Lions Looking For Somewhere to Turn

By: AP
By: AP

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The NFL's worst franchise since 2001 already seems like it is in a lot of trouble. The Detroit Lions have resumed their lowly ways this season -- dropping their first two games in pitiful showings -- after falling apart in the second half of last year.
Detroit is a league-low 31-83 in eight-plus seasons under team president Matt Millen. The third coach Millen hired, Rod Marinelli, has led the Lions to the NFC's poorest record since 2006.
And if those facts don't sound miserable enough, quarterback Jon Kitna acknowledged it looked like he quit on a play Sunday against Green Bay and receiver Roy Williams is grumbling about the new-look offense.
The Lions are coming off one of their most disheartening losses during their current stretch of futility, rallying from a 21-point deficit to lead the Packers midway through the fourth quarter only to lose 48-25.
After Green Bay went ahead for the final time, Kitna threw three interceptions in 3 minutes and two of the picks were returned for scores.
Kitna took off his helmet and walked to the sideline while his teammates were trying to stop the third interception from being returned for a touchdown.
Even though Kitna couldn't have caught Nick Collins, he understands it looks like he gave up. "I shouldn't have done it," Kitna said quietly Monday after a pack of reporters and cameras cleared away from his locker.
Marinelli said he didn't see what Kitna did on the play, and that he'd like to see it before responding. But Marinelli did have plenty to say during a 30-minute news conference in which he tried to take the blame for his team falling behind by three touchdowns for the second straight week and losing for the ninth time in 10 games.
"All of it starts with me," Marinelli said. "It has since I've been here."
The Lions are an NFC-worst 10-24 under Marinelli and their record is better than just the AFC's Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders since 2006, according to STATS.
If Detroit doesn't win its next game, things might get even uglier.
The Lions will go on the road -- where they've 3-14 under Marinelli and 8-49 with Millen in charge -- to face former offensive coordinator Mike Martz and the San Francisco 49ers.
"The next game can't come fast enough," said center Dominic Raiola, whose 114-game career has coincided with the Millen era. "We have no excuses and no answers right now."
Williams has an idea.
It includes spreading the field with receivers to set up the run -- as Martz did the previously -- instead of sticking with offensive coordinator Jim Colletto's run-first philosophy.
"Last year, we would start the game in four wide and dictate the tempo," Williams said. "Now, we only get into it in 2-minute situations -- or if we're down 21-nothing. Why would you get in that when you're down? Why you don't you just start it and get up?
"But I'm just a player."
And as much as Marinelli tries to teach his players to play hard every snap, he is limited when games are played.
Marinelli tries to teach them to be steady and said its frustrating when "inconsistent," is the word that he believes best describes his team.
"Is it hard to swallow? It's a big turkey going down my throat with a couple bones sticking in there," he said. "But I have to spit the bones out and move forward."


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