Lions won’t mail it in
The Detroit Lions’ shot a postseason berth ended with a loss to
the New York Giants. Their players said not to expect them to go
through the motions when they end the regular season on Sunday.
The Lions (7-8) visit Minnesota, and even though both teams are
playing their final games, Detroit expects the Vikings to be ready
in the final NFL game at Mall of America Field.
”They’re going to be ready,” guard Rob Sims said. ”Even
though they’ve been out of it for a while. This is still a
professional league and you still do what you’re paid to do.”
Lions players remained upbeat days after Detroit missed a chance
to keep playoff hopes alive. The 23-20 overtime loss to New York
means Chicago and Green Bay will play a winner-take-all game Sunday
for the NFC North title.
Defensive end Israel Idonije, a 10-year veteran, said he and
others know changes are coming.
”Players come, players go,” he said. ”This game is full of
transition. You just hope that transition is limited.
”We still have a game to play.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he recently addressed his job
status with his players. Frazier’s job could be on the line after
Minnesota (4-10-1) followed last season’s playoff appearance with a
last-place finish in the division.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, however, did not share any
concerns about his job security.
”He didn’t say anything,” receiver Nate Burleson said. ”It’s
business as usual.
”We still have a game to play and we need focus on that. That’s
what he said. We get paid to play football. It’s not our job to
worry about what will happen.”
It’s been widely speculated Schwartz will be fired next week.
The Lions started the season 6-3 but lost five of their next six
games to fall out of playoff contention. Schwartz guided the Lions
to a wild-card appearance after the 2011 season, his third, but
Detroit followed with a 4-12 performance that included a
season-ending eight-game losing streak in 2012.
Burleson said the Lions are eager to make a strong impression in
the season finale.
”It would look even worse to people that still are following
this team if we went to Minnesota and mailed it in,” he said.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org