ALLEN PARK -- During Friday's pre-camp press briefing, Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli didn't talk about a bar being high. He didn't even mention the word 'playoffs.'
Even after he was asked twice about it.
"The goal right now is that next play," responded Marinelli when pressed about the team's outlook, "I want to make sure that each and every play we're focused in on that and if you win enough plays, that's how it happens for you and that's how I do my business."
And that's how he plans on winning games. Not with his reputation, not with good looks or savvy talk. Not with Jeff Garcia.
While optimism is again at the doorstep of Lion Nation, Marinelli is aware of what the only thing this group of players did well the last few years: lose. While some faces are different, most are the same, and ridding of that losing disposition is Marinelli's first order of business.
That will start during today's opening moments of training camp.
What Marinelli and his coaching staff have done in the last 48 hours is place the team in football mode. He has named veteran Jon Kitna, the 2003 comeback football player of the year, the team's starting quarterback -- handing a group that has lacked command at the position its first taste of onfield leadership. He is also flirting with the idea of naming year long captains, something neither of team's last two coaches did.
"I just want to focus on each and everyday and all of our attention is on training camp right now," said Marinelli, "That's the thing I want to talk to them about."
"You can look down the road to the season and all of those things, but the most important thing is what we're involved in now, which is training camp. I want that to be the focus, and not anything past that.
"Then phase two would be the preseason games and the value of the preseason games. The third thing would be how to organize time management of a game week. Then I'll prepare for the opener. I just don't want to look too far down that road; I want to get what were supposed to do right now."
And he also wants the player's minds off the past. With a winning franchise still 40 years in the making, Marinelli wants to ensure that the past doesn't comeback to haunt the team at any moment. Especially before the season begins.
"Sure, there is tremendous pressure on us to win right now," admitted Marinelli, "As a competitor, you want to win everyday. I'm here to compete, and I'm not interested in doing anything else. You are in this profession because you love to compete. Every guy I've hired loves to compete. If we go play bingo, they're going to try to take your throat out because we love to compete.
"We're in one of the highest levels of competition and you have highly competitive men in this because of it. We'll go to camp and will work as hard and smart as we can to go out and win now and we all know that."
Marinelli compared himself to a "volcano" of his excitement for his first training camp as a head coach, although he spoke as though he had been a head coach the past 30 years. But he has never administered an entire football team before. Ever.
With a team in desperate need of a fresh start, and not just talk, maybe that's a good thing.
"We all know our goal," said Marinelli, "Anytime you bring men to a table, you have goals. You have to go out and win your division every year - that's a given and is what we're here for. However, to state all of that right now may not be best because guys forget it in a day. Right now, they're only worried about their job, their survival and making the next practice.
"I have the ability to coach that well and I want to make sure we make progress daily. That's my goal right now, and everything else is just talk."