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Pound the rock
Mike Martz, blamed for
almost everything that went
wrong last season, has taken his
pass-happy offense to San
Francisco. New offensive coor-
dinator Jim Colletto promises a
more balanced attack.
That starts with the fierce
backfield competition between
Tatum Bell (experienced, not
spectacular) and Kevin Smith
Last season, the Lions ranked
last in rushing attempts (324),
rushing yards per game (80.5)
and next to last in third-down
conversions (32.6 percent). Only
24.9 percent of their yardage
came via the rush (73.1 in the air).
Everyone knows Jon Kitna is the
starter, and he is expected to play
most of the first quarter tonight.
The intrigue is who’s the backup —
Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton?
Orlovsky says he is much im-
proved over last season, and has
the confidence to show he will be a
starter in this league.
Stanton (knee surgery, 2007) has
played one down since his senior
season at Michigan State.
Rookie MLB Jordan Dizon
isn’t big — 6-foot, 229 pounds —
but the second-round pick out of
Colorado is an aggressive hitter
who could become a crowd
favorite. Dizon says he is dying to
hit someone. He also is worried
about learning the system.
”The thing is in this scheme if I
make a mistake, it opens up the
whole field,” Dizon said. “I have to
eliminate the mistakes.”
Veteran vs. rookie
It will be interesting to see how
far first-round pick Gosder
ter at right
last season but
believes he will
prosper in the
offense. Cherilus (6-7, 319) is the
On the defensive
Shaun Rogers is gone, but
defensive coordinator Joe Barry
says his unit has the potential to
The team has added players
experienced in the Tampa 2
system and vows to stress
aggressiveness. Barry is looking
for some playmakers, especially
a pass rusher — maybe Ikai