For better or worse, the Detroit Lions have the attention of their NFC North Division rivals.
The Lions are well aware of what’s being said about them, according to offensive lineman Rob Sims, and they apparently plan to address it at the appropriate time on the field.
First it was Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings, who told the NFL Network earlier this summer, “They’re a very talented team, but they have struggles on the field containing their composure, and definitely, the things we’ve heard of, them being in the media with off-the field problems and off-the-field issues. Can they maintain their composure? Can they be a professional ball club for 16, 17, 18 solid weeks throughout the regular season?”
And then it was Chicago running back Matt Forte.
“It’s going to hurt them and it’s going to help them,” Forte told CBSSports.com, referring to the Lions’ seven arrests during the off-season, three by players who are no longer on the team. “Hurt them in the short term because of the embarrassment. But in the long term, the young guys will learn, and see how big a deal this stuff is, and grow from it. For now, it’ll be a problem for them.”
The Lions play the Bears Oct. 22 in Chicago and at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 30. Detroit also plays Green Bay at home on Nov. 18 and on the road on Dec. 9.
For now, the Lions will just keep it all in the back of their minds.
“People are going to say what they want,” Sims said. “The pads talk on Sundays. We’ll see.
“People are going to take shots at this team. This team has been a laughingstock for a lot of years. People don’t like to see you get up. We’re getting up.”
The Lions, 0-16 just four years ago, are coming off a 10-win playoff season.
Asked if the Lions’ players all took note of the comments by Jennings and Forte, Sims said, smiling, “Kind of.”
“It’s too early for bulletin-board talk,” Sims added. “We’ve got a lot to deal with, including the Baltimore Ravens (Friday’s opponent in a preseason game), before we even get to (the Bears and Packers).”