Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/28/12

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 22: Head coach Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions looks on against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on November 22, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions came from behind to defeat the Browns 38-37. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
It is time to shift the mind set.

For years, the Detroit Lions have been the laughing stock of the league. Teams showed little respect for them. And the Lions did little to demand it.

When Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz entered the scene, the Lions organization was a sad collection of broken players. The first thing they had to do was break the mindset of the team. They needed the team to get aggressive.

Like a wounded animal, they rose to the occasion, biting and snapping at everything in sight. As a result, the nation started to view them as an undisciplined set of thugs. For this organization, that was a step in the right direction.

Gangs of thugs don't get treated like a doormat. You may not like them, but you will respect them.

As with all plans, however, the team needs to move to the next step. The goal of part one of the plan was to intimidate. They needed for the league to get good and scared.

Congratulations. The league is officially scared.

Oh, you'll never hear them say it. Scared people never admit it. But you can hear it in the responses.

When people used to interview players about upcoming Lions games, you would hear them talk about needing to stay focused. They would remind reporters that they really can't look past anybody. But you never hear that anymore.

Do you know why?

Because the concept has become laughable. Nobody looks past the Lions. Nobody takes them for granted. In fact, most teams are hoping that they can find a way to survive the week without being blown out.

Another sign that the intimidation worked is that people don't talk about how you handle the defensive line anymore. The only thing teams can say is that they just have to ride out the wave and wait for the Lions defense to implode on itself.

So the stategy is that there is no strategy. Teams know the Detroit Lions have a defensive line that is a beast to try to work around. So now they are counting on penalties as a significant part of their offensive scheme.

It is time for the Lions to change their strategy as well.

In the past few years, little attention may have been given to personal fouls. If not outright coaching on how to attain the most psychologically effective personal fouls, the team at least condoned the use of force to help establish that fear in the hearts of opponents. Now it is time to remove the fouls. They had their place, but now personal fouls will do more to harm the goals of the team than help it. There is no longer a need to send a message. The message has already been received.

Teams that play the Lions this year will be jumping up and down and pleading with officials to call penalties. They will be performing little ballerina acts on the field. I imagine some will bring fake blood and teeth out onto the field in an effort to get help from the officials. The Lions need to passively go from play to play as though opponents didn't give them a care in the world... and then tear them apart from whistle to whistle.

The goal for this year is humiliation, not intimidation.

And few things are more humiliating than begging for fouls and being mocked by the officials.




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