Lions Prepare For Panthers Amid Controversy

ALLEN PARK - The Detroit Lions continued preparation for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers even amid a simmering undercurrent of uneasiness in the Lions locker room. Lions wide receiver Roy Williams' comments to regarding his sideline flare up with Kevin Jones and a lack of offensive chemistry turned up the heat in the room a little more yesterday.

Lions wide receiver Mike Williams, whose locker is in close proximity to both Roy Williams and running back Kevin Jones said he wasn't even aware of the tension between the two players or of Williams' remarks in general.

"Honestly, I haven't heard anything," said Williams. "I don't watch the TV and I don't really read the newspapers, the only thing I know what goes on around our team, media wise, is what you all tell me or what guys say about what they read."

But the elder Williams comments became the focal point of the controversy when he told the website that "right now the receivers don't have any trust or confidence in the quarterback and the quarterback doesn't have any trust or confidence in the receivers.

"When you watch Peyton Manning and his receivers, they're all on the same page," Williams told writer Jeffrey Chadiha. "We don't have that rhythm here. And since I've only been here for one year, I don't know how long it's supposed to take to create it."

Williams criticisms are valid especially in light of the team's struggling passing game and the dismal 52.7 passer rating of fourth-year quarterback Joey Harrington, who continues to struggle trying to fit into the West Coast offense system.

But more troubling was Williams' statement that the incident where Jones got into his face on the sidelines during in their 38-6 loss to Chicago, still lingers with him.

"We don't have to be tight, because we don't hang out anyway," Williams told the website.

Jones, for his part, insists he's past the incident and doesn't understand why Williams continues to talk about it, saying he apologized to him after the flare up and that he's not going to discuss the situation anymore.

Quarterback Jeff Garcia said it's time for some of the players to grow up and assume leadership roles instead of resting on their collegiate laurels.

"I think, sometimes, because guys are just handed the opportunities and they're not neccesarily being forced to look over their shoulders or to see what's coming on behind them, there's a sense of relaxation, there's a sense of 'this is my job, this is going to be my job no matter what, I don't have any threats being presented to me' and maybe not so much understanding the difference between pushing yourself when those type of situations are not in place or having somebody push you."

"There just needs to be a sense of self-pride and self motivation in trying to achieve and be the best you can be," said Garcia. "That's all I try to ask of myself and, in ways, it would be nice if every else would ask that of themselves."

Garcia said anybody who would take offense to his comments needs to look in the mirror. "If you're offended by [his commnets], then obviously you're starting to question yourself about the type of work ethic or the type of intensity that you're putting into your job."

Williams, for his part, is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Carolina, but Mike Williams says he hopes his teammate can go.

"I'm trying to talk Roy into going," said the rookie, "but he's got to make his own decision."

Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci said he isn't worried about the players getting after one another a little bit, but that there is a limit to how far they should take it.

"You have sixty guys in a [locker] room. Think about the last sixty guys you have been with. Did you like every one of them? I think they respect each other's right to be here, and in the pros and on this team. They work together every day. We spend an awful lot of time together. Are there differences of opinion? Of course!

"It is always going to be that way in a team sport like this. Some of that is healthy. They all want to win badly and they care about winning, so sometimes they get a little chippy."

R.W. McQuarters was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 5 in the NFL after his stellar performance in the absence of Eddie Drummond. McQuarters finished the game with four punt returns for 75 yards (18.8 average) including a 49-yarder that set up a Lions score. This is his first-career Special Teams Player of the Week honor.

Quarterback Jeff Garcia appears two weeks away from being healthy enough to play. Fullback Cory Schlesinger worked with the scout team in practice yesterday and is likely to ready to play next week. After Detroit passed on street free agent Troy Edwards, the team walked McQuarters through some passing plays.

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