Coming into the 2012 NFL season many penciled in the Detroit Lions to be atop the NFC North. Now, with a meager 2-3 record the Lions will play a pivotal game on Monday Night against the Chicago Bears. Furthermore, Lion WR Nate Burleson believes they must play with the bravado or as he put it “swagger” that the playoff team had in 2011. While Burleson’s premise may to light a spark underneath an underperforming Lions team, it is very difficult to act “bad” when players are crossing the line off the field.
The Lions franchise has not enjoyed much success, and when the club won the NFC Wild Card for the first time since 1999 the city was ecstatic. Unfortunately, the team was unable to make a run and the offseason began much too early. The 2012 summer was one to forget for the Detroit Lions organization and Police departments around the country. All in all, four Lions players racked up seven different court cases, including last years rookies, DT Nick Fairley and RB Mikel Leshore. Marijuana possession was the cause for four of the arrests while Fairley and CB Aaron Berry were tagged for driving under the influence. Amidst these Lions players acting out, the organization began to take heat for not doing enough about these incidents. Trying to regain more culpability, General Manager Martin Mayhew thought it best to release the disgruntled Berry.
It is a sticky situation for all involved and the last thing Jim Schwartz wants to worry about is how his players are behaving off the field. While the Lions may lack maturity, they do not lack talent and it would be a shame to see a team with so much potential slide due to unprofessionalism. Monday Night is Detroit’s Super Bowl at this point and undergoing an identity crisis before a big game is not a good idea. The Lions must worry about winning, not if they look scary while doing so.