In Rod We Trust: Marinelli Named Coach

Addressing the media as "men", the new Lions coach was short, succinct and to the point in answering why he has confidence he will get the job done in Detroit. Plus, the new coach has a favorite already for defensive coordinator. But can he land him?

ALLEN PARK - New Lions coach Rod Marinelli laid out his philosophy for re-building the Lions into a playoff contender.

Marinell, at today's press conference, talked about instilling certain concepts, beliefs and fundamentals that he felt were building blocks for success in today's NFL.

Addressing the media as "men", the new Lions coach was short, succinct and to the point in answering why he has confidence he will get the job done in Detroit.

Despite not having any head coaching experience, Marinelli pointed to his serving as assistant head coach in three different programs - including Tampa - as giving him the necessary experience.

"I know how to build," said Marinelli who then referred to learning the process from legendary collegiate coach Bruce Snyder at Utah State, John Robinson during his tenure at Arizona State, Tony Dungy at Tampa and then Jon Gruden in Tampa.

"I have been in organizations that at one time were down, like Tampa Bay as we walked in" stressed Marinelli, "And I've seen [the building process] from the ground level. I've been part of it, on how you build, how you draft, how you develop players and how you practice."

Marinelli said Detroit will build by stressing improvement in the "un-talent issues" including playing hard, excellence in the fundamentals of the game, attention to detail and finishing each and every play. The new coach said the goal is to win each snap of the football which leads directly to winning games.

"I want to take every man here on this football team- you take every man and coach him like a starter. You respect every man who puts his cleats on."

He cited his experience in Tampa of assisting Gruden in taking the Buccaneers twice from 5-11 records to 11-5 turnarounds.

Marinelli admitted he would like nothing better than to bring son-in-law Joe Barry, Tampa Bay's outstanding linebackers coach to Detroit as his defensive coordinator, but needed permission from Tampa Bay and there was no guarantee that the Bucs would grant permission.

Other coaches that could be contacted are Tampa Bay offensive line coach Bill Muir, a former Lions assistant and running backs coach Art Valero. Marinelli also mentioned a blast from Lions past, Eric Hipple who he coached at Utah State as an influence of his dealings with and relationships with quarterbacks.

REACTION: Some responses from Marinelli's affiliates with the Tampa Bay organization and across the National Football League (courtesy the Detroit Lions).

Buccaneers' head coach Jon Gruden: "We are very happy for Rod. He is a great coach and we are really going to miss him. The Detroit Lions are getting a heck of a football coach."

Bucs' defensive coordinator Monte Kiffen: "I've been with Rod Marinelli since 1996 and I think this is a great choice by Matt Millen. You don't have to be a defensive coordinator to be a good head coach. Herm Edwards was in the same situation here when he went to the New York Jets and you can see where he has had an extremely successful career as a head coach.

"There is no doubt Rod will do an awesome job. He is a motivator and the players will play hard for him. He is a disciplinarian in the right way. When the players walk off the field, they will be better football players and he will help extend their careers. In the same sense, they will gravitate towards Rod because of the way he interacts with his players."

Bucs' defensive end Simeon Rice: "When talking about Rod Marinelli, you are talking about a man, a myth and a legend. He evokes thoughts of those who have come before us. In the game of coaching, there's nothing like him. He's definitely one of a kind. He's a Michelangelo, an Aristotle, a Socrates. He's a great philosopher. He changes coaching to an art form. He understands the psyche of man and how to motivate men. He understands how to speak to men and how to lead men.

"One of the hardest tasks in the game of football is leading men. When you are talking about a coach like Rod Marinelli, who not only knows how to lead men, but he is a great example of how to live your life. He knows how to look at life through perspective and to live life with great focus. It shows you a little bit about one of the true great minds of our time.

"What he has done for me and my life, what he has brought to me and my life, words can't describe it. I'm extremely happy for him, but I'm extremely sad for me. He'll do great at what he does, because what he does is mold men into becoming whatever they seek to become in their careers. And what he has done for me, in terms of enlightenment and just philosophies, are the things that I eat, drink and sleep by. By me meeting this man, and him being a part of my life for the short time he was, he's been able to change my perspectives and my ideas about life. The Lions are getting much more than a coach; they are getting much more than a man. They say legends aren't born everyday, but the Detroit Lions are getting one, and I salute them."

Chiefs' Coach Herm Edwards: "Another one of Tony Dungy's apples has fallen from the tree. Lovie Smith was part of his staff; I was fortunate to be part of his staff and now Rod Marinelli. That says a lot about Tony as a head coach. I think Rod's a great hire. He'll bring discipline and toughness to his new team. I think he's long overdue to have the opportunity to be a head coach in this league."

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