For Lions, it's a perfect time for a road trip

With all the pundits calling for rookie quarterback Joey Harrington to sit, head coach Marty Mornhinweg to be fired, second-year defensive tackle Shaun Rogers a bust and the team about to quit, it seems like the perfect time for Marty to take the team on the road.

(ALLEN PARK, MI) -- Remember the first game of the season when Marty Mornhinweg took the Lions to Miami so that they could get acclimated to the heat of South Florida? I think Detroit should have saved that trip for this week. With all the criticism the Lions have taken in back-to-back losses against playoff-bound teams, it would have been a great time to "get out of Dodge."

Yep, it's time for a road trip.

Time to do some bonding, get some quality time out on the road with no distractions. No phone calls, no TV, just the guys doing, well.. the "man thing."

Alright, maybe that's a little bit too simplistic, but right now might be the best time to get away from home and get the guys to Chicago early? After all, Detroit hasn't won on the road in two years and this game in Champagne against a Bear team that has lost eight-in-a-row might be their best chance all season.

That would also give Detroit a chance to escape the pundits who say 'it's time to bench Joey Harrington,' 'to fire Marty Mornhinweg,' that 'Shaun Rogers is a bust,' that Detroit will 'mail it in after Thanksgiving.' That's all hogwash!

Can you name me five players on the Lions who feel confident enough in their status that they can "mail it in" after Thanksgiving? You can call the Lions anything you want, but one thing they've never done under coach Mornhinweg is quit. Even in the throes of losing streak after losing streak they've always played hard. These last six games will be no different.

Several players still need to prove they belong here and they'll be fighting for jobs next year. What they do the rest of this season will have a major influence on whether they are here or even in the NFL at all next year. After all, if you can't make a team that was 2-14 a season ago, why would you think you can play in this league?

Take a look at the roster. Who's going to zone out? Robert Porcher? He may not even be in the lineup after his knee injury. Chris Claiborne? He's in the last year of a contract. Luther Elliss? His internal belief system won't allow that. Todd Lyght and Eric Davis? Can you say Andre Goodman and Chris Cash? Germane Crowell? If he does, he'll be out of the Lions' plans after showing nothing this season. He knows it too. Crowell said he wants the coaching staff to gameplan throwing him the ball more over the next few weeks. He can't afford to quit.

Listen, the Lions may lose every game after Thanksgiving -- they just don't have the talent to win consistently -- but I don't believe they'll quit.

Then there's the whole "sit Joey" thing.

According to some pundits, Harrington would be better served to sit out a game and watch it from the sidelines to see if he progresses. But there's no way Detroit can do that. They are committed to Harrington being the starter for the long haul. Unless he's injured, it would be counter productive to sit him, even for a game.

Harrington needs all the game experience he can get. He remains infinitely confident in his ability to do the job, so he isn't going to get shell shocked. Instead, Harrington should suffer through every minute of every game, soaking it all up like a sponge and be prepared to show what he's learned next season.

Think of the outcry if Mike McMahon came in and lit it up. Fans would be calling for him to start the next game and the next. That would set back Harrington's progression. You're not going to win a Super Bowl with Mike McMahon, you might win one with Joey Harrington, so let's not even go down that road.

Then there's the Shaun Rogers flap.

While Shaun Rogers isn't the most personable guy on the team, he's far from being a bust. Rogers probably shouldn't even be on the field. Have you ever tried to tackle a 200-lb NFL running back hitting the hole at full speed? Of course not, but imagine trying to do it with one hand. Rogers has played most of this season with a cast that doesn't allow him to grab hold of anyone. How can anyone expect him to have the same production that he did last season? Rogers will be a mainstay of this team's interior line for a long time.

Actually, 3-7 is about where you should expect the Lions to be. This season, it is more important for Detroit to develop their roster than getting wins and losses. Detroit has some young guys; Andre Goodman, Kalimba Edwards, Chris Cash, John Owens, Scotty Anderson and more; who need to get on the field. Newly acquired Jacquez Green and Eddie Drummond are looking to take someone's job. Will it be Germane Crowell's, Bill Schroeder's or Az-Zahir Hakim's? With injuries to Robert Porcher and Luther Elliss, who's the odd man out for Kalimba Edwards who's ready for more playing time? Will Elliss and/or Porcher be back next season?

The Lions will win a couple more games this season. Maybe even back to back wins in Chicago and then Thanksgiving against New England.

Detroit will finish about 5-11 or 6-10, about what you'd expect from a team that went 2-14 last season. That is improvement. This is a team moving in the right direction albeit slowly.

If some can't see the big picture, then "Go west, young Lions." Get out into the countryside.

It's time for a road trip.


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