Lions coach Rod Marinelli is under fire. He might not get fired, if only because there is no good option for an in-season replacement. But if he does, he won't argue with owner William Clay Ford.
"I always look at authority, and I respect authority - which a lot of times that doesn't happen in this country," Marinelli said Monday at his weekly news conference. "I look at authority, and I take my marching orders from there. ...
"Authority is everything in my life, and there's a certain chain of command that I'll always follow, and I do a good job of that."
Marinelli is 10-26. The Lions are 0-4 this season and have been outscored by 81 points - the most through four games in franchise history, according to STATS.
But Marinelli said he considered even a question about quitting a personal insult. Marinelli was told Bobby Ross quit in 2000 when the Lions were 5-4 because he thought it was best for all parties.
Why does Marinelli find a question about quitting insulting?
"Then you don't know me," Marinelli said. "I'd never do that. Never. The game of football is about teaching this. I am a living example of what fight is about. A living example of it.
"I believe in what I'm doing 100 percent. I'm going to fight every single day that I have that opportunity. I owe the game of football that. I owe every kid in this community that. Don't ever say that to me."
So Marinelli would never quit under any circumstances?
"Ever," Marinelli said. "I love this game too much. I love these players. Ever. It's what I'm about. I'm going to fight every single day. I love the fight. In a fight right now? So be it. I love it. I actually embrace it. And I'm going to do better and better and better, because this is my arena."
Marinelli said he would never coach to save his job, believes everyone should earn his playing time and he should always do everything he can to win the next game. Why is winning week to week more important than looking toward the future?
"If you're working to get it right now, you have a chance to get it right the next week, and then the next week, and then the next week," Marinelli said. "I've just got to do what's underneath me right now and try to get it right."
Marinelli said after the firing of president Matt Millen over the bye week, he and Ford spoke only about beating Chicago not about his long-term future. He said Ford has never told him or asked him to play a certain player.
"No," Marinelli said. "He's been great. He really has. And every time I go in, we'll sit down and explain what we did this week, where I failed, what went wrong, explain it to him in detail. He's a tremendous listener. He listens, gathers all the information, and then I go from there."
"Again, like I said, there's a chain of command and authority," Marinelli said. "I will listen to authority."
Notes & Quotes
Coach Rod Marinelli spoke about leadership in tough times. He was talking about players, but he could have been talking about himself. "This is when it's awesome," Marinelli said. "In terms of real leadership, real leaders stand in the front, and that's hard for people to do. When things are going wrong, you've got to go to the front and you pull people with you. When things are going good, leaders stay in the back. They should, and they push from behind. But when things are difficult, leadership steps forward, takes the bullets, believes in its people, and you go forward."
Why does Marinelli believe he's good enough even though he was never a head coach before? "I've been around too many good people that have done it," Marinelli said. "I've been right there next to them, and I've seen it done, and the one thing, unwavering belief in themselves, unwavering belief in the system. And I know that in today's society that's not real, but that's who I am. I won't change. I believe in everything I'm doing in the game of football and how it's being taught. I have 100 percent belief in it. Is it getting done yet? No. Am I going to go to work? Yes."
Only one team has started 0-4 and made the playoffs, the 1992 San Diego Chargers. But some Lions haven't given up hope on becoming the second. "You guys might laugh at this," wide receiver Mike Furrey told reporters, "but we've still got 12 games left and our division's not that strong right now. There's a lot of teams in our division struggling. It's not like we're out of it."
Player Personnel Notes