Lions experience addition by subtracting Bly Print
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Thursday, 01 November 2007 13:31
NFL Headline News

 DETROIT (AP) -Dre' Bly was one of the players the Detroit Lions sent packing after last season, reshaping their roster with players who fit Rod Marinelli's schemes and accepted his hard-hitting practices.
Bly, who was burned on the game-ending play that gave Green Bay an overtime win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night, bristled at the suggestion he didn't buy into the new program in Detroit.
``That's bogus, dude,'' Bly said. ``That's crazy because I was buying in. I don't know what our record was. It might have been 2-18, or whatever the record was, but I bought into everything they asked me to do.''
The shot at Detroit's record, which was 3-13 at the end of the year, was typical of the comments the standout cornerback made in Detroit from 2003-06, when the team's awful seasons led to the passionate player venting his frustration.
When coach Steve Mariucci was fired two years ago, for example, Bly publicly blamed quarterback Joey Harrington for it.
``It's hard to dislike Dre' as a guy because he's fun to be around,'' Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus said. ``As a teammate? He had his ups and downs. The way he handled the Joey thing, he'll say his teammates were 100 percent. I disagree. I didn't agree with the way he handled it, and I talked to him right after he did it.
``But that's all a long time ago.''
Harrington is gone, as are two other top 10 picks from recent years, receivers Charles Rogers and Mike Williams.
The trio of busts seemed to set up failure as Detroit lost an NFL-high 71 games from 2001-06, but getting rid of them played a part in changing the franchise's mind-set.
Backus said the intangible changes are a ``direct correlation'' to Detroit's turnaround.
``In the past, we weren't able to push through negative situations to win tight games. Now we are,'' said Backus, the team's No. 1 pick in 2001. ``Marinelli has created a culture that has us working, fighting, scratching and clawing every play and not worrying about anything but the snap we're playing.''
Detroit is 5-2 for its best start since 2000, the year before Matt Millen took over as team president, and every facet of the game is getting contributions from unsung players such as Corey Smith.
``We got him out of 7-Eleven,'' Marinelli said. ``There are guys out there, you just keep looking around.''
Even though Bly was beaten by receiver Greg Jennings' speed and Brett Favre's arm, the Broncos insist they're happy with him. Denver acquired Bly from Detroit in the offseason for offensive tackle George Foster, who has been starting for the Lions, and running back Tatum Bell, who might be inactive again this weekend.
``He's been what I was hoping for,'' Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. ``And he's exceeded those expectations.''
The Broncos as a team, however, have not met projections so far.
Denver is 3-4, its worst start since 2001, but Shanahan is not conceding anything about the season.
``You have to take a look at New England, who started off 1-3 and they won the Super Bowl,'' he said. ``Teams have started off 8-1 and didn't even make the playoffs.
``In this profession you better take it week by week and not get too caught up in your record, and concentrate on the job at hand and you'll have a chance to do something.''
The key to Sunday's game at Ford Field might hinge on the Broncos' ability to slow down running back Kevin Jones.
Denver ranks last in the NFL against the run. Jones has recovered well enough from a foot injury to run for 105 yards and a TD at Chicago, giving Detroit its second straight win and providing balance for an offense that isn't regarded as pass happy anymore.
``If you have a great passing attack, obviously the running game comes open,'' Shanahan said. ``If you feature the running game, obviously you can come up with some big plays.''
Bly doesn't plan to be on the wrong end of highlights in his return to Detroit, where he will be tested by talented receivers Roy Williams and rookie Calvin Johnson.
``I have a short memory,'' Bly said. ``My confidence is sky high. Other than that play, I have been playing well. I have been doing what they brought me in to do.
``I look forward to coming to Detroit and doing what I've been doing in that stadium since I've been there, and that's make plays.''
 

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