Dave Reginek/Getty Images
This may sound crass, but if the Lions open the 2012 with another 5-0 (or even 4-1) record, all this stuff will go right out the window, through the parking lot and into a gutter.
The biggest reason the Lions' offseason woes are such a big story is because there are no other stories.
I'm not trying to downplay the significance of DUIs and drug-related offenses. These are serious offenses that should be punished, and they are. But once the regular season heats up, these things will disappear, especially if things are going well.
I'm not saying that's the way things should be, but they are that way, because that's the way the news cycle works. If anything, if the Lions start winning, it will become the inspiring story of how a troubled team overcame offseason adversity.
Of course, this implies that the Lions will stay out of trouble, which is the only way any of this stuff works. The "troubled Lions getting in trouble with the law/NFL" storyline is entirely too juicy to pass up at this point, so the moment anybody steps out of line, that headline is coming right out of the arsenal.
I mean, look—I'm here writing about it in mid-June, and nothing has even happened recently.
But in a way, that's also why the Lions have such a great chance to turn this thing around. The Lions' offseason issues are so well-documented at this point that the issues could actually turn into a story with a positive spin.
This is how it works. The teams that win get positive coverage, the teams that lose get coverage pulling them apart at the flaws.
The Lions win, they're a great team that overcame a spat of offseason arrests and are now firing on all cylinders. They lose, and they're a mess of a team full of criminals, and Jim Schwartz has completely lost control of everything.
Even looking at the 2011 season, the Lions had personal fouls in just about every game they played, but two games stick out in particular: Thanksgiving against the Packers, and the ensuing week against the Saints.
Why do those games stick out? Because they were nationally televised, and the Lions committed personal fouls that had clearly negative effects in games they lost.
Why do we not hear hardly anything about Gosder Cherilus' equally unacceptable post-play personal foul in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Bucs, one that came in a much more crucial point in the game than any of the aforementioned calls?
Simple—the Lions actually won that game in the end. Instead of being the game story, it was a footnote about how Cherilus almost let the other team back in it.
So, what the most "discipline-challenged" Lions need to do is lay low for now, keep their noses clean, accept their suspensions graciously and, when the time comes, go out there and perform. If they do that, this will all be forgiven and forgotten by this point next year, just like Matthew Stafford's injury concerns.
Because, like it or not, winning fixes everything.