It's happening a little earlier than expected perhaps but it looks like the Detroit Lions already have hit rock bottom in the 2003 season.
Consider the evidence, seven games into the season:
--Their record is 1-6, tied for the worst in the NFL.
--They have lost six games in a row, also tied for the longest current losing streak in the NFL.
-- They have lost 20 consecutive road games, the third-longest streak in NFL history.
The Lions have gone downhill since the arrival of former NFL linebacker-turned-broadcaster Matt Millen three years ago.
They have a 6-33 record during that period and there is nothing to suggest the Lions will do anything in the remaining nine games they haven't been able to do in the first seven.
To his credit, coach Steve Mariucci seems to have recovered from the shock of the 38-7 loss a week ago against Dallas and is dealing with the situation as matter-of-factly as possible.
There are no personnel moves he can make to turn the Lions around at mid-season, despite both critics and fans calling for immediate moves.
"If we were to bench people and that sort of thing, then where do you go?" said Mariucci. "What is the alternative? The alternative is to get it fixed, get it done better, get it done right."
The Lions simply are what they are for the rest of the season and if you look at their remaining schedule -- Oakland, Chicago, Seattle, Minnesota, Green Bay, San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina and St. Louis -- it's hard to see how they are going to finish the season with more than two or three victories.
Anything above and beyond a 4-12 record should qualify Mariucci for coach of the year consideration.