A Perspective From a Lions’ Fan: “I Don’t Give the Lions Much of a Chance”


Let’s give a warm reception to Mr. Papa, the blogger at Lionsfansonline. Mr. Papa agreed to participate in a Q&A with me in anticipation of Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. The game has become far more controversial than we could ever expect with all of the death threats and team bashing the players have been doing. Welcome, Mr. Papa, a Lions fan at birth.

Q. Do you think the controversy over Jon Kitna’s comments, and the responses from several Dallas Cowboys players, including Bradie James and Terence Newman, will have a major impact on the game Sunday? Discuss this a little bit, if you would?

A. No, it will have little impact on the game. It may fire up some folks at the beginning, but these guys are pros and the talking will soon be forgotten and they will get down to playing football. Once the game begins, if these guys need something to get them going, they should just quit now. The way James and especially Newman have responded to Kitna’s comments have pretty much fanned the flames on both sides. If they had simply kept it in the locker room, perhaps it would have given them a very slight initial advantage, but now both sides are fired up. Look for some emotion early from this, but their instincts will take over before long and football will be played.

Q. How does the injury of Roy Williams affect the Lions game plan against the Cowboys?

A. It has a significant impact on the gameplan. That is, if Martz can ever figure out what his gameplan will be. He has had a bit of an identity crisis of late. He can’t decide if he wants to run or pass the ball. I think he has been getting considerable pressure from above (ie Marinelli and Millen) to do things he doesn’t want to. The grand experiment of Martz as offensive coordinator is likely to end after this year, probably by mutual agreement. With out Williams, the Lions would be fine in their normal sets with Johnson, McDonald and Furrey, however, when the have to go to four and five wideouts it will be noticeable. Without Roy in the lineup, the Cowboys will also be able to gamble a bit more on coverages and blitz packages. Roy hopes to be back for the last game of the regular season.

Q. What’s your take on the chatter that Roy Williams and Kevin Jones want out of Detroit? Several Dallas forums discuss Williams coming to Dallas.

A. I guess I haven’t seen the forums you are referring to. The recent press in Detroit actually has Williams saying he wants to remain in Detroit when his contract is up on 2009. He has mentioned that he would like to get another long-term deal done. It is a bit odd to be bringing it up now, perhaps it’s a smoke screen. Roy says some weird things (like the tipping the pizza driver incident) but is pretty smart. He realizes that Calvin Johnson is likely to grow in to the feature wide receiver in Detroit. He has stated he would like to play a long time with Calvin, even as the second wideout. Of course, most of those comments were while they were winning and he could be having a change of heart, though I haven’t seen the referenced forums. As to Kevin Jones, I would imagine he wants out. He has been there his whole career and the team has not done well. This year looked promising, but has spiraled out of control. Some of this may just be emotion of the losing streak.


Q. Why do you think the Lions have a chance against the Cowboys? Or do you not think that?

A. I don’t give the Lions much of a chance this week. If they were playing anywhere near the level they were earlier in the year, it could have been a game. But the defense isn’t stopping anyone right now, the offense can’t score in the red zone and the once cohesive appearance of the team has serious cracks. About the only thing going for them this week, is that they are still in the playoff race for the last wildcard. To have any shot, they have to win 2 of the last 4 games and may need to win 3. With games against Dallas, Green Bay, San Diego and Kansas City, they more than have their work cut out for them.

That said, this is the point in the season where teams like the Cowboys can get complacent having pretty much sewn up a playoff spot. We have seen it before every year. So, who knows, maybe the Lions can get their heads screwed back on and come up with an upset. Still, I am picking the Cowboys to win by a score of 41 – 21.