So what exactly do we want from the Detroit Lions? A competitive team and wins of course but what else? In reading and listening to news coverage that has included opinions from reporters, fans and players alike I would argue that what we all, collectively, want is a demonstration of emotion, a message of ownership and a commitment for improvement. How are the Lions doing in communicating these things? Let’s take a look.
Coach Jim Caldwell is no nonsense, no frills, with a straightforward approach to communication. And, there is no confusing the fact that he is running the show. He speaks for the team and he takes full responsibility for how the team is doing on the field. But is that enough? Many feel Caldwell should demonstrate more emotion. Not Jim Schwartz crazy emotion but something more than his typically calm, cool yet stern demeanor. I would argue you are who you are and that emotion comes in many different forms. And, as for how he is on the practice field, in meetings or in the locker room, who’s to say? You either motivate or you don’t. Some of the most successful coaches in football (think Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers) are calm but authoritative and, oh yeah, win. You’ll recall so did Caldwell last year.
And what about ownership? Obviously no Jerry Joneses here. The Fords have traditionally been hands off when it comes to speaking about or for the team. That won’t change as long as fans fill the seats. Rather than words from the Fords, however, what fans and prognosticators appear to want from them is action – bringing new vim, vigor and talent into the front office. What this team appears to need, most are saying, is a new team of football minds that can better evaluate talent and then draft, develop and/or sign it through free-agency. Again, a close look at the Green Bay Packers demonstrates that all but three players on their roster were drafted by the organization. The Seattle Seahawks, meanwhile, are rife with non-drafted free agents.
Finally, there are the players and reasons why Jim Caldwell continues to speak for the team. In recent days, Golden Tate chided the fans for booing and leaving early; Eric Ebron announced his playing would have made a difference against Arizona; and Matthew Stafford outwardly continued to show zero emotion save a look of bewilderment and frustration. Here, taking responsibility, demanding accountability and demonstrating frustration regarding on-the-field performance are sorely lacking. Remember the fire former Miami Dolphin and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino used to show on the field, on the sidelines, in front of the media? Stafford, a captain, someone should call out everyone on this team and demand it work harder, play better and give maximum effort for the fans that pay their salaries.
Say it. Mean it. Own it. Do it. That’s what we want from the Detroit Lions. And, after 50-plus years of futility, it is what this citizens of this city so desperately deserve.