Fowler: Time for Marinelli to contain Martz

The players are going to look to Rod Marinelli for true leadership, not just dead rhetoric, to pull them out of this slide -- and that begins with controlling the seemingly uncontrollable "Mad Scientist," Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

What a disappointing, uninspired, pathetic performance by the Detroit Lions in Sunday's 42-10 loss to Minnesota. Detroit's defense, led by the most overrated player in football Shaun Rogers, showed absolutely nothing. Minnesota scored touchdowns the first five times they touched the ball and never punted until there were was only four minutes left in the football game.

All of Rod Marinelli's "play one snap at a time, win it and move on to the next snap" preaching went right out the window. The Lions weren't prepared to play for the fourth week in a row and don't appear to be at all interested in what remains of their feeble playoff chances.

You can almost hear former Colts' head coach Jim Mora, Sr. yelling in the background, "playoffs?"

Making matters worse, Lions wide receiver Roy Williams is likely out for the season with a strained posterior cruciate ligament, leaving rookie Calvin Johnson as the team's No. 1 receiver. Also, they couldn't have dialed up a more demanding opponent to try to snap a four-game losing streak, Dallas, currently sitting at 11-1 and riding into Ford Field on Sunday.

The pundits said it three weeks ago, but I refused to budge, I felt this team would exceed my original expectations of 8-8 and ride into the playoffs at 9-7. It's still mathematically possible, but for it to become a reality, somebody's got to light a fire under what looks like a spent team.

The Lions appear to have tuned out Marinelli as Mike Martz continues to draw up absurd game plans that leave the team will little chance to compete offensively. Martz continues to ignore Kevin Jones while his team proves with each loss the truth of the old mantra "the team that runs the ball and stops the other team from running, wins."

Martz might want to consider something former Texas coach Darrell Royal royal once said, "When you throw the football, only three things can happen and two of them are bad."

With the Lions offensive line scuffling, Martz continues to hang Jon Kitna out to dry. Kitna has been beaten up, knocked down and sacked so often, he's lost any effectiveness he once had. Dallas must be salivating at the chance to put their defensive pass rush on "go" every play, since Martz will never commit to the run.

Still, with Kansas City and San Diego coming up on the schedule there's hope, but only if some things change. Marinelli needs to reign in Martz. There's nothing wrong with passing the football, but you have to be balanced to keep your defense off the field and to put the opposing defense on its heels.

The players are going to look to Marinelli for true leadership, not just dead rhetoric, to pull them out of this slide. Detroit came into week nine at 6-2, needing just three more wins out of eight games to grab a playoff spot. Now four weeks later, they still need three wins -- that's criminal.

If these Lions fail to win at least two of their last eight games, that's a slide that will resonate in the locker room and may never be erased.

Some are predicting Detroit will finish 6-10.

What a blow that would be to any thoughts of progress by this organization.


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