Teams Detroit Lions - Honolulu Blue

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Lions fire Mornhinweg

Monday, January 27

Lions fire Mornhinweg after two poor seasons

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ESPN.com news services


ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Marty Mornhinweg was fired as coach of the Detroit Lions on Monday after a 3-13 season, the second-worst record in the NFL.

No successor has been named. The Lions plan to go through the process of finding a new coach as outlined by NFL guidelines.

Steve Mariucci, who was fired by the 49ers earlier this month, is available. However, sources close to Mariucci have told ESPN that he has not been contacted by the Lions regarding their vacancy. The sources also said that Mariucci is uncertain whether he wants to coach next season.

Detroit was 5-27 under Mornhinweg over the last two seasons, including a road record of 0-16. The Lions lost their last eight games this season, and only Cincinnati finished with a worse record.

Lions chief executive Matt Millen, with the blessing of team owner William Clay Ford Sr., said on Dec. 31 that Mornhinweg would return as coach.

Instead, Mornhinweg became the fifth NFL coach to be fired since the end of the season, following dismissals at Cincinnati, Dallas, Jacksonville and San Francisco.

Mornhinweg matched Chris Palmer's two-year record (2-14, 3-13) of futility for a new coach since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. However, in the 1999 and 2000 Cleveland Browns, Palmer was coaching an expansion team, while Mornhinweg took over a team that went 9-7 and narrowly missed the playoffs.

Mornhinweg had never been a head coach at any level before taking the job with the Lions.

He was widely criticized this season for choosing to take the wind instead of the ball after the Lions won an overtime coin toss against Chicago. The Bears got the kickoff and drove to the winning field goal.

When Mornhinweg was hired he set the team's sights on a first Super Bowl trip. The Lions have had only one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title.

"The bar is high,'' he said. "The goal for this organization is to win Super Bowls.''

Mornhinweg had insisted the team's weak record stemmed from failed drafts from the previous regime, along with aging or injured players.

The past two years, the Lions have gotten rid of five one-time first-round picks -- Herman Moore, Johnnie Morton, Bryant Westbrook, Terry Fair and Aaron Gibson. The Lions also lost Ron Rice, Kurt Schulz and Stephen Boyd to career-ending injuries.

The Lions will have the second pick in April's draft, and expect to have enough salary-cap space to sign a couple free agents.

The Lions began the season excited about rookie quarterback Joey Harrington and returning downtown from suburban Pontiac for the first time since 1974 to play at Ford Field.

Harrington, the third pick in the draft, showed some flashes after he became a starter in Week 3, but he regressed before being sidelined with an irregular heartbeat in the 14th game.
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Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
 

you_idiot

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Not sure if Mornhinwheg's firing was a bit of a surprise-- but Marriucci got sacked by the 49ers??? That's a bit of a shocker...

Any reason given about why the Niners canned Marriucci?

The results weren't kind to Mornhinwheg, admittedly, and he may have been a bit over his head when he took the Lions job-- but I was kinda pulling for him since he's a San Jose bloke who graduated high school same year as I did (1984, he from Bellarmine Prep, me from Del Mar)...

Hope Morhinwheg lands on his feet somewhere-- but likely in an offensive coordinator's role, certainly.

Cheers,
William
 

crazy_big_al

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Lions considering releasing Harrington

http://www.mlive.com/lions/stories/index.ssf?/base/sports-1/1105528200104850.xml

Sources say Lions considering releasing Harrington
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
By Tom Kowalski
ALLEN PARK -- Quarterback Joey Harrington's career in Detroit might be over.

According to sources close to the situation, the Detroit Lions are considering releasing Harrington in late February, prior to paying him a scheduled $3 million roster bonus.

In addition to the bonus, Harrington will make nearly $5 million in salary for the 2005 season -- there has been heated debate within the Lions organization about whether to make the additional financial investment in Harrington.

"That decision hasn't been made yet," said a Lions source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We're looking at all the options."

According to several sources, Lions president Matt Millen wants to bring Harrington back but the team's offensive coaching staff wants to go in another direction. After Sherm Lewis was forced out of his offensive coordinator job one day after the regular season ended on Jan. 2, he wrote letters to Millen, team owner William Clay Ford and vice chairman Bill Ford Jr., stating that the Lions would never win with Harrington playing quarterback.

Lewis, who officially "retired" following the season, said Harrington didn't have the intangibles to be a winning quarterback in the NFL. Lewis' letter did not come as a surprise to anyone in the organization because he was never in Harrington's corner. Still, it shows the level of disagreement between the different factions.

Millen was in San Francisco for a scouting trip on Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.

Members of the Lions front office, coaching staff and scouting department are expected to meet several times over the next five weeks to discuss whether Harrington will return. While money will be an issue, it won't be the deal-breaker in either situation (whether they keep or cut him).

By cutting Harrington now, the Lions would face an immediate salary cap hit of $5.5 million, but it wouldn't affect their ability to re-sign their own free agents and pursue other unrestricted free agents.

The debate will be whether the Lions believe Harrington is the player who can ultimately lead the Lions to the Super Bowl.

One of the factors in deciding whether to keep Harrington is Detroit's other available options. Backup quarterback Mike McMahon, who had the support of both Mariucci and Lewis, doesn't appear to be a candidate for the 2005 season.

Because the Lions would have to release Harrington prior to the start of the free agency signing period and the college draft, there is no guarantee who the Lions could acquire. Other quarterbacks, who are currently in backup roles, could also be available via trade.

According to sources, Millen wants to make sure that -- whatever the decision is -- everyone in the organization stands behind it.

After three years and 44 career starts, Harrington has not lived up to the billing of the third overall selection in the 2002 draft.

While he has shown improvement in each of the last three years, and his statistics this season were good, they were not overly impressive in the league's current pass-happy trend. Harrington completed 56 percent of his passes for more than 3,000 yards, but threw only 19 touchdown passes.

Harrington threw for more than 300 yards only twice all season and that came in two of the final three games, which is the core of the team's internal debate.

According to sources, Millen believes Harrington's growth was stunted by the conservative offense of head coach Steve Mariucci. Meanwhile, Mariucci believes his West Coast system was crippled by Harrington's lack of accuracy and leadership.

At the urging of Millen, Mariucci surrendered his play-calling duties in the final three games and, with quarterback coach Greg Olson taking over, Harrington became more aggressive. Still, the Lions lost both games in which Harrington threw for more than 300 yards.

The Lions are searching for a new offensive coordinator and received permission from the San Francisco 49ers to talk to their offensive coordinator, Ted Tollner. Other candidates are believed to still be coaching in the playoffs and the Lions can't approach them until their teams are knocked out of the Super Bowl chase.

As the Lions continue to debate Harrington's future, one thing appears certain. If Harrington returns, he will not have his contract restructured. Harrington has offered to get his deal re-done but the Lions aren't interested.

If Harrington were to play the 2005 season with the Lions, his salary cap number would be just under $10 million. The Lions can absorb that for this year and also make it easier for them to release Harrington next season (for a cap hit of less than $4 million).

If the Lions restructure Harrington's deal, however, and then want to cut him next year, the cap hit would be closer to $8 million.




very interesting if it does happen. kevin jones is the teams future
 

tige19

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Re: Lions considering releasing Harrington

The guy has unmarked potential and i think Green Bay would move fairly quickly in getting him if he is released. With Favre all but set to retire i would be more than happy for Harrington to suit up for the Packers next season.

Its gonna be interestings times this offseason thats for sure.

cheers
 

Grimmett

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Martz hired by Detroit

Former St Louis Rams HC Mike Martz has been hired as OC by Rod Marinelli and the Detroit Lions.
Four playoff appearances in five seasons as Rams HC and in charge of the 'greatest show on turf' meant Martz was always going to be a sought after person despite being finished with the Rams.
With Roy Williams and Mike Williams to work with at WR, along with Charles Rogers if he can ever stay fit, the tools are there for him to work with in the passing game provided the Lions can decide on whether to go with a new QB, Jeff Garcia or Joey Harrington.
With Kevin Jones at RB they would appear to have all the tools required to be a potent offense and maybe Martz is the final factor required.
 

JeffDunne

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Re: Martz hired by Detroit

I can see the logic but I'm not convinced he's a good idea. I'm not sure he's the sort of potential distraction they need.

No doubt the Lions have some weapons, but most of that is based on potential rather than anything they've shown in the NFL. Jones doesn't impress me and unless they can fix other elements of their passing game it won't matter who is playing WR. Martz might help, but I think decisions around the QB position will be the more import.
 

Ruiner

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Re: Martz hired by Detroit

As a Detroit fan, I'm hoping this works out.
I suppose the potential is there for Martz's status as a former Super bowl Head Coach to undermine Marinelli slightly, but from what I've read of Marinelli he seems like a hard ass who won't let this happen.
On the positive side he's renowned as an offensive genius and god knows the O needs some big help.

As for Harrington, I don't think they'll have much choice but to go with him again. There's not much on offer in Free Agency, maybe Kitna but he's a big risk to put the franchise on. I don't think the Vikes would trade Culpepper within the division, and even if they use an early pick on a guy like Cutler (I think they'll be too gunshy to go an offensive skill player in the first round again), he won't be ready to start.
 

coasting

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Re: Martz hired by Detroit

Firing all these coaches is really dumb. Unless they completely stink up the joint, there is no reason for it. I would have thought the Steelers victory and the stability provided by Cowher provided a great example. Everytime you fire your coaching staff its like you're starting over again.
 

danielz_23

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Re: Martz hired by Detroit

I think its a fit. There is no questioning that Martz is an offensive genius. They are loaded with weapons and the teams home is a quick indoor surface. Harrington should be given a chance, they have invested enough in him so far, if only for 4 weeks. Martz has implemented systems that have won Warner MVP's (lack of success after that)... Bulger has succeeded... even that Fitzgerald(?) guy who played one game dominated.

I dont see how he is a distraction... he is a coach, he will be in the box... he isnt running the team...
 

JeffDunne

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Harrington: Detroit fans tried to start fights with mom

Joey Harrington: Detroit fans tried to start fights with mom

Joey Harrington told cbs.sportsline.com that he received death threats while in Detroit and that games got so bad, he had to take his family out of the stands because fans wanted to fight his mother.

"I've gone through very extreme cycles," the former Lions quarterback told the Web site. "There was a year or two where I would have to wear a baseball cap to make it to my flight on time. And then on the other end, I'd have to wear one because I was scared to go to the grocery store without a baseball cap because I didn't want somebody to accost me outside the citrus aisle.

"I got that very, very rarely to my face. I got a lot of people who would leave notes. I got a couple of death threats on my voicemail. It got to the point where I had to take my family out of the stands because people were trying to start fights with my mom.


"But I learned to take it in stride. What happened in Detroit is I let other people determine my happiness. When I start letting Joe Fan in row 32, seat E tell me if I'm a good person, I got issues."


Harrington signed a two-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons this off-season, and has become the starting quarterback as Michael Vick endures legal troubles.


Harrington, the third overall pick by Detroit in the 2002 draft, started 11 games with Miami last season after being obtained in a trade with the Lions. He threw for 2,236 yards with 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.


From 2002-05, Harrington started 55 games with the Lions, throwing for 10,242 yards with 60 touchdowns and 62 interceptions.
Sort of understandable that Lions fans would be frustrated, but attacking a blokes mum?

Poor Joey, bad enough that he had to experience Detroit fans, but now he has to handle the the Vick-huggers. Hope mum and the family dog stay well away from the Georgia Dome.
 

GG.exe

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Just lol

According to ProFootballTalk.com, Tatum Bell made off with Rudi Johnson's bags Monday while Rudi was in Matt Millen's office.
Seriously. Upon finding the items missing, the Lions checked video surveillance and found Bell doing his best cookie crook impression. Bell took the bags to a female acquaintance and asked her to keep them for awhile. Johnson has since retrieved the bags and charges will not be pressed. No word yet on whether Bell fumbled the leather items as he made his way down the crowded hallway.
 

GG.exe

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Re: Shenanigans at Detroit

Update on this...

Rudi Johnson called Tatum Bell a "shyster" and "conniving" after Bell stole Rudi's duffel bags in the Lions' locker room Monday.
"Underwear, socks, credit cards and money. He left my money clip with no money in it," said Johnson, who had $200 stolen. "He should've taken the clip, too. It's quite stupid if you ask me." Rudi says he won't call the police.
 

GG.exe

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Re: Shenanigans at Detroit

I dont see him getting anywhere in Houston either. They're just gathering a bunch of people who are injured and bouncing around the league, trialing them and none of them really giving competitition to the starting job. But you never know! He might end up cementing a job in Houston due to the Denver connection there.
 

Jem

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Re: Shenanigans at Detroit

Pretty funny, but I'm not that surprised; I always thought Bell was a bit of an unusual sort when he was in Denver.
 

GG.exe

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Re: Shenanigans at Detroit

TGBB, this is worth considering....

A league source speculated to Profootballtalk.com that free agent Tatum Bell's career could be over after he stole Rudi Johnson's bags and money.
"The worst transgression you can commit in the NFL," the source said, "is to steal from a teammate or another player. I don’t think Bell will play another down." Saints receiver Albert Connell allegedly stole $4,000 from Deuce McAllister in 2001, was released, and never played in the NFL again.
 

JeffDunne

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Re: Shenanigans at Detroit

TGBB, this is worth considering....
There's stealing and there's stealing.

Stealing from Deuce should be a hanging offense:)

As for Bell, I don't think it will really make that much difference. In the NFL if you can play someone will give you another chance. Not sure if Bell has earnt that even without this.
 

TheGreatBarryB

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Re: Shenanigans at Detroit

Don't think the NFLPA or any of the players would want Bell at another club. What a loser!!!

And as a sign of the discipline installed at the Terrors Dynasty team, Bell has been sacked and his file marked "never again". Sends a stern message to the other players;)
 

larkis

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Reported- Millen No Longer Lions GM

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/8601458/Millen-out-as-Lions-president,-GM

Detroit fans, your wish appears to have finally come true.



FOXSports.com has learned that the Lions have finally removed team president and GM Matt Millen from his post, unseating one of the most criticized executives in Detroit sports history.
Millen was informed of the move last night during a late-night high-level meeting. This morning several people within the building confirmed that he had large packing boxes in his office and he made his way around to different employees telling them of the move.
It is unclear if Millen was fired or removed himself from the equation but the news comes just days after Bill Ford, Jr. publicly stated he would have fired the GM if it was his decision but he lacked the authority to do so.
The Lions have started off horribly and the groundswell for Millen's demise has once again been strong. Unfortunately, that's nothing new as there have been events like the Millen Man March, an in-game walkout protest and calls for Millen's firing for years.
The Lions have won only one playoff game and are an NFL-worst 31-84 since Millen took over in 2001. They have also been a model of futility on the road and Millen has gone through three head coaches, none of whom have been able to turn the Lions into a winner.
Interesting Move - The poor bugger had it coming to him.
What is it with the NFL and putting inexperienced people in important positions. Can't see the Lions improving too much in the next few months anyway.
 

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