The area around Dominic Raiola’s stall in the Lions’ locker room had the air of controlled — hopefully — tension similar to what one might find at a junkyard guarded by hungry police dogs at dusk.
Enter at your own risk.
Two weeks ago, after the Lions’ 24-10 loss at Minnesota, Raiola muttered, “Losing is getting old.”
One more loss — 28-26 at Green Bay on Sunday — has put the Lions’ record at 0-4 in a season that isn’t getting any younger going into Sunday’s home game against the St. Louis Rams.
As expected, the winless record has not put Raiola, the Lions’ center and offensive captain, in good spirits.
The Lions are improved over recent seasons, with more talent. But until results show up on the scoreboard and standings, there will be no relief from the pressure cooker for anyone connected with the team.
The frustration in the Lions’ locker room is so thick that you can’t cut it with a knife. It takes a chainsaw.
“Just checking to see how the pulse of the team is doing,” someone offered diplomatically the other day in a flyby of Raiola’s free-fire zone.
Raiola responded with an undiplomatic comment that would not need a translation on Embassy Row.
“The pulse is ticked,” he answered.
And he really didn’t say “ticked.”
The message was clear.
The Lions need to win a game — perhaps more than any team in any sport in North America. Winning will release some of the pressure and frustration that has been building since they lost the season-opener at Chicago.
A few lockers down from Raiola, Gosder Cherilus, the right tackle on the offensive line, talked about how winning one game might start a streak.
I’m projecting a 31-16 Lions victory over the Rams in this week’s Fox Sports Detroit breakdown.
We’ll see if that starts a streak. For now, the Lions will settle for relief.