With any coaching change, winning usually takes time. If anything, winning with your own players definitely takes time, and that has been evident for the Detroit Lions in Rod Marinelli's first two seasons as head coach. When he took over this team, the roster was not only missing talent, but it also was missing his kind of players. The transition into the Marinelli roster hasn't been easy and has had some surprises along the way, but it appears that the transition may finally be complete.
Although talent is undoubtedly the biggest aspect of a winning team, chemistry is just as important. For the Lions, there really hasn't been a great team chemistry since Marinelli became the head coach. That's not a slight against anyone; it's just the truth. A Marinelli type of player is one that works hard day in and day out and always comes to practice, a team meeting, or a game ready for football. Unfortunately for Coach Rod, his first two seasons produced a number of players that were complete opposites of that mold, making this transition harder than originally thought.
Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Shaun Rogers are just a few of the names that come to mind when thinking about players that didn't have the work ethic or attitude to mesh with Marinelli. As a result, none of them are on this team anymore thanks to a trade or just simply being released. What has caused this transition to take so long is that there were quite a few players like this, and it takes time to figure out which wants shouldn't be on the team.
It can be called addition by subtraction when players are traded and released, but there is the actual addition part of this whole deal. Rod Marinelli has had to bring in players that fit his mold as well, and that's no easy task either. The reason we've seen so many former Buccaneers come north to Detroit is simple. Marinelli is familiar with those players and knows exactly what he's getting in terms of work ethic and attitude. At the same time, that is why Detroit has to be careful when drafting or finding free agents. Just take a look at Ernie Sims and Gosder Cherilus for proof of that. Neither are necessarily big name players, but they both are hard workers with a fiery attitude.
If the Lions ever do become a winning franchise in the Marinelli era, it will happen because of attitude more than anything. Obviously talent plays a pretty big part in all of this, but it is my belief that a team with the right attitude can go fairly far on that alone. It helps to have players like Ernie Sims and Roy Williams that have the potential to go to the Pro Bowl on a yearly basis, but having the right mindset is equally vital to the future success of this team. Heck, that's why the front office and ownership has been so incompetent. They have the wrong attitude towards the fans, showing us why so little has been done to improve this franchise over the years.