Up next in the team needs features for the draft section are the Detroit Lions. THN will be filling in all of the needs’ pages throughout April, so keep checking back for your favorite (or least-favorite) team.
2005 Results: 5-11 (3rd in NFC North)
2006 Projected Cap Status: $3.5 million under (as of 04/04/06)
2005 Season Recap:
The Lions started the 2005 season with high hopes after the signing of QB Jeff Garcia, reuniting him with coach Mariucci and brining him in to compete with Joey Harrington. Unfortunately, Garcia broke his left leg in the last game of preseason and missed the first give games of the season. By early October the team’s talented WR corps of Charles Rogers (suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for 4 games), Mike Williams (injured) and Roy Williams (injured) was decimated. By the end of October, Harrington was benched and Garcia started two weeks. Garcia played well before taking a pounding in an OT loss to the Bears, which left him unable to start the following week. By early November, it was business as usual for the Lions, a losing season and the finger pointing began. Matt Millen and the team’s front office decided to make coach Mariucci their scapegoat as rumors surfaced that Mariucci was too soft on his players. On November 28 Mariucci was fired and on January 19, lifetime assistant coach, Rod Marinelli was hired. Marinelli is a Vietnam Vet, has a reputation as a strong disciplinarian and spent the last 10 seasons as the DL coach in Tampa Bay.
1) Linebacker – The Lions have addressed the majority of their needs in free agency, but they will need to address LB with starters Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman both coming off season injuries. Lehman is expected to compete for the MLB spot but his recovery creates some concern. The loss of backup LB Wali Rainer to Houston and the uncertainty of re-signing MLB Earl Holmes will create depth problems.
2) Cornerback – The loss of R.W. McQuarters and Andre Goodman to free agency creates depth problems at corner.
3) Offensive Line – After signing three journeymen (Rex Tucker, Barry Stokes and Courtney Van Buren) to compete with Rick DeMulling at LG and Kelly Butler at RT, there are still many questions about the improvement at either position. The latest mock drafts have the Lions taking USC’s OT Winston Justice with their 1st round pick.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: WR Troy Edwards; LB Earl Holmes; WR Kevin Johnson; S Scott McGarrahan; FB Paul Smith; S Bracy Walker.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): LB Matt Grootegoed.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB James Davis; TE Casey FitzSimmons; DE Cory Redding.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: WR Glenn Martinez; TE Sean McHugh; RB Artose Pinner.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: RB Shawn Bryson; DE Jared DeVries; WR/KR Eddie Drummond; DE Kalimba Edwards; S Vernon Fox; C Brock Gutierrez; S Terrence Holt; LS Don Muhlbach; LB Nate Wayne; LB LeVar Woods.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: S Idrees Bashir; WR Corey Bradford; TE Dan Campbell; WR Mike Furrey; RB Arlen Harris; OG Tyrone Hopson; QB Shaun King; QB Jon Kitna; LB Paris Lenon; QB Josh McCown; OT Barry Stokes; OL Rex Tucker; OT Courtney Van Buren.
PLAYERS LOST: CB Andre Goodman; OG Kyle Kosier; OG David Loverne; CB R.W. McQuarters; LB Wali Rainer.