Through the offseason, the preseason and the first eight weeks of the regular season, Lions coach Steve Mariucci had little to say about expectations of the team he was signed to coach last February.
With the team mired at 1-6 on a six-game losing streak and a 20-game road losing streak, Mariucci finally admitted this week that he knew -- coming in -- the rebuilding process might be a lengthy one.
"In coming in here, we knew it wasn't going to be a quick fix," Mariucci said. "I think if we were to have a quick fix or any semblance of that at all, things would have to go our way. We'd have to stay very healthy, play very well, catch some breaks and win some close games.
"The stars would have to be aligned properly for you to turn this thing relatively quickly, so you're in it for the long haul, for the big picture."
So far those stars haven't aligned and the Lions appear to be at least one productive draft and a couple of strong free-agent signing seasons away from being competitive.
But if the Lions don't make better decisions in the free agent department, it might be even longer until they're respectable.
Mariucci also admitted for the first time that it has been disappointing for him to be unable to make a difference personally in snapping the Lions out of their three-year slide.
"That's my intention, to help this team win," he said. "I've got to find a way to do it with this bunch, to get the most out of the players. As coaches, that's what you want to do -- get the most out of your players and out of the team. That's what consumes our every thought."
Mariucci, who took the San Francisco 49ers to the playoffs in four of the six years he coached them, was asked if the situation could get worse for the Lions and himself personally.
"I hope it doesn't get any worse than this," he said. "It's a difficult time and it's not just about me personally. It's about this organization and this football team.
"We're all going through it together and I think we know what the problems are. It's our job to try to solve those problems and fix those problems. That's the issue: How do we solve it?"