Biggs: Gunther blames lousy defense on colleges

After Chad Ochocinco scorches the Detroit Lions secondary on Sunday, and after the 1-2 combination of Cedric Benson and Larry Johnson runs roughshod over the defense, Gunther Cunningham will have something to fall back on.

You see, the Lions 32nd-ranked defense is allowing nearly 400 yards a game, and opposing quarterbacks are completing 70.5 percent of their throws while posting a passer rating of 110. It’s all explainable by Cunningham, the team’s defensive coordinator, though.

Blame it on the colleges. Let him explain, as Tom “Killer” Kowalski with detailed.

“The NCAA, I don't like them,” Cunningham said. “Those guys really upset me a few years ago when they put the 20-hour rule in. You can't coach this game at the college level by giving the coaches 20 hours a week. The coaches did a great job of finding a system for the quarterbacks—with the five wide receivers—that's easy to do.”

Easy to do? Has Cunningham checked out the failure rate for quarterbacks drafted in the first round? They're not exactly NFL ready, either. They’re called student athletes for a reason, too, it’s a thing called class. Occasionally, the football players need to attend.

“There's a real problem for the defensive side of the ball, and NCAA started all of this as far as I'm concerned,' Cunningham said. "I study this game and wonder why all of these things are happening, and that's my personal opinion. It's arguable, but I'd love to argue it.

“I don't like it because the linebackers are getting smaller and they're putting all those coverage people on the field. The (Brian) Urlachers are tough to find. A lot of teams in the NFL are going to the 3-4 because of that.

“The linebackers that are coming out are the size of safeties: 6-foot and 220 pounds. You look at the Cincinnati Bengals' tackles and they're 6-7 and those linebackers can't even see where the back is half the time. There's a real problem on defense to find the right players and the right mix for you to compete in this league.

“If you look in the college game, from what I understand, it's going to be a big draft on defense for the first time in a long time. The draft is in the defensive line and there are a couple of safeties, but where are those corners who are going to cover the 6-6 receivers?”

The Lions’ problems on defense are multiple, largely the creation of nearly a decade of awful drafting by former team president Matt Millen. The Lions lack players. Why doesn’t Cunningham come out and say that? The league’s best defenses are bringing in college players from the same ranks, and the offenses in the NFL are evolving too.

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