Rick Mahorn and Bill Lambeer should be very proud of our Detroit Lions. In addition, they would probably fit right in playing for them. Reason being: the Detroit Lions are playing like this generation’s Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons.
If you’ve watched Lions football this season, you’ve seen the examples of physical/boarderline play, possibly with the most interesting moment coming yesterday. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was sent to the principal’s (Roger Goodell) office with his parents (Coach Jim Schwartz and team President Tom Lewand).
Suppposedly, this meeting was to discuss Suh’s play and to make sure there was clarity in how he’s playing. As the quote’s show (which you can read on this very site), they just wanted to be on the same page of Kong’s aggressive play. I don’t know about you, but when you hear that, don’t you automatically assume that means they were NOT on the same page before the meeting.
Granted, Suh has made several plays that have been questionable. The throwing of quarterback Jake Delhomme in the preseason last year is first and foremost. He also did a nice job planting Tom Brady in the preseason this year.
Suh also drew the ire of the Atlanta Falcons, when he SUPPOSEDLY taunted an injured Matt Ryan. The “supposedly” is well deserved for two good reasons. First, if Suh really said anything, do you really believe that none of the Falcon offensive linemen would have jumped Suh (if you don’t believe that’s a good example, think of what Raiola or Backus won’t do if someone taunted an injuried Stafford). Secondly, it was reported that the Atlanta coaching staff said there really wasn’t much made of it after the game.
But in that last instance, Suh supposedly didn’t act alone. Cliff Avril was right in the mix as a “Ryan” offender. Avril has been steller this season staying on par with a line that includes Suh, Kyle Vanden Boesch, and Corey Williams. It appears that he’s learning from his All-Pro buddy.
Let’s go back to the game against Denver though. Detroit showed their fiery resolve while consistently taking it to quarterback Tim Tebow. Linebacker Stephen Tulloch was Tebow-ing by going to one knee after sacking the Denver quarterback. Tight end Tony Scheffler did it again after scoring his touchdown. Mind you, we have seen that behavior from Scheffler before. He pulled out the pirate sword against Tampa.
Even Calvin Johnson got into the mix. Before crossing the goal line on the offsides-penalty-turned-touchdown, Calvin made sure everyone knew he was crossing into the endzone. Although, when you’ve cought 11 touchdowns in 8 games, you’ve probably earned that right.
But really, doesn’t all of the attitude come from the coach. Whether right or wrong, “handshake-gate,” says an awful lot about Jim Schwartz. In a weird way, it’s as if that moment said, “hey, we may have lost, but we are not going to get pushed around any more.” That’s a big step for a team that lost 16 games just three seasons ago.
And like the Bad Boys of the ’80s, this version has a dragon it needs to slay. It’s not the Boston Celtics…it’s the Green Bay Packers. I’m not necessarily saying the Lions need to beat the Pack in the playoffs this year. I’m looking one step less than that. Start by winning a game in Lambeau. That haven’t done that since the early 90s.
The attitude has changed. The wins are starting to come. The Lions are on the verge of something special. They are young and hungry. The best part might be that they are acting like they’ve been there. And as long as they don’t start thinking they’ve won before playing games, they will continue to be successful, while being awfully fun to watch too.