ALLEN PARK -- The Lions' slow start -- 0-3 with two road games next on the schedule -- cannot be considered a surprise. Even team executives were suggesting during the summer that the Lions would need time to get in sync with coach Rod Marinelli's new offensive and defensive systems.
But the question now is whether the Lions are making any real progress or whether sporadic flashes of offense and defense are just that -- sporadic flashes -- and nothing more.
In the season opener against Seattle, they played solid defense but very little offense.
In game two at Chicago, they were demolished on both sides of the ball.
In game three at home against a struggling Green Bay team, they showed a solid balance of running and passing but never came close to reeling in veteran quarterback Brett Favre.
Cornerback Dre' Bly says he is optimistic, that the first win could set off a chain reaction to start the Lions out of a five-year stay in the NFL doldrums.
"Winning is contagious," Bly said. "So, hopefully, we just have to find that one win. Once we find that win, we'll be fine. There's a lot of football left to be played and it's frustrating but we have to move forward."
Perhaps the biggest surprise -- and disappointment -- is that the Lions' defense has not been better than it has, considering Marinelli's background as a defensive line coach and a disciple of Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy.
In the last two weeks, they have given up 34 points to Chicago and 31 to Green Bay, which makes them one of the most generous defenses in the NFL.
"It's very tough," Bly said. "We're better than we played the last two weeks.
We have a very talented defense. We probably have the most dominate guy up front
(Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers) and then on the back end if you give me
the opportunity to make plays, I'll make plays.
"And then we have the guys in the middle. We also have other guys who play well. We just have to stay focused and eliminate the big plays."