Lions' Marinelli takes offense to questions about quitting

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions will have to fire Rod Marinelli if they don't want him to be their coach.

Marinelli bristled at the thought of possibly quitting when the option was suggested Monday, a day after Detroit fell to 0-4 this season and an NFC-worst 10-26 since he was hired in 2006.

"Just you saying that to me, I would take that as a personal insult," Marinelli said to a reporter.

Marinelli added that people who think quitting is a possibility don't know him.

Matt Millen once said similar things and now he's a former employee, getting fired two weeks ago as Lions team president after sinking the franchise to an NFL-low 31-84 record over his seven-plus seasons in charge.

Detroit was routed by the Chicago Bears 34-7 in its first game of the post-Millen era. The latest defeat did nothing to change Marinelli's determined message at his weekly news conference.

"I won't change," he said. "I believe everything I'm doing in the game of football and how it's being taught. I have 100 percent belief in it.

"Is it getting done yet? No. Am I going to go to work? Yes."

The third-year coach said he spoke to William Clay Ford before Sunday's game, but Marinelli didn't know when he would speak with the team owner again.

Marinelli said he wouldn't argue with Ford if he chose to fire him.

"I respect authority, which a lot of times that doesn't happen in this country," said Marinelli, a Vietnam veteran. "I look at authority and I take my marching orders from there."

The Lions insist they're still following Marinelli's lead.

"He's a great coach," receiver Mike Furrey said. "He's so fundamentally sound, teaching guys what to do.

"There's just something going on right now -- I don't know if it's football-related -- it's so weird. I can't even explain it."

Some statistics do a pretty good job of showing why the Lions have started so poorly.

They've fallen behind by a combined score of 94-3 to start their first four games, leading to a dubious team record. The Lions have lost by a combined 81 points, breaking their record for point differential through four games, according to STATS. Detroit's teams in 1948, 1942, 2001 and 1946 were outscored by anywhere from 80 to 64 points in their first four games, and none of those teams finished with more than two wins.

Opponents have combined for a 122.1 quarterback rating against the Lions, who allowed every quarterback to be more effective than one of the league's stars: New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre leads the NFL with a 110.8 rating.

Detroit is the only team in the NFL without a point in the first quarter or an interception at any point of a game.

"How do you keep going? We still have a realistic chance to make the playoffs, believe it or not," receiver Roy Williams said. "We can still be 12-4, 10-6 or 11-5. It happened before. It happened with the '92 Chargers. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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