As Rod Marinelli put it after his first game as an NFL head coach: "I'm not interested in playing hard and well; I'm interested in winning."
Which is another way of saying the Detroit Lions, winners of only 21 games in the past five years, have a ways to go before they measure up to the ambitious standards their new coach has set for them.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz has a lot of work left to do if he hopes to turn last year's 27th-ranked offense into the Greatest Show on Turf Part Deux.
Defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson has to get his defense to play the final three minutes as well as it played the first 57 minutes in the 9-6 loss to Seattle in the season opener Sunday at Ford Field.
And special teams coach Chuck Priefer has to get the same production from his return teams and coverage teams as he got from the field goal-block team that slapped away two Seattle field goal attempts.
The Lions will get their next chance Sunday at Soldier Field against a Chicago Bears team that beat them in both games last season and got off to a fast start with a win Sunday at Green Bay.
"We've got to continue to grow," Marinelli said. "It's about team, still -- offense, defense, special teams. All three phases. That's what I'm going to teach and that's what I believe in. There's no option, there's no solution other than winning. That's it; I won't accept anything less."
For what it's worth, however, the 2006 Lions appear to have little resemblance to the Lions teams that have staggered to a 21-59 record in five seasons under previous coaches Marty Mornhinweg and Steve Mariucci, under the direction of team president Matt Millen.
There is still work to be done but if they can stand up to the defending NFC champion Seahawks as they did in the opener, it seems Millen might finally have them on the right path.
The defense especially appears to have benefited from the Marinelli/Henderson influence, holding last year's offensive MVP Shaun Alexander to 2.7 yards per carry on 19 rushing attempts and sacking Matt Hasselbeck five times.
Don't expect any rejoicing from Marinelli, however. Certainly not yet.
"I'm not going to throw them a rose and say 'good job,'" he said. "They expect more and I'm going to demand more. Our standards are higher."
But they still have 15 games left in which to reach them.
For nearly 57 minutes Sunday, the Lions went toe-to-toe with defending NFC champion Seattle and held their own -- two Jason Hanson field goals against two Josh Brown field goals, strong defense against strong defense, struggling offense against struggling offense.
The Lions' problem was that they couldn't take advantage of the opportunities presented them by their defense and special teams.
Their special teams blocked two Seattle field goal attempts -- one by defensive tackle Shaun Rogers and the other by defensive end James Hall -- and their defense recovered a Shaun Alexander fumble but the most they could get out of it was a 44-yard field goal by Hanson.
The Seahawks regained the lead, 6-3, with two field goals of their own before halftime and stayed on top until Hanson booted a 37- yarder to tie the game midway in the fourth quarter. The Lions failed to capitalize on their next possession, however, and their defense came unglued, giving up 56 yards on eight plays, setting up Brown's game-winning 42-yard field goal for a 9-6 victory as time ran out.