Detroit Lions Fighting in Camp Again: Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?

Dean Holden@@Dean_HoldenAnalyst IJune 26, 2010

DETROIT - JANUARY 03: Bryant Johnson #80 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a second quarter touchdown with Calvin Johnson #81 and Derrick Williams #12 while playing the Chicago Bears on January 3, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

At least the Detroit Lions are looking to get more physical.

After a similar incident two weeks ago which led to the loss of two OTAs, the Lions again had some physical confrontations (which were apparently more UFC-related than football-related) with one another in this week's mini-camp.

Head coach Jim Schwartz laughed off the first instance of these scuffles, but has lost his patience this time, promising fines to the players involved after several minutes' worth of yelling at them.

Now, it's still June. There are more than two months between now and the kickoff of the regular season. Many of the people involved in this event will be on a practice squad at that time.

So with that in mind, what does this mean for the Detroit Lions?

Is it good that the team is showing such passion even in non-padded practices?

Is it bad that said passion is being directed towards the end goal of punching each other in the face?

Or is it irrelevant, because many of the people involved will be forgotten about by September?

The reality is, it's not cut-and-dried on any of the above. It's good that they're practicing like they care, but bad that they're showing immaturity as they do it. Good that they don't mind getting physical, bad in the way they're going about it.

It's a little concerning, as well, that it seems that a large portion of the team was involved, rather than an isolated few.

So while it may not be a good thing, necessarily, this may become an important moment for Schwartz. As he begins his second season as head coach of the Lions, this could be the moment everybody looks back on as the moment Jim Schwartz really took hold of his team.

It's an opportunity for Schwartz to show his disciplinary side, and not in a "$1700 for forgetting to pay for a bottle of water" kind of way. No, this is Schwartz's opportunity to step up and say, "This is my team, and I will not have players acting like this on my team."

As an apple from the Belichick coaching tree, Schwartz has roster control in his coaching genes, so this is his chance to exercise it.

But will he?

With only a year of experience under his belt, Schwartz has not yet had the opportunity to establish himself as either a strict disciplinarian or a "players' coach." This may be the event that starts him down one of those roads.

It's hard to say which one, but it may not mean much in the short term.

Unless this kind of thing happens two or three more times between now and the preseason, nobody will remember this "brawl" ever happened. The media will forget about it by the time training camp and the preseason kick off, as will the players.

Remember when something similar happened last year towards the end of training camp? Not really? Neither does anybody else, nor the names of the players involved.

That's because this kind of thing happens in camp. Lots of guys are looking for some spotlight during a three-day tryout. Many more are new draftees/free agents, who have no attachment to their "teammates" on the practice field.

Right now, they're out there competing with each other for jobs. Physically. People are out there pushing other people around because their careers are on the line, and everybody else who might beat them for a spot is the enemy.

It won't be like that for long, but right now, it is. It's the nature of the early-season workout. Soon, the roster will shrink to 53, and as the players' seats cool down, so too will their heads.

The only question that remains is how a young head coach will deal with things between now and then.


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