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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


It's the players, not the system

Brian Urlacher said what Rod Marinelli cannot.

The Bears middle linebacker was asked on a conference call with Detroit media Wednesday whether the Tampa 2 has run its course as a viable NFL defense -- essentially the same question Marinelli faced after the Lions 25-17 loss to Washington Sunday. Urlacher's answer: "If you don't have the players, it's not going to work."

He's right. The Tampa 2's had enough success both past (Super Bowl wins by the Bucs and Colts) and present (Minnesota and Tampa have top-10 NFL defenses) to suggest it still has a place in the NFL. The Lions, however, don't have the personnel to execute it properly.

Marinelli, Urlacher and long-time Tampa 2 cornerback Brian Kelly all locked on the same point Wednesday when asked what one factor most contributes to the defense's success.

"Pressure on the quarterback," Urlacher said without hesitation. "If you can rush four guys and drop five and still stop the run and get pressure and all that good stuff, you're going to be a good defense."

The Lions, as has become apparent, cannot do that. They have 15 sacks -- 16th most in the NFL -- but few have come in the four-man game and only Dewayne White and Cliff Avril are rushing threats on any down. For all the talk about changing coordinators and coaches and schemes, the truth is the Lions need an influx of talent in their front seven to be anything more than a bottom-tier NFL defense.

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