Millen sympathizes with fans; has confidence in Marinelli, future

DETROIT -- Detroit Lions president Matt Millen says he understands fan frustration with him and the organization, but he sees brighter days ahead for the troubled franchise.

The Lions are 31-81 since Millen took control of the team in 2001, a record he described as "beyond awful" during a rare interview with Detroit-area media on Friday.

"If I was sitting at home and I was a Lion fan, you've got to blame somebody," Millen said. "I'd blame me, too. ... That's part of my job is to get blamed. I'm OK with that. But it's also part of my job to win. We haven't done that."

Millen said he has "100 percent confidence" in coach Rod Marinelli. The Lions finished 7-9 last season after a 6-2 start.

"There's more than one thing," Millen said when asked about what went wrong and how to fix what happened in the second half of last season. "A lot of it has to do with mind-set and things you can't approach -- how we're practicing. We're not good enough in some areas. You can cover some things up, but you can't cover all of them up."

Millen said he would listen to trade offers for defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. But he said if the Lions wind up keeping the former Pro Bowler, Rogers could be fined if he continues to have weight issues.

Millen acknowledged that it's difficult to build continuity when coordinators -- including the recently departed offensive coordinator Mike Martz -- and other coaches quickly come and go.

"I think we've hurt ourselves -- and that's on me -- with making changes," he said. "I think when you're putting a staff together, there are a lot of factors that go into it, the least of which is, you have to be on the same page philosophically. ... So you ask me what makes me more comfortable with this staff or why do I like this staff, that's one of them. I think there's a lot more similarity in our approach."