Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Reading between the lines: Rod Marinelli speaks, yet says nothing at all

After listening to the Rod Marinelli gets quite defensive and combative with the media during his Monday presser, I could have let it go as more of the same. As The World of Issac said, "The Lions Have Their Heads Up Their Butts." Indeed. He even posted the proof...

You need to take the helmet off first in order to fit inside, Kitna...

But I thought I'd delve deeper, and break down the nonsense Marinelli spewed. I was emailed the transcript, and most of what the Lions' head coach said was incomprehensible to normal humans. He also has an angle fetish.

I took out some of the more egregious Marinelli quotes, and added my thoughts

"I'll give Atlanta credit, they did a nice job. It still comes down to the issue is us. In terms of some of the tackling, missed tackles we had, some of the angles. I thought we played a little bit high overall."

Marinelli can't be serious, can he? This may be the lamest excuse I've ever, ever heard from a head coach. "Played a little bit too high?" What a crock. You know the obvious joke. "Played high on what, coach?" Considering their inability to tackle, and Marinelli being from the old school, I'm guessing quaaludes.

"A little bit tentative and it affected our alignments a little bit. But all those things are correctable. I talked to the team today, it's all correctable."

If they were so damn correctable, why weren't they "corrected" during training camp? Oh yeah, you can't correct a lack of talent, which the Lions apparently have in spades.

"(They're the) same guys I liked Saturday night before the game, and guys I want to coach and feel good about. So, we've just got to learn from it as we're watching the tape right now, and then once this is over, we move on and get ready for our next game."

I DESPISE it when anyone refers to "watching the tape," or "look at the film." How much tape do you need to look at to determine your tackling angles were too high? I have tape too (courtesy of my DVR) and watched for 5 minutes. I could tell you exactly what was wrong. It isn't the angles, or playing too "high." The film tells me your team lacks something quite vital. "Talent."

"You said all eight games were played poorly on defense? Then you're wrong; you would be wrong. (We) played well against Kansas City, played very well against Dallas, played very well against the Giants."

It's getting deep now. Let's look back at the 2007 season.

Kansas City: Meaningless win against a bad team after the season was essentially over.
Dallas: Loss
Giants: Loss

Played well, huh? Well enough to lose. Notice he didn't bring up the other legitimately poor defensive performances from last year? There were plenty to pick from:

Philly: 52 points
Wahington: 34 points
Arizona: 31 points
Green Bay: 37 points
Minnesota: 42 points
San Diego: 51 points
Green Bay, redux: 34 points

Then we have the latest debacle, with a bad Atlanta team dropping 34 on the Lions' D. How does a coach hired because of his status as a defensive guru have such a horrific defense, after having 3 years to put it together? For that matter, why does he still have a job?

"We've just got to get our pads down and come off the ball a little bit better. I thought we were in our gaps, but I thought we had a chance to really go if we could've stopped the run. I've been saying that from day one. I thought we pass-rushed pretty well, but we've got to stop the run first."

Spoken like a career position coach, not a head coach. This bullshit is all fundamentals and technique. The sort of things that shouldn't be an issue at the pro level. It absolutely shouldn't be an issue after the season starts Apparently, it is still an issue...with the players Marinelli hand picked...

"The first (touchdown) play was a slant and we had a chance to make a play and the safety gave up a big play, explosion play. When you do that, you're behind quickly. The second (touchdown) play, we came out and missed another tackle. Angles caught us, and now we're down by 14."

What's with the angle fetish? Next week, will Marinelli be going on about parallelogram and isosceles triangles? This isn't geometry, it's football! Again, it's nothing but double talk and excuses.

They were tacking with obtuse angles! 
I need to see complementary angles, dammit!

"We were going to go right to a no-huddle the next series. Just a little faster tempo, I thought, at times, but I felt okay. I just felt that we were going to go no-huddle that next drive, because we were struggling playing them and you wanted to hopefully eliminate another possession on their part."

Uh, what? On the next possession my ass. The Lions should have been in the no-huddle for the entire 4th quarter. I was going off in my live blog with 10 minutes left in the game, after the Falcons had gone up 13 points, asking "Where's the fucking urgency?". There was none whatsoever. Because you know what happened after that possession? Nothing. Why? THE LIONS NEVER GOT THE BALL BACK!

"Our commitment to try to run the ball was there and I thought, overall we threw the ball fairly well. But we've got to play better defense, and I thought the special teams was solid."

Being committed to run the ball, and actually doing it well, are two different things. Kevin Smith was having to make moves in the backfield, as the Falcons were blowing the O-line off the ball.

Better defense? I would think so. Make it a priority! But it was a priority this past off season, and look what they ended up with. A roster full of former Bucs who weren't good enough to stay in Tampa. And don't get me going on the special teams, which Marinelli, for some ungodly reason, thinks was "solid." There's absolutely nothing solid, let alone special, about them.

"(Mike) Furrey and (Shaun) McDonald. Just seeing if he felt comfortable going out and judging the ball and catching it and fair-catching it."

This is just plain asinine. Marinelli is more concerned about the return men (Both of whom have RARELY done any returning in their NFL careers) catching the fucking ball, than making a play. The demise of Detroit's special teams during the Marinelli era has been shameful. Just plain shameful. Special teams was the one part of the game the Lions played quite well over the years. Not anymore. They were once a weapon, now they are a liability. A HUGE liability.

"You have to just keep playing one snap at a time, and we didn't do that."

No shit.

"Sometimes our (run) fits were off a little bit, I thought the tackling, I thought the angles sometimes and judgment of the angles of the back, and they (Atlanta) played well."

Nothing but typical, meaningless coach-speak bullshit. And what's with the fucking angles? Enough already!

"And there were guys at times that had chances to make plays and didn't make them. But the defense is built one: on discipline and two: when your opportunity arises to make that play, you have to make it, and we didn't do that."

Let's break this down (I don't need no stinking tape!). The defense is built on "making plays." They were unable to do so, even though there were "opportunities." The defense is also built on discipline, which the team lacks in spades when you have players saying "We didn't show up."

When you break it down, it sounds to me like the Tampa Too is in utter shambles.

"It means at times there was a lack of discipline. Initially what I said was the tackling was off a little bit. The angles because I thought the speed of the backside, we have to adjust. Lost our gaps sometimes, pursuit could be better, and I thought we got a little tentative, and some of the alignments were off."

Now there is a lack of discipline? I thought the team was built on the discipline Marinelli continually talks and talks and talks and talks about?

Angles. Adjust. Gaps. Alignments. Christ, Marinelli sounds like an auto mechanic, not a football coach.

Rupert at The Ghosts of Wayne Fontes nailed it when it comes to the bullshit Marinelli spews every Monday.

"That sounds like a cliche high school coach. Hit. Wrap. Lift. Drive. Simple as that. Let's go boys."


"Seeing personnel, making sure the right people are in the game, and it got us second or third play of the game."

Why in the Hell is making sure the right personnel are in the game still an issue? Jon Kitna was so pissed off about not getting plays called in time, and not having the right players on the field, he threw a hissy fit on the sidelines. It's obvious Marinelli does not have control of his team.

"I think that it is the players who are in there right now, and they see it, 'Here's how we clean this up, this is correctable, this is correctable.' So we have to correct it to eliminate it."

Again, shouldn't the corrections have been made in camp? When you are more concerned about fixing mistakes in the limited amount of practice time you have in during the season, instead of preparing for the next team, it's no wonder the team looks so woefully unprepared.

"Let's not put a new backpack on our back and start carrying extra weight and extra luggage around by perception."

Sorry Rod, but the Lions have 50 years worth of luggage, and to be blunt, you're adding to it. And it's not a backpack's worth. More like a steamer trunk. Several steamer trunks...

"So let's eliminate that so we can now focus on what we have to do, not what we didn't do. We know what we didn't do; now I've got to turn it for them and say, 'This is what we're going to do.' And it's no more than that, but it's hard to do."

Uh...What? Did that last paragraph make any sense at all?

"We're going to do what we need to do, but not do what we've been doing, as it's hard to do what you need to do, but we're going to do it." Or something like that. It's all Greek, or coach-speak, to me.

Sure Rod, sure. The man is the master of saying something, while actually saying nothing at all. It's "The Fog of Marinelli."

I have to think it's going to get worse before it gets better...if getting better is even possible...for Marinelli. The rumbles about his job security have already begun. Not a moment too soon, as losing to the awful Falcons should be considered a fireable offense. 


  1. Rod Marinelli was never a head coach. Is anyone really surprised at the results he has achieved? Does anyone think the Lions will win more than 6 games? 5? Does anyone doubt that we will have a new head coach with the same GM next year? I've been a Lions fan sice 1970, but now all I look forward to are the funny comments in the blogs about how inept they are. Geez, I feel like meeting with grief counselor.

  2. A quick look at Coach Pound the Rock's resume.
    Thirty plus years of coaching and never higher than a D-Line coach at any level.
    In his ten years as the D-line guru in Tampa he had 10 double digit sack seasons.
    The list includes:

    Chidi Ahanatou, a one year wonder with 10 in 97, never coming close to that in any other season, with 46.5 total over his 12 year career.

    Marcus Jones, another one year wonder with 13 in 2000, and a grand total of 24 in his six year career.

    Warren Sapp, three times, with a total 74 sacks under Marinelli. Sapp was an All-American, Nagurski and Lombardi award winner, as well as many other accolades for Miami. He was the 12th overall pick in the 95 draft.

    Simeon Rice, five times with 67.5 total under Marinelli. Rice was a 2 time All-American at Illinois and the 3rd overall pick by Arizona in 96. He had 51 sacks in his five years in with Arizona and was Defensive Rookie of the year in 96.

    Those great Tampa defensive lines were anchored by two players who were great players with or without Marinelli. So all this talk of Marinelli being this brilliant D-Line guru and finding scrubs off the street, or the beach volleyball court, and turning them into Pro Bowl lineman is a complete load of garbage.

  3. Is Marinelli coaching football or teaching geometry? Or billiards? I agree, Al -- what's with all the talk about angles? I thought that was a media term, anyway. Like, "We need an angle hear to make Rod Marinelli seem like a competent NFL head coach."

    Football will always -- ALWAYS -- be about blocking and tackling. Just like how baseball is always about pitching and defense. You can have all the systems and spread offenses and West Coast offenses and Tampa Two defenses that you want -- NONE of them succeed if you don't block or tackle. Been that way since the days of Knute Rockne, and even before HIM.

    Reminds me of old Tampa coach John McKay:
    "Well, we didn't block. But we made up for it by not tackling."

    Priceless, and rest in peace, coach.


  4. Or how about, "What do you think of your offense's execution?"

    "I'm all for it."

  5. What's going to be truly laughable, and one more shovelful of dirt on this coffin, is if the Lions get blacked out on TV this Sunday because they couldn't sell out the game. That basically brings us back full circle to the pre-Fontes, Darryl Rogers era when the only NFL football we could watch in metro Detroit was the Browns.

  6. What, no love for the Michigan Panthers?