Lions open post-Millen era at home vs. Bears Print
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Thursday, 02 October 2008 13:28
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 DETROIT (AP) -Matt Millen finally was fired for sinking the Detroit Lions to a level of futility the NFL hadn't seen in two decades.
Lions quarterback Jon Kitna said the much-maligned executive won't be the last to go if something isn't salvaged from this season.
``We're all lame ducks unless we start winning games,'' Kitna said.
Detroit (0-3) isn't favored to do that this week at home against Chicago (2-2), but the Bears are wary of counting out the NFL's worst team since 2001.
``A lot of people thought we were better than them last year and we got beat twice by them,'' tight end Desmond Clark said. ``We can't go into this game thinking that they're 0-3 and we're just going to go get a win without playing hard.
``They had a bye week to get ready for us. So, coming in Sunday you know they'll be ready to play.''
hise since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had 12 straight double-digit loss seasons from 1983-94.
But no one expects removing Millen to change results any time soon for the Lions.
``We got the guys that we're going to play with and we're running the systems we're going to run,'' said left tackle Jeff Backus, whose 115-game career coincided with the miserable Millen era. ``Whether Matt is here or not, I don't know how much of a difference it'll make.
``We all have to do our job on the field and we know we haven't been doing that. It's our job to get it done. We have to be accountable at some point.''
The Lions are sticking with Kitna at quarterback even though he's hasn't played well, and they don't know if young backups Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton can be counted on in the future.
Kitna is not about to apologize for keeping his job.
``If I felt like I was the absolute reason why we're losing games, then they should make a change,'' Kitna said. ``But I don't think that's the reason and I think the coaches have stated that.''
The Bears have a clear-cut No. 1 quarterback in Kyle Orton, who threw a career-high three TD passes in last week's win over Philadelphia.
No one is clamoring for Rex Grossman to get back on the field even though he was their quarterback in the Super Bowl two seasons ago, killing any possible controversy.
ng your football team better,'' coach Lovie Smith acknowledged. ``In most places you talk about the quarterback and what he's doing at the time. And it's all short term, too. This week what happens, next week different things come up.''
While Detroit defied the league's trademark of parity under Millen, the Bears were really good, very bad, good again and average.
Chicago won seven games last season, but didn't win consecutive games until closing the year with two victories. The Bears opened this season with a win over Indianapolis, then lost two before beating the Eagles.
``We're trying to get on a winning streak,'' Devin Hester said. ``We're looking at it like we're playing the Patriots or some of the top teams right now.
``We're not looking at their record.''
The Lions are an NFC-worst 10-25 since 2006 under coach Rod Marinelli. He insisted he's not going to battle the perception that the next general manager will want to hire his own coach after asking a reporter to define lame-duck coach.
Marinelli said a conversation with owner William Clay Ford helped narrow his focus
``We just talked about beating Chicago,'' Marinelli said.
Smith and Marinelli are good friends who coached together for the Buccaneers, but this isn't the week for sympathy.
re doing, or get too low on what people are doing.
``On a personal note, too, we just don't want things to change an awful lot this week. We need to get a win just as bad as Detroit does.''
The Lions were beaten in each of their first three games after falling behind early, digging a pair of 21-0 holes and a 21-3 deficit.
Kitna had a screaming rant on the sideline in the opener and acknowledged quitting on a play in the second game, and threw three straight interceptions in his last outing.
``We're all lame duck if that's our approach,'' Kitna said. ``Your approach is to be a pro. If you win football games, climb in the race and somehow sneak in the playoffs, everybody can feel more secure. If not, I don't think anybody's secure - besides Calvin (Johnson).''
Acting general manager Martin Mayhew has a glass half-full view of the Lions, noting they're not far behind the first-place Bears and Packers.
Marinelli has shared the mind-set with his team.
``Thirteen games to go. Do the math,'' Marinelli recalled telling his players. ``Go win a game, and you have a chance to regenerate this whole thing. But it starts with the first game.''

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