Reality strikes Lions

Nobody expected the Lions to go undefeated. Now, with a loss under their belt, the Lions know that the road back to respectability will be a bumpy one.

There was no savoring the moment when the Lions defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the team's regular season opener. The organization was pleased with the progress the team has made, but the reality is the Lions have a long-road ahead of them and head coach Steve Mariucci has expressed those thoughts.


Five wins in the past two-season will do that to a team, changing the mindset in Detroit hasn't been the task some outside of the organization had thought it would be.


"There were far too many negative issues in Detroit prior to Mariucci taking the job there. Marty Morhingweg, a former San Francisco guy was not ready to head up a program, as the one in Detroit," an NFC General Manager said. "He (Morhingweg) walked in from an organization in San Francisco that had an established structure and the chain of command was stable. Not everywhere you go can you rely on the experience of Bill Walsh and the ability of Steve Mariucci."


"(Matt) Millen really went in there and tore apart that team. The Lions were a competitive team prior to him going there, but obviously he wasn't comfortable with the make-up of the team. Now, Mariucci becomes available and the luck just happened top fall the Lions way. If he is given the room to work, Mariucci will quickly turn that team around, much like he did with the salary-cap strapped 49ers."


In the Lions 42-24 season opening victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the Lions showed some of the promise Mariucci is accustomed to. With the West Coast offense operating efficiently on that day, the Lions are a work in process and there will many bumps along the path of consistency and respectability.


Humbled 31-6 Sunday by the Green Bay Packers, the Lions felt some of those bumps in the road, as quarterback Joey Harrington struggled and the Detroit defense had their hands full against a banged-up, yet dangerous Packers team.


"It isn't going to be an easy job for Mariucci, he knew that going in. There was a reason that team has won five games the past two seasons," the NFC General Manager continued. "Yesterday, the Lions were their own worst enemy. You cannot go into Green Bay and fall behind like they did and expect to win. The Lions wide receivers dropped far too many balls, (Joey) Harrington began to press to make something happen, which only led to turnovers, and the Lions cannot run the football."


"The strength of that team should be the defensive line and they were run over. Defensively, they (the Lions) will struggle this season, but should improve as the season progresses."


If the first two weeks of the NFL season are an indicator of things to come, the Lions may best impersonate Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde over the remaining next fifteen weeks of the season. But, don't get too discouraged, there is a light at the end of this long tunnel created by Matt Millen and Marty Morhingweg.

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