Williams responds to 'Fire Millen' critics

With calls for the job of both quarterback Jon Kitna and team president Matt Millen, wide receiver Roy Williams says he understands the chain of responsibility. "The problem has to go through somebody," Williams said.

The fans showed their displeasure with a half-hearted "Fire Millen" chant after the Lions had fallen behind the Vikings, 20-0, less than two minutes into the second quarter Sunday and media critics have suggested Marinelli change quarterbacks -- sit Jon Kitna (14 touchdowns, 19 interceptions) and play Josh McCown or Dan Orlovsky.

But owner William Clay Ford has shown no inclination to dump team president Matt Millen and Marinelli says outright that he will not bench Kitna.

Wide receiver Roy Williams says he understands the chain of responsibility.

"The problem has to go through somebody," Williams said. "It starts with the 'fire Millen' and it just trickles down -- Millen to the head coach to the offensive coordinator to the quarterback to the receivers to the offensive line to the trainer. It starts at the top and everything rolls downhill."

But Williams says it's folly to blame the president or the quarterback, as many Lions fans and certain players did a year ago when former quarterback Joey Harrington was literally booed out of town before being traded to Miami last spring.

"Obviously, the guy in Miami wasn't the problem," he said. "That's what I keep trying to tell you all. It's not the quarterback that's the problem here. Even now.

"The quarterback is not the problem, the running back is not the problem, the offensive line is not the problem. We, collectively -- as a group, are the problem. Not doing things we're supposed to do. We are the problem, not just one individual."

Meanwhile, the Lions skid along at the bottom of the NFL standings, from one low point to another hoping for the big bounce that never seems to come their way.

PLAYER NOTES

  • RB Kevin Jones had his worst day as an NFL running back and finished the game with a painful foot injury in a futile dive for the goal line late in the fourth quarter of the Lions 30-20 loss to Minnesota. Jones carried nine times and finished with a negative three yards for the day, although he caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. The Lions would not confirm the nature of his left foot injury but he left the game in agonizing pain and was on crutches when he left the stadium, leading to speculation the foot is broken.
  • QB Jon Kitna continued to struggle with a turnover problem as he was intercepted three times and also lost a fumble in the Lions' 30-20 loss to Minnesota on Sunday. Kitna has been intercepted at least once in each of the last 11 games and has been intercepted six times in the past two games. He is among the NFL leaders in turnovers with 26 in 13 games.
  • CB Jamar Fletcher came up with his second interception of the season and cashed in on the opportunity with an 88-yard return for a touchdown in the Lions' 30-20 loss to Minnesota. Fletcher made the play against Vikings starter Brad Johnson and was escorted down the left sideline by FS Terrence Holt to the end zone midway in the second quarter.
  • OG Ross Verba finished the Lions' 30-20 loss to Minnesota on the sidelines with what coach Rod Marinelli described as a "pretty severe groin strain" and is appears he might be in danger of missing his seventh start of the season when the Lions play at Green Bay next Sunday.
  • PK Jason Hanson continues to provide the most reliable scoring threat in the Lions' sluggish offensive arsenal. Hanson, who kicked four field goals a week ago in the Lions' 28-21 loss at New England added two more Sunday in the 30-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Hanson connected from 53 and 45 yards against Minnesota. The 53-yarder gave him 30 from 50 yards or more in his 15-year NFL career; only three other kickers have had that many.

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