Tice: Bad Time To Play Lions

With a Lions team that is seemingly in disarray on the horizon, Vikings coach Mike Tice isn't counting a victory in advance. Ironically, Tice thinks that Minnesota is catching Detroit at the worst time possible

ALLEN PARK - With a Lions team that is seemingly in disarray on the horizon, Vikings coach Mike Tice isn't counting a victory in advance. Ironically, Tice thinks that Minnesota is catching Detroit at the worst time possible.

"I am not going to go into [why playing the Lions now is difficult], but it is a pain in the (butt) having to get ready for the unexpected," said Tice. "I don't know what we are expecting. I am not going to tell you what we are expecting and I am not going to tell you what I am working. I will tell you it makes it harder on the coaches and players to prepare for the unexpected."

Tice narrowed it down though saying, he wasn't necessarily concerned about Jeff Garcia. "I don't think that (Jeff Garcia being a little more mobile) will play into any of our preparation."

He did say, though, what he thought of interim coach Dick Jauron going back to his style of emphasizing the run; and possibly seeing more of running back Kevin Jones. "I think he is an excellent back, I really do," admitted Tice. "We liked him coming out - I am sure they did, they drafted him pretty high. I think he is a very good back."

More than anything Tice hinted that the change in the coaching staff, which brought out a lot of emotion from several players who were fond of Mariucci, including Dre' Bly, could cause the Lions to play at a higher than normal intensity level.

"We have had trouble against Dré Bly," said Tice. "He has played very well against the Vikings."

For Jauron, he saw in practice this week some of the things that Tice mentioned, a little bit of an extra push.

"I don't want to say [the players were] nervous because they are professionals - but they were a little ill at ease, which makes them push which is good," said Jauron. "We got great effort (Tuesday) and hopefully we will continue to get it. As you move on, it becomes a little more routine and you have to try to keep them out of just looking at it as routine. We will keep working at that. It was a good practice."

The coach says that he will comply with Matt Millen's wishes to develop the young players, although initially, that will not include Joey Harrington. Jauron said the key thing is to make sure the best players are on the field on Sunday.

"We are going to play the guys that play the best on Sunday. [Those] that compete the best in practice and show the best and we will go from there. I don't know how you face a team if you don't do that."

Some observers felt that Mariucci sent a message to several players who didn't excel in practice by sitting them on Sunday, but Jauron said that can backfire.

"I don't know how you stand up and talk about trying to win a game unless you feel like you are playing the best people that give you a chance to win. I always don't believe that you can ever fool a team. They have a good idea about what is going on with everything and everybody."


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