If someone is going to go, it should be Millen

When William Clay Ford, Sr. says "he's not happy", you can bet that not too many people in the Lions organization will be either. The longtime Lions owner admitted that he was very disappointed in the team's performance...and he should be. Is he disappointed enough to make a change.

(ALLEN PARK, MI) -- Amid all the concern over the heart arrythmia suffered by Joey Harrington in Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the words of William Clay Ford, Sr. were almost lost.

"I'm not happy."

When the 'old man' --as former Lion coach Wayne Fontes used to refer to him-- says that, you're in trouble.

The M&M regime is almost certain to be broken up at season's end and Mr. Ford says they aren't a package deal. One could go, both could go or neither.

Here's betting it's Matt Millen.

Listen, despite all his shortcomings and boneheaded moves, Marty Mornhinweg might have squeezed out two more wins with this team, maybe. That leaves them at best with six wins.

Two years ago, this team won nine games. What happened?

The fault lies squarely at the feet of Matt Millen. Millen came in riding high and talking a good game. When he allowed Jeff Hartings, Detroit best lineman (and one who had at least six more good years in him) he told the fans on a talk radio station "There are guys out there that can do the job as good as Hartings that you don't even know about."

Well, alright!

Here's a guy who was going to mine some undiscovered talent. He was going to get us diamonds-in-the-rough from around the league. Guys he had seen in his position as FOX sports network's top TV analyst, polish them off in the Lions system and have us on top of the NFL, right? Wrong! Dead wrong.

He tried to pass off Brenden Stai, a journeyman who had been cut twice in his six-year career as a replacement for Hartings. Someone even rigged the voting so that Stai won the Erik Andolsek award as the team's best lineman. What a travesty! Millen eventually had to admit his mistake and was fortunate to find 39-year old Ray Brown to plug the turnstile that Stai had become.

After cutting the cord with older veterans who were playing out the string like Kurt Schulz, Allen Aldridge and Herman Moore, Millen decided to get rid of injury risks like Ron Rice and Stephen Boyd, all understandable moves.

But then the knife went further, Charlie Batch was next. Well, OK. Maybe. But then went good serviceable players who would have contributed to the team like Mike Compton, who won a Super Bowl in New England, David Sloan (New Orleans), Johnnie Morton(Kansas City) and surprisingly, the youngest of all Terry Fair (Carolina).

In their place came Mikhael Ricks, a career backup, Bill Schroeder, Eric Davis and Todd Lyght. When talent dropped into his lap in the form of undrafted rookie free agent James Mungro, he was cut but quickly snapped up by the Indianapolis Colts where he is splitting time with Edgerrin James. Splitting time with Edgerrin James, but not good enough for the Lions.

Instead of re-signing the durable Morton, who was Detroit's leading receiver a year ago and who bled Honolulu Blue and Silver, Millen elected to re-sign injury proned Germane Crowell, who has shown no signs of recovering the flash he displayed when surrounded by Moore and Morton. It's one thing to be a complimentary player, its another to be "the man."

Then, there's the whole devout coward remark flap, when Millen appeared on Mike Ditka's syndicated talk show in Chicago and called out an unnamed player, thought to be receiver Scotty Anderson, as a "devout coward." The resulting flap had many believing Millen was going to be fired on the spot. He survived.

Quite simply, Millen has made more bad moves than Mornhinweg. Mornhinweg has had to play the hand he was dealt, a bad one. The hand was dealt by Millen.

Bill Ford, Jr. once a staunch supporter and advocate of Millen is said to be incensed over the state of the team. If he has his way, Millen is out, but he is deferring to his father, who is the Chairman of the team.

If Mr. Ford really wants to win, he can't allow these kinds of blunders to continue. He must stop the bleeding now. He has a capable pro player personnel man in underrated Sheldon White. White has risen up from within the ranks and is just waiting for a chance for more authority within the organization.

Promote Kevin Warren to president, keep Bill Tobin over the draft, give White authority over pro player acquisitions, allow Tom Lewand to negotiate contracts and keep Mornhinweg as coach.

If a Steve Mariucci or a Mike Holmgren becomes available then you have to make a move to replace the coach, but if not, Mornhinweg has shown that he can get his team to play hard for him all season. There has been no occurance of the "I-75 eyes" that plagued Detroit in past seasons.

What would he be able to accomplish if he had someone above him who would supply some guys who could make plays?


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