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Nate Burleson thinks being more mature may be hurting the Lions

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
Photo credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Jim Schwartz: Lions had miscommunication, didn’t intend to go for it

The Detroit Lions lost to the Tennessee Titans in overtime on Sunday 44-41 after failing to convert a fourth down on a questionable decision.

The Lions had a 4th and 1 from the Tennessee seven and were down 44-41. They could have attempted a field goal to tie the game and keep the overtime going. Instead, they ran a play and lost a yard on what appeared to be a quarterback sneak.

Head coach Jim Schwartz was immediately questioned for the decision to have his team go for it — had they scored a touchdown on the drive, the game would have ended — but we learned after the game that they did not intend to go for it.

“Miscommunication. We were trying to draw them offsides. We had no intention of going for it there,” Schwartz said.

Well that could certainly explain the sloppy play.

Even though Schwartz is being questioned for the decision to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking — which we’ve learned he wasn’t intending to do — that was actually the right move. Tennessee’s offense had been moving the ball with ease in the second half, so it was pretty likely they would have won the game on the next possession. Had the Lions converted, they would have had a very good chance of winning the game (Football Outsiders broke down the percentages here).

To recap: Jim Schwartz is being criticized for a “bad decision” he actually didn’t make, but the criticism isn’t warranted because the Lions should have gone for it.

Photo credit: Jim Brown/US Presswire

Vernon Davis, Niners accuse Lions of playing dirty after the whistle

The Lions are no strangers to being accused of dirty play. In particular, many players around the league have said that Ndamukong Suh plays dirty after the whistle and tries to injure people. When you see plays like this one it’s tough to defend Suh, but according to the Niners Suh isn’t the only problem.

“I think it was key for our front offensive line to handle it tonight because they like to be cheap after the play and they think that makes them physical,” tackle Joe Staley said after the game, via MLive.com.

Vernon Davis had to sit out briefly at one point during the Niners win after being poked in the eye, and he says he’s not sure if the poke was intentional or an accident.

“I got poked in my eyes,” Davis said. “Since I got poked I had to sit down. I do not know if it was intentional by (Cliff) Avril. I am just not sure.”

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Report: Ravens fans possibly exposed to rabies during preseason game

Fans who attended the August 17 preseason game between the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions have been urged to contact their local health department following a potential rabies scare at M&T Bank Stadium. During the game, a bat reportedly landed on a person in the stands. The bat was not captured and therefore can not be tested for rabies.

Bats commonly carry rabies and officials said in a press release that rabies can change animal behavior, making typically friendly, domesticated animals more aggressive and wild animals more friendly. Since bats are usually afraid of people, it is somewhat alarming that one may have landed on a fan. The Maryland health department urges people to avoid touching any bat that should enter their home and to try to capture it and not let it go until animal control has tested it, unless you are sure no animal or person in your household came into contact with the bat.

We have seen several incidences of animals in sports over the years like a this furry creature delaying a baseball game or a golfer getting attacked by a reptile, but possible exposure to rabies has to be among the strangest occurrences. Hopefully no fans who attended the game were affected.

Lions player on team’s arrests: ‘We’re becoming the laughingstock’ of all sports

The Lions’ off-the-field run-ins with police this offseason have been so abundant that they probably could fill an entire season of “Cops.”

The latest incident resulted in the team releasing cornerback Aaron Berry, who was arrested for the second time in less than a month after allegedly pointing a loaded gun at three people in Pennsylvania over the weekend.

All the arrests have prompted one unnamed Lions player to speak publicly about his disappointment with his teammates:

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Three Lions drafted in 2011 have been arrested for marijuana possession this offseason

The Detroit Lions have impressively hit on almost all of their draft picks last year. The Lions only made five selections in the 2011 draft and, incredibly, three of the players have been arrested for marijuana possession since their rookie season ended.

First-round pick defensive tackle Nick Fairley (pictured at left) was spotted speeding in Mobile, Ala., Tuesday and was pulled over where marijuana was found in his possession. He was charged with a misdemeanor.

Second-round pick running back Mikel Leshoure missed his arraignment Monday for a marijuana possession charge. Leshoure was pulled over March 12 because the car he was riding in didn’t signal a lane change. The car apparently reeked of weed, and an officer saw Leshoure cramming the herb into his mouth. He was also arrested on Feb. 18 for marijuana possession.

Seventh-round pick offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath (pictured at right) was arrested at a hotel in South Carolina for marijuana possession on January 25. He paid a fine for the charge to close the case.

The Lions were already considered semi-dirty because of their lack of discipline for Ndamukong Suh, and because of the way coach Jim Schwartz got into it with Jim Harbaugh. Now they’re developing a reputation for being the jail blazers of the NFL. If they keep this up, they’ll replace the Bengals as the most undisciplined team in the NFL.

Jared Allen: If I Had to Live in Detroit, I Think I’d Drown Myself in the River

We all know Jared Allen has never been shy about speaking his mind.  After all, this is the guy who once offered his butt to Brett Favre and thought “schism” was an STD.  Allen may have outdone himself this time.  The Vikings are traveling to Detroit this weekend to take on the Lions, and apparently Allen is dreading the trip.

“I don’t like going to Detroit,” he said according to MLive.com. “I’ll be honest, it’s gloomy, it sucks. Everything is brown and then there is snow on the ground. There’s like Brownstones everywhere and I’m like, ‘Awesome.’ I don’t know, I couldn’t do it. If I had to live in Detroit, I think I’d just drown myself in the river that was across the way.

“I’m not trying to be mean, but it’s just depressing when I go there. There’s two cities like I don’t go out to eat or don’t do anything. It’s Detroit and New Orleans. New Orleans looks like I’m driving through a third-world country every time I get off the plane, I’m like, ‘Oh, flak jacket.’ I’m trying to get down. I’m like, ‘Ah, crap, I can’t carry my gun here. This sucks.’”

Yikes.  That’s some pretty intense smack talk about a lot of people right there.  Plenty of people have said that Detroit isn’t exactly a nice city, but never can I remember an athlete being that cruel about it.  As for New Orleans: well, they just suffered one of the worst natural disasters in American history a few years back.  Perhaps they are still picking up the pieces.  Whatever the case, it would appear Allen doesn’t give a damn.