I have some good news and bad news, Lions fans. 2 more of the porn ‘stached goon’s high draft picks were given their walking papers today. One cut was totally expected, and the other was a jaw dropping stunner, a cut no one saw coming.
Let’s start with the good news, slight as it may be…
2002 2nd round pick Kalimba Endwards, who did little more in his 6 seasons as a Lion than collect large paychecks for minuscule production, was released this afternoon. This is a move which should have happened 2 seasons ago.
But Matt Millen, in his infinite lack of wisdom, gave Edwards an nonsensical, insane and outright stupid 4 year contract extension in 2006. Not because Edwards had earned the extension, as he was a total non-entity in his first 4 seasons. The contract was based only on the fact Rod Marinelli was coming in as head coach, and he had a reputation for developing linemen.
In other words, Edwards was given a $20 million deal with the HOPE Marinelli could do something with him. That’s the equivalent of giving Matt Millen a contract extension with the HOPE he could still become a competent GM, despite his previous track record. Oh…umm…yeah. Wrong example…
As it turned out, as the most casual of Lions fans could have predicted, not even a supposed lineman guru like Marinelli could turn a stiff into a decent player. Edwards being waived was not a surprise, and long overdue. Just another in a long line of draft pick busts in the Millen era.
Now, for the bad news. The utterly incomprehensible news. News that has me at a loss for words.
In a roster move which caught the fanbase and media totally off guard, Kevin Jones, the Lions’ 2004 1st round draft pick, was unceremoniously cut. You could hear cries of “WHAT THE HELL?” and “WHICH BUCCANEERS RUNNING BACK IS A FREE AGENT?!” all over metro Detroit.
The reasons given for cutting Jones were his injury history and salary. Was Jones injury prone? There’s no arguing that point, as 2 severe season ending injuries over the past 2 seasons will attest. Considering Jones was the Lions highest paid running back at $2 million plus a season, did he underachieve the last couple of years? Yes, but the lack of production was due to the fact Mike Martz never called running plays.
But here’s the most important question. Was Jones the Lions best running back? Without a doubt, YES! When healthy, Kevin Jones was, by far, the Lions most talented runner. Now he’s just another of Millen’s high draft picks thrown on the scrap heap.
The difference being Jones doesn’t belong on the same list as Joey Harrington, Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, Boss Bailey and Kalimba Edwards, all of whom could truthfully be called busts of the highest order. Jones actually performed well when healthy, and given the opportunity. Regardless of that fact, Jones was deemed dead weight by the moron twins, Millen and Marinelli.
With Jones mystifyingly out of the mix, where do the Lions now stand at running back? Well, they don’t have a leg to stand on…
Here’s the Lions current depth chart at running back, with their 2007 rushing stats:
Tatum Bell: 44 carries, 182 yards, 1 TD
Brian Calhoun: 7 carries, 35 yards, 0 TD’s
Avieon Cason: 11 carries, 38 yards, 0 TD’s
That’s out and out fugly. A stiff, a gimp, and a bum. Any team with such a glaring lack of depth at a skill position should be embarrassed beyond belief. You won’t find a worse grouping of backs in the NFL, NCAA, NAIA, MHSAA, junior high, middle school, Pop Warner or on the sandlots.
So much for taking a much needed offensive lineman in the 1st round of the draft, as the running back position as it currently stands, is a disaster. Finding a quality running back has become a draft priority. The mocks which have the Lions taking RB Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois with the 15th pick overall suddenly make sense. Doesn’t make him the proper choice, but makes sense.
Which beings me to the free agent option. The Lions have already scheduled a visit with free agent back Michael Pittman, who is a former…wait for it…you guessed it…Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
Jesus H God Damn Christ! Can’t Marinelli want someone, anyone other than a former Buccaneer? Let alone a former Bucco who will be 33 years old when the season starts, in what will be his 11th NFL season, and rushed for all of 286 yards in 2007. The remainder of Pittman’s career can be measured not in years, or even moths, but in weeks. Yeah, sure sounds like a future Lion to me…
All I can say is this… With the cutting of Kevin Jones, the Lions are a worse team today than they were yesterday. They obviously have no plan, no blueprint for success. (Trust me, signing every available Buc is not a plan, it’s pure desperation) The Lions’ roster is littered with more holes than the fender of rusty ’78 Chevette, their depth chart is as deep as West Virginia’s gene pool, and the front office’s brain power combined couldn’t light a 10 watt bulb.
It gets harder and harder to be a fan of the Detroit Lions.