Cook: Lions Coaching Staff To Blame

Every week, Joe Barry's defense shows up unprepared and gets the equally unprepared offense in an early hole. After Sunday's latest setback against Washington, columnist James Cook answers how last year's 7-9 team can be so terrible in 2008.

Joe Barry has got to go.

Every week, his defense shows up unprepared and gets the equally unprepared offense in an early hole.

That theme continued this week, as Washington took the ball on its first drive and sauntered down the field almost at will until a good individual play on a goal-line stand by Cliff Avril (see, Rod Marinelli, rookies can play; let that be a lesson) and a couple of Redskins mistakes made the Lions looked like they actually had 11 men on the field and forced a field goal. Detroit didn't surrender its customary 21-0 lead early, but the coaching again completely failed the players and fans.

This is a team that was 7-9 last year and had what appeared to be a good draft and solid free agent additions. So there's nobody to blame for a massive step back to 0-7 other than the coaching staff.

Owner William Clay Ford, Sr. mostly gets a free pass this week, but is still part of the problem. Hopefully, Sunday's television blackout will be the slap in the face that he needs to realize he can't continue to trot out a poor product year after year and expect to keep the fans interested.

To illustrate how inept both coordinators were, here's a telling stat: Redskins QB Jason Campbell had 300 yards passing before the third quarter was over. Detroit QB Dan Orlovsky didn't crack 100 until early in the fourth.

Note to Jim Colletto: If you're going to be bad, don't be bad AND conservative. At least Marty Mornhinweg was creative when he lost.

Face facts, Jim: The whole team is playing for next year. You're not truly evaluating Orlovsky -- or eventually Drew Stanton -- if you handcuff them with a dink-and-dunk system that doesn't show what they can do. Take off the reigns and let them throw downfield.

You had one-on-one coverage almost all game long on one of the truly uncoverable wide receivers in the NFL in Calvin Johnson, and yet of Orlovsky's 35 pass attempts, only four of his 21 completions went to Johnson. Ignoring your prime weapon is horrible.

On the other hand, Barry did much the same, ignoring the Redskins' primary weapons, choosing to stay with the tired old Tampa 2 defense that the NFL has figured out. That left Santana Moss to go wild for 140 yards receiving. Then Clinton Portis ran for 126 yards -- averaging 5.3 a carry -- and tight end Chris Cooley had six catches for 74 yards, many when he was left wide open on third downs to extend drives.

So which weapon were you trying to take away, Joe? You failed on all accounts.

But at least you weren't alone. Marinelli managed the clock horribly yet again, essentially giving the Redskins a field goal just before halftime because he called a timeout when he shouldn't have.

And Stan Kwan's special teams gave up a punt return to Moss, even though it was only Moss's second return of the season. Nothing like going against the Lions' special teams to get the rust off.

Change is coming in Detroit. It may not happen during the season, but this coaching staff should face a major overhaul -- if not a total house cleaning -- after Detroit's quest to go 0-16. Detroit should pull a Texas Tech and let a fan that wins a game of Madden call the plays. It can't be much worse than the current coaching.


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