Are the Detroit Lions too Undisciplined to take the next Step?
Seven arrests since the start of the 2012 NFL off-season, and a 2011 season that was steeped in its fair share of immature behavior leave no signs of improvement for the rowdy Detroit Lions. Long suffering Lions fans on the outside have much to be excited about as they have a talented team capable of going to the playoffs. Let’s even put aside the fact that the Lions play in perhaps one of the toughest divisions in the entire league–the NFC North, where they’re surrounded by the Greenbay Packers and the emerging Chicago Bears. With such a reckless and carefree atmosphere wafting through the lockeroom it could very well be that the biggest opponents the Lions have are themselves.
Aaron Berry arrested for DUI; Nick Fairely arrested twice for possession of marijuana and DUI; Mikel Leshoure arrested twice for possession of maijuana; Johnny Culbreath arrested for possession of marijuana…if this isn’t indicative of a team that has gotten their priorities out of whack then I don’t know what is. Mikel Leshoure has been suspended two games when regular season comes, and Aaron Berry was released from the team altogether. So their antics have now bled onto the field of play, begging me to again ask: are the Lions just too undisciplined to take that next step? First question one would have to ask is what exactly would constitute as the ‘next step’ for what has historically been a lousy franchise where even being.500 would be seen as cause for a parade. To be fair and give the Lions current team some just due I’m going to say the next step would be to win a playoff game, not really asking for too much, right? The Lions have a young Quarterback in Matt Stafford who has elevated his game every year and is the team’s glue, and need I even mention what a luxury it is having the ever explosive and consistent Calvin Johnson on the team but after that the team is hampered by their inability to run with the ball. When healthy Jahvid Best is quite the asset, but he’s been nursing a concussion suffered last season, and Mikel Loshure has hamstring issues and will be sitting out two games. The Lions defense had bouts of bipolar disorder as they were hot in attempts to rush the passer, ranking in the top ten in sacks, but were freezing cold in the secondary, to which plagued them dearly in their loss to the Saints come playoffs. League wide though, you’ll be hard pressed to find a quote unquote ‘complete’ team that is sound on both offense and defense so that on its surface isn’t that big of a deal, but when the Lions are facing the explosive offense of an Aaron Rodgers led Packers or the Bears who’s running game is by far superior the Lions need to address some major holes. Again, everything for them stems from how they conduct themselves off the field.
The Lions have come a long way from their 0-16 days and if they want to further the distance they need to keep their heads in the game. They’ve ammassed a reputation as a dirty team–not a tough team, but a dirty one that very few have respect for. Even coach Jim Schwartz showed that he too is no better than some of his players after he ran after 49’ers coach Jim Harbaugh back in October after too ‘hard’ a handshake…seriously? Whose to say what exactly is causing the Detroit Lion’s lockeroom to be like the ground zero for hooliganism but whatever it is, be it the culture or not, the lack of discipline is something that should be addressed. When players are being lost for silly suspensions after breaking the rules numerous times then its time to sit the team down for a talk, what exactly are they trying to prove with the radical behavior or is it all due to a lack of judgement? The next step to being taken serious in the NFL is to win a playoff game–no, let me retract my previous statement and or add, win a playoff game AT HOME. Until the Lions can become focused enough to try to will themselves to beat the formidable Packers and even the Bears they’re setting themselves up for returning to laugh stock status.