Lions Notebook: Plenty of Blame To Spread

The Lions season is quickly disintegrating in a flurry of injuries, disappointing losses and a now fulfilled drug suspension to wide receiver Charles Rogers: So who's taking responsbility? These notes and many more from Allen Park.


Taking Responsibility

    The Lions season is quickly disintegrating in a flurry of injuries, disappointing losses and a now fulfilled drug suspension to wide receiver Charles Rogers.
    But team president Matt Millen, who has been silent through the team's recent slide, said he takes full responsibility for the team's 3-5 record.
    "I'm responsible for this mess," Millen told the Detroit Free Press. "Me. Not Steve (Mariucci). Me. It's my fault. I've got to figure it out."
    Although fans and media have become increasingly critical of Mariucci's coaching approach, Millen said he has not lost faith in his coach.
    "But we have a lot of problems," he said.

"...not the same Charles that I knew"

    As much as the Lions need their best receivers back in the lineup, coach Steve Mariucci apparently won't bring Charles Rogers back until he applies himself more seriously on the practice field; possibly next Sunday against Arizona.
    "Hopefully, Charles Rogers will be able to have a better week of practice and contribute," Mariucci said Monday. "But again, we're going to have to work through the week and see where it takes us."
    Rogers was eligible to return to action Sunday after sitting out four games for violating the NFL's illegal substance policy, but the team did not put him on the active roster because of the way he worked last week.
    "He's not the same Charles that I knew," said Lions president Matt Millen. "He wasn't into practice this week. You could see that. I'm disappointed. I don't know. I've got to find out what's wrong. He's too talented to practice like that."
    Millen rejected a suggestion that Rogers needed a kick in the seat of his pants to get him started.
    "If you need a kick in the rear end from anybody to play in this league, then you've got a problem," Millen said.

Quarterback Quandary

    Quarterback Jeff Garcia, who was promoted to starter status for two games before suffering injuries that took him out of the lineup, apparently has no new damage to the left leg that was broken earlier in the season.
    "Jeff Garcia had another x-ray," coach Steve Mariucci said. "He's just got to work through the pain. The x-ray doesn't show any new damage or any of that sort of thing. It's just a matter of (if) can he tolerate the pain and discomfort in his leg and when can he begin practicing."
    Until Garcia is ready to play and compete again for the job, four-year starter Joey Harrington is expected to get most of the practice reps with the first offense.
    "Before (Garcia) plays again, he's got to feel good." Mariucci said. "He's got to freshen up and, as you know, he needs his mobility to play well. So that pain in his leg is going to be somewhat of a determining factor.
    "How can he function? How can he run around and move, protect himself, make plays on the run? All those sort of things."

Individual Player Notes

  • RB Kevin Jones, who left the Minnesota game after just seven carries for 15 yards, has a triceps strain as well as a bruised nerve in his arm. He had ultrasound examinations on both arms Monday and it is uncertain whether he will be able to practice and play this week.
  • WR Roy Williams said he was approximately 70 percent recovered from the strained left quadriceps muscle when he got three plays Sunday at Minnesota. Williams said he felt he could have played 20-30 plays against the Vikings and is hopeful to be more fully recovered for the game coming up against Arizona next Sunday.
  • QB Jeff Garcia has no new injuries, but might not be ready to return to practice by Wednesday when the Lions begin preparation for their game Sunday against Arizona. Garcia missed the first five games with a broken fibula, and played two games but had so much soreness in the leg that he couldn't play in the Minnesota loss.
  • DT Shaun Rogers has missed the Lions' last two games with a knee injury, but it appears he might be able to practice this week, making it possible he could play next Sunday against Arizona in a game at Ford Field.
  • WR Scottie Vines, who wasn't even on the Lions' roster for the first two games of the season, is tied with RB Shawn Bryson for the most receptions. Vines has caught 21 passes for 227 yards. All except two of the receptions have been in the past three games.


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