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lions can't figure out wide recievers

Discussion in 'All Other Team Discussions' started by big3, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. big3
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    big3 Cheesehead

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    Hakim latest victim of wide receiver roulette

    October 31, 2006

    Email this Print this BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA

    FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER




    Az-Zahir Hakim

    The Lions have released Az-Zahir Hakim in the latest of several -- sometimes surprising, sometimes confusing -- moves concerning their receiving corps.

    Hakim's agent, Charles Price, heard the news Monday morning when he got off a plane and checked his messages.

    "I was absolutely stunned by it," Price said. "And then I called him, and he was equally stunned."

    President Matt Millen and coach Rod Marinelli declined to comment on Hakim's release, except to say it was a football decision.

    Apparently the Lions didn't think Hakim, their third-leading wide receiver, was moving well enough.

    "They gave me a brief explanation, which basically translated to, they didn't really see the pep in his step," Price said.

    The Lions will work out some wide receivers today and decide whether to sign a free agent or Glenn Martinez, who is on their practice squad.

    Asked if the Lions would consider bringing back Corey Bradford, Marinelli said: "We'll leave no door closed right now."

    The Lions released Bradford on Sept. 27 to make room on the 53-man roster for an offensive lineman. They were carrying seven wide receivers at the time, one more than usual -- after signing Hakim on Sept. 12.

    Hakim was excited when he reported for his second tour of duty in Detroit, where he played in 2002-04. He was reunited with offensive coordinator Mike Martz, for whom he played in St. Louis in 1999-2001 and had the best years of his career. He said he was where he wanted to be.

    "He's equally disappointed now," Price said. "Going with Mike was a really comfortable setup."

    After Hakim signed, Marinelli said Hakim had a great feel for Martz's offense and "really good quickness." Martz praised Hakim's knowledge and playmaking ability.

    Hakim became the Lions' go-to guy Oct. 8 at Minnesota after Roy Williams left during the first series with a shoulder injury. He caught eight passes for 92 yards. He also seemed more approachable than in the past and apparently tried to be a team player.

    "I think what he made a great point of day in and day out was providing pretty good veteran leadership," Price said. "He's got some young guys who he really felt it was incumbent upon him to kind of mentor, keep up."

    But Hakim caught only four passes for 20 yards in the past two games combined.

    "I think it was termed, 'He looked like he was playing with heavy legs,' " Price said. "It's hard to see from the TV if they're heavy. They didn't get him the ball a lot. He didn't get in a ton. But when they called upon him in a pinch against the Vikings, he stepped up to the plate."

    Hakim caught 17 passes for 147 yards for the Lions, behind Williams (38 for 581), Mike Furrey (37 for 431) and running back Kevin Jones (37 for 266).

    Hakim's release was just another part in the Lions' receiver go-round this season, which includes:

    • Cutting Charles Rogers before the season. Rogers, the second pick of the 2003 draft out of Saginaw and Michigan State, had suffered two broken collarbones, had served a four-game suspension for substance abuse and hadn't shown the speed he once had.

    • Releasing Bradford, even though it meant they would pay him almost $1 million per catch or per game. Bradford, the first free agent the Lions signed in the off-season, receives his $2-million signing bonus and $800,000 base salary for this season. He caught three passes in three games.

    • Waiving Shaun Bodiford, the undrafted free agent rookie out of Portland State they had praised repeatedly. They needed room on the roster to sign Sean McHugh from the practice squad for the Oct. 22 game at the New York Jets, because fullback Cory Schlesinger was out with a hamstring injury. Bodiford, who never caught a pass for the Lions, was claimed off waivers by Green Bay.

    • Playing Mike Williams, the 10th pick of the 2005 draft, only twice in seven games. He has had problems with his weight and professionalism. He hasn't seen the field since dropping a pass in the second half at Minnesota and doesn't appear to be in their plans. But apparently, he hasn't been cut because of salary cap implications.

    It is sometimes difficult to keep the receivers straight. Devale Ellis, an undrafted free agent cut earlier this season, has re-signed and switched from No. 15 to Rogers' old No. 80. Martinez, also back after being cut earlier this season, has switched from No. 84 to Bradford's old No. 17.

    The Lions' passing game has been productive through it all, however. Quarterback Jon Kitna's 1,853 passing yards rank fifth in the NFL.
  2. packerfan1245
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    packerfan1245 Cheesehead

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    They can't figure out anything
  3. jdlax
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    jdlax Cheesehead

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    Well, it's not like it's a complete shock that Az-Hakim isn't duplicating his Rams years success just because he's been reunited with Martz. Reunite him with Holt and Bruce and then we might see something.

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