Why Stafford will be a Lion; other Christmas thoughts
I have to credit John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune for digging up this nugget - check out his column at thenewstribune.com for a full recap - but in another amazing bit of symmetry (to follow up on my earlier blog entry today) the Lions appear destined to draft Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick come April. Don't worry, that's a good thing.
Why? Stafford is a product of Highland Park High in Dallas. The only other NFL quarterback the school has produced is ... Bobby Layne, purveyor of the Lions' last championship in 1957.
I'm calling it a day so I can finish my Christmas shopping before I visit the in-laws for dinner. I won't be back tomorrow, either, but here's a few leftovers from today's conference calls with Packers receiver Greg Jennings and coach Mike McCarthy.
Jennings, who played at Western Michigan and grew up a fan of Barry Sanders, said he'd be rooting for the Lions if he wasn't playing against them this week. "I would, he said. "I don't think it's right to really root for a team to go 0-16. I don't think that any team should really go 0-16, but in this case they're going against the team that I'm on so I would have to say that they need to go 0-16."
The Packers (5-10) are on their losing streak, having dropped five straight, but they are an NFL-best 13-1 in season finales since 1994. It's not even about matching their intensity because we're desperate to get a win as well," Jennings said. "A lot of the games we've let slip right through our fingers in the waning moments of a game, so I would definitely say that they're not more desperate for a win than we are. ... This is definitely the finale of the season for both teams and we want to win probably more than anybody in the National Football League right now."
McCarthy had little to say about reports early in the season that former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre helped the Lions gameplan for the Packers days before Detroit's 48-25 September loss. "Brett Favre doesn't work here anymore," McCarthy said. "So, if he had opinions from the past those are his opinions. It doesn't factor into the Packers competing against the Detroit Lions."
Lions running back Kevin Smith on his pursuit of 1,000 yards rushing. He's 116 yards short entering Sunday. "Who cares about the yards?" Smith said. "You think when you cut on PTI they're going to be talking about what I did productively or what Calvin (Johnson) did? No one cares about that. A thousand yards on an 0-16 team is equivalent to nothing in my eyes. Who cares if you don't win a game?"
Lions cornerback Travis Fisher worked out with trainers today but said he doesn't know if he'll be able to play Sunday. I'd call him doubtful right now. Culpepper, Chuck Darby, Corey Smith and Dewayne White also sat out practice Wednesday. Johnson was limited by his bruised knee.