Detroit Wheel

The biggest reason the Rams won't make the playoffs is now the Lions' leading receiver

There's a fine line between positive spin and moronic ambivalence, and this lip service -- as was the case with Martz's proclamation that he was satisfied with his team's effort after getting crushed in San Francisco, the Rams' low point earlier in the season -- teeters toward the latter.

Any coach who expresses satisfaction with such poor production from two veteran acquisitions -- players whom he had a strong hand in bringing in -- is taking an unintended shot at his ability to teach and integrate newcomers into his team's system.

Wilkins' impotence has not been lost on Don and Donna Chrisco of Shrewsbury, who vented their frustrations a few Sundays ago during St. Louis' blowout of the Seattle Seahawks, the sputtering franchise led by megalomaniac head coach/GM Mike "Pitino" Holmgren.

Former Ram Az  Hakim (81)
Tom Albert
Former Ram Az Hakim (81)

"Don't we keep hearing that he [Wilkins] doesn't understand the offense? Why not?" asks Donna Chrisco. "That doesn't say much for his college [Wilkins attended the University of Virginia]. "

"I don't think it's Wilkins' problem -- it's management's problem," says Don, Donna's husband. "There were other receivers out there."

Indeed there were -- namely Qadry Ismail, who replaced Wilkins in Indy for almost identical money, and Terance Mathis, who took Edwards' spot in Pittsburgh for the veteran minimum salary of $750,000. The vastly underrated Ismail has put up stellar numbers similar to Hakim's as Peyton Manning's second option, and even Mathis' comparatively pedestrian stats (twelve catches, 113 yards) should have Martz and his brain trust shaking their heads in regret right now.

Meanwhile, Hakim has turned lemons into lemonade in Detroit. He misses his friends in the Lou, but he's the man now in a once-great city that, much like St. Louis, has nowhere to go but up.

"I love it right now," says Hakim of Motown. "I think it's gonna be a great city."

Fans like the Chriscos couldn't care less. They just want their Wizard back, fumbles and all.

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