Hurting-On-Paper Lions

Just in case you thought the Vikings are the only team with troubles, we present the Detroit Lions. While they aren't making a splash on the legal blotter, the Vikings' next opponent is filling out its injury quota.

If the Lions entertained any thoughts of a miracle turnaround in the second half of the NFL season, they were pretty much scuttled in the 35-14 loss Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks.

It was an eye-opening experience for even the most optimistic among them to see how ill-equipped they were to deal with the Seahawks on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

And with the additional new injuries — particularly those to WR Scotty Anderson (high ankle sprain) and rookie OLB Boss Bailey (shoulder) — it is going to be virtually impossible for the Lions to pull themselves together for a respectable finish.

The question now appears to be just how much of a horror show the remaining six games of the season will be. Considering the teams left on the schedule — Minnesota, Green Bay, San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina and St. Louis — it's entirely possible the Lions might win only once the rest of the way.

They could end up as cannon fodder for the Vikings and Packers in the NFC North title race; Kansas City, Carolina and St. Louis are all leading or tied for first in their divisions, leaving San Diego as the only potential victim left on the list.

The Lions' current 3-7 record leaves them at 8-34 in their third season under team president/CEO Matt Millen. That is one less win — in three years — than the team had in 2000, its final season under president Chuck Schmidt and coaches Bobby Ross and Gary Moeller.

  • QB Joey Harrington continues to learn the hard way in his second season with the Lions but he seems to be making improvement, nevertheless. Harrington kept the Lions offense alive in the 35-14 loss at Seattle despite an injury-depleted receiving corps and some of the Seahawks' best pressure of the season. In the end, two interceptions chopped his passer rating down to 68.5 but that was not a true reflection of how Harrington played.

  • WR Scotty Anderson, who had surfaced as the Lions' best receiving threat in the past month, will miss the final six games with a high ankle sprain suffered in the 35-14 loss Sunday at Seattle. Before suffering the injury late in the first half, Anderson caught his second touchdown pass (a 72-yarder) and pushed his season receiving totals to 17 catches for a team high 325 yards.

  • OLB Boss Bailey is scheduled for an MRI this week to determine the seriousness of the left shoulder injury that has cost him playing time the past two weeks. Bailey has developed steadily in his rookie season and has been the Lions' top impact player in the last month.

  • DE Kalimba Edwards is expected to undergo an MRI this week to determine the cause of the shoulder problems that have limited his playing time and effectiveness this season. Edwards led the Lions with 6 1/2 quarterback sacks as a rookie but has only two in 10 games this year.

  • WR David Kircus, a sixth-round draft pick from Grand Valley State, has spent the first 11 weeks of the NFL season on the Lions' practice squad but — after the season-ending ankle injury to Scotty Anderson — he might be signed for their game Sunday at Minnesota. Kircus admits he's impatient to play but some Lions coaches apparently feel he has yet to make the adjustment from Division II.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got to be good with the ball. We can't afford an interception or a fumble. We can't afford a big return for a touchdown. We've got to play our best football to win a football game. If we're subpar, teams are going to score points and it's going to get away from us." — Coach Steve Mariucci on the state of the 3-7 Lions.

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