5 Ways Detroit Lions Can Move on from Disturbing Offseason ASAP
The Detroit Lions had a dreadful offseason filled with far too much negativity, and they need to move on from it immediately, or they will struggle to play competitive football in 2012.
From a legal perspective, the Lions had the worst offseason of any team in the NFL. They hurt themselves in the eyes of the rest of the league, and they became a running joke to NFL pundits everywhere.
There are ways to make the offseason negativity fade into the background, but it has to be a two-pronged approach. The Lions need to rebuild their image, and it must be done on and off the football field. It is not too late to repair their image nationally, but the appropriate steps must be taken if that is to happen.
Training camp has arrived and with it comes the hopes and dreams of each team’s fanbase. This is the first step for the Lions to take, but they can’t stop here. They must continue to make positive news during training camp, from both a player and a team perspective.
The Lions play their first regular season game on September 9, and they must do an excellent job getting through camp without any more negative news about them. The Lions must do the following to be able to move on from the embarrassment that was the 2012 offseason.
Stay out of Trouble
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It is an obvious statement to make, but the Lions need to stay out of trouble during training camp. They can’t do anything that would cause any more negative news to come out about the players or the team. The Lions need a few doses of positive news, but it would be a terrific start for there to be nothing to report.
The Lions embarrassed themselves during the 2012 offseason, and it made some question whether they were ready for the success they had in 2011. There were also questions about whether head coach Jim Schwartz had control of his team.
The Lions had seven arrests during the offseason. This is far too high a number, and it is something that can’t be tolerated any longer. There were calls for the Lions to make a statement, and the Lions acted by cutting cornerback Aaron Berry and tackle Johnny Culbreath before camp started.
Players can’t put themselves in a situation where they can find any trouble. The stakes are simply too high, and for some, an NFL job is on the line. They need to come to work and be ready to practice, study film and improve as much as they can at playing football.
This is a critical point for the Lions, as a team and for the players themselves. They can't be careless and make mistakes with their decision making. They need to focus on football and make the game primary right now. There is no room for anything else at this point in the careers of these NFL players.
Get Some Rookies to Play Well in Training Camp
Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
One of the fastest ways for the Lions to move past their offseason issues is to build some positive news that would come from the emergence of a few rookies in training camp. There is nothing that can make fans forget about the bad offseason like the excitement over a young player making plays in training camp.
Paula Pasche of the Oakland Press reported that there is already excitement over cornerback Bill Bentley, and the buzz around him is certainly helping to push the offseason woes to the back of everyone’s mind. If Bentley can continue to make progress during training camp, it will do wonders for the image of the Lions.
Other young players can have the same positive impact, and they have a chance to make good things happen every day at practice. Justin Rogers of mlive.com reported that Tahir Whitehead made a strong impression on defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, and news like this is exactly what the Lions need.
Wide receiver Ryan Broyles came off of the PUP list after missing the first few days of camp. The Lions are expecting exciting things out of Broyles. This is terrific news as the Lions' doctors cleared him for training camp, and it is the news they need to continue to make.
It would be fantastic if the Lions got a rookie to turn into a reliable player during the 2012 season, but these players must put in the work now. Players are being evaluated during training camp, and it is their best chance to show their talent on the field.
The positive news that we hear about the Lions 2012 rookie class helps to push the offseason into the past.
Get Healthy and Experience No Injuries
Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
The Detroit Lions have contended with their share of injuries during training camp over the past few years. Last year, they lost running back Mikel Leshoure for the season due to a torn Achilles. They also lost defensive tackle Nick Fairley to a broken foot, and it limited him all year.
The Lions had their share of injuries coming into training camp this year.
Leshoure is still recovering from last year’s injury and wide receiver Ryan Broyles started camp on the PUP list. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported that running back Jahvid Best is still not cleared for contact and will also start camp on the PUP list. The injuries are a growing concern, especially with Best.
The Lions need to have an excellent training camp from a health perspective, and they can’t afford injuries to any of their players. They need to get through training camp with every member of the team ready to go, including Best, Leshoure and Broyles. The Lions are a contender now, but they need all of their players healthy.
Training camp is a critical time for teams to develop their players, and it is a massive blow when players have to miss this crucial time because of injury. It is hard for a player to catch up to the rest of his teammates from a playing perspective. These players need to be on the field as much as possible, especially for a young team like the Lions.
There might not be a better way for the indiscretions of the offseason to go away than allowing the excitement of training camp to build. If the Lions can stay injury-free, the positive buzz about this team will drown out the offseason. It is the perfect way to move away from the craziness that was the 2012 offseason.
Continue to Show Signs of Offensive Domination
Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
The Lions are building a dynamic offense, and they added to it during the 2012 NFL draft. They added a premier left tackle and an exceptionally talented wide receiver to an already potent offense. There is a lot of excitement about what the offense will do in 2012.
The Lions have put enough talent on the field to be considered a premier offensive unit. They have a tremendous combination of youth and playmaking ability. Matthew Stafford is 24 and Calvin Johnson is 26. Titus Young is 22 and Ryan Broyles is 24.
Sean Yuille of prideofdetroit.com put together a list of tweets from reporters watching the offense on the first day of camp. The news coming out of Allen Park makes it sound like the offense has been unstoppable.
Reports have talked about how Calvin Johnson, Titus Young and Matthew Stafford have been extremely impressive during the first few days of camp. Titus Young has also stood out in a tremendously positive way early in training camp.
Anwar Richardson of mlive.com reported that head coach Jim Schwartz was proud of Young’s recovery from his offseason incident with teammate Louis Delmas.
He's made a lot of plays out here. He's done all the right things since he's been back with our team. I'm really proud of what he's shown since he's been back. He's done an excellent job, and he's had some very good days.
The longer the Lions can create this kind of excitement about the offense, the more distant their troubles will seem. This league is all about impressions, and during the offseason, the impression was the Lions were a team spinning out of control. With glowing reports about their offense, the impression is that the team is working ward to perfect its craft.
This offense is going to be elite for years, and the positive buzz they are creating with their training camp play is helping to push the negativity into the past.
Win Games While Controlling Their Emotions
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
The best way to put the offseason to rest is to win football games starting on September 9. There were far too many problems with players making foolish mistakes during the offseason, but this is truly a distraction from the business at hand.
The Lions need to win football games, and if they play well early in the 2012 season, there will not be any talk about an out of control football team. This league is driven by what is happening now, and by winning games, the Lions can force the conversation to be about their success on the field—not their failures during the offseason.
The Lions can also turn around the perception that they are immature. They need to play smart football while committing as few penalties as possible, mainly the 15-yard personal foul type. The Lions had their share in 2011, and the trend needs to stop during the 2012 season. The Lions can’t give anyone reason to think they are anything but a winning football team.
Football is a highly emotional game, and the Lions need to control their emotions. They are going to get bad calls from the referees, and things are not going to be easy in this division. The Lions are going to play truly meaningful games all season, and they have to show the doubters that they are ready to be successful.
The Lions have a lot of work to put into training camp before the season starts. When the team emerges from camp and enters the regular season, it will have the opportunity to play itself into a positive light. The Lions can do this by winning football games and not taking undisciplined penalties and personal foul calls.