Wednesday, Calvin Johnson talked about how confident his Detroit Lions looked this season during their first installment of mini-camps. Until the team proves something on the field, though, that should only be taken as lip service.
"We feel good," Johnson told Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. "We've got to right now. We've been playing good out there, playing fast." Johnson went on to cite the fact that the Lions have a nice mix of veterans and rookies as well as players learning from a year's experience in the team's system, leading to all their good feelings.
That's true for many Detroit football teams of the past, though. The 2012 Lions, coming off their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade, felt good as well. They had veterans, and another crop of rookies who had a year under their belt. Things fell apart when an entitled attitude took hold, leading to lawlessness off the field and carelessness on it once the games actually, you know, started to count.
In Detroit, the time for all the offseason talk is over. This year, the Lions must prove themselves on the field first, then talk later. The players could give muted answers at every press conference from here until the season begins and it wouldn't matter. For a team with sky high expectations, solid on field results are the only thing that should truly count now.
The stakes are actually higher for 2013's bunch than ever before. After signing Reggie Bush (who's been busy talking Super Bowl for his new team) and re-working several spots on offense and defense, the expectation is at least playoffs or bust. Anything short of that, and Jim Schwartz could be sent packing next offseason. Translation: the Lions had better be feeling confident at this point. If not, what else do they have?
All this open talk, though, only adds fuel to the fire. The better the Lions keep saying they feel, the higher the expectations become. Then, if for some reason things don't go as planned, the fall from the expected top is much more gruesome. Think 2012's disaster on PED's.
Feeling confident and talking publicly about those said feelings is fine, but it must be quickly matched with positive, winning results on the field. If not, all the talk only stands to appear like senseless bluster.
That's one category the Lions have certainly been leading the league in since the beginning of time.
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