Will Martz depart? Kitna, McDonald hope not

Speculation is swirling about the future of offensive coordinator Mike Martz, but he declined to talk about it because the Lions still have to play their season finale at Green Bay.

Speculation is swirling about the future of offensive coordinator Mike Martz, but he declined to talk about it because the Lions still have to play their season finale at Green Bay.

"The timing of this and discussing those kinds of things, I'm just not comfortable with right now," Martz said. "Whatever's going on, we'll visit that at the end of the season."

Last year, the worry was that Martz would leave for a head coaching job. Martz interviewed with Miami but didn't get an offer.

This year, the speculation is that Martz might leave the Lions via resignation or firing. Martz has been criticized for abandoning the run almost completely at times, and the offense has not lived up to expectations.

The NFL record for fewest rushing attempts in a game is six. The Lions have had games with seven, eight and nine rushing attempts. The Lions rank eighth in the NFL in passing, but 30th in rushing and 19th in total offense. They rank 16th in points per game.

"I'm disappointed that we haven't achieved what I hoped we would," Martz said. "We've made good progress from last year. We really have. But not as much as I would have anticipated. So from that standpoint I'm disappointed, not in anything other than that. The only person to blame is myself, and that's how I feel about that."

Quarterback Jon Kitna and wide receiver Shaun McDonald, both of whom have a huge stake in Martz's fate, don't want Martz to go.

"We have a great relationship," Kitna said. "He's somebody that we would love to have here, but I understand that he's got to try to pursue his dreams, too. So if that's the case, then so be it. But I think it would be a mistake for us to let him go involuntarily.

"I don't know that that would be the case, but I think that would be a mistake just because he's raised the level of how we do things around here, and I think the more guys understand him the better it's going to get. He'd be great to keep around. ...

"I hope he's back. That would be a hard thing for me to get over, not having him."

Like Kitna, McDonald doesn't think the offense is far off.

"I hope he comes back because I think we've definitely got the tools he needs to have a great offense," McDonald said. "I think if he does come back we'll definitely be a great offense next year. ...

"I mean, we had some spots where we needed some people to step up and stuff. But I'm pretty sure if he comes back we'll be able to fill those needs real easy."

McDonald said the Lions would be able to handle it if Martz leaves, however.

"I don't think it'll be too hard," McDonald said. "I mean, we're professionals. That's what we do. We'll probably spend some more time in the off-season just learning stuff."

Individual Player Notes

  • RT Damien Woody, who left Sunday's game against Kansas City with a shoulder injury, will start Sunday at Green Bay.
  • LG Edwin Mulitalo practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday after sitting out Sunday's game against Kansas City with a concussion.
  • WR Troy Walters practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday after sitting out Sunday's game against Kansas City with a concussion.
  • RB Kevin Jones still had swelling in his right knee Thursday and doctors won't decide whether to operate on his torn anterior cruciate ligament until it subsides.
  • RB Tatum Bell will be active for the first time since Oct. 21 against Tampa Bay because of Jones' injury, according to offensive coordinator Mike Martz. He is expected to be behind T.J. Duckett and Aveion Cason.

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