Column: Talk Of Firing Mooch Ridiculous

Ford's should put foot down and end nonsensical talk

ALLEN PARK - It's like a bad dream from which you can't wake up.

ESPN's John Clayton became the latest national commentator to state what is clearly ludicrous - that Lions coach Steve Mariucci could be fired if the team doesn't make the playoffs.

William Clay Ford, Sr. and Bill Ford, Jr., please tell me that isn't possible.

Mariucci is the one proven winner in the entire Detroit organization. Would you really allow Lions president Matt Millen to fire him?

Millen was so adamant that Mariucci was 'the guy' that would bring the Lions back to respectability and beyond that he was willing to violate the league's minority hiring policy to bring him into Detroit, getting a $250,000 fine in the process.

Once here, Mariucci was given a five-year, $25 million contract that has this year and two more remaining. Would you really leave $10 million on the table to bring in yet another coach?

The reason all this talk is ludicrous is for one reason and one reason alone: Mariucci has never had a quarterback.

Former Lions head coach Marty Mornhinweg told Millen that he could not win with Joey Harrington. Once Mornhinweg was shown the door it quickly became evident that Mariucci didn't believe he could win with Harrington either. Yet both were force-fed a quarterback who's skill set did not match up with their offensive scheme.

Millen also wanted to bring in Kurt Warner as a backup to Harrington. Warner flamed out in both New York and Arizona after being shown the door in St. Louis but Mariucci held firm in having the one prototype WCO quarterback available, Jeff Garcia.

A report in the Santa Rosa Democrat claims that Mariucci hired Ted Tollner against the wishes of Millen as his offensive coordinator when Millen wanted former Saints coordinator Mike McCarthy. Whether that report or Clayton's has any validity, who knows?

Here's what we do know, neither Marty Mornhinweg nor Steve Mariucci has ever had a decent quarterback with which to run their offensive schemes. Until Detroit gets a quarterback that fits with the offense, they're going to continue to struggle.

Another question everyone would do well to ask themselves is who would you get to replace Mariucci? Firing a coach for the sake of firing him is only going to appease the naysayers and does nothing for the future of the franchise. Unless you replace what you have with something better what is the point in doing it?

Name five coaches right now, who are available who are better than Steve Mariucci; I defy you to do so. The only coach would could possibly come into Detroit and move the team in a positive direction is St. Louis' Mike Martz.

Martz has the credentials and the pedigree but his current health issues and gruff personality has him on the outs with the Rams front office. If Millen doesn't like Mariucci's strong-willed personality, what would he think of Martz's abrasive nature?

Another point to consider is this; if Millen chose incorrectly on two coaches, would you trust him to hire a third one?

Here's what I would like to see; I would like the Ford family to come out and publicly state that Steve Mariucci is going to be the head coach here for the next three seasons. This would put an end to the ridiculous notion that Mariucci could be fired and force everyone to get to work on fixing what's wrong with this team. If Millen is adamant that he can't work with Mariucci, then he can decide whether he wants to be here or not.

Forget about firing Mariucci, get to work on finding a quarterback.


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