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Friday, May 18, 2007

Fixed Again

Steve Mariucci, more than any other Lions coach in history, represents the false hope in the air this time of year.

With every Spring and Summer comes promise from the Lions that the days of sucking are over. This year is no exception. Today I offer you some of the Honolulu Blue kool-aid fresh out of Allen Park, MI as well as a sample of some vintage blends from the Ford country kool-aid cellar.

"All year last year, going through some of the struggles we went through, guys going down with injuries, guys having to play maybe when they weren't ready to play ... (offensive coordinator Mike Martz) kept assuring me that he was going to fix it," Kitna said. "And they fixed it."

"Jon looks more comfortable now just from coming back and playing a whole year in this offense and seeing every possible thing that could happen," Furrey said. "He's been through it all now. We go out and throw right now, and it's just like we've been doing it for 10 years."

"I think we're going to be a whole lot quicker and faster," Sims said. "I think there are going to be a whole lot more bigger plays made -- interceptions, turnovers -- because we've got a better understanding. We're going to be pretty good."

"Their confidence was as high as I'd seen it," Kitna said. "You could tell that by just looking at guys' eyes. They knew where they were going. They understood the checks that they had to make. Their confidence was sky-high. There was never any guesswork out there."

"I just feel high expectations will bring about more prosperous things," Rogers said. "The higher you set the bar and the closer you can get to it, the higher you achieve. I'm happy that he has so many expectations for me. I'm not going to do anything but try to live up to them."

"I don't have no predictions," Rogers said. "We just have to play ball. We'll see that come January. If we're on the postseason, we'll know if we've done our job. ... I don't have anything but hope and high expectations for us as a duo."

“I just believe in this team — a lot. I’m going to feel better and better every day we’re here. There are going to be bumps in the road. So be it. Nothing changes. This is going to be a very good team.”

“That’s OK,” Marinelli said. “It’s just me. It’s what I see. I’m out here, I look, I see it, and I believe it. I’m not going to undersell it. I’m going to overrate those men, because that’s expectations. I’ve got great expectations for this team. I like the way they’re working. You’re seeing what I’m seeing. It’s fast and explosive.”

2006 (3-13)*
"He's very detailed. There's nothing that goes by the wayside. He sees everything," quarterback Jon Kitna said of the former St. Louis head coach. "But the great thing about it is he's going to give us every opportunity to be successful."

"I know people in Detroit hear that with a skeptic ear, but look at his track record," he said. "The Rams were 3-13 before he got there. We have to take what we've learned now and go out and do it."

*NOTE: To be fair, neither of these quotes is all that optimistic and they were the most optimistic I could find for the year. We were prepared for the 2006 shit fest.

2005 (5-11)
After some light running and stretching, Williams stood and watched the first 10 plays during a drill before getting a chance to run a route. Later, he lined up as a slot receiver in a four-wide set alongside Roy Williams, Charles Rogers — first-round picks the two previous years — and Kevin Johnson with Joey Harrington at quarterback. Detroit cornerback Dre Bly said it reminded him of practicing against the St. Louis Rams. “For opposing defenses, it can get ugly,” Bly said.

“It’s a special chance for us to showcase what we can do,” Detroit’s Terrence Holt said. “We can show everybody that this is a new team, not the same old Lions.” (Lions lost 37-13 to the Rams)

“Well, it was kind of an interesting weekend in the meetings and in the lunch room. There’s a certain hunger, or eagerness, with this bunch that, not only do they want to be good, because that is always the case, but I think they think they really can be good. And we’ve got some play makers, we’re growing up in certain spots, and everybody is playing and the camaraderie is good. I don’t see any selfish guys out there at all; I think everybody is keeping the team in mind. So I think there is certain optimism in the hallway right now.”

2004 (6-10)
"I see it like a volatile stock," coach Steve Mariucci says. "We'll have ups and downs, but overall it will be a rise. We'll be better in time. But we've got to get there fast."

Says Millen, "Joey likes being the guy you have to go to in order to get the answer."

On how the minicamp went: “Good, as a whole. (There was) a lot of energy. The tempo was excellent and the attention to detail was very good. We had better participation than a year ago at this time when we had 12 guys standing around watching."

2003 (5-11)
"It was kind of a mixed reaction because I loved Coach Mornhinweg, he was a terrific coach for me personally," Harrington said. "But on the same note, we've got Coach Mariucci, who is a proven winner. He brings a vision, excitement and a passion to this organization, which I think has been missing."

"There's a time to push and there's a time to pull back," Mariucci said. "I think throwing them a crumb once in a while is a good thing because they've been working for so long. We've been doing this longer than anybody in the league. I like where we are right now. It was a good time to finish some important things up and let them out."

"If anybody wants to win the Super Bowl, follow me," Mariucci told the collection of strangers who mostly combined to win just five games the previous two seasons. He brought them out to a trophy case. It was empty. "I'm here to fill this," Mariucci said

"I love his approach to the game," Mariucci says of Harrington. "I've been very impressed with Joey as a human being. He's top-shelf. He seems to have the respect of his teammates, from what I can gather. I think he's got quite an upside. I think he's got a bright future.

2002 (3-13)
From Ten things we love about Joey:
At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Joey isn't somebody you want mad at you. At least he can take some good-natured ribbing ... we think. Otherwise, he wouldn't have allowed his college teammates to give him this nickname: Princess.

"You're way ahead of where you were a year ago because you know exactly what you have," Millen told "Last year going into it, we were putting a new system in and you wanted to see how guys fit and how they reacted; who you can count on, who you can't count on and all that kind of stuff. We have a better assessment of our talent level now and where we're at and what can fit."

"He's a sharp young man," Mornhinweg said of Harrington. "He throws the ball extremely accurate. I think he progressed very well and I would expect him to progress at a high pace because he is easily coachable.

2001 (2-14)
"The bar is high," he (Mornhinweg) said. "The goal for this organization is to win Super Bowls.

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  • At 1:14 AM, Blogger The Battleship said…


    Here is a classic from Jon Kitna during last year's preseason:

    "It feels like this offense is breaking chains off of me. (Martz) is taking the foot off the brake and putting it on the gas pedal, that's the best way I can explain it. He wants you to cut it loose. Trust your eyes. Trust the offense. I've already made downfield throws I wouldn't have made before. Even when our receiver is neck and neck with the defensive back, his philosophy is, throw that ball and our guy will go get it.

    "For me, I just think this is a perfect fit. Finally, after 10 years in the league, I feel I'm at a place where my strengths are gonna be exploited."

  • At 1:37 AM, Blogger The Battleship said…

    Here's a good excerpt from an article in the Free Press or News (I forget which one) during last year's training camp:

    After individual drills, coach Rod Marinelli walked up to president Matt Millen and said: “We’re going to play some football. Right now.”

    Marinelli and Millen marched down the field. A group of players followed.

    “Time to thump, baby!” defensive lineman Cory Redding said. “Time to thump.”

    Marinelli called his players together, and at the center of the circle, using some colorful, loud language, he told them this was where they would start defining themselves.

    Then the Lions started hitting.


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