Mariucci: Lions have to reward fans next season

"We've got to be better than 3-5 at home next year for our fans in Ford Field. We've got to be better than that. It is not good enough."--Lions head coach Steve Mariucci

DETROIT - Lions head coach Steve Mariucci was adamant about two things in his post-game press conference; the Lions 19-13 win over the Bears was nice, but it wasn't the kind of win he wanted and Detroit has to play better at home to reward the loyal Lions fans.

Mariucci said while Detroit was happy to get a win, the way they played after building a 16-0 lead was unacceptable.

"I didn't see any jumping around and champagne or any of that sort of thing," said Mariucci in describing the post-game locker room atmosphere.

"I saw a disappointed team in our second-half performance and a team that was bound and determined to maybe put these guys away and play well both halves and come away feeling really good about this win and this game. We let them back in the game and it came right down to the end."

The coach said some of that is part of a young team learning to become a winner. "In turning the corner, this team is looking for a convincing win and a win we feel good about for all four quarters. We're still striving for that game. We'll enjoy it; we'll take it; we'll learn more from it. There's so much to learn. There are so many places to get better with this football team."

One area the coach wants to improve is the team's dismal 3-5 home record. In the past, Detroit has played its best football at home, but not this season.

"We've got to be better than 3-5 at home next year for our fans in Ford Field. We've got to be better than that. It is not good enough. We've got a bunch of guys in there (that are) bound and determined to make that happen. I like their resolve and the way they feel right now. I think that's healthy. I asked them to rest and enjoy it. We're going to get back to work on Wednesday and see if we can get win number seven."

"During the last two years, home has kind of been our safe haven, said Lions quarterback Joey Harrington. "We struggled for so long on the road and we could always come home and know that we could play well. This year it's kind of flipped on us, so it's great to end the season on a winning note here."

Lions running back Kevin Jones agreed with Mariucci's assessment that the team needs to continue improving.

"I feel like we're moving forward in some aspects, some aspects we're at a standstill. We've just got to get better and we will get better. Obviously, the running game is doing better and I think Joey's playing a lot better. He's getting more confident throwing the ball, not scared to take a chance and he's running the ball. That's a good sign that he's getting better. Our offensive line is doing a better job. Overall, the offense is doing a better job. Defense is doing a good job too."

With yesterday's narrow home win, Detroit moved to 6-9 on the season the most wins for the team in four seasons under President and GM Matt Millen. The team travels to Tennessee for the season finale with a chance to finish out one game under .500.


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