Mariucci: Lions Need More Offensive Explosion

Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci is confident that "chunk" plays are on the way, but admits that the offense needs more explosion. More analysis and quotes from Steve Mariucci inside.

(ALLEN PARK) -- If there is any concern regarding the Detroit offense or quarterback Joey Harrington, it is the team's inability to throw downfield -- or at least a lack of it.

Harrington's per completion average is just over 10 yards, slightly below the league average of 10.4, and despite a solid season from the third-year quarterbback thus far, the Lions haven't established a deep presence in any of their four games.

Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci acknowledged the problem during Monday's media briefing, stating that more offensive explosion will be required if the Lions expect to compete with teams further down the schedule such as New York, Indianapolis and Minnesota.

"I would like to get started faster on offense," admitted Mariucci. "We need more explosive type plays. We need to put more points on the board. We will face some teams that can score a lot of points, so we have to be able to match that kind of production."

The Lions' coaching staff doesn't believe that isn't attainable, either. And that the offense is fully capable of providing larger "chunk" plays.

"I don't sense that (defenses) are sitting on our short routes," said Mariucci, "When we had some go routes called, they actually were there -- soft and deep -- to make us check it down and cover some of those sorts of things at times."

The team also isn't concerned with Harrington's ability to throw the deep ball, which has been refined since he entered the league in 2002. Leaving Oregon, however, he had a knack for overthrowing on deep routes. That issue is believed to have been resolved and kept minimal.

"We've been very efficient in the passing game, but not explosive, not the 30-40 yard plays that you'd like to get once in a while for a variety of reasons," said Mariucci, "That's going to come as we get better, playing with each other with this new supporting cast with Joey. I sense that it is coming. I'd rather give him a little at the time. He's been pretty efficient, pretty solid and steady."

Statistically, Harrington's longest completion of the season came during Sunday's 17-10 win over Atlanta in the form of Az-Zahir Hakim's 39-yard second quarter touchdown -- but the bulk of that completion was Hakim's run-after-the-catch.

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