No More Optimism Lions Fans Look Towards 2002.

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Justin Vanfulpen -

After losing much of the optimism due to missing early expectations, writer Justin Vanfulpen analyzes the current Lions' situation, and what players might have to find a new home next season.

Everyone has their own idea on who the Lions should bring back and who they should let go, but lets look at who Millen and Mornhinweg will look to move out of the Motor City before they move into the new Ford Field in downtown Detroit for the 2002 season.

1. QB Charlie Batch- Batch was never Millen nor Mornhinweg's choice to play quarterback on this team, they tried to move him this off-season but didn't have any luck. Batch only got one chance this year so far, and the only way he will be able to stay on the team is if some how he gets back in and leads the Lions deep into the playoffs and has a great year. But most likely Batch will be with some other NFL team when the 2002 NFL campaign opens. He has few years left on his contract, and the Lions will take a salary cap hit cutting him because of his signing bonus, which will count against the cap.

2. DE Tracy Scroggins- Scroggins should have never been re-signed before this season, he is too old and not that productive anymore.

3. OLB Allen Aldridge- Aldridge is a free agent after this season and won't be resigned, he lacks the speed that Millen is looking for on defense.

4. TE David Sloan- Sloan is a free agent after this season and likely won't be re-signed, he has dropped too many passes and hasn't show the ability to stay healthy. Plus there are some decent tight end prospects that are going to be available in next year's draft.

5. TE Pete Mitchell- Mitchell is a free agent after this season and likely won't be resigned, he hasn't show too much this season, and is not a great blocker.

6. WR Herman Moore- Moore doesn't have the speed that Mornhinweg wants in his wide receivers for the West Coast offense, plus he has a big time contract that the Lions will want to cut. But look for Moore to hook-up with another NFL team before the 2002 season.

7. LB Scott Kowalkowski- Kowalkowski won't be with the team because the Lions are looking to improve their overall team speed, and the Lions will be looking for a younger, back-up linebacker.

8. QB Ty Detmer - Detmer is not the answer for the Lions at quarterback, and his contract is to high to keep him around as a back up.

9. FB Brock Olivo- Olivo doesn't have the skills on offense to play in the West Coast offense, he won't be on the roster in 2002.

The Lions will have to make a decision on both CB Bryant Westbrook and WR Germane Crowell whether or not to re-sign them. Both of them have big question marks attached to them, but they are both young and have the ability to be very good players.

Then the other large decision the Lions will have to make is who will be their starting quarterback in 2002 ... if it won't be Batch. Do the Lions go with Mike McMahon as their quarterback? Or do they trade for one, or draft one. The 2002 free-agent market at a glance doesn't present anyone worth picking up.

It is going to be a very different off-season in 2002 because a lot of these players know that they won't be back next season. The Lions need to make some very key free-agent pick-ups, as well as use the draft very well so they can improve the team and be a playoff contender when they move into Ford Field.

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