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Nzoner
08-20-2006, 12:23 PM
I know it's a Lions article but personally I found it a good read.Thought I'd share it.

Marinelli sat down with each player last winter and declared the slate clean. He then told them that if they wanted to succeed in his system, they could prove it every minute of every day.

That was the tradeoff, he said. He'd forget the drug suspension (Rogers), the excessive weight and skipped meetings (Williams) and the mountain of interceptions (Harrington). But he'd also forget their college stats, draft slots and contract obligations. Nothing from the past will be a negative. But nothing will be a positive. (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=Ar4DxJ9zg.x4o5L0fFhdHEBDubYF?slug=dw-lions081806&prov=yhoo&type=lgns)



Down and routes
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
August 18, 2006

ALLEN PARK, Mich. Charles Rogers, with his sore knee, rode a stationary bike Tuesday on the side of the Detroit Lions' practice field.

This was actually good news for the wide receiver. At least Rogers was still with the team.

Just about everyone in the NFL Rogers included figures there is a high probability the former No. 2 overall pick will get cut by the Lions before the start of the season. If Detroit doesn't axe Rogers, then fellow receiver and top-10 pick Mike Williams, who is being fined daily for being overweight, might get whacked (although Williams is still owed a ton of guaranteed money).

Or maybe both will go in favor of two determined no-names an unheralded rookie (Shaun Bodiford) and a NFL Europe veteran (Glenn Martinez).

Time and the Lions' final 53-man roster will tell, but for all of their horrific player personnel decisions under Matt Millen, one thing appears to be certain: What happened in the past happened in the past.

This is a new era with a new coach in Rod Marinelli, who appears to have permission to cut anyone he wants, regardless of reputation, contract or potential embarrassment to Millen.

"I guess we'll see," Rogers said. "I'm ready for anything."

To cut Rogers who remains popular with fans despite two injuries, a four-game drug suspension and the knack of disappointing multiple coaching staffs would be momentous for the Lions. It would be another sign that a sea change is taking place here.

Conceivably, Rogers still possesses the raw physical talent that made him an All-American at Michigan State. Letting him go would be further indictment of the Millen era, which was once built around the potential offensive power of Rogers catching balls from quarterback Joey Harrington, who was traded in the offseason.

So it would be risky and embarrassing.

But it would also say times are changing. Big time.

Rod Marinelli seems like he could be an affable enough of a fellow, but during the dog days of training camp, making friends isn't his goal.

The former Buccaneers defensive line coach was hired last winter to instill some toughness, discipline and, maybe most importantly, accountability into a 5-11 Lions team that had gotten soft and silly under Steve Mariucci.

Marinelli likes no-nonsense players who are mentally and physically ready to deliver each and every day. He loves full-contact, full-pad practices where hitting and hurting are at a premium. He takes no crap. He gives none, either. He gets excited about not just well-run practice plays but also minutiae like highly intense stretching sessions.

"We've had some great walkthroughs," he gushed. "I wish you could see them."

His first minicamp became the stuff of legend when three Lions filed a union grievance to complain that the practices were too hard and violated the collective bargaining agreement. The NFL agreed and the Lions were sanctioned.

No one is complaining now, in fact the team seems in full support of the new regime. Well, mostly.

That is where Rogers comes into play. And maybe Williams. And certainly Harrington, who fell out of favor of offensive coordinator Mike Martz almost immediately. "It was such a drastic change from what he had been doing he felt it was going to be just too hard," Martz said of Harrington.

All three were high draft picks by Millen. None have panned out, as much for mental reasons as physical ones.

The coaching staff won't cite a specific source of disappointment in Rogers or Williams, but Marinelli's standard is that the players who practice and prepare the hardest will be rewarded with playing time. The ones that don't won't.

"The more men you get that have a passion to play this game," said Marinelli of his goal for a final roster. "They'll make money. But I want the passion and the energy in practice. [Men] that want to be the best."

Marinelli sat down with each player last winter and declared the slate clean. He then told them that if they wanted to succeed in his system, they could prove it every minute of every day.

That was the tradeoff, he said. He'd forget the drug suspension (Rogers), the excessive weight and skipped meetings (Williams) and the mountain of interceptions (Harrington). But he'd also forget their college stats, draft slots and contract obligations. Nothing from the past will be a negative. But nothing will be a positive.

"Rod has done a great job; when everyone comes through that door, everyone is the same," said Martz, the former Rams head coach who Marinelli was secure enough to hire as offensive coordinator. "You check everything at the door. Your ego, your paycheck, your draft status, your years. Everyone is the same. And I think that is why this team is competing so well."

Well, most of them.

If Charles Rogers gets cut, it will be an embarrassment to Matt Millen. If Mike Williams stays third-string and accrues fines for being fat, it will be an embarrassment to Matt Millen. If offseason free agent acquisition John McKeon remains third-string, behind former Connecticut QB Dan Orlovsky, it won't be much of a resume boost for Millen. The Harrington era is already over.

Marinelli doesn't seem to be concerned. Millen, too. Say this for Millen, who has been as bad as you can be at his job (although he inexplicably was given a five-year extension last season): He seems willing to let Marinelli make decisions based on building a foundation for the future rather than sparing second guessing, angry press and further snickering.

This may be the ultimate left-handed compliment, but the fact that Millen is willing to make new decisions that humiliate his past decisions is impressive.

It stands to reason that the Lions' roster would have more pure physical talent on it with Rogers and Williams. But that might stand in the way of setting a tone for an organization that desperately needs a core belief system. This is a franchise that has won just a single playoff game since 1957 and has gone a NFL worst 21-59 the past five seasons.

"The challenge is what is best for this team," Marinelli said. "What is right for Lions football. Each man is held accountable. Each coach, myself, [is held] to a certain standard.

"I've seen it [done the other way]," Marinelli continued. "I don't like it. There are certain guys who come out and chop wood all day and there are other guys that just don't. It sends a bad message."

Jon Kitna is a wood chopper. The Lions signed the 10-year veteran quarterback in the offseason to essentially replace Harrington. Kitna was a starter in Cincinnati before a 2004 youth movement installed Carson Palmer, a former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick. It was a smart move for the Bengals, but it left Kitna longing for one more chance to be able to prove himself. He wanted a team where reputation meant nothing.

"This is the perfect fit for me," Kitna said

Kitna is nearly the polar opposite of Harrington. He attended Central Washington. He didn't have his school promote him for the Heisman with an oversized billboard in Times Square. He wasn't even drafted. He once played for the Barcelona Dragons. At this stage, he is essentially an aging (he'll be 34 in September) journeyman.

Marinelli's demands and Martz's offense weren't "too difficult" for Kitna. They were a gift. He has attacked every single challenge here every meeting, every film session, every practice. The demands have been staggering, but he just keeps asking for more.

"[Martz] puts a lot on us," Kitna said. "We had 200 pass plays for the preseason opener. We needed to know every single one of them."

He did. It's no surprise Marinelli named him the starter earlier this summer.

"His statement is, 'Our tape is our resume,' " said Kitna of Marinelli's reliance on pouring over practice session and game film. " 'Don't tell me what you can do, show me on tape. If you are good it'll show up on tape.' He doesn't care who you are. That is his mentality.

"This is my 10th year [in the NFL]," Kitna added. "I've heard coaches talk about accountability every single year. And I've never seen somebody put it into practice until coach Marinelli."

In Detroit, these days, you either go hard or you go home.

And you can't go hard on a stationary bike.

Bowser
08-20-2006, 12:37 PM
Good for Marinelli. And good luck to him, having Millen as his GM. Millen must have some seriously horrendous photos of the Ford family to get a five year extension.

milkman
08-20-2006, 12:38 PM
It is a good read Joe.
Thanks for posting it.

As long as Millen doesn't get in the way, Marinelli has a fair chance for success.

58-4ever
08-20-2006, 12:40 PM
Too bad he received a head coaching offer. I would have really liked this guy as our defensive coordinator.

milkman
08-20-2006, 12:42 PM
Too bad he received a head coaching offer. I would have really liked this guy as our defensive coordinator.

He was one of those who I would like to have seen get a shot to replace Dick.

Hermie wasn't.

Nzoner
08-20-2006, 12:48 PM
Good for Marinelli. And good luck to him, having Millen as his GM.

When I started reading the article I was thinking the same thing then I read these two paragraphs and thought this should be interesting to see how it develops over the next couple of seasons.

Marinelli doesn't seem to be concerned. Millen, too. Say this for Millen, who has been as bad as you can be at his job (although he inexplicably was given a five-year extension last season): He seems willing to let Marinelli make decisions based on building a foundation for the future rather than sparing second guessing, angry press and further snickering.

This may be the ultimate left-handed compliment, but the fact that Millen is willing to make new decisions that humiliate his past decisions is impressive.

Nzoner
08-20-2006, 12:50 PM
Too bad he received a head coaching offer. I would have really liked this guy as our defensive coordinator.

Check your pm's

ChiefFan31
08-20-2006, 01:27 PM
Time and the Lions' final 53-man roster will tell, but for all of their horrific player personnel decisions under Matt Millen, one thing appears to be certain: What happened in the past happened in the past.

This is a new era with a new coach in Rod Marinelli, who appears to have permission to cut anyone he wants, regardless of reputation, contract or potential embarrassment to Millen.



All three were high draft picks by Millen. None have panned out, as much for mental reasons as physical ones.


If Charles Rogers gets cut, it will be an embarrassment to Matt Millen. If Mike Williams stays third-string and accrues fines for being fat, it will be an embarrassment to Matt Millen. If offseason free agent acquisition John McKeon remains third-string, behind former Connecticut QB Dan Orlovsky, it won't be much of a resume boost for Millen. The Harrington era is already over.

Marinelli doesn't seem to be concerned. Millen, too. Say this for Millen, who has been as bad as you can be at his job (although he inexplicably was given a five-year extension last season): He seems willing to let Marinelli make decisions based on building a foundation for the future rather than sparing second guessing, angry press and further snickering.

This may be the ultimate left-handed compliment, but the fact that Millen is willing to make new decisions that humiliate his past decisions is impressive.

ROFL love these quotes about that assclown Matt Millen. I am in sheer amazement and utter disbelief that this fuggin idiot still has a job.