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Sunday Will Have Extra Intensity

Normally a Lions-Cowboys match-up would be nothing more than a game between two NFC teams.  As usual, the Lions are struggling and the Cowboys are winning.  We saw the same thing last season when Detroit upset Dallas in the final game of the year.  A team that only became 3-13 because of a win over a playoff-bound team at the time probably shouldn't have bragged too much about the win considering their record, but Jon Kitna obviously didn't get that memo.  Although he wasn't necessarily bragging, Kitna gave the 'Boys added incentive to win this time around when he made some comments to a Seattle radio station early in 2007 in regards to the Lions' win over Dallas.

"That No. 56 looked like he didn't know where he was about half the time," said Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna, the week after the Lions lit up the Cowboys' defense in the regular-season finale.

We definitely felt like Terence Newman was the best corner that they had, so we knew we needed to be careful with him. But even with him, I mean, he's not Marcus Trufant in my opinion. He doesn't have that kind of ability. It wasn't like you were scared to throw at him, I guess."

The comments weren't needed by Kitna, but even so, remember that these were made at the start of 2007.  With that in mind, you would think these comments would be forgotten by now.  Right?  As Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friend.  Dallas cornerback Terrance Newman didn't forget what was said about him, and he said this about Kitna earlier this week.
"Basically what it boils down to is you've got to watch what you say. Your mouth can't write checks that your [expletive] can't cash. That's what it comes down to," Newman said. "Everybody's going to see those quotes. He better just hope I don't blitz off the edge, because I've got 15, 25, 30 [thousand dollars], however much it would be for a fine. I've got that much for one fine. Revenge will be sweet definitely."

I can understand why Newman is upset, but to basically say that you're out for blood is wrong.  It's one thing to play dirty and purposely go after a certain player, especially a quarterback, but if that really is your intention, then why broadcast it to the public?  Now that he has put it out there that he doesn't mind getting a fine if revenge happens, the NFL scolded Newman and will be keeping an extra eye on him on Sunday.
"Be advised that your comments will now compel us to carefully monitor your activities in this weekend's Cowboys-Lions game," read part of the letter signed by Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president for football operations. "As you know, flagrant fouls may subject a player not only to fines, but to suspension as well. So conduct yourself accordingly."

I applaud the NFL for making it known to Newman that he is being watched as the last thing I'd like to see is for Kitna to get hurt or something.  I'm not saying that the NFL's warning won't deter Newman from going after him, but if he still did despite the letter, then expect a hefty fine worth more than just $30,000.

In the end, this war of words could end up actually having an effect on the game or it could mean nothing.  I have no doubt that the Dallas defense will be playing extra harder to stand up for Newman and James, but I'm wondering if the Detroit offense will do the same for Kitna.  Center Dominic Raiola has made it clear from his own comments that he's got Kitna's back, but one offensive lineman isn't enough.  I don't expect every player to come out publicly saying they have his back because that would just add fuel to the fire, but I'm hoping that I see it on the field.  In a game where an upset could jump-start a late run at the playoffs, everyone has to be at their best, and maybe these comments will get this team at a level of intensity needed to win.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.