Fantasy Football News

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Detroit: The NFL's new 'Bad Boyz?'

In just a couple of months, the Detroit Lions have gone from cellar-dweller in the NFC North to possible playoff contenders.

Not only that, but head coach Jim Schwartz and second-year, reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh are already on their way to creating Detroit a new persona.

Just three seasons removed from going 0-16, the hiring of coach Schwartz has gradually improved the state of the Detroit franchise. In his first two seasons at the helm, Schwartz's record was 8-24. Believe it or not, that was huge improvement for a team that hasn't been to the postseason since its 8-8 season in 1999.

Those eight victories from 2009-2010 were just two shy of the 10 wins the Lions captured in the previous three seasons under Rod Marinelli (3-13 in '06, 7-9 in '07 and 0-16 in '08).

So far this season? Well, the ever-so-developing third-year quarterback Matthew Stafford has his Lions at 6-2–one and a half games behind NFC North's leading Green Bay Packers (7-0). Stafford seems to have fully recovered from the shoulder injury suffered last season, forcing him to sit out most of the season and start just three games.

It's taken him a while to develop in to the NFL starter he is today, but with a guy like Calvin Johnson, the NFL's leading receiver with 11 TDs in eight games this season, to his disposal Stafford could be in for a huge second half.
But, here's where the "Bad Boyz" reputation comes in.

After going to the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season, with 10.5 sacks at defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh is now known as one of the NFL's tough guys.

The lovable losers from the past decade have quickly turned in to the team that everybody loves to hate this season. How so quick? Well perhaps it's due to the cockiness of Suh, who has racked up $42,500 in fines in just 24 starts over his first season and a half of professional play. Such penalties as roughing the passer (once), unnecessary roughness (twice), facemask (once) and a horse-collar tackle were all called against him in just his rookie season.

In a preseason matchup with Cleveland last season, Suh was seen lifting up Browns' veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme and slamming him in to the turf. Later in the week, of course, a fine came Suh's way.

Suh has even gone as far as saying "I'm not going to change the way I play. I feel that the way I'm playing and the way that I've played in the past is continuing to play within the rules." (quote courtesy of ESPN.com).

This quote came after meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell on his style of play, which is, of course, agressive. Sometimes even over-aggressive. But, you heard the man. He's not going to change his ways, meaning more fines may be coming his way in the future.

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Coach Schwartz and Suh's fellow defensive lineman Cliff Avril can both add their name to the list of hated Detroit Lions after separate incidents this season.

Schwartz, after Detroit suffered its first loss of the season to Jim Harbaugh's 6-1 San Francisco 49ers, nearly went at it with Harbaugh after he felt Harbaugh was being a "sore winner" during the postgame handshake in the middle of the field.

Words were exchanged and a livid Schwartz was caught on film attempting to chase Harbaugh down, pushing and shoving ensued, but nothing else. In the end, Schwartz appeared as a "sore loser," and possibly even a whining baby.

Avril's "incident" was more entertaining and playful (to me, at least) than anything else. During Detroit's shellacking of Tim Tebow's Broncos last weekend, Avril, after sacking Tebow twice throughout the game ended up "Tebowing" overtop of Tebow himself. Many fans were distraught and got their pannies in a bunch, although I would like to believe that Avril was having fun with it, rather than malicious taunting of the quarterback.
For those who are not aware, Tebowing is a new internet "craze" similar to that of planking in which a person kneels down on one knee and puts their head down–mimicking that of Tebow, which he does when praying before/after games.

The idea of Tebowing seems rather offensive to me, but I do believe Avril was just having fun with it. He didn't start the craze, but he is surely hated in Denver after pulling that fast one.

Whether or not you believe in my theory of Detroit being a team fans have loved to hate so far this season, it's surely true that Detroit has been in the limelight far more often this season than they have in the past seasons.

Look, they have a bye week this weekend and they still manage to make it on my blog page. That's gotta tell you something, right?

Photo credit
Schwartz: Leon Halip/Getty Images
Avril: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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