of the NFL?

15
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:29pm

Re #9. That offseaon plan sounds like the Lions offseason plan for the past 4 seasons.

16
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:30pm

RE: 12

That's a point taken, and I did consider that, but maybe that points to something different, and something I suspect of most head coaches currently working in the league: is Mariucci better suited to working more closely with players, rather than organizing everything and hiring other coaches to work with the players?

Of course, another way to look at it is to ask whether Favre needed much coaching in the first place.

17
by Vlad (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:35pm

The Steelers' line coach is Russ Grimm, the old Hawg.

18
by Paul (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:43pm

Millen should be the one that goes. That said, has Mariucci ever really done anything on his own? Seems to me that he inherited the winning SF team.

19
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:48pm

I know hindsight is 20/20. But does anyone else think the Lions would have been better off (offensively) if they tried to sign a big-time free agent WR like Plaxico for instance, instead of spending 3 1st rounders on WR instead. WR is not an easy position to adjust to in the NFL, especially the WCO and having a young QB with confidence problems and having 3 young WRs trying to run a complex offense against NFL defenses seemed to be a bad idea.

I guess a better question would be when judging why a 1st round QB succeeds or fails has anyone ever looked at the established offensive players around him. I mean Big Ben and Eli had Ward, Bettis, Staley, that Steelers O-Line, Tiki, Anami Toomer, Jeremy Shockey, and now Plaxico. While assumed bust like Joey or David Carr had young talent around them trying to learn the game at the same time.

20
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:49pm

#18. I guess you forgot about the salary cap purges of 1999 and 2000 and which the team was taken apart quite abit from the Seifert era. That was one of the reasons why I thought Mooch was a good hire for the Lions.

21
by Mitch (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:56pm

In defense (gulp) of Matt Millen.

Millen has done a nice job piling up some talent on both sides of the ball, particularly the additions of NT Big Daddy Wilkenson (FA), SS Kenoy Kennedy (FA), LB Teddy Lehman (2nd round, 2004 draft) and LB Boss Bailey (2nd round, 2003 draft) on defense. None of those guys carry big cap numbers, and all, when healthy, have been contributors. He also made an all-time great draft-day deal when he moved back ONE SPOT to let Butch Davis take Kellen Winslow in '04 after apparently convincing Butch he was going to take Kellen himself, then took Roy Williams with the next pick and used the high 2nd rounder he got out of Butch to grab Lehman, allowing him to toss the Lions 2nd rounder into moving up to the end of the 1st round and grabbing Kevin Jones at 30 overall. Jones had taken a nosedive, and was reportedly ticketed for New England with the luxury pick that became TE Ben Watson.

I don't find it hard to believe that with a strong defensive coach, some re-tooling on the offensive line and a run-first philosophy (Grimm or Whisenhunt from Pittsburgh would do wonders), that they could enjoy some form of a Bears-like resurgence in 2006 with Kevin Jones playing the role of Thomas Jones.

To me, Millen's biggest mistakes have been 1) hiring two overrated, nice-guy lightweights from the Mike Holmgren coaching tree to run his team, 2) not giving them a quarterback they could trust, and 3) drafting undisciplined WRs for a guy with a history of not being able to control them.

No, I do not work for Matt Millen, though Mr. Ford does call for my advice on occasion.

22
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:56pm

Re: 16

I think it's legit to wonder if Mooch is more suited for a role where he doesn't have to be disiplinarian. I'm not sure he was enough of a hard ass to be a successful head coach (especially in a rebuilding situation).

Did he ever explain why he didn't start Garcia but brought him in in the first half? That really seemed weird.

23
by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 4:57pm

Bad move.

24
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:03pm

Re: 21

Those seem like pretty big mistakes. Some might consider them 'firable'.

Concerning his fleecing of Davis, well, saying he's better at the game than Butch isn't going to add a lot of luster to his resume.

25
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:04pm

One report I read mentioned that some assistants got fired as well, but didn't mention which ones. My gut says OC, and the QB and WR coaches, but does anyone else know more specifically?

Also, I'm not sure one has to be a hard ass necessarily to succeed as a head coach. But it does require different skills than being a position coach or coordinator.

It would be interesting to look back and see whether assistants who become head coaches are more successful if they had a reputation as a coach who works well with players vs. one who draws up plays well. Obviously having both is optimal, but in the absence or rarity of that, I wonder if one type of assistant is generally more successful than the other.

26
by Bassett (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:09pm

"A fish stinks from the head down."

Millen is pulling a CYA... don't expect Millen to get fired... though he is the problem. Look who owns the team for God's sake... it's not like Ford has been known for their quality control and stunning successes recently...

27
by ElAngelo (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:11pm

Didn't the Lions suffer a huge fine for not interviewing a minority candidate a few years ago when they just brought in Mooch and nobody else? Geez, think that was a waste of time (not to mention money)?

28
by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:14pm

FINALLY, now Ford and Millen can hire someone who is good instead of wasting their considerable talents on that bum.

29
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:17pm

Re: 25

I saw a mention of assistants getting the axe too. My first thought was, who in the hell are they gonna get to fill those spots? Seriously, are they just going to leave those positions unfilled for the rest of the year?

30
by DMP (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:21pm

#8 MDS:
At the beginning of the second half of the Thanksgiving game, the sideline reporter said Mariucci said he was "encouraged" by the way the Lions finished the 1st half. They were down 17-0, and had gotten a turnover with which they did nothing. This guy is best friends since childhood with Tom Izzo. Now, I watch a good amount of MSU basketball games and shared season tickets in my school daze, and I've seen 5-foot-nothing Izzo grab 6'8"+ guys by the jersey and bend them down to yell at them for not grabbing a single rebound. I am quite confident Tom Izzo's head would have melted if he were the coach of the Lions, they came out with that effort in the 12th week of the season and the team was down 17-0. I don't anybody else cares, but it just seems funny to me that these guys are both high-profile coaches, they are really close, and yet they seem to have completely different approaches.

#9 JG:
During the last draft, I was convinced that the Lions took Mike Williams because he was going to play TE. That was the only way I could make sense of what just had happened with that pick. I think it is a matter of civic duty for Detroiters and metro-Detroiters at the Lions next game to come out with an unrellenting "FI-YER MIL-LEN!!!" chant.

31
by Mitch (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:23pm

Re: 24

I don't necessarily disagree. Picking a head coach and a quarterback are probably, in that order, the single most important decisions a GM makes, and he's blown them.

At the same time, if Millen can ever find the right coach, he may wind up with someone who can put all the considerable talent he's assembled into a disciplined, cohesive system and make him look a lot smarter. Whether he deserves that chance is open to debate.

32
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:24pm

What's the point of firing a coach in midseason? Does it benefit the team?

I'm just remembering the debacle that was the Washington Redskins after Norv Turner was fired in 2000. Terry Robiskie took over, but they were done...

33
by Evan D. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:27pm

And the #2 result on Google for "Fire Matt Millen" is....

Football Outsiders!

Congratulations.

34
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:33pm

I'm officially on the "Hire Jim Bates for Lions HC" bandwagon.

and driving it, probably.

35
by cthoover (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:36pm

Does anyone else get the Pete Carroll vibe of Mooch? Like he might be better suited to the college game.

Still, it's hard to argue with his 49ers success. He took a couple of mediocre teams to the playoffs before the whole thing collapsed in on him.

36
by Ivarsson, Sweden (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:41pm

RE #34:
Get your hands off our Defensive Coordinator!

Packers D is actually looking decent. Not top-notch, but decent.

37
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:43pm

Is it just me, or does the "Mike Holmegren Tree" of coaches, starting with it progenitor, seem a little weak? I mean, Holmgren is a decent coach, but he owes most of his reputation to getting lucky and having Brett Favre during the prime of his career. Other than that he's kind of a solid coach who is just good enough to make you want for more and not fire him (1st round playoff losses, etc.) In that respect he is a lot like Mike Shanahan (who I also think is vastly overrated).
Yes, I realize I am ragging on the coaches of two of the top 5 teams in the NFL right now, but those two teams are always right there, and if the past 5 or 6 years have tought me anything, it's to not believe in either the Hawks or the Broncos because the meltdown will start roughly 4 1/2 minutes after I convince myself they are really going to make a run at it that year.

38
by MCS (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:44pm

I was actually eyeing Bates for the GB Head Coaching job in 2007.

39
by andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:46pm

Any word on who's the interim coach?

40
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 5:51pm

RE 34 & 38:
So since I assume Dick Jauron is interim head coach of the Lions, and Bates is looking like a like HC candidate soon as is Ron Rivera does that make the NFC North a defensive powerhouse?

41
by Stravinsky (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:00pm

While Millen and the Lions draft day exploits have not helped, coaching does seem to
be part of the problem. The team plays with no emotion or fire, their play design has issues (pass completions for no gain or negative yards), their play calling is predictable, and the team appears to have a fundamental lack of accountability based on the number of penalties and dropped balls that occur game after game. All the Lions need is a coach who brings in discipline, accontability and a run-oriented, vertical passing game offense.

42
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:03pm

Who is to blame... could it be the person that decided to lock up Millen before his current contract ended for another 5 years. Heaven forbid Matt get on the open market where any team could steal him away from the Lions. You have to like Mooch and no doubt some college team will throw money at him in the off season.

43
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:05pm

Man, if the lions actually did go to a power running offense with some success, the packers will almost be forced to in order to either support favre or not put to much pressure on his sucessor, with good defensive coaching, we could have a return to the good old days of the black & blue division. It just leaves the Vikings left out... I never did like purple.

44
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:21pm

JG #37:

John Gruden and Andy Reid come from the Holmgren tree and seem to have done pretty well. Sherman hasn't don't poorly, he just hasn't been great either.

The real failures are Mariucci, Jauron, and Rhodes.

45
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:24pm

Update: ESPN is saying the fired assistants are "tight ends coach coach Andy Sugarman and OL coach Pat Morris"

Because tight end play just killed them this year.

46
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:26pm

"I think we need to (make the playoffs). We want to, and we're going to make it happen," Mariucci said before the season. "If we win 10 or 11 ballgames and make the playoffs, it would make us happy and make the fans happy."

Low expectations produce low results.

How about the goal of getting to and winning the Super Bowl?

47
by ElAngelo (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:51pm

#44: Let's not forget Mooch's predecessor as well in that "failure" category...

48
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 7:07pm

I remember seeing an interview with Barry Sanders right after he retired in which he basically said that he quit because the game was no longer fun, and the game was no longer fun because the Lions, as an organization, made no effort to win. Year after year that assesment seems to be pretty true.

49
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 7:18pm

I am not sure whether I would rather have high expectations or realistic ones. Presumeably the advantage of realistic ones is that you can hold people accountable when they do not meet them. this is pretty hard to do with the unrealistic ones.

50
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 7:40pm

Ray Rhodes led the Eagles to a pair of 10-6 seasons and a 58-37 playoff win with Rodney Peete and Ty Detmer as his QBs.

Players drafted and developed under his tenure include Bobby Taylor, Brian Dawkins, Jermaine Mayberry, Duce Staley, ND Kalu, Tra Thomas, Jeremiah Trotter, Ike Reese and Allen Rossum.

Not a failure.

51
by cthoover (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 7:41pm

Re #44

Not to become a Mariucci apologist but he did take the 49ers to the playoffs 4 or 5 times (can't recall right now) so it's a a little unfair to lump him in with the Jaurons & Moohrengwigs (no way I spelled that right) of the profession. We are dealing with a permanetly disfunctional organization that is headed by an inexperienced GM here. Plus, Mariucci had a good deal of success with Favre, Young & Garcia so unless we see Harrington take off in the future I would be inclined to lay that problem at Joey's doorstop.

52
by LTA (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:01pm

MDS-
Aren't you the least bit worried about them firing Mooch midseason? I mean, now Jauron can coach the team to a 3-2 record (Minny, Green Bay, New Orleans) and get a 10-year, $100 million contract extension (without interviewing a minority candidate, of course). Millen will say that they had to pay so much and move so quickly because of all the other teams bidding for his services . In fact, rumor will have it that the Bears were just dying to fire Lovie Smith and bring back "the next Bill Belichick!".
The Lions can then go on to draft a tall WR with their 1st round pick (to a chorus of commentator praise) and the cycle will repeat.

53
by Joe (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:07pm

Re: #50 - Ray Rhodes not a failure? Even a bad coach develops a few good players - of the guys you list only Dawkins and Thomas were/are elite players, maybe Trotter in the right system. ND Kalu, Ike Reese, and Allen Rossum? That's an OK lineman and two special teams guys.

He had all his success with Kotite's players in '95 and '96, by the time he was fired in 1998 the Eagles were the worst team in the league. He was then hired by the Packers and led an 11-5 Green Bay team to an 8-8 record in 1999 (at which point Wisconsin had seen enough).

Ray Rhodes is a great defensive coordinator but as a head coach he is totally overmatched.

54
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:21pm

The best way to turn around a program semi-quickly is to hire a defensive minded coach. Defensive coaches can turn a unit around faster then Offensive coaches can.
Offenses in general take more time to gel.

Gregg Williams had a good defense with Buffalo. He got fired and went to the Skins, where he pretty much instantly turned their terrible one into a good one.

Lovie Smith went to the Rams and turned their terrible one to a league-leading one. Then when he left to go to the Bears, he turned the Bears good one into a great one. Meanwhile the Rams then crashed.

Ed Donatell had a good defense with Green Bay before he got fired. Then he went to the Falcons and turned their D around to be a good unit. The Packers Defense crumbled.

I personally think because defense is much more scheme oriented then talent oriented, in comparison to offense. You can find defensive talent easier and plug them into a scheme and they know whats expected of them easier then you can find a WR or a QB and do the same thing.

The Fins under Bates finished strong and even beat the Super Bowl Patriots last year. His D was good all year there. You can see him turning the Packers D around on a unit that really is not incredibly talented.

I think him (and I think Gregg Williams deserves another chance too) could not necessarily make the Lions good, but he could at least make them competitive.

55
by buddha (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 9:13pm

Didn’t the Lions suffer a huge fine for not interviewing a minority candidate a few years ago when they just brought in Mooch and nobody else? Geez, think that was a waste of time (not to mention money)?

In fairness to Millen, he tried to interview them, but they all turned him down.

Millen's mistakes far outnumber his successes, talent wise. Probably 2-1. Ask Az-Hakim and Bill Shroeder.

remember, it was supposedly a coup when mariucci was brought in.

56
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 9:22pm

The reason people turned Millen down is that they knew Mariucci was his guy. Candidates shouldn't have to go through cosmetic interviews just to make someone else look good. As someone who's been interviewed knowing I wasn't going to be hired, let me tell you - it sucks.

57
by Nicolas (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 10:32pm

RE: #55,
#56 is right. The whole point is to give minority coaches an actual chance at the job. He was violating that by only giving token interviews and that's only fair that he should be fined. (under the rules adapted by the league)
3 excellent coaches that should have at least deserved an honest interview:
Marvin Lewis, Lovie Smith and Romeo Crennel.

58
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 5:54am

I, for one, am quite excited at Dick Jauron being a head coach again. It was a good move for Chicago to fire him, but I've always thought he could do well with another team, especially with John Shoop nowhere in sight.

59
by buddha (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 12:36pm

#56 and #57

Baloney.

You take every opportunity you get to interview. At the very least, you gain experience in interviewing for a head coaching job and your name gets circulated in the very exclusive network of the NFL.

At the very best, you knock Millen's socks off and he gives you either a second interview or the job. Would that have happened?

We'll never know.

Tony Dungy said as much later. As an African-American coach, you don't turn down ANY opportunity to interview, you never know what will happen.

60
by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:00pm

What about Dre Bly's comments? Didn't we just learn that comments about teammates like that is "conduct detrimental" to a team?

I don't have high hopes for Joey, but I do hope to see what he can do with an offense that has a semblance of direction.

61
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:10pm

Is it just me, or did Millen's comments in the press conference sound like words spoken by a mouth peice who knew that his days were numbered?

62
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:42pm

Don't get my hopes up like that.

63
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:14pm

Adam B #50:

Lets not forget some of the list of immortals during Ray Rhodes years. I'll give special emphasis to high draft picks from early in the Rhodes era, who had 3-4 years with Rhodes and were complete busts.

1995 #1 pick DE Mike Mamula
1995 #2b pick OT Barrett Brooks
1995 #3a pick DE Greg Jefferson
1995 #3b pick WR Chris Jones
1996 #2 pick TE Jason Dunn
1996 #3 pick QB Bobby Hoying
1997 #1 pick DE Jon Harris
1997 #2 pick LB James Darling

Rhodes did not "develop" Jeremiah Trotter, since Trotter didn't really play until under Andy Reid and Jimmy Johnson in 1999, when the Eagles suddenly developed the #2 defense in football by DVOA.

We can give Rhodes some credit for Duce Staley, Bobby Taylor, Jermane Mayberry, and Brian Dawkins.

I think his win-loss record, though, really says it all.

1995 - 10-6, 1-1 playoffs
1996 - 10-6, 0-1 playoffs
1997 - 6-9-1
1998 - 3-13

His playoff record doesn't say much either. The wild 58-37 win over Detroit in 1995 showed a total lack of defensive control. The subsequent 30-11 loss to the Cowboys (how do you score 11 points, anyway?), and the 14-0 loss to the 49ers in 1996 showed a total lack of offensive thought.

And for being a supposed Defensive coach, he never had an Eagles unit that held opponents to less than 338 points in a year (21 points per game average).

64
by TomC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:59pm

re: 60 - I actually thought that "It's all Joey's fault" was restricted to certain myopic Lions fans. Turns out Joey's teammates are just as dumb.

65
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 5:47pm

TomC:

Dre Bly didn't say it was all Joey's fault. He said Joey wasn't even bothering to try in practice, and that other offensive players were taking a cue from this behavior.

66
by Michael David Smith :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 5:58pm

Bly did not say Harrington wasn't bothering to try in practice. He said the practices were bad, but he didn't explain (and Rich Eisen didn't really push him) whether that was a lack of effort or a lack of ability.

As much as I like Bly the player, he's wrong. Just look at how the Lions' offense played in the three games with Garcia and try to tell me Harrington is the only problem. They averaged 11 points a game in those three.

Finally, supposedly Mariucci was brought in because he's good at developing young quarterbacks. He's had three years with Harrington. Even if Bly is right that Harrington is the team's biggest problem, doesn't that speak volumes about Mariucci?

67
by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 5:20am

63: "The [Eagles'] wild 58-37 win over Detroit in 1995 showed a total lack of defensive control."

Wow, I've read some weird stuff on this site, but this is particularly barmy.

The Eagles were 51-7 ahead at the beginning of the third quarter of that game. Even the Texans couldn't blow that kind of a lead, and the playoffs are a knockout competition, so Rhodes rested his starters.

I don't rate Rhodes as a head coach, but that was one of the most outstanding postseason wins ever. (Detroit was actually favored on the road.) And incidentally it was one of the games that sold Rhodes to Ron Wolf as a worthy successor to Mike Holmgren.