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Friday, April 07, 2006 

Chuck and the Schmuck


I remember when the phrase "I'm Charles Rogers! I had 68 catches and 13 touchdowns!!!" became a part of my daily vocabulary. The Madden 2004 commercial debuted shortly after the Lions made C-Rog the #2 overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. The spot featured Ray Lewis hazing the wide receiver from Saginaw, Michigan by making him sing and clap and by zinging footballs at him from close range (you button hooked me!).

The future members of the Noob Sports family took to the commercial immediately. Not only was it pretty hilarious, we all expected big things from Chuck in the pros. The man had already earned legendary status playing football and basketball in Sag-Nasty before dominating the Big Ten at East Lansing. Rogers even dunked on SEL in a Gus Macker tournament once, no joke.

During the ensuing 2,543 Madden fantasy drafts to take place in the bunker of the house called Old Style, use of the "68 catches and 13 touchdowns" chorus was mandatory upon his selection. Of course, he absolutely raked on that game. He regulary developed into the top receiver in the league within a couple seasons. You couldn't go wrong with either him or Andre Johnson.

In his first regular season NFL game, Chuck had 2 touchdowns against the Cardinals. You might also remember this game for Anquan Boldin's debut: 10 grabs for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. After watching Boldin's explosion, I couldn't sign on to my fantasy football team fast enough to add him to my roster, but I never would have traded Chuck for him.

I'd been had, along with every other Lion fan. Johnson and Boldin have both made the Pro Bowl in their 3 seasons. In his 3 seasons, Charles Rogers has been seriously injured twice, suspended for drug use (which also means that he failed 3 seperate drug tests), and completely underwhelming. His poor attitude is confusing, his drive is non-existent, and his production is embarrassing.

Today, I renounce my loyalty to Charles Rogers... and Mike Williams is a punk bitch too.

MLive is reporting that both Rogers and Williams have managed to irk their new coaching staff just 3 weeks into a 14 week offseason program. Marinelli and his staff believe Rogers has no focus, poor work habits, and that he parties too much. At least he's showing up I guess. Williams hasn't even done that much. He skipped out of Detroit after showing up overweight for the first 4 meetings.

After returning from his drug suspension last fall, Rogers couldn't crack a depleted WR rotation and often wasn't even active on Sundays. He has been a bigger disappointment than Joey Harrington. In fact, his lack of effort effectively threw Harrington under the bus at times. He literally stunk up the field and then laughed about it. Chuck couldn't even get fired up when the Lions filed a grievance against him and went after his signing bonus. Even after all that tomfoolery, Charles apparently figures he's got nothing to prove to his new coach.

Meanwhile, Williams was projected to be an effective red zone target because of his size but he only caught one TD all season. In fairness to him, he also got banged up and certainly must have had a tough adjustment to the NFL after sitting out an entire season. He has no excuses for his attitude though; rumor has it that Williams arrived late to team practices and meetings at an almost ridiculous rate. Michael Smith reported that he had already been tardy to at least 10 team functions by August 29 (!), and it didn't stop there. But after that first impression, somehow he doesn't think that attending the offseason program is something he should do.

Amazingly, these guys have learned nothing since those shenanigans last season. Even with that big softie Mooch no longer running things, the WRs have failed to shape up. Does C-Rog not realize that he is lucky that they didn't cut him yet? Is Mike Williams not concerned that he couldn't get seperation from NFL defensive backs during a pathetic rookie campaign? Can we pitch in and get him an alarm clock?

Matt Millen got punk'd again. How do you draft a wide receiver three years in a row without absolutely knowing that the guy you are taking is a lock to succeed? Why can't his new, handpicked, allegedly badass coach motivate these slackers? Why weren't these problems addressed last season? Isn't it abundantly clear that despite an eye for athleticism, Millen has no idea how to construct a winning football team?

Having said that, I wish I could go on to say that I saw this one coming. Truth be told, I thought Chuck was going to be the truth, even after his injuries. Hell, I still believe there is a small chance that he does eventually make a Pro Bowl. You could probably successfully scrape the inside of his lungs for resin, but his 6'3, 220 lb. frame and big smile are still so promising.

But until he gives an honest effort, I can no longer cheer for him or give him the benefit of the doubt. He and Mike Williams have done nothing to deserve the loyalty of Lions fans. Both should be booed and heckled without mercy until further notice. Right now, they are basically stealing money from the franchise. The lack of intelligence, integrity, and respect shown in their actions is almost disgusting.

Time for the cheesy yet ominous ending, and damn you Charles for making me say this: if they don't shape the hell up soon, and there is no reason to expect that they will, they should be shipped the hell out... along with the joker who drafted them.

-NJV

Hey NJV, saw your site linked from Deadspin. As a Texas fan, I'm curious as to what you think of Roy. He's been hurt a bit, but he's had some good games.

If I were you I wouldnt count on Rogers coming around anytime soon. Take it from someone who watched Roger's Mich St. bretheren Plaxico Burress for years. He flashed just enough potential to get your hopes up, then would routinely miss balls or do something stupid that junior high squads teach you not to do. Must be something in the Gatorade in east lansing.

If he can avoid the nagging injuries, Roy Williams is one of the best receivers in the NFC. Great size, hands, athleticism... we'll see if Marinelli and McCown (please God, not Kitna) can get him the ball. He has had some dominating games, as you mentioned, but he needs to put together a complete season. There were rumors of him being a bit of a pansy last year in recovering from injury, but it seems that every WR worth his salt these days has to be a bit of prick at times. Hopefully it was just his frustration and not an indicator of things to come.

Millen did make a great move by accepting Cleveland's offer to pass on Kellen Winslow and take Roy just one pick later, and add a second rounder. Signing Bly was his other good move.

And that's about it...

As a Ohio State student, I saw Rogers burn us constantly. I'm glad he's suckin it up now.

Those Buckeyes are so educated. "As AN Ohio State student..."

Hey Steelers Fan, I understand why you might consider Plax somewhat of a disappointment, but trust me when I say that we Lions fans would gladly give Matt Millen's left nut to see Rogers put up numbers like Burress did with Pittsburgh. Hell, I'd like to see him just manage to play a full season. At this point in his career, Ryan frickin' Leaf had more starts than Rogers has had.

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