The League

Desmond Bieler
Occasional Blogger, Constant Blowhard

Desmond Bieler

An assistant news editor at The Washington Post

Green Bay at Detroit, Week 2


Sunday, 1 p.m.

And so we come to yet another installment of our umpteen-part series, Highly Regarded Assistant Coaches Who Can't Seem to Translate Their Presumed Expertise Into Results When They Become Head Coaches of Other Teams. (Hmmm, that title might need some truncating.) Detroit's Rod Marinelli came over from the Buccaneers, where he was the defensive line coach of a team that traditionally plays stingy defense. And from his blurb on the Lions' Web Site, it's apparent that Marinelli might not be of the opinion that the Bucs have benefited from superior personnel all these years; rather, the coach believes that every team has more or less equivalent talent, and what separates the men from the boys are "things like: fundamentals ..... work ethic ..... attention to detail ..... leadership ..... passion ..... and commitment."

Well, it's Year 3 for the fearless leader, and the Lions are still waiting for him to instill these qualities. Detroit finished 28th in defense in 2006 and then it got worse, finishing dead last in 2007. And then it got worse in Week 1 of this season. Detroit allowed 474 yards of offense to the previously hapless Falcons, and it's hard to know in which area it was most terrible: against the run, where it allowed Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood to rampage for 313 combined yards and three touchdowns; or against the pass, where it let a rookie quarterback in his first-ever start, Matt Ryan, complete 9 of 13 passes for 161 yards, a score, no turnovers and only 1 sack. The good news is that Marinelli deems his defense's horrendous play "correctable," as he told the Detroit Free Press. The bad news, at least for Marinelli, is that he might not be the guy to correct it.

The Lions need to pen their own version of "The Corrections" immediately, because they are about to take on a team that feels very good about its offense. Last Sunday, Aaron Rodgers answered just about every question regarding his ability to take the reins yanked so publicly from the hands of Brett Favre. After three years of near-complete regular season inactivity, and with all the pressure of being handed the Packers quarterback job over The Legendary One, Rodgers played very well against Minnesota, completing 18 of 22 passes, including a couple of Favre-ian throws, for 178 yards and a touchdown, and he added a rushing score. Throw in running back Ryan Grant resembling the breakout star he was last season, and Green Bay brings a balanced attack to Ford Field. Meanwhile, the Lions bring a defense that was balanced last week -- it was bad against everything.

By Desmond Bieler  |  September 12, 2008; 12:00 PM ET  | Category:  Post Gameday Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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