Lions tame their own offense

The Detroit Lions tried to make alterations to their offense during their bye week, but the results weren't good. Another adjustment appears to be in store for Sunday's game against the Vikings.

So much for the Lions' new no-huddle offense.

After installing the system over the bye week, hoping it would help them score more quickly, the Lions looked confused and disorganized as they tried to run it in Sunday's 34-7 loss to Chicago.

Now they apparently will abandon it.

"Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and probably say it might be over with," wide receiver Mike Furrey said with a laugh. "We had one week to practice it. Obviously it's something you wish you would have put in during training camp, but we were trying to change it up and get the energy level."

The Lions pared down former offensive coordinator Mike Martz's passing attack entering the season. Now coach Rod Marinelli thinks they should pare it down again.

"I feel like we're a little bit scattered right now, and that's why I'm going to pull back," Marinelli said. "I think when you're not doing anything well, you kind of pull back and just go right back to the very basics."

Marinelli wants to get back to what the Lions did well in the preseason — running the ball with play-action passes, roll-outs and bootlegs.

He pointed out the Lions started four young players — running back Kevin Smith, fullback Jerome Felton, right guard Manny Ramirez and right tackle Gosder Cherilus.

"Especially when you're playing three or four young guys, it's too much sometimes — too many checks for them, maybe," Marinelli said. "I just want to get back to doing something well."

Furrey is disappointed.

"People keep talking about how we're going to scale things back," Furrey said. "We're pretty simple right now. We've taken a lot of things out from the last couple years. Like I said, it's the same offense, but we've already scaled back a lot and still we're not getting it done. I don't know if scaling back's the answer. I mean, I really don't know."

Furrey can't believe what has happened to the Lions, who started 6-2 last season and have gone 1-11 since. He used words like "mayhem" and "crazy" and "mind-boggling."

As he walked off the field Sunday, he said: "It's amazing how we prepare, we work hard, and then to come out and put on a display this. ... I don't even understand. I don't know what's going on. We don't even know what's going on."

Asked what the Lions needed to change, he brought up the firings of president Matt Millen over the bye week and offensive coordinator Mike Martz after last season.

"I don't know," Furrey said. "They tried to change management. They tried to put it on Mike Martz. We're still in the same situation three years later."

Furrey didn't sound much different Monday.

"Right now," Furrey said, "we're just as blindsided by this just like everybody else. I feel bad for Detroit. They deserve so much better than what we're doing. It's a shame right now. ...

"I'm totally blown away with what's going on right now. It's just something we need to continue to keep working on. We're human. It's a struggle to come in here every day knowing that what we expected is not what it is right now. We're on the total opposite of what we thought we'd be in here right now. ...

"It just seems like there's just one thing missing and we can't figure it out right now, and we've just got to keep grinding."


  • QB Jon Kitna did not play the second half Sunday against Chicago, but coach Rod Marinelli said it was because of back spasms, not because he went 8-for-16 for 74 yards and took three sacks. The Lions will evaluate Kitna's back as the week progresses.

  • RB Kevin Smith started Sunday, even though he said last week he had been told he wasn't starting. Smith carried most of the load instead of veteran Rudi Johnson. When he scored the Lions' only touchdown, cutting their deficit to 31-7 in the fourth quarter, he spiked the ball so hard that he fell down.

  • TE Casey Fitzsimmons suffered an elbow injury Sunday. He came back and played in the game, but he was being evaluated Monday and his status was uncertain.

  • WR Calvin Johnson has only 56 receiving yards over the past two games after posting back-to-back 100-yard games. He had only two catches for 16 yards Sunday, as the Bears kept their safeties deep and blitzed often.

  • WR Roy Williams wanted the ball more and had more balls thrown in his direction Sunday. He caught seven passes for 96 yards, partly because he was the hot receiver on blitzes. But he still was disappointing because of drops and a ball that went off his hands, was intercepted and was returned for a touchdown.

  • CB Leigh Bodden, who had six interceptions for 10-win Cleveland last year, has struggled in a secondary that has no interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks have a 122.2 passer rating against the Lions, who rebuilt their secondary in the offseason.

  • CB Brian Kelly, who spent 10 years in Tampa Bay and was supposed to help the Lions' Tampa 2, was in uniform but did not play Sunday. Coach Rod Marinelli said the other corners gave the Lions a better chance to win.

  • LB Jordon Dizon, a second-round pick this year, got some playing time late in Sunday's game. Coach Rod Marinelli said he resented a reporter's suggestion that it was only garbage time.

  • P Nick Harris and the Lions' coverage units stifled Chicago's Devin Hester. Harris had his first touchback of the season, but he dropped two more punts inside the 20, and Hester was a non-factor.

  • WR Mike Furrey and WR Brandon Middleton have not made an impact on returns. Coach Rod Marinelli has said the Lions must find a way to bolster their return game.

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