Third and one: Lions

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

After Detroit’s 17-10 loss to St. Louis, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:

  1. So the Lions lost at home to winless St. Louis, falling to 1-6. They’ve demonstrated marginally better competitive spirit than last season’s 0-16 group, so I feel alright about scanning their schedule for their next chance to win. As it turns out, we could only be three weeks away. I don’t like the Lions’ chances of winning Sunday at Seattle, where they’ve won twice in their history -- most recently in 1999. And history suggests they’ll have a tough time next week at Minnesota, where they are 0 for their last 11. But on Nov. 22, the Lions will host Cleveland at Ford Field. I’m already liking their chances.

  2. It will be interesting to see if fans start calling for Maurice Morris to take over as the primary running back after he gained 63 yards Sunday in place of a banged-up Kevin Smith. I don’t think the Lions are anywhere close to giving up on Smith, nor should they be. It’s possible his shoulder, injured earlier this season, is still bothering him. But you also wonder if he is a player who has simply made a slow transition to a new offense. The only way to get him more comfortable, both physically and mentally, is to keep playing him.

  3. I get what Dominic Raiola was feeling Sunday: Frustration at seeing another Lions quarterback absorbing heat from fans. Raiola confronted a few of them to, in his mind, protect his teammate’s back. But I don’t understand why Raiola thinks things are any different in Detroit. Fans verbally harass key players on every American professional sports team, most of whom win more often than the Lions do. It’s part of the gig if you want to be a pro athlete. Most players on most teams do the only thing they can: Ignore it. There are plenty of other ways for Raiola to protect and show support for his quarterback. Confronting fans does nothing but egg them on while demonstrating unprofessional behavior. And if Ravioli thinks that Stafford’s development could be affected by booing and razzing, then Stafford has no chance to succeed in the first place.

And here is one question I’m still asking:

Are the Lions going to look bad for using a first-round pick on tight end Brandon Pettigrew? I’m starting to get that feeling, but the jury is still out. Pettigrew might prove to be a really good NFL player, but he hasn’t had much of an immediate impact on the running or passing games. (Sunday, he had two receptions for 17 yards.) An elite tight end is a luxury the Lions might not have been ready to afford, especially as this season continues to reveal their personnel deficiencies at other positions.