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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

Nate Burleson believes in the Madden Curse, thinks Calvin Johnson can break it

If Calvin Johnson winds up winning the Madden cover vote and suffers an injury next season, Lions fans may blame more than just the Madden jinx. Those who are particularly superstitious could take aim at Nate Burleson. Burleson, who claims to be a big Madden fan, admitted to Mlive.com that he believes in the Madden cover curse. Despite that, he says he is still going to vote for his fellow receiver.

“Yeah, I’m going to vote for him,” Burleson said before adding that he believes enough players have suffered injuries to legitimize the curse. “I’d love to see my guy on the cover of Madden. I’m a big Madden fan. … If any guy can break the curse it’s Calvin. This dude is a monster. He’s strong enough to break tackles, so he can break a curse.”

Johnson is one of four finalists and is currently matched up against Aaron Rodgers in the semifinals. As for being enough of a beast to break the curse, Peyton Hillis looked like just that coming off his monster season in 2010. Injuries then derailed his 2011 season and Hillis became a believer.

So if you’re one of those people who is superstitious enough to wear the same socks and underwear every Sunday of the NFL season, you can now thank EA Sports and Burleson if Megatron misses any time in 2012. Falling victim to a jinx is one thing, but Burleson’s decision to add a jinx on top of a jinx could spell trouble for Detroit. Or maybe his jinx will jinx the jinx and all will be well. No one really knows how these things work.

Photo credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Nate Burleson Reps His Elementary School During Sunday Night Football Intro

It wasn’t quite as funny as Terrell Suggs saying he went to Ball So Hard University, but hearing Nate Burleson shout out his elementary school on Sunday Night Football intros was pretty funny.

After Matt Stafford represented Georgia, Kevin Smith cited Central Florida, and Calvin Johnson mentioned Georgia Tech as their alma maters, Burleson shouted out “Rainier Elementary School.”

We pay a lot of attention to the intros because it’s fun to hear where guys went to school. We’ve thought something was wrong in the past when players neglected to mention their college, but in Nate’s case, it’s pretty clear he was just joking. What’s great is that this wasn’t even Burleson’s best line of the year. This was.

Nate Burleson Has 400-Plus Pairs of Shoes

Nate Burleson has more shoes than a billionaire’s 20-year-old daughter. As we have seen before on shows like MTV Cribs, plenty of athletes and celebrities have shoe collections. Very few are as obsessed as the Lions wide receiver.

According to MLive.com, the four new pairs of shoes Burleson was showing off to his teammates on Thursday have been added to his collection of roughly 400 pairs.  Not since Joe Johnson’s in-home Foot Locker have we seen a professional athlete who is so infatuated with kicks.

“Dress shoes, boots and tennis shoes, I’d probably say about 400,” Burleson said. “That’s the thing I’m passionate about is collecting shoes. Most of them I don’t wear, they’re just collectors items – you know, rare shoes.”

Nate said he became passionate about shoes when he came upon some of father Al Burleson’s when he was a little kid.  Al was also a professional football player, and Nate said he loved being able to go through his father’s old belongings.

“When I got in the NFL, I told myself when my sons get older, I want them to be able to look at a ton of stuff,” he explained. “I have the ability to do that, so that’s why I collect a lot of stuff.”

Pogs and stamps would also qualify as “stuff” for his kids to look through, but if shoes are your thing and you have the money why not go for it? Burleson also has a pair of team-themed shoes underneath a framed jersey from each team he has played for.  And yes, he has a favorite: the Michael Jordan XI. I guess anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Nate Burleson: I’m Trying to be the Black Wes Welker

The Detroit Lions have scored the second most points in the NFL through two games. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown for 599 yards and seven touchdowns, the latter of which ties him with Tom Brady and Ryan Fitzpatrick for the league lead. With Stafford healthy, the passing game has been blowing up, and receivers Nate Burleson and Calvin Johnson have been reaping some of the benefits.

The way Nate tells it, this was all part of the plan.

“One of the biggest factors to me signing with Detroit was Calvin Johnson,” Burleson told NFL Network. “Playing with Randy Moss, I know first hand the benefits of playing with a guy that is going to attract a lot of attention. Calvin, by far in my opinion, is the best receiver in the league.

“Being on his team, it gives me the ability to be on the outside and see a lot of single coverage, but to work the slot. I joked around early in the offseason and said ‘This year I’m going to try and be the black Wes Welker.’”

Through two games Burleson has been racking up catches like Wes Welker. He has 12 receptions for 153 yards while Calvin Johnson is tied for the league lead with four touchdown catches. Based on what we saw last season and in the preseason, we predicted this was coming, but it’s still pretty funny to hear Burleson say he’s trying to be the black Wes Welker. So far the plan is working out nicely.

Nate Burleson: Lions Are Going to Start Winning Games

Nate Burleson is known as a big talker. The Lions receiver has predicted victories in successive years and was wrong on both accounts. Now the man with the mouth is boldly declaring that the lowly Detroit Lions are going to start winning games.

Speaking about the team’s desire to win during the preseason (they went 4-0), Burleson said “There’s certain omens that people have about it, but we want to create, I guess, a habit of winning, so I don’t care if it’s preseason or not – we’re going to start winning games around here.”

Burleson added that the team feels really good heading into the regular season. Pessimists will point out that the last time Detroit went 4-0 in the preseason they finished the year 0-16. Optimists like me have been predicting a breakout season for them. Matt Stafford is going to have a monster year and the offense will put up points. The defense, led by Ndamukong Suh, will make life difficult for opposing offenses.

Saying they will make the playoffs might be too bold, but an 8-8 finish or better is a reasonable prediction. I’ll go with 9-7.

Brandon Marshall, Lance Moore, Nate Burleson Highlight Undervalued Receivers

We have provided you plenty of fantasy football advice leading up to the start of the season. We’ve recommended two groups of running backs, a few different quarterbacks, and some tight ends. Now here are a few wide receivers who are being undervalued in fantasy drafts (they’re going lower than where they’ll finish the season).

Brandon Marshall is known for being a troublemaker, not to mention his recent borderline personality diagnosis. I suppose he always carries the risk that he could bail on a season Randy Moss-style, but I just don’t see that happening. Here’s the deal: Marshall has been ranked lowly by a few fantasy sources and can be had for a cheap price. I recently took him in the sixth round of a draft and believe he’ll provide fourth round production.

There are two reasons Marshall has been ranked lowly by fantasy outlets. One, his numbers last year were not very good (86 catches, 1,014 yards, three touchdowns). Two, his quarterback is Chad Henne. While Henne certainly limits his upside with the Dolphins (don’t expect 1,400 yards or double-digit touchdowns), Marshall had respectable numbers despite playing in 14 games. Give him a full season and you can expect something like 95 catches, 1,100 yards, and six touchdowns. Marshall won’t knock your socks off, but he’s a fourth-round player you can get in the fifth or sixth round of some drafts.

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