Lions, Jauron Miss Chance To Develop Youth

ALLEN PARK - Make sure you put that interim title next to Dick Jauron's name in capital letters and while your at it, bold it, add italics, underscore and highlight it.

ALLEN PARK - Make sure you put that interim title next to Dick Jauron's name in capital letters and while your at it, bold it, add italics, underscore and highlight it.

While Jauron is a steady as you go type of coach who can hold a team together during bad times, he isn't the type of bold innovator who'll shake things up. He also isn't much for taking chances. His bend but don't break style of defense isn't bad, but it isn't great either. He has a similar approach when it comes to who gets playing time; Conservative, steady, very little change.

Heading into the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Jauron - whose team now sports a 5-10 record - still has no intention to play younger players who could be integral parts of Detroit's future. Instead, he will continue to play established veteran players in hopes of getting a meaningless sixth win.

That means fifth round draft pick Dan Orlovsky, who might be the Lions quarterback of the future - barring injury or poor performance from starter Joey Harrington - isn't likely get any snaps.

"At this point, not necessarily," said Jauron when asked about Orlovsky possibly getting some playing time. "He is preparing as the No. 2, so he has been getting reps all week. We haven't planned to do [play him] at this point."

Jauron's approach is puzzling. Orlovsky could be the next Tom Brady, another late round draft pick that blossoms, or he might not be able to play the game at all, but how will Detroit ever know?

Brady got in for an injured Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots never looked back. Ben Roethlisberger, the starter for Pittsburgh on Sunday, got in for an injured Tommy Maddox and quickly established himself as the franchise quarterback that Pittsburgh was missing.

Maybe it's a stretch to think that Orlovsky, a former UConn standout, could be that kind of player, but in a meaningless game like this one, Detroit should take a long look at him to know what they have. As it stands now, Orlovsky will remain one of the many unknown entities on the ballclub when Detroit heads into the offseason.

Players like corner Stanley Wilson, defensive end Bill Swancutt, corner/safety Keith Smith, practice squad tight end Jason Randall and Orlovsky all might be players that can help this team win or they might not.

Detroit won't know until they get on the field and get a chance to show what they can do. So chalk up Sunday as another chance to possibly improve and to answer critical questions in player development lost.

But maybe Detroit will match last year's 6-10 record with an upset win over Pittsburgh -- or maybe not.

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