Every week during the season, we’re debating the biggest talking point from the week before about the Detroit Lions.
Lions’ Toss-up, Week 2: The Lions have collected 19 penalties in two games, but still remain 1-1 and had a chance to win Sunday’s game against Arizona late if not for several other issues. Knowing this, are all the penalties really Detroit’s biggest reason for concern early in the year?
Andrew Tomlinson: I do not think the penalties are a huge concern. They are a nice national story-line, so outlets are continuing to run with it. Last week’s game against Arizona had a dumb penalty (Bill Bentley for pass interference) but I don’t think that penalty is because of lazy play. Instead, it is because Bentley, to be honest, just is not a good corner. Willie Young’s penalty to negate a fumble obviously hurt, but if he doesn’t get the jump there is a chance the fumble never happens, so all in all, while the penalties are not helping, there are a lot of other concerns for the Lions right now.
Look at Seattle, the Lions are tied with them in total number of penalties and no one is worried about Seattle’s penalties.
Max DeMara: I couldn’t agree more. Penalties have presented the national media with a lazy, convenient way to analyze the Lions without really having to pay attention to the games. Detroit loses? Must be discipline issues and nothing else. Realistically, though, Detroit was in the game against Arizona despite the calls and only had one penalty (Young’s illegal hands to the face call that Andrew mentioned) which could be classified as a “stupid” foul. Instead, the offense’s inability to react without Reggie Bush and problems with the hands of Lion receivers (the team is dropping the most passes in the league) are more glaring concerns. Detroit was in position to win despite all the penalties, meaning they weren’t the whole story despite everyone’s assertions otherwise. Something tells me that will be the case much of this season.