Lions Attempt Return To Normalcy

ALLEN PARK - After a tumultuous week, the Detroit Lions will enter the weekend seeking normalcy and, hopefully, a win. Comments and more inside from Lions' interim coach Dick Jauron.

ALLEN PARK - After a tumultuous week, the Detroit Lions will enter the weekend seeking normalcy and, hopefully, a win.

The team wrapped up its preparation for the upstart Minnesota Vikings, and interim head coach Dick Jauron indicated on Friday that the team has a returned sense of focus.

Just a few days ago, that would have been difficult to believe.

Shrouded in turmoil after the firing of Steve Mariucci on Monday, the team withstood controversial comments voiced by cornerback Dre' Bly and quarterback Jeff Garcia. Garcia, who remains close with Mariucci, went as far as to question the Lions upper-management, but has since expressed remorse.

Although he stopped short of making excuses, Jauron did concur when asked whether or not the controversial comments were spurred by frustration.

"Absolutely, because it is frustrating," said Jauron. "It is frustrating to lose and it is frustrating to go through the firing of the head coach and two assistants on the same day. As we have said many times, and many other people have said, this is an emotional game and it is played by emotional people. They just said the wrong things at the wrong time."

Jauron admitted that while the week has been draining, he -- along with the rest of the coaching staff -- has also become adjusted.

"Things happened so quickly that you don't - once they pass - you don't have a lot of time to think about them because you have to go onto the next step," said Jauron. "That is where we are now; working our way through practices, working our way through the meetings and trying to get ready for a really good football team.

"In terms of all of the so-called turmoil, I guess what we have is, maybe as a staff, we are a little more fatigued because of the stress. Other than that, it is starting to feel like a regular week; it is starting to feel that way."

With the playoffs little more than a pipe dream, it has also been questioned whether or not the 4-7 Lions would simply lay down in its remaining five games. Some rumors have circulated that certain players have even demanded trades.

But, contended Jauron, who was a Pro Bowler in his playing days in Detroit, the issues haven't negated the pride of any individual player.

"The integrity of our game is based on playing to win," Jauron said. "The integrity of this business is based on effort, honest effort to win every single Sunday. That is where we are.

"I would like to believe that we are all professionals and we have earned the right to be here and earned the right to stay."

The Lions coaching staff hasn't noticed a lackadaisical approach by Detroit players, but Jauron was pressed further on whether or not he was concerned with a potential lack of effort turned in by the ball club.

"I think you always worry about effort, every week," he admitted. "But then you get a feeling for your guys, and I think we have good guys. They want to win. They want to win and they like to play. I have never been concerned about effort with this group.

"You can get disheartened in the course of a game. Then you have to push them sometimes. But even then, I don't think it is a function of their character, it is more of a question that they want to win so badly and it is going so poorly sometimes that they just get down like normal people would."

If the Lions need to look for any inspiration, they need not look any further than their next opponent. After one of the more conterversial moments in the team's history, the Vikings' responded from the 'Love Boat' scandal and are in the midst of five game winning streak.

Although veteran quarterback Brad Johnson's revival of the Minnesota offense is a primary cause of the resurgent Vikings, the method of channeling those emotions is something Jauron will consider.

"It is certainly possible, because as you pointed out they (Minnesta) went through a lot of turmoil and came out of it," he said. "So you certainly hope so. Obviously it is not going to be easy.

"It is not easy."

Welcome (back) to Detroit, Dick.


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