Monday, October 24, 2011

Lions Bad Boys of NFL

What the heck is going on.  The Lions are showing too much emotion?  Bobby Layne must be standing up and applauding in the afterlife.  This is not your Matt Millen Lions and this is not your Barry Sanders Lions.  This is a new one for Lions fans.  This is something out of the New York Jet playbook.  Controversial coach, some controversial players, and a few really classy ones (see Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford, and Jason Hanson).  The Lions are following their coach's emotional example.  Whether it is NdamukongSuh and Cliff Avril kicking/insulting Matt Ryan while he is writhing in pain or Coach Schwartz chasing Jim Harbaugh trying to make a point-whatever it was. 

The best word to describe it is pretty much what kind of ride we are on-a roller coaster.  I mean the first 5 games were back and forth, heart stopping victories.  The next 2 games (both losses) were the same, gut wrenching, heart stopping, but still losses.  I will say this, the Lions definitely know how to deflect attention from their losses. It is pretty clear that the Lions can't really run the ball and offensively rely on the big play or home run too much.  Just check their 3rd and 4th down efficiency.  Defensively, if the line doesn't get to the QB or stop the run, well, it is an adventure.  Yet, no one is talking about that.  All we can talk about is how dirty Suh is or how unstable Schwartz is. 

Being a life long Lions fan, I love the fact that we are relevant and that these two losses, while to pretty good teams actually make the Lions themselves mad that they lost.  Listening to Suh, Stafford, and Schwartz talk after the games makes me think, gulp, of the Detroit Pistons of the 80's.  Love them or hate them, they were winners.  Dirty or not, they were relevant.  Laimbeer, Mahorn, and the guys up front did the dirty work (like the Lions defense) and the backcourt got the points and the glory (like the offensive skill players and quarterback).  No matter what, these Lions are not going to go back to their old ways.  They just can't.  They have come too far from the scourge of 0-16. 

The playoffs have to the be the goal.  Think Rams and the Greatest Show on Turf.  They turned it around real quick and became relevant for 5-6 years going to 2 Super Bowls and winning one.  The next game is Denver and I think that Suh and the boys have a statement to make playing Tebow.  Now, I am not saying hurt the lad...just hit him hard.  Win by more than a dozen.  Let's put these two losses behind us and move into better playoff position.  Other than the Packers, Saints, and 49ers, making the wild card is in the Lions power and in their own grasp. 

Now, emotions are great and I say keep it up, but don't blow any your best Mike Singletary or Mean Joe Greene and make it count on the field.  Do I think Suh is dirty?  Not really, but I am a homer and the perception is that he is a dirty player.  That is a tough one to beat-just ask James Harrison or Rodney Harrison (who said Suh was a dirty player-how's that for an oxymoron).  The entire defense needs to decide that being emotional is not the only part of them.  They need to show the NFL that they are emotional but also hard hitting, aggressive and willing to do what it takes to win.  The Lions have gone too far with the over emotional stuff to change their tune now to become cerebral and heady players.

Remember, you give a guy a fish for one meal and teach the another a guy to fish for many meals.  The Lions need to focus on sustainability.  Suh, Stafford, Johnson, Pettigrew and the entire team need to decide are they in this for the long run.  If so, let's get back on track.  Play daring, be emotional, but remember the goal is always, always to win games and you can't let your emotions get in your way.

Go Lions and thank you for making a long time fan very happy!