Furrey's stock rises with LionsBy Carlos "Big C" Holmes
Cox News Service
The Detroit Lions are off to a surprising 0-2 start after losing a nailbiter to the Seattle Seahawks (9-6) in Week 1 and being pummeled by the Chicago Bears (34-7) in Week 2. The team has struggled on offense, ranking No. 26 in the league, and what was supposed to be the second coming of The Greatest Show on Turf with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz on board has turned out to be The Greatest No-Show on Turf. That could all change on Sunday when the Green Bay Packers and their 27th ranked defense roll into Ford Field. This may be just what the doctor ordered in an effort to kickstart a sputtering Lions offense.
There is no doubt that the Lions are looking for a spark on offense, and this week Martz could turn to a familiar face in WR Mike Furrey to ignite the offense.
Furrey has flown under the radar since training camp, but is quietly starting to make his way onto the scene. He led the team in receiving Week 1 against Seattle with five receptions for 55 yards. Furrey finished second in receiving behind star WR Roy Williams last week against Chicago when he hauled in six catches for 67 yards. With Green Bay ranked No. 30 against the pass, Furrey is expected to see more than his share of passes thrown his way. In other words, look for the receiver to be more involved in the offense and a key player in the passing game.
Who is Mike Furrey?
Furrey is an interesting story. In 2005, while playing with the Rams, he became the team's starting free safety after their fifth game and finished the season with a team-leading four interceptions.
Mike Martz talked at length about the receiver making the switch to safety last season with the Rams.
"Mike (Furrey) was our best special teams player - he was our best tackler," Martz said. He was our wedge-breaker at 186 pounds. In front of all the DBs and linebackers, he was a wedge-breaker. He was the toughest guy we had on special teams. We had no free safety, not even a smell of a free safety there. So I said, 'Mike, look, you have a chance to play at free safety; we would like to move you over and [have you] add 15 pounds.' He said, 'okay.' He learned it, did the best he could with it and had a few interceptions and fumble recoveries and from what I understand, he did an equitable job."
Needless to say, Furrey followed Martz over from St. Louis and is a guy who knows Martz's system very well. So it only makes sense to call his number in a time of need and they need someone to step up on offense big time.
Furrey, who was a free agent at the time, recalls the day he received the phone call from his former coach to come and play in Detroit.
"I was at a basketball tournament in Columbus, Ohio," Furrey said. "My phone rang and a weird number came across that I had never seen. So I picked it up and the old guy was on the other end of the line like, hey Mikey, this is coach Martz. To make a long story short, once he [Martz] accepted the job he called me and wanted me to come up. I came up the next couple of days on a visit and just loved the place."
Now with Detroit, the former walk-on receiver for Ohio State has made the switch back to receiver and Martz has complete confidence in his ability.
"I think he's a terrific inside receiver for us. He's so smart; he's like Ricky Proehl, I would say. People thought Ricky couldn't run fast, which he can and so can Mike. He [Furrey] has got his weight down to about 186 pounds now from 206. His speed is plenty good to be on the outside. He's smart. Some of the little nuances of what we do, he helps with some of the other players as they start to learn, like Eddie [Drummond] for instance."
There you have it. Time to unleash Furrey.
The Lions want to get things going fast on offense and hope for a trickle-down effect. If this doesn't come about soon, look for certain individuals to come under fire once again in Motown.