Over the last several years the Detroit Lions have endured countless
heartbreaks, endless disappointments and immeasurable failures. Many believe the
recent shortcomings of this organization are unrivaled by any in the National
Football League. However, one franchise has experienced similar futility, the
Lions next opponent – the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals and Lions have been the worst organizations in the NFL over the last six seasons. Together they have accounted for 147 loses and 10 head coaches since 2000, having only 63 wins and one winning season between them in that time (the Lions, 9-7, 2000). Since 2000 the Lions are 32-73, slightly edging out the Cardinals, who are 31-74.
These two franchises have experienced much of the same inadequacies the previous five seasons, and this, the sixth season has been no different. The Cardinals are 1-8, the Lions 2-7. The Cardinals have surrendered 223 points, the Lions 222. The Cardinals are 0-4 on the road; as are the Lions, and both teams currently reside in the basement of their divisions.
Arizona head coach Dennis Green recognizes the similarities between the Lions and Cardinals as he describes why the Cardinals have struggled this season – reasons the Lions can relate to.
"Well, like Detroit - losing close games - games that you've got right in the bag and you let get away," said Green. "One time the offense does OK, the next time the defense does OK… some days we get turnovers, the next game - two or three games - we don't get a sack or a turnover…"
Both teams have a number of holes that need to be addressed and both teams have more than their fair share of weakness; however, both teams also have strengths in similar areas.
Lions head coach Rod Marinelli recognizes the strength of the Cardinals receiving corps, anchored by wide outs Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.
"They're really good," said Marinelli. "Last year, this year; numbers and Pro Bowls appearances - it shows they're pretty good. They're very good."
Marinelli also respects the talent of Cardinals running back Edgerrin James despite his ineffectiveness so far this season.
"I've played him before, and I know he's just a great back," said Marinelli. "All I know is that - he's a heck of a player and anytime you play a heck of a back like that, you're tackling better be right."
Green is equally as cautious about the Lions offensive weaponry.
"I think that they're explosiveness offensively," said Green. "I mean, you look at Roy Williams with 800 receiving yards in nine games, he's well on his way to 1,400-1,500 yards and that's a lot of yardage in a receiving game. Kevin Jones is already up around 700-800, so he's on his way to 12-13-1,400 and he can make plays."
Both of these organizations have been trapped in a trend of perennial failure and stuck in the pattern of repeated losing for several years. Since 2001 78 weeks of regular season football took place in the NFL, only five of them saw both the Lions and Cardinals leave victorious, the other 73 seeing at least one of the organizations lose – another trend that will continue for at least one more week.
DT Shaun Cody (toe), FB Sean McHugh (knee) and G Blaine Saipaia (chest) are questionable. DT Cory Redding (calf) is probable. Redding and Saipaia both missed a portion of team practice today.
Marinelli on Cody's status: "I really pushed him hard today. He did okay today. We'll find out how sore he'll be tomorrow and go from there. But he moved around, and I gave him a lot of work today, so we'll see from there."
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart is a former college teammate of Lions wide receiver Mike Williams.
Leinart on Williams: "I'm not really sure of what's going on with the situation, but I knew Mike in college and he was the most dominate - besides (running back) Reggie (Bush) - the most dominate player I've played with. He just took over games with his size and he's just an incredible player. I'm not sure what happened or what went wrong, but I know he has tons of potential…"
The Lions have played the Arizona Cardinals in each of GM Matt Millen's five seasons, going 3-2,…