It's a beautiful time to be a Detroit sports fan. The Wings are rolling through the NHL Playoffs, the Pistons are dismantling the Magic, the Tigers are still only 3.5 gms out of first place. What about the Lions, you say? Isn't this the time for optimism in the NFL? When your team has just drafted new blood and it's easy to overlook weaknesses. Not for the boys in Honolulu Blue.
According to Tom Kowalski at Mlive.com, Jon Kitna is not going anywhere soon. I know most of us realize that already, but doesn't it hurt to read it again? Detroit has plenty of holes besides QB, don't get me wrong. Yet, we aren't fooling anyone with Kitna behind center, either.
Our skill positions on offense are manned with plenty of youth. Unlike the Tigers, the Lions don't necessarily have a win-now makeup on its roster. Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, Tatum Bell, and Kevin Smith are all before or in their primes. Our key players on the line (Backus, Cherilus, and Raiola) are equally young.
With that in mind, Kitna has no business starting at quarterback. Having watched Drew Stanton at Michigan St., I'm not convinced he's our answer, either. However, we still need to give him the chance to succeed. Simply handing Kitna the job is not the answer. There's no need to give Kitna too much comfort atop the depth chart. Anybody could have piled up those yardage totals in Mike Martz's offense. Look past that mirage and examine his turnover totals. He has 42 interceptions and 28 fumbles the past two seasons. I don't care if Coach Marinelli likes your intangibles or your toughness. Give me someone who can hold onto the ball. Given the lack of ability on the defensive side of the ball, the Lions can ill-afford to give away the ball so often.
Even more troubling about this situation is the sad state of the NFC North. Minnesota has a dominating run defense/offense, but no pass defense/offense. Chicago has its ongoing QB problems to go along with its newfound RB worries. And we all know about Green Bay's transition. This is a division in flux and it's really nothing new. The Vikings have struggled on pass D/O for the past two years. The Bears have done nothing since falling backwards into the Super Bowl. Plus, Matt Millen had to know Brett Favre would retire/decline inevitably. A strong organization plans for that and has their ducks in a row when it happens. I wish, for once, Millen would smarten up and take advantage of opponents' weaknesses. Of course, I'm not sure why I am even getting so worked up about this problem. Detroit hasn't had a long-term franchise QB since Bobby Layne in the 1950s.