Riding their first three-game losing streak since 2010, this Sunday is a chance for the Detroit Lions to get back on track.
It’s also a chance for the team’s season to begin spiraling out of control. Should the Lions lose, that’s exactly what will happen.
The game airs at 1:05p.m. on Fox.
A Lions win after the bye week would leave the team with a manageable record of 2-3, and their early struggles would be forgotten.
A Lions loss would drop that record to 1-4, and things would get ugly quickly.
I know that the 2012 Detroit Lions are just as talented as the 2011 team was, and they have the ability to dig themselves out of the hole they stand in right now.
I just don’t think they will.
The Lions don’t lack talent; the problem is in their attitude. At several points this season, I have doubted the Lions’ heart and tenacity. However, never have I doubted their stupidity and willingness to take bad penalties. If Detroit is going to turn this season around, it is their preparation, discipline, and overall mentality that has to change.
Preparation, discipline, and mentality are things that the coaches are responsible for. Should the Lions continue to play in this lackluster manner, the coaching staff deserves criticism. I have never been one to pick on coaches: it is the players on the field that win and lose games. But in this case, the coaching staff hasn’t done their job well enough in my mind.
Where is the Jim Schwartz that was seen fist-pumping, throwing his headset, and fighting Jim Harbaugh? The fire is gone, and it has to come back. Schwartz needs to be the one inspiring and motivating his players. He is an emotional coach on an emotional team. Wake up Jim.
With Louis Delmas likely back in the lineup this Sunday, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham finally will have a healthy defense (minus Corey Williams). The defense hasn’t played poorly, but with Delmas back in the secondary, Cunningham can open up the playbook and blitz more often. If the Lions can’t get to Michael Vick this week, he will run the Eagles up and down Lincoln Financial Field all day.
The front four will have their hands full containing Vick in this one, and it will be up to Willie Young and Cliff Avril to keep him inside the pocket. Young and Avril have the athleticism to keep up with Vick, but the entire front four will have to play hardnosed football and knock Vick around in order to win.
Vick has been extremely turnover prone this year, which is just what the doctor ordered for Detroit. Vick has coughed it up 11 times this year, while Detroit has been able to force only three turnovers in four games. The Lions must continue Vick’s trend of giveaways on Sunday.
Offensively, the Lions will need to exploit Philly’s defensive scheme by running it right at them and exploiting man coverage when they get it. The Eagles love to play man defense with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the outside. Even against the NFL’s elite corners, I’ll take Calvin Johnson. When Stafford sees man coverage, he better throw it deep to Megatron every time.
It’s time for the Lions to find their identity. Not just what plays they call and who lines up on the field, but a real identity. They need to look themselves in the mirror and decide that they really want to win.
Should they do this, it may be the beginning of something great.
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