Rob Sims, a starting offensive guard for the Detroit Lions, is a very good football player. He must be, because not just any Tom, Dick, or Robbie makes it to the NFL. It takes exceptional talent, toughness, and desire, though being 6-3 and about 315 pounds doesn't hurt either.
There are those that think pro football players are just big, dumb, overpaid jocks. No doubt some of them are, but it's probably fair to say they're just like everybody else in the sense that given any snapshot of society, some people are smarter than others. That's just the way it is.
However, a very recent interview Sims gave the press leaves one to wonder just what's going on "upstairs" with him.
When asked about the Lions' slide the last few weeks, Sims was quoted as saying, "We've got to go play with that chip on our shoulders like the Lions had for years and years and years".
Now yours truly isn't quite sure what Lions the good Mr. Sims is talking about, but if it's the ones that play in Ford Field, and the Silverdome before that, then something is terribly wrong with that statement. THOSE Lions didn't play with a chip on their shoulders. It was more like a boulder on their backs. This is what he wants to go back to? Huh?
"We maybe lost some of our recklessness and playing with reckless abandon -- and we need to get that back", said Sims. Timeout. It seems to me that playing reckless, ala stupid penalties, missed blocks and tackles, dropped passes, blown assignments, etc., is what got them into this mess in the first place. Pro football is hardly about mass mayhem, but rather precise execution. There's blocking and coverage schemes, crucial timing, and basically every player has a job to do on every play. If a team flows with discipline and execution, chances are they'll be successful. If they throw caution to the wind and run around like a bunch of lunatics, chances are they won't.
Sims said, "I think we were just out there trying to be perfect". Whoa. Perfect? Since Sims came over from the Seattle Seahawks in 2010, the Lions record is 17-19. In his first 4 seasons with the Seahawks, that team went 28-36, making Sims' career record as a pro 45-55. Just a thought, but maybe he and his teams should aspire to be merely average in the NFL before talking about perfection. Let's get real. The Lions had a halfway decent season last year, only to get blown out in their first playoff game. Currently, they sit at 1-3 in 2012. This is hardly the stuff of which legends are made, so what is the man thinking? Or is he?
"Tee it high and let it fly", he said. It would appear that's what the Lions have done for a very long time. After being weekend duffer golfers for so many years, the Lions finally made a birdie last year, and all of a sudden they think they're ready to jump in with Tiger and Rory. Problem is, the ensuing drives have been landing deep in the woods. Every time they experience just a little taste of success, they let it go to their heads, get cocky, and inevitably crash and burn.
As an example, harkon back to the Wayne Fontes days. Back in 1991, after an opening game 45-0 beatdown at the hands of the Washington Redskins, the Lions rattled off 5 wins in a row, with a superstar named Barry Sanders, and look what happened. The Queen classic "Another One Bites the Dust" blared from the Silverdome speakers, Fontes was riding around in a golf cart smoking big fat cigars, and the Lions had a safety that seemed to be on a mission to impregnate every woman he came in contact with. He was nicknamed "Spider". I mean, there's having 8 appendages, but that was ridiculous. After a bye week, they were thumped 35-3 out in San Francisco. Yes, they recovered and went on to post a 12-4 record and trash the Dallas Cowboys 38-6 in a playoff game. The Lions were talking smack galore, and reverted back to peacock mode. Enter the Redskins for a rematch. Exit the Lions, 41-10. In other words, they got cocky and the downward spiral began again. They would eventually fall like Humpty Dumpty and all William Clay Ford's horses, men and millions couldn't put them back together again for many years.
Fast forward to 2011 when they started off 5-0, with a superstar named Calvin Johnson. In a strange twist of fate, after being unceremoniously dumped at home by the very same San Fran 49ers mentioned above, head coach Jim Schwartz went berserk over a simple post-game handshake and clap on the back from the opposing coach. He was cocky. Since then, they're 6-10. Deja vu?
Now we have Rob Sims saying, "We need to hold true to ourselves, and that's just playing the way we play. We can't play like anybody else. I think we just have to be ourselves".
Perhaps it never occurred to him that THAT seems to be the very problem which has haunted the Lions for decades. A grand total of one playoff victory in 45 years worth of chances is more than a rut. It's the Grand Canyon.
Some maintain these are not "the same old Lions". I would disagree and cite their history as evidence. Give that team a bottle of Mad Dog and wham, they'll chug it and start strutting around like they own a French vineyard. They never seem to learn that worhipping the "porcelain receptacle" will be "coming up" shortly. From my perspective, these are EXACTLY the same old Lions.