Marinelli Takes Blame for Defensive Faults

After the Detroit Lions gave up 38 points to Jacksonville on Sunday, Lions head coach Rod Marinelli accepted responsibility for the defensive shortcomings -- and announced that no coaching changes would be made.

Despite a new quarterback, there was a notion entering Sunday's contest that the Detroit Lions might have a realistic chance at securing their first win of the season over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After all, the Jags entered the contest 3-5, and in the bottom-rung of the league in most offensive categories.

The notion was dismissed by halftime.

The Jags notched 384 total yards, including three second quarter touchdowns and a balanced attack that embarrassed Detroit's defense en route to a 38-14 win. The Lions were again humiliated by missed tackles, missed assignments, and otherwise thoroughly abused by what was considered a makeshift Jacksonville offensive line.

"It's just we've got to get our pads down a little bit better," explained Lions coach Rod Marinelli, who watched his team sink to 0-9. "As coaches and players, they physically beat us. That's all I'll say. As coaches, we weren't able to coach them good enough to play this style of offense."

The Lions are last or nearly last in almost every meaningful defensive category. The team moved rookie linebacker Jordon Dizon to the strong-side against Jacksonville, and even toyed with its secondary. Despite the changes, the unit still struggled to even resemble a professional collection of football players. And with over half the year over, is a fix even possible?

"Of course it's fixable, it's definitely fixable," said cornerback Travis Fisher. "But when you're losing and when you walk in the locker-room there is nothing you can do about it till Monday. You can come in here Monday and look at your mistakes and maybe you rep it again in practice and you keep on repping the same mistakes that you usually make throughout the early part of the season.

"You know, these are stupid mistakes - a lot of these things are stupid mistakes. We either are going to have to keep repping it or something's just not working."

Much has been debated about whether or not it's the players or the system that is at fault, and whether or not the team's "Tampa-2" system should be shelved. Fisher -- like his teammates have said before him -- was quick to point the finger at himself. "Like I said, the best thing to do is to put it on yourself, as a player that's what I think being a man is all about -- putting it on yourself," he said. "If it's something else that needs to be corrected, somebody else can figure that stuff out."

Although Sunday's debacle was only the latest in a string of poor play by the 2008 Detroit Lions, Marinelli refused to be embarrassed by his team's play. It is only the third time in the franchise's history that the Lions have started a season 0-9. The last was in 2001 under Marty Mornhinweg.

"I've just taken a whooping and I accept that. I stand up here and accept it. I just go back and work,' said Marinelli. "If I were embarrassed -- if I use that word, (it would be because) I wasn't trying as hard as I could try. If I wasn't fighting every single day, I'd be embarrassed. I line up everyday and go right back to this team. I stand up, give you no excuses -- ever, and I line up and do it. Now if I didn't try hard, if I put my head in the sand, if I made excuses, I'd embarrass myself. I would be embarrassed, but I won't do that."

Marinelli said he wouldn't make a change at defensive coordinator, a sign that son-in-law Joe Barry will likely go down with the ship at season's end. The third-year coach of the Lions said he would shoulder all of the team's faults.

"I know everything that's going on. I sit down -- just like offense, just like kicking. I'm all on it and it reflects back to me -- nobody else. I don't put it on nobody else - it's me," he said.


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