Work-in-Progress Offense Doesn't Concern Mariucci

It certainly wasn't the most glamorous offensive display, but Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci was content with Sunday's 17-3 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Detroit was efficient, led by quarterback Joey Harrington's 167 passing yards and a hard fought 87 rushing yards mustered by running back Kevin Jones. But what happened to the offensive fireworks? With a line-up consisting of a (healthy) Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams, it would be an understatement to say more was expected from the unit.

But on Monday, Mariucci said that will come with time.

"They blitzed us a little more often than a Jim Bates defense would normally present in Miami," he said. "Some of that was to put pressure on the passer; some of that was to stop the run. We want our receivers to be productive every game.

"We need (plays) from our passing game. We came up with some plays when we needed to and missed some plays when we thought we had a chance. That will be a work in progress and will get better as these guys play more."

Mariucci continued: "I think Mike (Williams) played 15 snaps or so; Charles Rogers played a lot. Roy (Williams) played 63 snaps; Kevin Johnson played about 25 (snaps) I want to say. We'll try to get those other guys on the field maybe a little bit more often to keep Charles and Roy fresh and running fast. Marcus Pollard was terrific in this game. We did some good things but it could be better."

Pollard provided quarterback Joey Harrington with a reliable target on Sunday, and one that Harrington took advantage of. The veteran tight end led Detroit with five receptions for 58 yards, including the game's opening touchdown.

But the ball just didn't go down the field enough.

Mariucci explained that Harrington's reliance on Pollard was partially by design, but that it would also parlay into establishing a rhythm for his quarterback.

"I think Joey has found a little bit of a comfort level there," Mariucci said. "He's going to have opportunities and usually when you're throwing the ball to your backs and tight ends, those are usually higher percentage passes; easier and shorter throws often times.

"It's easier to find your rhythm and timing with backs and receivers versus the guys that are way out there with the deeper throws. That sometimes takes more time."

Mariucci shrugged off the suggestion on Sunday that the Lions' playcalling was too conservative, defending decisions made by new offensive coordinator Ted Tollner, but did not go into specifics.

Despite having one win under their belt, though, the Lions might continue to keep it simple offensively next week in Chicago, where the Bears traditionally have a tough defense.

"They're a good defensive team; we know that," Mariucci said. "They're healthier than they were last year. Brian Urlacher is back and their safeties and corners - they're back fresh and healthy."

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