DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE

Author:
Publish date:

TODAY'S NEWS

  • The Lions met today to review film from yesterday's game against Chicago at the team's headquarters and training facility in Allen Park. The players will return to the practice field Wednesday to begin preparing for this week's game vs. Green Bay.
  • QB Jon Kitna's completion percentage (76.7) vs. the Bears (9/17) was the third highest single-game completion-percentage for a Lions' passer who attempted at least 30 passes in a game since 1970 and the highest since Gary Danielson completed 80.0 percent (24-of-30) of his passes vs. Minnesota (9/23/84).
  • Kitna is currently ranked seventh in the NFL in completion percentage (65.67, 44-of-67) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 20 attempts-per-game.
  • Among NFL quarterbacks who have attempted at least 60 passes so far in 2006, Kitna is one of only three quarterbacks that has not thrown an interception.
  • The Lions will host the Packers Sunday in a NFC North division match-up at Ford Field. This week, Detroit will look to get their first win after a difficult 34-7 loss to the defending NFC North division-winning Chicago Bears while Green Bay looks to rebound from a heartbreaking 34-27 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.

LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening statement: "Just to kind of review - recap from last night, really nothing's changed after I had a chance to watch the film. We went through that thing - all three phases - very, very thoroughly and we've got to do better as a staff, no question about that. Penalties are an issue - we've got to go back and teach that - thirteen of them, but they're all three phases. We're loosing critical yardage in terms of field position, some key things we've got to go back and address and do a better job in terms of teaching about the penalties. The first thing I said when I came here is the non-talented issues are really important to me - I know that's how you build a team, that's my background. We failed in every ones of these areas - I felt; and so if that's really important to me that thing has got to show you, week in and week out. Those four areas are how hard you're going to play, how hard you want to play - and I thought Chicago, I'll take a hat off to them, they brought their a 'A' game, they played an 'A' game, in terms of intensity, hitting and physical - and that's something we've got to be able to match. Know what to do, know our assignments, we had some mental errors - that's on the staff, that's on us.

"We've got to go back out, re-teach these things under duress, make sure we're teaching the meetings better and that's on me. The fundamental part of it, No.3; that's ball security, how to lock a ball away correctly; that's not just blocking and tackling, it's ball security, it's when you run a blitz - the details of every blitz is important. We're off a little bit, maybe an end crossing the guards face correctly which allows a backer - we had him free one time, he had to slow down in the hole, might have been a sack for us - but, those are the details I'm talking about and then finishing every play. None of those take any talent, ok? The fastest way to improve a team is those four areas, and that deals with attitude.

"I'm in charge of developing the attitude of this team and it didn't reflect me or what I want. Those four areas were not good enough, that's my core belief going into it, because I think that touches every phase of your football team. It touches special teams, offense and defense - all phases. I've got to get that done and I've got to get that squared away, I thought a couple of bright spots - I thought our quarterback did some good things, completing the ball percentages (those things) - but he's got to score, we've got to score. I thought our run defense was solid, very solid, against a very good running team; but what that does is get you in position to convert on third downs which we weren't good enough - the rush wasn't good enough, the coverage wasn't good enough, it wasn't good enough together - so we only got half of that done. Again, that reflects me and that's something I should be good in, in terms of getting the rush and those things. So, I have to go back and do a good job of teaching that again.

"There's no panic. It goes back to the basics of our game, that's what I'm about, that's exactly what I said I'm going to accomplish here - I haven't done it yet, but started off maybe a little bit in the first game, we regressed in the second game. I've identified it, I identified it with the staff and it's about me. I've got to do a better job and I'm ready to do that - get the penalties cleaned up. I give all the credit due to Chicago, they were outstanding; how physical they were. I know there are still issues and I think I talked about it - the receivers, Mike Williams in particular, I made that statement last night and I'll leave it at that."

On what he said last night about WR Mike Williams: "I just said we dressed the guy that we felt gave us the best opportunity to win."

On if he can help clarify why WR Az-Zahir Hakim was able to play instead of WR Mike Williams: "I think that's - internally - we handle that. I'm just telling you the reasons why. He did get better last week. We'll go on from there, we'll handle that as a team issue and all you need to know is who we're dressing."

On if it's that Williams is better, but just not where he needs to be right now: "Right."

On if playing on 'common ground' against Green Bay (with the new coaching staff) will be a defining moment for himself and the team: "I really felt that last week was still a defining moment for us because we have to match a team like that - Chicago has been a playoff team and they brought a playoff mentality in terms of intensity and you don't need any talent or all of those things to match the intensity, that's the thing I just won't back-off on - that reflects me. I've got to make sure that intensity is there this week, I can't compromise on that. We've got to go in this week and it's about our intensity and getting it going and playing at a higher pace."

On when he saw the lack of intensity in yesterday's game: "They were trying hard and we were trying hard, ok? I believe that. The hitting - we've got to out-hit an opponent in all areas, that's something we have to do, out-hit people, out fundamental and all of those things. That team (Chicago) is where I'm going in terms of they're simple, they're sound and they hit and they ran very well - create turnovers, get sacks, sack/fumbles and they can create big plays and all those things. I felt going into the game that we really prepared well for those areas, but when it comes out on tape - and it didn't - that reflects us. It's not the players, it's the coach. I made sure that they know that, but next week, I better be more demanding, more exact, more attention to every detail. I have to make sure they understand the type of hustle I want and I want to be special in that area, in terms of swarming to the ball - swarming to the ball is a coach deal, you have to coach that every single day. If you don't coach it, you don't get it because not everyone in this league swarms and gang tackles, not everybody does that. Those are the non-talented issues that I've got to do a better job of."

On the fact that his statement is 'admirable' but at what point is it the player's fault: "The word admirable doesn't fit me, ok? That's who I am and it's my responsibility and that's where I came from and we held ourselves accountable all the time. If they're not doing it, that reflects us. If they don't want to do it, then I'm going to have to get rid of them; but, if they're trying to do it - and they are trying to do it - they just don't understand exactly how to do it with the habits that we want. It's about teaching, that's why coaches are teachers - you teach, you explain and you show in meetings. Sometimes, I want it to happen right now. The first game was pretty good; the second game was a dip. You, as a coach, have to sit there and level that thing off."

On when it's really the player's fault; is it the coaches' fault if a player jumps offsides: "Oh, yeah. That's the cop out part of this stuff, that's what I don't like about it, that's this stuff (finger pointing gesture) - that's covering your own tail, alright. I don't do that. If that guy is jumping offsides then we haven't emphasized this enough, we haven't given him enough hard counts in practice, ok? When they're tired in practice, that's a habit, when you're tired you've got to hear it and see it. They will do it because I've been there and I've done it, I've don't that. I've taken over a front that was horrible at it and cleaned them up and done that and had 55 sacks and four off-sides in a whole season - I've done that."

On how some might see that as him covering for the players: "I don't cover. However they see it, I don't care, all I'm going to do - you know me well enough - how I said it and I'm just telling you, I said that from the first day I was here - those four areas I've got to get done - that's who I am and if they're not getting done, that reflects me totally. When that happens then you can have growth, I put on myself that I will get after it even harder, I'll work harder at it, I'll practice it harder; because I put it on me, I don't put it on you, or you, or you, or you - it's me and the staff, I put it on them."

On if there's too much offense to learn: "No - you've just got to learn it. The last thing I told them, when we finish a meeting at night if there's any problems, anything you don't understand - keep asking us."

On WR Mike Furrey having two penalties in the game despite his experience in the offense: "I understand it; we just have to focus and teach it better. You don't understand it - I know - but, I do. We have to go back and re-create the shifts, the movements, make sure they understand those things and you teach. That's what you do."

On the injuries: "I know on (Alex Lewis) he is week-to-week right now with a knee. Kenoy Kennedy, he is a week-to-week guy also. Those are the two - They're week-to-week right now."

On RB Kevin Jones not being productive other than a 29-yard run: "The guy runs extremely hard, first. I admire how hard this guy goes in everything he does. But we did (run the ball); there are some things that were miss-blocked; some basic things that we put in from day one and weren't executed properly and that is part of his execution also."

On whether Jones wasn't hitting the holes right: "A couple times I felt he could have turned it up and got his shoulders north and south. So we just have to go back and recreate those things for him."

On whether that is a trust issue: "It can be. It's all of it; just seeing the whole picture. Going back out and recreating those plays and seeing where you're supposed to hit it, not panicking, going back and teaching it. That's what you do; it's like one-gap football. Oh, we had a run-break early in the game, is it trust? No, it's just not playing your gap. It's a guy who got pumped out of his gap; he didn't leverage his shoulder correctly. The spill didn't take; we hit the spill little frontal instead of driving our shoulders through it a little bit deeper which would have forced the ball outside. By not doing that, it was able to cut back and the backer goes over the top so you create a cutback lane. So those are the details I'm talking about being exact; I'd rather do defense, you start … make sure you know exactly what you're doing when every front-and-cover is called. And you just have to go back and re-teach those things."

On the penalty on CB Jamar Fletcher and whether he had a chance to look at it: "(Yes). He hit him in the face."

On whether WR Mike Williams is getting mixed signals and why he is not playing: "Well, we've talked to Mike and we've explained that to him."

On hearsay that players think Williams can help the Lions win now: "First of all, that's your opinion or what you've heard as an opinion which I appreciate. But like I said, we'll handle that internally and believe that we have talked to him. There are certain standards we want and we're going to keep pushing it."

On the performance of DT Shaun Rogers: "I saw a guy get better as the game went on, okay. I thought he started a little slow. Some of the things we did, they really came at him. The splits got really tight, so it's hard to get some of the penetration. I thought the one thing he did, he did a good job of getting back into it and back into the flow as the game went on; into the run game. But we've just got to get our rush better. We've got to get better with it."

On how he will re-deploy his linebackers with the absence of LB Alex Lewis: "A guy like Anthony Cannon can come up now - another young player that we like. We just have to see where everybody fits the best now. You've got Boss (Bailey) inside, and Paris (Lenon) can go to 'SAM' and you've got Ernie (Sims) at 'WILL' and now a couple other guys - LeVar Woods can come up."

Whether there was any coincidence that three tight ends caught touchdown passes after Lewis left the game: "He's a very good coverage guy, but its run-pass keys sometimes. Sometimes it's not man-to-man coverage - a couple times it was on some of our secondary guys. Some of it is just run-pass keys and not reading your keys quick enough. So you get pulled up inside on the run and they have the opportunity to get the tight end. So some of those things we've got to drill it better; learn the system better and believe in your keys better - trust your keys."

On what he'll do differently this week: "I think I'll try to explain it better, okay? I'll explain those four things I just talked about. I usually put them on an overhead (projector) for them - they usually get cut-ups that show exactly what I want. I'm going to go back to that again. I think the fundamentals because, see, I'm not going to change. I won't change. This is what I believe in. And we'll go back and re-teach it within our fundamental drills; make sure we're locking the ball correctly; if they're four points of pressure, do we have it there? Our gaps are locked in correctly; one-on-one pass rush, we have to keep working on that, that will be a big issue this week. Angles; pretty good, I thought our tackling was okay, but we can get it better. The penalties; we have to talk about the penalties with them which we already have this morning - get them more addressed. Make sure we're really sharp with them because they really hurt us in the return game and we lost field position there. Each player has to take responsibility as the coaches do to improve in that performance."

On the four points of pressure and Jones having four fumbles over two games: "We've got to go out and start re-teaching it. We've got to look at each fumble, why it came out, and then drill it and drill it and drill it and still believe in him that he's going to get it done for him and he will."

On offside and holding penalties being up in the last four years throughout the NFL: "Jumping offsides, guys are edgy to get there. The way to slow a rusher down is to hard-count him. That's the No. 1 thing you do. We go in knowing what the three or four things that slow your rush down are: hard-counts, traps and draws. That's how you slow the big guys down up front. So quarterbacks are getting better and better at it with motion, hard-counts and all those things. Obviously, holding, if you're getting people in longer-yardage situations, you're playing against good rushers now - rushers are getting better and better. A guy gets in bad position sometimes and you start grabbing and holding."

On where QB Jon Kitna is right now in this offense: "I think he's doing a very solid job. He's completing the ball, he's leading, he's doing a lot of things - I don't think he's had a pick yet. He's been pretty good with the ball; he's starting to step up in the pocket a little bit better, buying himself some time and I think he's doing a solid job. If we can eliminate some of the mental errors and the penalties - we're shooting ourselves in the foot on some of these drives. I mean, he put together a couple nice drives - the whole offense did. But we've just got to finish drives off; we've got to block the right guy all the time; we've got to eliminate penalties and we'll be fine."

On whether the hit on S Jon McGraw falls into the category of needing to protect defenseless players: "I think he was (part of the play) - he just missed the play, the tackle, and that kid was steaming on him. He drilled him. You play that team and you better be ready to match their intensity in all areas. In all areas you've got to be ready to go because they really played hard and played very well, very tough."

On whether the lesson in WR Mike Williams not playing is because in the past he has progressed and fallen off: "There's no lesson here; there's no lessons. This is what we want; there's a certain standard we want in how we're doing business."

Whether he has reached that standard and not maintained it: "I'm not going to answer any more of those. We can do this for the next three weeks."

COURTESY OF THE LIONS