Marinelli blames Lions' 0-5 start on lack of discipline

Updated: October 9, 2006, 5:19 PM ET
Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Rod Marinelli thinks there is one major reason his Detroit Lions are 0-5.

Rod Marinelli
Marinelli

Discipline.

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 continued.

"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 Minnesota's defense.

"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 wasn't confident.

"It's too early to say that I'm definitely out, but it's pretty bleak right now," he said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press