It was a contentious day-after press conference today, not from Rod Marinelli's standpoint but from media members prodding the Lions coach about his team's 0-2 start. Marinelli handled himself well, though I don't expect any of his answers to suffice a frothing fan base. As he has before, Marinelli said his team is doing things right Monday-Saturday, just not carrying that over to Sunday, the only day that matters.
"They perform very well in practice, all the things we're asking them," Marinelli said. "It's now being consistent on gameday. We've got to take it to gameday and we're not doing that. And that falls on me."
Truthfully, that falls on everyone in the organization, from president Matt Millen to Marinelli and his staff to a locker room full of players who, after digging themselves a second straight 21-0 hole, had Sunday's game against Green Bay in hand only to kick it away in a flurry of turnovers (three Jon Kitna interceptions) and one botched defensive play (a Dwight Smith missed tackle).
Marinelli didn't offer any concrete solutions for a fix other than staying the course. Kitna is still the quarterback (and will be all season), Joe Barry is still the defensive coordinator (rightfully so), and there's no "magic and mirrors" in Marinelli's playbook.
"I got great values in terms of what I believe in and it's a major test for me and people are doubting it and criticizing it, good," Marinelli said. "I have to get this team ready to go this week and get them to go. But (are the inconsistencies) hard to swallow? It's a big turkey going down my throat, a couple bones sticking in there. But I got to spit the bones out and move forward."
A few other notes from today:
Kitna said he was still "bitter (and) mad at" himself over his performance Sunday, but he wasn't apologizing for taking his helmet off on the field as Nick Collins returned his final interception for a touchdown. "I didn't feel like I was going to be a factor in tackling that guy," Kitna said.
Fine. He was frustrated. Understandable. But that's still not the image you want your starting quarterback to portray. One media member dubbed him Jon Quit-na. For the Lions' sake, that sentiment better not spill over to the locker room.
Roy Williams had three catches for 48 yards against the Packers, three catches for 47 yards against the Falcons, and said Monday he feels like he's become a role player. "I'm a little ticked off right now because like I say, I feel that if I'm not involved in the game and we lose, I'm (ticked) off," Williams said. "If I'm not involved and we win, hey, great job. I've been like that since I've been here. I just feel like I can make some plays as well. Had a drop, OK, but rebound from that and I can go from there. But three balls a week, that's not OK."
Williams is frustrated with the new offense. That's compounded by losing, of course, but I don't get the sense he's the only one. "This is the Mike Martz system but not really," Williams said. "But in Mike Martz's system I would have had at least 10 to 12 balls come my way." And, "Martz has the advantage (playing against the Lions this week; he was, of course, the team's offensive coordinator last year). He can manipulate where he wants the ball to go. That's what he did so good last year with the shifting and motion. This year we're wooden Indians. We're just standing there."
Marinelli did not say who would start at right tackle this weekend against the 49ers, but rookie Gosder Cherilus should get the nod. Marinelli said Cherilus played well in the second half Sunday, though he wasn't asked to do much in the run game. "There's a lot more to it if the game is close and you're running your full offense," he said. "But what I really liked about him was how he competed."