Back around the time we went 0-16, I wrote about the lack of opportunistic, aggressive players on the Lions' roster and that being a large factor for their poor performance. The culture needed to change into a hungry, killer instinct type of mentality. I see this type of hungry play in just about every team on our schedule. I don't see it in our guys.
Yes, they are extremely talented and have the ability to be a great team. They should be a great team. Even with the division we are in, they should be clawing their way to the top of the ranks. But when we go out, we get overrun by much more aggressive, opportunistic players who seem to want it more that day.
When I went to the Titans game in Nashville in Week 3, I could even see it in their fans' demeanor. They seemed confident in the team's ability to overcome the first two games' performances. That is because, in the past, no matter what the circumstance, the Titans have generally shown an opportunistic killer instinct in their play. This was especially the case with the Jim Schwartz-run defense with KVB and Stephen Tulloch. You just knew they were bringing the heat, win or lose.
I get the sneaky suspicion that we still lack that opportunistic mentality. Even with our playoff run last year, which I saw glimpses of this kind of play throughout, I feel we lack it now. And this will be the 2012 season's demise if it doesn't change.
Matthew Stafford seems off. It's obvious. And when he is in the press conferences, he seems bored and ready to go to bed or something. Brandon Pettigrew can't catch a cold. Our young guys aren't stepping up to the plate as they should. Jim Schwartz is starting to sound like a broken record. And we seem to have the same problems that plagued us in our bad years. Special teams mediocrity, a weak secondary, and a lack of enthusiasm.
With the way we're playing right now, I see us going 3-13. We're going to get trounced on Thanksgiving Day (AGAIN). And we're going to have all kinds of issues in the offseason. Again, this is IF we keep playing like we are now. No heart, no control of the game, and not utilizing our strengths. We're back to letting the other team dictate the game's pace and momentum. We weren't doing that for a lot of 2011. Why now?
The Lions HAVE to turn this around and go down another direction....and fast. I am not panicking. But, the Lions have a tough schedule going forward and they aren't going to get any favors from the other teams. It's time to play 2011 Lions' football. Even the end of 2010.
It's time to be opportunistic. It's time to have the killer instinct. Or....it's time to put on our losing caps and let the rest of the team run wild on us.