Behind Enemy Lines: Lions II

Nate Caminata of the Roar Report talks about the future of Matt Millen, the Lions tradition on Thanksgiving Day, the reasons for Detroit's 2-9 record and much more about both the team and the future. Nate also offers up his best guess for the outcome between the Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots on Sunday.

10 QUESTIONS - Lions vs Patriots Part 2 Publisher Nate Caminata is this week's guest on 10 questions about the Lions.

5) The Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day since 1934 with many of those games on national television. Having now lost 3 of the last 4 games and hosting a losing record, many other football fans are calling for another team to host a Thanksgiving Day game in their place. How important is having a game on Thanksgiving Day to the Lions fans and the organization?

Nate Caminata: I wouldn't say they've just lost those games, Jon -- they were massacred in each. But if you take the Thanksgiving Day game away from the Lions, what other nostalgic hallmarks do you remove from professional football? It is simply a part of football to have the Lions and Cowboys play before your turkey dinner (as difficult as it might be to stomach anything), and that is ingrained within football's ownership as well. By this point in the season, it is also the "Super Bowl" to both the Lions players and their fans, which means a) It would be almost comical for Patriots' fans to complain and b) It would be akin to stealing cans from a homeless person.

Also, because you would have to switch up the rotation and take that day away from the Cowboys as well, that means subtracting a nationally televised game from Jerry Jones' schedule. I'll let you tell him that ...

4) Are the Lions all set at quarterback with Jon Kitna, or will they be looking for top talent in the off-season or via the Draft for 2007?

NC: I don't think anything is set in stone for the 2007 season. While Marinelli is happy with Kitna at quarterback, that is certainly subject to change, and if the right opportunity comes along (and the Lions have an opportunistic GM by that time), anything is possible.

3) Kevin Jones had a big college career at Virginia Tech and was a first round pick of the Lions in 2004. Has Jones lived up to his first-round draft status? What does he do well and what are some shortcomings in his overall game?

NC: Jones fell victim to the sophomore struggles, but has responded well in 2006. Although some were skeptical how he would respond to Mike Martz's demanding offense, Jones has demonstrated his versatility and surely lived up to his status. He is on pace to rush for over 1,000 yards and finish with 80-plus receptions -- that would more than double the receiving production of his first two years in the league combined.

2) The Lions have achieved a 2-9 record heading into Sunday's game at New England. What are some of the reasons for Detroit's dismal record this season, and is there much hope that they can salvage a few more wins before it's over?

NC: Between the injuries, coaching staff change and numerous errors by Millen in the previous five years, the Lions have had little to no chance of success in 2006.

Three of the team's final five games are on the road, and two of those teams have winning records, so the odds don't look good on paper. However, if there's any losing team in the league capable of avoiding the No. 1 pick in the draft, it's Detroit.

1) Matt Millen has done an abysmal job as GM during his tenure in Detroit, going through a number of head coaches and draft picks that haven't panned out. We saw the team try to squash fans last season when they called for Millen's head. If you had to guess, would you say this would be his last season in charge? What do you think will happen?

NC: With another Thanksgiving Day disaster under his belt, Millen is finally feeling the heat that he has avoided for much of his tenure. But unlike failed stunts such as the "Millen Man March," I believe a sixth consecutive double-digit losing season will finally do the trick. Believe it or not, the Lions' ownership wants to win. They were a solid franchise with potential before Millen took over, and they are more than willing to spend the money to at least get back to mediocrity. If Millen is, indeed, toast after the year is over, look for the Lions to make a play for Eagles' GM Tom Heckert (a Michigan native) or promote within.

Curiosity Questions:

Prediction for the game
Patriots 31, Lions 17

The Patriots have a solid defense and have always managed to keep Mike Martz's explosive offenses in check. Tom Brady, meanwhile, should have his way with the Lions' secondary. This game will likely be over in the third quarter (or once Patriot fans begin chanting "Fire Millen", whichever comes sooner).

Prediction for the rest of the season

1-4, with the Lions lone victory coming at home against Chicago. They have a penchant for winning the games they aren't supposed to, and will also likely forfeit the first pick in the draft for their biggest victory. How cruel.

Top 5 teams in the NFL (as of week 12)

(Why no Chicago? Because any top NFL team needs to have a real quarterback, not one named after a Toy Story character.)

Be sure to check out Behind Enemy Lines Part 1 where Nate addressed the status of Barry Sanders, the team's decision to draft three receivers in back-to-back-to-back years and more.

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