Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Updated: January 4, 1:59 AM ET
Lions fire Martz, promote Colleto, Brown to lead offense
ESPN.com news services
The Detroit Lions have fired offensive coordinator Mike Martz and promoted offensive line coach Jim Colleto and wide receivers coach Kippy Brown to run the offense in his place, the team officially announced Thursday.
Colleto to replace Martz as offensive coordinator and introduced Brown as the new assistant head coach and passing game coordinator.
"Jim is an excellent football coach," Lions coach Rod
Marinelli said Thursday in a statement. "He knows what it takes to
win in this League and I am confident that he will do a tremendous
job leading our offense.
"His appointment also allows us to maintain continuity in our
offense, which is important to our players."
On Wednesday, Martz confirmed his firing to the Detroit Free Press.
"We fell short of what we wanted to do offensively, and I
regret that," he told the newspaper.
Quarterback Jon Kitna said Thursday he's unhappy over the firing of Martz but says he has faith Marinelli did what he thought was in the team's best interest.
"I wish it would have been different, but at the end of the day, these are decisions coaches and management need to make, and as players, we need to just do our job," Kitna told The Associated Press on Thursday night. "I'm not sure what to expect because I've been immersed in coach Martz's system, so I'm not sure what Colletto's philosophies are. I'm just going to do the best I can to help make it work."
In other changes, the Lions promoted Shawn Jefferson from offensive assistant to wide receivers coach and fired Martz's son, Tim Martz, as an offensive assistant.
Fred Reed, a defensive assistant the past two years, won't return next season.
On Sunday, after their season ended with a loss to the Green Bay Packers, members of the Lions offense said the blame should be on them.
"You can keep changing coaches, but every time you change them that's a new system,'' said quarterback Jon Kitna. "The reality is, the games that we lost, the majority, the times that things didn't go right, it was self-inflicted stuff.
"It wasn't a coaching thing where you were outcoached or they weren't putting you in a position to be successful. There were plays to be made, and we didn't make them for whatever reason that is.''
However, Martz is not expected to be out of work for long. According to media reports, San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan wanted Martz to replace offensive coordinator Jim Hostler, who was fired Wednesday. But ESPN.com's John Clayton reported that the team's brass did not support that idea. That could open the door for Southern Methodist University, which has contacted Martz regarding its head coaching job, according to Clayton.
Martz led the St. Louis Rams to the playoffs in four of his five full seasons as a head coach, including a Super Bowl after the 2001 season, and helped the franchise win the 2000 Super Bowl as offensive coordinator. The Rams went 51-29 in the regular season and 54-33 overall during his five full seasons as coach.
ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.