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NFL PREVIEWS: Detroit Lions

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Champs or chumps: Let's get out a calculator here. Wait a minute. We don't need a calculator. Simply hold up one hand. Five wins in two years. An embarrassing string of personnel decisions. Even when the organization and Matt Millen makes the right decision in hiring Steve Mariucci as coach, it does it the wrong way. The can complain all they want about the $200,000 fine they received for failing to interview a minority candidate for their head coaching vacancy. It should have been more. The stock market hasn't fallen as hard and as fast as Detroit the last two years. If you want to talk chumps, the have set the standard. Reasons for hope: Mariucci is No. 1. He brings credibility to the organization and takes the heat off of Millen. This is the move that eventually puts Detroit back on the playoff track. is No. 2. He struggled as a rookie, but most quarterbacks do. And let's be honest here; he didn't have a lot of help or direction. Mariucci helped develop in Green Bay and in San Francisco. Harrington is working with a tutor who can bring out his best.

Meet the 2003
Projected offensive lineup
WR
LT
LG
C
RG
RT
TE
WR Charlos Rogers
QB
RB
FB

Projected defensive lineup
LE
DT
DT
RE
WLB
MLB
SLB
CB Andre Goodman
CB Dre Bly
SS
FS

Projected special teams lineup
K
P
KR
PR Drummond
LS Brad Banta

Scout's take on the Lions
"The Lions have a winner here with Harrington. Mariucci knows how to mold quarterbacks who possess natural instincts. Harrington has the leadership ability and arrogance of a winner."
— Scouting insider Brian DeLucia

  • Lions team page
  • Roster | Depth chart
  • Schedule | NFL on FOX schedule
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  • Don't get too excited: The ranked 28th in offense and 31st in defense last season. That speaks to the talent — or more accurately, the lack of talent — on the Detroit roster. The secondary is dangerously thin. is the only cornerback on the roster with any real experience, and he's a good player, nothing more. Only one team allowed more points (451) than Detroit last season. The can make major strides on defense in 2003 and still fall below the curve. Hello, my name is: . He's big (6-foot-2). He's fast (4.3 in the 40). He's the big-play receiver the need to add some juice to their West Coast offense. Rookie receivers traditionally don't have a 1,000-yard impact. , and are the only three in the last 10 years to do so. Rogers could join that group. No receiver had more than 595 yards for Detroit last season, so this is definitely an area of need. The prospect of him developing along with Harrington is one of the bright spots of Detroit's future. Revolving door: You can argue that losing anyone off a 3-13 team isn't much of a loss. Middle linebacker , who signed with Minnesota in free agency, is the only loss worth mentioning. He will be replaced by . Rogers isn't the only member of the rookie class who will make a difference. Second round pick was a steal. Other teams put too much stock in his two knee surgeries — the last came two years ago — and not enough in his unique talent and speed. Mariucci should also find a way to maximize the skills of running back . Ones to watch: When you've been this bad, there's not a lot to look forward to. Detroit going against Mariucci's previous team (San Francisco) on Oct. 5 should generate some interesting sub-plots. Two of the five wins the have managed over the last two seasons have come against Dallas, and they get the chance to do it again Oct. 19. The Thanksgiving Day game on Nov. 27 against Green Bay is always a highlight. The forecast: Mariucci's presence brings hope and excitement to this season. It's a good thing because the still won't win all that much. If Detroit is twice as good as last season it will win six games, a reasonable total. The key is that Mariucci will lay a solid foundation for the future. Next season is when the should make their big jump. Veteran NFL correspondent David Moore is a regular contributor to FOXSports.com.
    Tagged: Cowboys, Lions, Chiefs, Vikings, 49ers, Luther Elliss, Jason Hanson, Shaun Rogers, Dominic Raiola, Barrett Green, Dre' Bly, Randy Moss, Earl Holmes, Jeff Garcia, Ray Brown, Charles Rogers, Boss Bailey

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