Sunday, November 06, 2005

I hate to demand that someone lose his job, BUT

Steve Mariucci has not earned his keep here in Detroit. We have reached exactly the midpoint of the original 5 year commitment, and we have yet to see the team develop an identity, discipline, or a winning attitude. When the Lions signed Mooch, the town was abuzz. For the first time in years, we had gotten a bona fide coach--someone other teams wanted, with a pedigree, and a future in front of him. We believed that with a few good drafts, and key free agent moves, that this team could develop into one of the top teams of the next 5-7 years.

Well, it did not happen. Some people will criticize Matt Millen, and argue that the drafts were not as good as we thought. Their proof? The players haven't performed, so it must be they weren't that good to begin with! I beg to disagree. I believe it is Mooch who has underachieved. He came as an offensive guru, someone who coached Brett Favre! He turned Jeff Garcia from a CFL project into a Pro Bowl player. If anyone could come in and create a winning formula, it was him. He was a sure thing. Such a rock solid lead pipe lock, that the Lions were willing to incur the wrath of the league for not following the minority hiring guidelines. They accepted harsh public criticism, a fine, and the threat of loss of draft picks, to guarantee Mooch came to Detroit.

He has failed. Under normal circumstances, I'd say to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, there are extenuating circumstances that demand he be fired. Not at the end of the year. Not when they are mathematically eliminated. Today. Now. On the plane ride home. And here is why. Not only has Mooch lost this team, I am of the opinion he never had it. He has receivers not finishing routes, and not adjusting when the QB is in trouble. He has a backup QB badmouthing everybody, single handedly losing a game, and then playing the injury card to avoid criticism. He has an offense with no imagination, and doesn't appear to have the guts to take the necessary chances to win.

But the most telling and damning characteristic of the Steve Mariucci Lions? He has completely undermined his QB, ruined a potential career, and lost the respect of his peers, players, and fans. He has thrown his QB, Joey Harrington, under the bus, and has not demonstrated enough public support to even have a chance to be successful. In this league, you play with the cards you're dealt. In my opinion, someone with Steve Mariucci's reputation should have been able to make this work. He has no one to blame but himself. And that is why he has got to go.