Just when it looked like the Lions were finished on Sunday and the book was going to be closed on their season, they dug deep and gutted out a tough win on the road against the Eagles. The victory was the difference between 1-4 and 2-3, and it keeps Detroit in playoff contention for the time being. In order to stay there, receiver Nate Burleson feels his team needs to not get carried away with being mature and instead get back to being the bad guys.
“We had a lot of discipline issues in the off-season, and we wanted to tighten up because the perception of this organization started to change,” Burleson told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. “What we worked for was getting torn down, and we wanted to be more of a mature team. But finding that maturity off the field can’t compromise who we are on the field. And who we are on the field are the bad guys. … We’re the ones that nobody wants to see succeed, and we like it that way.
“We play better that way. I think everybody took it in their own hands to be better men off the field, and that followed us a little bit on the field. But I think we’re back where we need to be.”
Burleson wants the team to play angry, but they also need to play smart.
“I talked to the guys last week, and I said we’ve got to get back to being angry, mad at everybody, not really caring what people think about us, playing with that chip on our shoulders,” he said.
A team can play with a chip on its shoulder and still be mature. With all the arrests they had over the summer, the Lions were in desperate need of some growing up. They were called for a whopping 16 penalties on Sunday, so obviously there is work to be done on the field as well. Playing angry will lead to gritty comeback wins on occasion, but Detroit is not going to win many games going forward if its racks up over 10 penalties every weekend.
H/T Pro Football Talk
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