Colletto revising history; Barry hasn't seen 'any' progress
Jim Colletto and Joe Barry met with the media Friday for what could be their final time as Lions coordinators. NFL rules state that teams must make their coordinators available to the media every other week, and the assumption here is that, by moving Colletto and Barry's regularly-scheduled appearance up a week (they were supposed to talk next Friday), the Lions will shut them down the rest of the season.
Regardless, we had a chance to ask both men about this year's season, what went wrong, what building blocks are in place and what they think the future will hold. Both were fairly candid a sampling in a minute but I have to start by correcting one bit of revisionist history.
Asked what will bother him most about this year when he reflects on it, Colletto said, Just all the different distractions from injuries and it's just the changes, we never got any continuity at all. And that's probably the thing that bothers me the most.
He said the pieces were in place to make his simplified offense and the Lions' zone-blocking scheme successful had we started off a little bit differently.
But then with all the changes, with Jon (Kitna) being hurt and that problem, then Dan (Orlovsky) plays and he gets hurt and then it just kept going and we just never got any continuity that you'd like to have, Colletto said.
I don't dispute at all the impact the quarterback carousel has had on the Lions' struggles, but they have no one to blame for that but themselves. It was clear as far back as the spring that Kitna didn't buy fully into Colletto or the offense. His back injury four starts into the year was a convenient excuse to start anew under center. Orlovsky lasted four more starts before a thumb injury sidelined him for five games, but the Lions considered him a backup, nothing more, and planned to bench him and go with free-agent Daunte Culpepper a week before Orlovsky got hurt.
If Kitna had started all year or for that matter Orlovsky or Culpepper and the Lions had held on to Roy Williams, there's no doubt in my mind they'd have a win or two now. But fact is they decided what path they were going down, not injuries.
Maybe shelving Kitna and trading Williams had to be done to cleanse the locker room (just as trading Shaun Rogers did in February). Maybe firing Matt Millen in September caused the Lions to change paths midstream. Maybe, considering their feelings on Orlovsky, the Lions should have signed Culpepper a month earlier than they did.
But in the end, those are the decisions the Lions made and those are the decisions they have to live with, even it means 0-16.
A few more thoughts from Barry and Colletto:
Colletto, on how important it is to avoid 0-16: Well, I'd like it for the players. I've had enough successes and failures to last me forever, so that's more for them. I don't think that I want them to have to live with that. I've been fortunate enough to be a Super Bowl champion, too, so I guess I've been on both ends of the spectrum. But I'd like to see them have a chance. It's good for them, not for me.
Barry on what went wrong this season: Well, we didn't play good enough, we didn't coach good enough. It's a two-way street. I've been brought up in this profession to always look at myself and when a team doesn't play well, when a player doesn't play well, it's my fault. So I didn't coach well enough. And that's disappointing.
Barry, on where progress has been made defensively: There hasn't been any. If you look at the in 23 months that I've been here. That's the thing kind of leading into the original question, that's the thing that's probably most frustrating is I haven't done a good job because just look at the numbers. Bottom line.
Colletto, on why he should return as offensive coordinator: I'm not going to answer that. I've done this a long time and we're all trying to do the best we can. Somebody else will answer that. This season is something you don't want to be real proud of, but somebody else has to make that decision and if I am, fine. And if not, I'll go off in the sunset somewhere.