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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


The sooner the better for next Lions coach

One thing to consider with the Lions coaching search about to extend into its third week – the longer it takes, the more trouble the new coach will have putting together his staff.

Rod Marinelli, fired last week after an 0-16 season, said in his dismissal press conference that he initially underestimated that process when he was hired in 2006. There's no doubt that contributed to the Lions' dismal 10-38 record during his tenure.

“I thought it would be a little bit easier for me,” Marinelli said. “The first year there was 10 jobs open, and it was a little bit more difficult than I thought and I might have moved too quick at times on some picks.”

One example: Marinelli hoped to hire Mike Tomlin to coordinate his defense. Problem was, Tomlin joined new Vikings coach Brad Childress' staff nine days before Marinelli took over the Lions. Marinelli ended up with Donnie Henderson, then dismissed him after one season and replaced him with Joe Barry. The Lions ranked last in the league in defense the last two years, and Tomlin is now the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Marinelli also changed offensive coordinators after the 2007 season, firing Mike Martz and promoting Jim Colletto. He said last week he had no regrets about bringing Martz on board, though in retrospect that curious hire seemed to fly in the face of what he wanted to be on offense.

“I felt at that time it was no doubt about it the right choice,” Marinelli said. “It was just I moved quick on some of it. I looked back, if I had maybe taken more time I might not have made some of the changes my first and second year. I could have done a better job.”

Rewind to 2006, Marinelli was the sixth head coach introduced that offseason, on Jan. 19. Of the four coaches hired after him, two have been fired (St. Louis' Scott Linehan and Oakland's Art Shell) and a third (Buffalo's Dick Jauron) might have been this year if not for newly-signed contract extension. Only Houston's Gary Kubiak, introduced on Jan. 26, seems relatively stable in his job.

All five of the coaches hired before Marinelli have made the playoffs and only one, the Jets' Eric Mangini, has been fired. Mangini was re-hired as Browns head coach earlier this week.

“It's harder to hire and put together a staff than it ever has been so that magnifies the fact that the sooner you get it done the better off you are,” said former Giants coach Jim Fassel, who the Lions have not contacted about their vacancy. “You got to weigh it with the fact that we don't need to be in so much of a rush, but a guy can't just come in and say I got this guy, this guy, this guy.

“There's a lot of (potential assistants) out there. They can all disappear.”

New team president Tom Lewand said last week the Lions wanted to hire a new coach “as expeditiously as possible.” Already, they've interviewed at least six candidates – Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is at the practice facility right now – and could begin second interviews next week.

Of those candidates, only Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are still coaching in the playoffs and can't be hired until their seasons are over.

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