Three Men Out: Big changes on Lions defense

James Hall

Lions president Matt Millen and coach Rod Marinelli would like to make some major changes this off-season, and they have started by telling three players to seek a trade -- cornerback Dre' Bly, defensive lineman James Hall and defensive tackle Marcus Bell.

ALLEN PARK -- Lions president Matt Millen and coach Rod Marinelli would like to make some major changes this off-season, and they have started by telling three players to seek a trade -- cornerback Dre' Bly, defensive lineman James Hall and defensive tackle Marcus Bell.

In each case, they don't want the player back, but they want to treat him with dignity and see if they can get something in return. They were able to get a draft pick from Miami for quarterback Joey Harrington last year even though everyone knew they were going to release him.

Bly is the biggest name. He signed with the Lions as a free agent in 2003, and in his first three seasons, he made two Pro Bowls and was a first alternate for another. He was elected a captain before the 2006 season.

But Bly's production dropped off last season. His three interceptions were his lowest total as a Lion. He is a cover corner and prefers playing man-to-man. The Tampa 2 defense Marinelli installed asked him to play zone and stuff the run.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Matt and Rod allowing me the opportunity to find a home for Dre' Bly that is more conducive to his Pro Bowl skill set," said Bly's agent, Kennard McGuire.

Hall also was elected a captain before the 2006 season. He led the team in sacks with five before a shoulder injury sidelined him after seven games. There was friction between Hall and the organization.

Bell reportedly was the player -- or among the players -- who filed a grievance against the coaching staff during last year's off-season workouts. He repeatedly has denied that, however.

Offensive lineman Ross Verba is expected to be released.

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