(ALLEN PARK) -- Lions head coach Steve Mariucci put a wrap on the 2003 season by announcing the team award winners and the opponents for the 2004 season. The coach also updated the team's injury situation and commented on a wide ranging set of topics.
The team announced that it has re-signed defensive backs Charles Drake and Chris Kern, guards David Miller, Kaulana Noa and Ben Johnson. The team then announced that it had placed Drake, Miller and Noa on its reserve/future list along with quarterback Curt Anes and guard Zach Wilson.
The team also got word from the NFL on its 2004 opponents. The Lions will play the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field next season. The team will play the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans on the road.
|Bobby Lane Off. MVP: Cory Schlesinger
Lem Barney Def. MVP: Dre' Bly
Yale Lary S.T. MVP: Jason Hanson
Eric Andolsek Top OL: Jeff Backus
Mel Farr Top Rookie: Boss Bailey
Joe Schmidt Leadership: Robert Porcher and Ray Brown (TIE)
Mike Utley Spirit Award: Cory Schlesinger
Chuck Hughes Most Improved: Shaun Rogers
[Listen To Mariucci Announce Winners]
Mariucci told the players of the team's opponents for next season because he said he wanted the team to visualize going to Atlanta to face Michael Vick and to Tennessee to face Steve McNair. He spoke about the need to build a real home field advantage. While the team went 5-3 at home, Mariucci wants to improve on that record, saying that once the team becomes a more solid unit, they will be able to win on the road.
Mariucci announced that Jeff Backus and Matt Joyce will both undergo elbow surgery for "loose bodies"; Kalimba Edwards who have surgery in January to correct a sports hernia, while Dominic Raiola would undergo the same procedure quarterback Joey Harrington did a season ago to correct a heart arrhythmia.
The team also announced that rookie linebacker Boss Bailey is a finalist for the last weekly Pepsi Rookie of the week award, while Harrington is a finalist for the FedEx Player of the week award.
He also mentioned that he will be evaluating his coaching staff and will decide on changes after consulting with owner William Clay Ford, Sr. when he meets with Ford, Sr. and president Matt Millen in Florida in a few days.
Mariucci said the team cap situation is very favorable for them to make several additions to the roster next season.
COACHING STAFF: Speculation continues that Mariucci will add three high profile names to next season's coaching staff. Former Chicago Bears head coach and Detroit Lions player Dick Jauron will be a top candidate to replace Kurt Schottenheimer as defensive coordinator. Former Buffalo Bills assistant head coach Dick LeBeau, also a former Lions player will be a strong candidate for defensive backs coach and San Francisco 49ers offensive line coach Pat Morris, whose contract expired in San Francisco would all be strong additions to the current Lions staff. As many as five Lions assistant coaches are expected to be dismissed.