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Morris: Lions 'should have won 8 games' last year

Sorry I didn't get a blog up yesterday. Had a previous engagement that occupied most of my day. Figured I'd empty my tape recorder this morning instead. Here's a few morsels for your enjoyment:

Kevin Smith isn't the only Lions running back who thinks the team was that close to making the playoffs last year. I caught up with new running back Maurice Morris at the Lions' bocce ball tournament Wednesday and asked if he had any apprehension about signing with the NFL's first ever 0-16 team.

“Not at all because I saw film,” Morris said. “You could see the Detroit Lions, they should have won eight games. They may have lost them in the fourth quarter with a play here and there, but they should have won eight games because they (lost) a bunch of games by a field goal. It's kind of like, it's just a matter of finishing in the fourth quarter.”

To clarify, Morris said most of his Lions' watching came via highlights before his games, which typically started three hours later in Seattle. But he said he wanted to be part of a team that was young and hungry, and that only needed the help of some veterans to get over the hump.

“They lost by a field goal, here, seven points here, gave up a touchdown at the end of the game or something,” Morris said. “They lost a bunch of  games by a slim margin.”

He also said Smith's prediction of the playoffs this year didn't strike anyone in the locker room as odd.

“Not at all,” Morris said.

• I mentioned right tackle Gosder Cherilus on Thursday and how I think he'll be a big key to the offensive line's progression this year. The second-year right tackle, who coach Jim Schwartz called “a giant,” said he's much more comfortable now that he's got one NFL season under his belt.

“I don't feel like I'm all over the place,” Cherilus said. “The one thing I realized is you're trying so hard trying to please everybody. The guy playing next to you, the coaches behind you, your quarterback. And most times you just don't please nobody. Now, you're just like, yeah, I'm just going to count on playing for myself and once you do that everybody will respect what you're doing cause at the end of the day it's 11 guys, once you do your job and everybody else does theirs, nobody's going to point fingers.”

• Schwartz complimented Cherilus' mean streak and compared it to some of the league's top right tackles. Said Cherilus, “Do I look mean to you? You see that smile. Nah, at the end of the day football's football. You can be happy and play, but at the end of the day, they blow the whistle, everybody's going full speed, you have to have it, especially what we're trying to do here. We're in the NFC North. We talk about running the football. You have to really get your noes down hard in the trenches and try to run the ball, and that's not going to come easy.”

Cherilus does have a mega-watt smile, by the way. But Vikings fans remember the play Cherilus made on Jared Allen last season, when he lunged from a kneeling position to block Allen as Allen chased Daunte Culpepper horizontally across the field.

“When you watch me play, one thing you expect I'm always going to give you 110 percent,” Cherilus said. “I'm not dirty, but if I have a chance to really cross you and do my job, make it look good and make sure you have nothing to do with this play, I'll do it. But that doesn't mean I'm dirty like that. I'm not trying to hurt nobody. I'm just trying to get the job done the best that I can.”

• Titans running back LenDale White explained on SportingNews Radio why USC shouldn't lose its national championship if Reggie Bush and others are found to have accepted improper benefits a few years ago: “I don't think if you got money, a flat-screen TV, or however it looks that (those things) will make you go out and play better or beat somebody. I don't think so. We get paid in the NFL, and the Lions went 0-16.”

• Finally, receiver Darrell Jackson, who played last season in Denver, worked out for the Lions on Thursday.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know LenDale White isn't the smartest guy in the room, but how does this kid not understand why they frown on paying players in the NCAA? Didn't they teach that in intro to playing BCS Football? (Oh yeah. USC kind of glossed over that)

You pay players so they will sign with your school. Its just like in the NFL.

12:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another receiver?

1:13 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need a solid #4 receiver. We need depth if some of our main guys go down.

2:04 PM 
Anonymous Big Biting Pig said...

Just because they went 0-16 last year, doesn't mean they can't make a dramatic turn around this year.

People are forgetting that this is a new team.

Look at the defense right now. Of the 11 positions, we are going to have AT LEAST 7 new starters. 6 of those 7 were not on the team last year. That's a whole different defense.

I expect a big turn around this year.

Do I think they'll win the super bowl? NO.

Do I think they'll make the playoffs? Stranger things have happened, but probably not.

Do I think they'll win 7 or 8 games this year? I think it's a very good possibility.

2:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, I noticed on that their roster doesn't list any fullbacks ... did we release them all? or are we not using any? or am I just reading to much into that?

2:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rod Hood visits Monday per NFL Network.

Also we have 2 FB's. They just list them in with all the RB's.

2:50 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

If you sort the roster by position on the Lions' official website the fullbacks should pop up. Terrelle Smith, Jerome Felton and Jon Bradley. The first two should make the team.

Saw the reports about Hood, but hadn't confirmed that yet. He's worth taking a look at. Been around forever, but he's only 27 and he started in Arizona last year. I give the Lions credit for doing lots of work trying to build the back end of their roster. They've brought a lot of guys in this offseason, even if it's only for a two-week look until something else better comes along.

Jackson falls into that category, too. The Lions are short on talent at OG and WR (a few other spots, too, of course), but they keep looking for the right fit.

And Big Pig, going out on a limb there with 7 or 8 wins. I like it. You feeling confident, that is. I said 5-11 after I saw the schedule. I think 7 or 8 is a little too rich for me, but I don't mind Smith's bravado in predicting the playoffs. Can't say that I agree with him or Morris about being that close last year, but we're all entitled to our opinions.

6:02 PM 
Anonymous Freebird22 said...

6-10 would be exceeding expectations.

6:35 AM 
Anonymous RL said...

It's just as well they didn't win 8. If they had, we'd still be saddled with Millen. Maybe WCF would even have extended him another five years. Ugh!

7:49 AM 
Blogger Imperical said...

Is it just me , or should the Lions try looking at other spots besides WR , OLB , and CB?

Mr. BirkettFor the record , I say 3 wins , 3-13.I just see no room in this schedule for 5 wins , unless the Lions can catch a few teams napping.

Big turn-aroundLast year , the Dolphins replaced over 40 players on their roster.The Lions are still bringing back players like Colbert and Cason.
They should improve because of the coaching staff alone , but the d-line still is a huge hole.

Last yearThe Lions would have won at least 4 games with a better defense , and thats with no improvement to the offense.

Maurice MorrisI wonder where Aaron Brown fits in here with 2 FBs and K.Smith , Maurice Morris , and Antone Smith.
Antone Smith signed a 3 year deal , same build as Aaron Brown , 196 pounds.KR?I think that spot will be taken as well , unless D.Williams wins the Slot position.

I still think a splash of color would help , but this is a good article.

Imperical Evidence

12:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Difference is though that Cason and Colbert won't play a big role if they make the roster.

Last year we needed them cause we didn't have any better.

Now Williams, Brown, and Smith can return and Cason probably won't be more than a TC body.

Colbert is a 5th at best behind CJ, Johnson, Curry, and Williams.

We've upgraded the WR core,secondary, LB core. Would like to see more Line help if possible.

4:35 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Five wins was a first-reaction prediction to the schedule. No real analysis went into that, but I don't think the Lions start 0-6. They'll win one of those tough games early to break the skid.

As for the FA signings, the Lions know they have holes on both lines, but the reality is there isn't anyone out there who presents a significant upgrade. They're working on the bottom 10 of the roster, which is a good thing.

Don't count Aaron Brown out of the mix yet. I think he'd have at least as good a shot as Cason to make the roster and probably better than Antone Smith. Biggest contributor gets the nod at the end of the day, and Brown can catch the ball (both out of the backfield and in the slot) and return kicks as a No. 3 back.

4:07 PM 

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