Feel free to write off the Detroit Lions following their third straight loss. Go ahead and say that they're the 'same old Lions.' Predict that they'll finish 6-10; that the season is over, and it's time to start reviewing more top 10 draft choices.
Just don't tell any of that to their head coach.
"Just like I told them afterwards: we have to get right back to it," Marinelli said following Thursday's 37-26 loss to Green Bay. "I am never going to change -- ever. I think you know me well enough. There is no panic in my life. I just don't live that way. What I do look forward to is getting our team in tomorrow. I do look forward to the challenge that is ahead of us. It is a tough challenge."
Despite a 6-2 start that culminated in a 44-6 win over the Denver Broncos, an impressive victory that sparked post-season hope, three consecutive losses has virtually dropped them from contention in the NFC North -- and from the minds of many analysts that jumped on the Lions bandwagon.
Even worse, the team's schedule only thickens -- with a difficult road match-up at Minnesota next week Sunday, followed by a home contest with the NFC's best, Dallas Cowboys. Two more road games, once at San Diego and another at Green Bay, also loom in the distance.
Considering Detroit's struggles on the road this year, and its current cold streak, there is doubt whether or not they'll win another game.
Marinelli isn't buying it.
"I've been down this road many times," he said. "I just believe in the players, I believe in work habits, I believe in work. I want to come in and look at the film and correct it, see the corrections and then we have to move forward. I am going to give them a little bit of rest over the weekend. We will come back in on Monday and we just have to improve.
His players back-up that sentiment. Outspoken defensive tackle Cory Redding, who was unhappy with the team's defensive performance against Brett Favre and company (one that yielded zero sacks), claims the team hasn't mailed it in.
"You just need to grit your teeth, look at your teammates and say 'hey, let's not give up, let's not pack in the tents and just call it a season and quit," said Redding. "No, no, we need to go back to work and have a great week of practice. We need to knuckle down and just go out there and find a way to win next week, period. We can't just dwell on this, be all sad and down. No, we need to put this behind us, learn from it and we need to battle our butts off next week and get some wins; period."
Added rookie Calvin Johnson: "It's tough, but we've got a lot of character and we can bounce through it."
If common thought prevails, the Lions have already demonstrated that they are capable of rebounding. In disastrous losses to Philadelphia and Washington earlier in the year, they responded with impressive wins.
But with the bandwagon emptying at a rapid pace, and the team one more loss away from damage control mode, they'll need to do more than just talk.
"That is about football," explained Marinelli. "That is the one thing in football: you go farther with toughness and character than any other sport. I have to make sure I am emphasizing that.
"I've got to set the example and set the tone in terms of leadership."