Notebook: Marinelli Continues To Feel Heat

Lions coach Rod Marinelli is under fire from Detroit fans and media frustrated with a 0-2 start and the prospect of another long, miserable season. More inside.

Lions coach Rod Marinelli is under fire from Detroit fans and media frustrated with a 0-2 start and the prospect of another long, miserable season.

After Sunday's 48-25 loss to Green Bay, Marinelli's Monday news conference was full of tough questions: Is he considering a change at quarterback? Can he objectively evaluate the performance of Joe Barry, his son-in-law and defensive coordinator? If the Lions don't make the playoffs in his third season, does he expect to be fired? Is he the right man for the job?

Marinelli answered in much the same way he always has in tough times. He supported Kitna. He supported Barry. He declined to speculate about the future, and he took responsibility for the team's failings.

"It starts with me," Marinelli said. "It always starts with me, and it has since I've been here. I've always said that."

What about Kitna?

"He had a bad game," Marinelli said. "I feel he's our leader and a very good quarterback. I do."

What about Barry?

"I'm very objective of in terms of I know exactly what I want," Marinelli said. "I've had a chance to work with him for years, and he's putting it in exactly the way I want it, so if there's a problem with it, it's me."

What about the prospect of being fired?

"I have no control over any of that," Marinelli said. "I don't know. When you look at that, I'm spinning my wheels and my energy on something I don't know. Why would I do that?"

Why is Marinelli the right leader for the Lions?

"If you summarize all of my answers today, I would say that we've tried to put this thing together as a team in terms of how you do business first in this building, in this complex," Marinelli said. "That was No. 1. And then the second phase is, we've got to play better game day. ...

"Once we're able to take our practice habits to our game with consistency, we're going to do a nice job of winning. But as of this point, that has not happened, and I won't blow magic and mirrors to anybody. I deal in reality. I like what we've done in this building. I don't like what we've done on the field yet consistently."

Notebook:

  • Marinelli knows the fans are upset. "The first thing I will say about the fans, they were awesome in this game," Marinelli said. "They were unbelievable. It was so loud down there it was incredible. Our job is to make them happy, and we're not doing that, and I fully understand that. The thing I do appreciate it what type of fans they are. They're special. When we took that lead in the game, it was special. Now our job is to make them yell and scream and have a good time, and we did not do that."
      Center Dominic Raiola is at a loss. "You sit around all year and you wait for season and then we give you this," Raiola said. "All I can say is, it's going to get better. I'm going to go out there and play my ass off. Everybody else is going to play their ass off. We're going to make something happen.

      "You can believe what you want, stay with the team if you want. But that's what I'm talking to the guys in this locker room about. It's about us. The fans have gone through this long enough. We can't promote anything. We've got to show them. We can't just talk about it, what we're going to do to fix it. We've got to go out there and win. That's what they want."

    Player Notes:

    • S Gerald Alexander's status is uncertain after he suffered a concussion Sunday against Green Bay.
    • DT Cory Redding suffered a sprained ankle Sunday and is day to day.
    • TE Casey Fitzsimmons' thumb injury is expected to be OK, according to the Lions' medical staff.
    • RT Gosder Cherilus played well in the second half Sunday, but coach Rod Marinelli declined to say whether he would start the next game at San Francisco.
    • QB Drew Stanton, who has been out with a sprained thumb, has been throwing and could be available at San Francisco. He is expected to be the third quarterback again, though.

    REPORT CARD VS. PACKERS

  • PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Jon Kitna and Calvin Johnson helped the Lions climb back into the game, connecting on two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Johnson caught six passes for a career-high 129 yards. But with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter, Kitna threw three interceptions in about a three-minute span. The last two were returned for touchdowns.
  • RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- For the second straight game, the Lions fell behind, 21-0. They had to abandon the run and finished with only 12 rushing attempts. Running back Kevin Smith averaged 4.0 yards per carry.
  • PASS DEFENSE: F -- So much for the Lions' leaner defensive line and overhauled secondary. In his second NFL start, Aaron Rodgers eluded the rush like an expert veteran and carved up the Lions. He finished 24-for-34 for 328 yards and three touchdowns. This, after Atlanta rookie Matt Ryan beat the Lions in his first NFL start.
  • RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Lions limited running back Ryan Grant to only 20 yards on 15 carries. Still, the Packers racked up 123 rushing yards. Brandon Jackson had 61 yards on seven carries, and his longest run was only 19 yards. Rodgers added 25 yards on four carries.
  • SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Punter Nick Harris dropped three punts inside the 20. Kicker Jason Hanson made field goals of 38, 49 and 53 yards. Mike Furrey fumbled a punt, but the Lions recovered and were solid on returns. The punt rush unit got a gift of a safety when a high snap slipped through the hands of the Packers' punter and out the back of the end zone.
  • COACHING: D -- There's something badly wrong when you fall behind, 21-0 for the second straight game. Either opponents are outsmarting you early, your players aren't ready to play or both. The Lions made adjustments and had enough mental toughness to climb back into the game, and the coaches deserve some credit for that. But again, their troops crumbled at crunch time.

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