Lions' Frustration Goes Public

The Lions have lost their last three in a row and face the favored Vikings on Sunday. Lions receiver Roy Williams is frustrated with his role, and he and offensive coordinator Mike Martz aren't agreeing on certain topics.

Lions wide receiver Roy Williams had 1,310 receiving yards last season, most in the NFC. But he has only 751 entering Sunday's game at Minnesota, putting him on pace for 1,092 this season.

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz sensed his frustration and pulled him aside for a chat Monday.

"We had a nice visit," Martz said. "Some things he said were very accurate. ... We do need to get Roy the ball more."

Williams declined to discuss his meeting with Martz, but clearly he wonders where he fits in the Lions' present and future.

"It was between me and him," Williams said. "I feel like I'm a good wide receiver. I mean, I know my understudy here, Calvin Johnson, is going to be better than me one day. I'm trying to groom him to be that way. I know next year is my contract year. So I don't know what the future holds for me. But as far as right now, I feel like I'm OK. I'm pretty good. I just want to play ball."

What does he want the future to hold?

"Oh, man," he said. "Everybody wants to stay with the team that they started out with. I mean, it's hard to do now with free agency and everything. But I think I'm a good enough player that I think I'll be back here in Detroit."

In the first half Thanksgiving Day, the Lions kept throwing to Johnson — and Johnson wasn't making plays. Williams got on Johnson. He said he was trying to be a mentor, the kind of mentor he has never had in Detroit.

At one point, Green Bay cornerback Al Harris asked Williams why the Lions weren't throwing the ball to him.

"That's more frustrating than anything," Williams said. "I could understand if he locked me down or I wasn't open, but ..."

Williams finished with three catches for 32 yards. Johnson picked it up in the second half and finished with seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.

When the wide receivers had their position group meeting Monday, they were told they weren't playing fast enough, weren't making enough plays and so on.

"It kind of pissed me off a little bit, because I feel I'm the head of this group, and I feel that they kind of insulted me and my room," Williams said.

When Williams spoke to the media Monday, he said he would never say anything to anyone about his decreased numbers. But he also said this: "There's no reason for me to say anything."

Twice, off the top of his head, he listed low yardage totals he had posted this season — 20, 23, 36, 44, and 53. Apparently, the numbers spoke for themselves.

Last week, in a radio interview, Williams indicated there had been some disagreement with Martz. He said Martz had been to Super Bowls, Martz made the calls and the Lions talked about that as a group.

Martz said that the Lions never talked about that as a group, but he also said: "I think everybody's got an opinion about what you should be doing. In that environment, nothing will work well."

He said the offensive coordinator's job was to make sure everyone was on the same page.

"I think when you get away from that, then things start to deteriorate a little bit," Martz said. "I think Roy just has some frustration, and that's all it is with Roy. Roy's fine."

NOTES

  • QB Jon Kitna practiced Wednesday and Thursday and is set to start Sunday at Minnesota. But he has had back and knee problems. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz said he was worried about Kitna and the Lions were doing as much as they could to help him.

  • DE Ikaika Alama-Francis continues to miss practice because of a hamstring injury. He is not expected to be available Sunday, but he was not expected to be active, anyway.

  • CB Ramzee Robinson said he would be active and probably play mostly on special teams. Robinson, the last pick in this year's draft, has played only one game. He was signed off the practice squad this week.

  • DT Cory Redding has a reason why he has no sacks in 11 games after posting eight in his last 11 games last year: Opponents are targeting him now. But defensive coordinator Joe Barry points out Redding missed the off-season program.

  • RT Damien Woody has been showing good feet at his new position in practice and the Lions have reason to be excited about his switch from right guard, according to offensive coordinator Mike Martz.



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