Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle
(90) sits on the bench before the game against the New York Giants at Ford Field. Giants beat the Lions 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday night I watched NFL Network to hear what was being said about the upcoming season now that the schedules have been released. The opening Monday Night Football game was discussed, and curiously, approached from the New York Giants standpoint as if it’s their game. It irritated me that the Giants would be the spotlighted team with the game being held at Ford Field as the Lions home opener. Nonetheless, the game was being discussed, and that’s more than Detroit usually gets from the NFL network.
I woke up Sunday morning to NFL Network, having fallen asleep on Saturday night watching it. I was interested once again in the talk about the MNF match-up to start the season. Groggy and sipping coffee, I perked up a bit with talk from a panel about the Lions specifically. Talk turned to Suh, obviously, and the mud started to fly, jarring me awake with Heath Evans saying “This team has been GARBAGE.”
If you’d like to hear the rant for yourself, click here. You’ll also be treated to Heath explaining himself and his position.
Really, it isn’t fair to say the team has been garbage. Nearly all of their losses the last few seasons have been by less than a touchdown. These opposing teams had to fight hard to beat Detroit. Mainly, the Lions couldn’t seem to get out of their own way, giving the ball away at critical moments with a coaching staff that made questionable decisions at times. The Lions have been predictable, and have had issues with depth and injury. But garbage? Man, that’s harsh.
It’s hard to put much stock in what is said by Warren Sapp and Heath Evans concerning the Lions, though, because it is pretty well-known how they dislike the team. Sapp I can understand, as I remember him spitting on the Lion emblem at the Silverdome while I watched my favorite team as a child. He always seemed like a villain to me while I grew up, and the Bucs have remained a team I… dislike. Good ‘ole NFC Central. Heath Evans just comes off like he has a personal problem with Suh or something. I suppose the reasoning doesn’t matter, I just think he would be more objective being an analyst for the NFL Network. History shows that he’ll be down on the Lions no matter how well they play.
This kind of stuff can only be brought to an end by winning. The natural inclination that the Lions WILL lose still holds strong with many people. Just like it did for the Rams in 1998-99, the Cardinals in 2007-08, and heck, the Bucs in 2001-02. The Lions speak of a win-now mentality in 2014, but can they deliver the wins? Heath Evans says NO. I watched him predict the season for the Arizona Cardinals, and without even flinching, he marked the Lions game as a ‘W’. He didn’t even slow down and think about it. It wouldn’t shock me to find that he did the same for every team Detroit plays this season. They must forever be 0-16 in his mind.
Unless the Lions organization enjoys a losing image, the team MUST win NOW.