Lions goal: Avoid double-digit losses

They won't win 10 games, as quarterback Jon Kitna talked about in the off-season. They won't make the playoffs, either. Once again, the Lions are playing out the string.

They won't win 10 games, as quarterback Jon Kitna talked about in the off-season. They won't make the playoffs, either.

Once again, the Lions are playing out the string. They play Sunday against Kansas City, finish at Green Bay, and then head off for another off-season of soul-searching and rebuilding.

But coach Rod Marinelli doesn't want to look ahead to 2008 yet. For instance, he isn't considering evaluating another quarterback, even though he has inexperienced backups in J.T. O'Sullivan and Dan Orlovsky.

"No," he said. "I want to play the guys that have earned the right to play and the guys that are going to give us the best chance to win. These two games are critical for us, especially this home game. We've got to get win No. 7, and we have an opportunity to do that at home. That's a must for us."

The Lions have had six straight seasons with double-digit losses. They don't want to make it seven straight since Matt Millen became team president in 2001. That would be devastating.

"Progress to me is winning, and we've not won enough," Marinelli said. "I've stated that from the very beginning, that I have high expectations for this team, so the progress is not there."

The Lions need to show some progress. They started the season 6-2, doubling their win total from last season. But they have lost six straight since.

"In losing, there's nothing positive," Marinelli said. "What you do is look back at the film and see where we're breaking down and try to get that corrected."

Are the Lions regressing?

"By record," Marinelli said. "In terms of your record, you've regressed, and there are some areas we've improved on. What I see is, some areas we'll get better at one week, and then the next week, it's an issue for us. That's what I see. The inconsistency these last six weeks in terms of, maybe, trying to establish the run, stopping the run, just based on the mental things."

Marinelli blames himself and his fellow coaches, not the players. He dismisses talk of a lack of talent.

"You know, I think that's a cop-out," Marinelli said. "These are the 53 I have, and I believe in the 53 that we have. Those are the decisions we made in the off-season to keep these men, and I like them. Their effort, they're trying to do it, and we have to put it on us still.

"I put it on them privately. We do that. I mean, I don't need to do that in a spotlight situation, what I do in team meetings. They understand. What we have to do is make sure we're consistent. That's the biggest thing."

Individual Player Notes

  • QB Jon Kitna threw five interceptions Sunday after throwing only one in his previous three games.
  • RB Kevin Jones stood on the sidelines during a series in the first half and got blasted after making a catch in the second half Sunday, but he said he was fine physically.
  • WR Calvin Johnson had his first 100-yard game Sunday -- five catches, 102 yards -- but it was two catches he didn't make early that disappointed. The second ball went off his hands and was intercepted.
  • WR Mike Furrey has 55 catches this season, after leading the NFC with 98 last season.
  • TE Sean McHugh was a big target two games ago against Dallas, but he has disappeared from the game plan again. He had zero catches Sunday at San Diego.
  • DE Kalimba Edwards was inactive for the second straight game Sunday and might not play again unless somebody falters or suffers an injury.
  • CB Travis Fisher suffered a hamstring injury Sunday but appears to be fine.
  • DT Langston Moore suffered a quadriceps injury Sunday but appears to be fine.
  • LG Edwin Mulitalo suffered a concussion Sunday and the Lions are still waiting to see if he will be able to play Sunday against Kansas City.
  • P Nick Harris is having an excellent season, with 20 punts downed inside the 20 and only four touchbacks.

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