Every time I think we could maybe go a week without rehashing the nightmare days of Matt Millen’s tenure in Detroit, something brings those painful memories back. The most recent addition to the Detroit Lions roster left me speechless, hurt and in denial; had Millen possessed the soul of general manager Martin Mayhew and brought one of his classic mistakes back while laughing maniacally? It’s like he snuck into the office to drive one more stake into the hearts of Lions fans before riding off into the sunset.
The Lions went 0-16 in 2008. No team had done that before in the NFL and no team has done it since either. It is very likely that Detroit will hold this dubious honor forever because some time in the next few years, as much as the players union fights it, there will eventually be an 18 game schedule. Millen was the architect of that 2008 team, the worst team in NFL history. The Lions did have a shot at one game that season. Whether it was that they played well enough to compete or that the Minnesota Vikings played down to their competition, the Lions had a chance during week six. The odd score of 12-0 instantly brings the fateful play to mind, a fourth quarter safety that was officially recorded as a sack for Lions nemesis Jared Allen, but in reality quarterback Dan Orlovsky, in his first NFL start, ran out of the back of the end zone. It was the bottom falling out of one of the worst seasons and honestly one of the worst professional sports franchises ever.
Ladies and gentleman, welcome back to your Detroit Lions the one and only Dan Orlovsky. I’ll pause a moment for you to spit out your coffee, I did.
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Yet, here we are reliving the Lions worst days, and while maybe not their worst quarterback in franchise history (though for a lot of other teams he might be), Orlovsky is the symbol of one of their most moments. I can’t understand, justify or even stomach this move.
Mayhew and coach Jim Caldwell are both familiar with Orlovsky as he was the backup quarterback in Indianapolis during Caldwell’s worst and last season as the Colts coach. Why would these guys choose to relive their worst moments and hope for a different result?
Losing backup quarterback Shaun Hill was something the Lions anticipated going into this offseason. Hill is regarded as a steady backup that can be counted on to perform in a time of need throughout the league and Mayhew knew he likely would not be able to retain him. Just because they are familiar with him doesn’t make Orlovsky a good option, in fact that they are familiar with him is exactly why he isn’t.
I couldn’t help but picture Jared Allen smiling when I sat down to write this morning. The thought of Matthew Stafford being injured was cringe worthy before, now it’s down right terrifying. I can’t imagine how bad Kellen Moore must be as their third string quarterback that bringing back a proven failure in Orlovsky is a better option. Drafting a late round project that might be able to steal a game in a time of need seems infinitely more appealing. I’ll probably continue watching a game if Orlovsky walks on the field because as Lions fans, it’s sometimes hard to take our eyes off of a trainwreck, we’re conditioned to it. My sincere hope is that the only way Orlovsky sees any action is in a mop up situation where the Lions had long since put the game into the victory column.