Lions Notebook: Is winning on the horizon?

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. Much more inside, including player notes.

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."

PLAYER NOTES

  • LG Ross Verba got his first start of the season in the Lions' game Sunday against his former Green Bay teammates, but he didn't make it through the first offensive series before leaving with the recurring hamstring injury that has bothered him since midway through the preseason schedule. Coach Rod Marinelli said his return now is week-to-week.
  • SS Kenoy Kennedy missed the Lions' game against Green Bay with a foot injury suffered a week earlier. Coach Rod Marinelli said Kennedy's return is listed as week-to-week.
  • OL Brandon Stokes sat out the Green Bay game with a hamstring injury but he might have a chance of playing at either LG or RT in the Lions game at St. Louis next Sunday. Coach Rod Marinelli said Stokes return is day-to-day.
  • RT Rex Tucker, who suffered a relapse of his knee injury in practice last week and did not play against Green Bay, is now being listed as week-to-week, an indication he is not likely to start Sunday at St. Louis.
  • OT Jonathan Scott, a rookie drafted in the sixth round last April, got his first NFL start Sunday in the Lions' 31-24 loss to Green Bay. Coach Rod Marinelli said Scott played "good but not great" against the Packers. It appears he might start next Sunday at St. Louis if Rex Tucker is still hampered by a recurring knee injury.

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