He might only be in his first year as a head coach, but Rod Marinelli has already mastered a tactic most veteran coaches still have trouble grasping: how to answer a question without really answering it.
And during Monday's press briefing in Allen Park, Marinelli pulled a hat trick.
When the issue of receiver Mike Williams not playing was brought up on three different occasions amid the conference, Marinelli refused to provide any detail as to why the second-year receiver has yet to play a regular season snap. Even when confronted with Williams' own testimony (the former No. 10 overall pick has stated repeatedly that even he is befuddled as to his onfield absence), Marinelli remained nondescript.
"I just said we dressed the guy that we felt gave us the best opportunity to win," said Marinelli, restating his comments following Sunday's game.
But in Sunday's humiliating loss to Chicago, Az-Zahir Hakim -- a receiver
signed during the week -- saw time on the field. While Hakim had two full days
of practice before entering the game, Williams has spent the entire offseason
becoming ingrained with Detroit's offensive sets. Asked if he could clarify the
sense of playing Hakim over Williams, Marinelli said the matter was not
necessarily for media (or public) consumption.
"I think that's - internally - we handle that," he said, adding that Williams had improved but wasn't yet where the team wants him to be. "I'm just telling you the reasons why. He did get better last week. We'll go on from there, we'll handle that as a team issue and all you need to know is who we're dressing."
After a slew of questions regarding a number of other uninteresting topics,
Marinelli again was questioned about Williams and whether or not mixed signals
were being sent to both the player and the team. Since Sunday's loss, Lions'
players both publicly and privately have lamented that Williams' 6'5 presence on the
field could better equip the offense and help the squad end its two-game skid.
"First of all, that's your opinion or what you've heard as an opinion which I appreciate," said Marinelli. "But like I said, we'll handle that internally and believe that we have talked to him. There are certain standards we want and we're going to keep pushing it."
When pressed further on whether or not Williams had met those standards,
Marinelli was deliberate with his response: "I'm not going to answer any more of
those. We can do this for the next three weeks."
"There's no lesson (being taught to Mike Williams) here; there's no lessons. This is what we want; there's a certain standard we want in how we're doing business."