ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Rod Marinelli thinks there is one major
reason his Detroit Lions are 0-5.
The day after the Lions blew a 14-point lead in Sunday's 26-17
loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Marinelli saw what he expected on
the game film.
"After having a chance to view the tape, a theme throughout our
team is not doing our jobs, understanding our jobs and doing what
we are coached to do," he said. "It's glaring to me. We have to
be a more disciplined football team."
The Lions have had good chances to win four of the five games
this season, and have had fourth-quarter leads in the last two, but
haven't finished anything off.
"One thing that jumps out at you is that we've been outscored
47-13 in the fourth quarter," Marinelli said. "That's when your
discipline takes hold -- if it is really ingrained, it becomes
stronger than the excitement or the fear of the game. We haven't
come to that point yet."
While Marinelli has always tried to avoid using injuries as an
excuse, even he had to acknowledge that Sunday's were too much for
the team to handle. Detroit lost two starters -- receiver Roy
Williams [neck] and guard Damien Woody [foot] -- in the opening
moments of the game, and players kept dropping as the afternoon
"I've never seen anything like that," Woody said. "Roy and I
went off on the same cart, and then we watched on TV as everyone
else got hurt."
By the end of the game, Detroit's makeshift offensive line was
being overrun by the Vikings, leading to two touchdowns for
"The lack of continuity is hurting us a little bit," Marinelli
said. "It hurts the precision and the timing of the passing game
and the running game. But those men are accountable. They are being
coached so that they can take the opportunity to step into that
role and do it."
The running game was devastated by the lack of blockers. Kevin
Jones finished with just 8 yards rushing on 10 carries, and Detroit
ran the ball only three times in the second half.
"They were really packing in down inside," Marinelli said.
"Once Roy went out, the matchups turned in their favor, so they
packed it down, and that makes it tough to run."
Things aren't likely to get better for this weekend's home game
with Buffalo. Woody's injury might leave the Lions without three of
their five starting linemen. Ross Verba (hamstring) and Rex Tucker
(knee) are both struggling to return from earlier injuries.
Marinelli said Monday there was a "good possibility" all three
would be unable to play Sunday.
Woody wasn't ready to rule himself out of the Bills game, but he
"It's too early to say that I'm definitely out, but it's pretty
bleak right now," he said.