NFL Network analysts agree offseason issues not enough to derail Detroit Lions' momentum
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 1:35 PM
On Tuesday's edition of PTI, co-host Michael Wilbon suggested the Detroit Lions could be headed back to irrelevancy if they can't get their offseason problems under control.
"Here's what happens in the NFL if you have too many of these fools," Wilbon said. "You can have fool or two, but you'll go back to 6-10 in Lion Land in a hurry if you have too many clowns on board."
The analysts on the NFL Network weren't as concerned about the Lions' situation. Brian Baldinger, Jamie Dukes and Steve Wyche all agreed that Detroit's momentum isn't likely to be slowed by the recent string of arrests.
"It's a bad offseason for a team that turned the corner last year, but this is still a team led by Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and some studs on defense," Baldinger said. "I don't think this team is going to teeter on what those players (getting arrested) do going forward."
Running back Mikel Leshoure and defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who have each been in legal trouble twice in recent months, are expected to be key contributors this season, but neither made much of an impact last year.
Leshoure missed his entire rookie campaign after tearing his Achilles tendon in training camp and Fairley had just 15 tackles and one sack in 10 games while battling a foot injury.
Even without much help from two of their top draft picks, the Lions took a big leap forward last season, going 10-6 and qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Dukes views that as enough proof that Detroit is fine even if either one of those players doesn't clean up their act.
"I think they can take the step without them because they pretty much did it without them last year," Dukes said.
Wyche agreed with Dukes' logic referencing a conversation he had with linebacker Jonathan Vilma after his New Orleans Saints knocked the Lions out of the playoffs.
"(Vilma) looked at me and said, 'I'm glad we got them this year because they are going to be monsters in the future.' You know what? None of those guys were factors on that team he was saying were going to be monsters."http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/20 ... e_off.html