DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Lions are as hapless as ever, losing their first six games and seemingly plotting for the future by trading a standout receiver and putting their starting quarterback on injured reserve.
``I'm trying to get our players to realize it's an NFL team,'' Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn said.
Zorn tried to rise up to the challenge of building the Lions up as a threat to win Sunday at home.
``This team is going to be the most dangerous team in the National Football League - at 0-6 and playing well in all their games,'' Zorn said. ``They were very much a competitive team against all the opponents I've been watching.''
He must've just watched the Lions' past two games, when they were relatively respectable, after being routed in their first four losses.
Zorn did, however, have some fodder to get his players' attention.
The Redskins were expected to roll to easy wins in their past two games, only to lose to the previously winless St. Louis Rams, then barely beat the Cleveland Browns after overcoming a scoreless first half.
Clinton Portis said the Redskins overlooked the Rams - his teammates disagreed, for the record - and hopes they've learned a lesson.
``You don't want to have that happen again, where you come and don't take advantage of our opportunities,'' Portis said. ``Right now, we're feeling good about ourselves at 5-2. If we don't let that game slip away, we're 6-1. If we let this game slip away, we're 5-3.''
The Lions came close to finally winning a game in each of the past two weeks on the road.
They rallied from another big deficit last week, but lost to Houston by a touchdown, after losing 12-10 to Minnesota on a field goal set up by a pass-interference penalty that was questionable.
``The way we prepare, we should be 6-0,'' defensive tackle Cory Redding said.
Detroit fired team president Matt Millen a month ago, but the move didn't change the mess he left behind that made the present poor and the future bleak.
Trading Roy Williams and ending Jon Kitna's season might help in the coming years because of the draft picks acquired from Dallas and the experience Dan Orlovsky was forced to get - plus the playing time Drew Stanton might receive at quarterback.
Even though losing Williams and Kitna won't help the Lions come closer to finally winning, coach Rod Marinelli said he's not nearing his breaking point.
ger every day,'' Marinelli insisted. ``I honestly do because I embrace this.''
Marinelli does acknowledge, though, being frustrated at struggling to figure out why productive practices are not leading to better results on Sunday.
``We're searching and it's still not showing up,'' he said.
Detroit showed up last year to play Washington, but didn't seem to physically stick around for long in the 34-3 loss.
Tight end Chris Cooley said last year the Lions allowed themselves to be blocked after starting strong in the game.
``I don't think you would ever expect that out of a team,'' Cooley said this week when asked about his previous comments. ``We did feel like we took over the game in the second half. Obviously by the score, that was apparent.''
Even though people outside the organization are counting out the Lions, they are adamant that they will not give up.
``Marinelli made a point to bring in guys with good character, and that's why I don't think that will be a problem,'' offensive tackle Jeff Backus said. ``This is tough, but you just have to be able to roll with that.''
If Redding senses teammates are rolling over, they'll hear about it.
``If I see anyone doing anything like that, I'm going to tell them that they didn't sign a contract that says that you play hard and work hard if we're winning, but that you get to quit halfway through the season if we don't,'' Redding said. ``I haven't seen any of that. I've seen a group that is willing to do whatever it takes, and we have to keep that mind-set.''
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