By: Jeff Riger
As the Lions get ready to open the 2012 NFL season on Sunday against the Rams, many questions still remain about how this team can make the playoffs for a second straight year. Fans worry about the defense while hoping the offense can remain as good as it was last year. Critics seem certain this squad won’t be as good as they were in 2011. And, then there is the question about the off-season arrests and whether that derailed the season before it even got going. Like I said, there remains a lot of questions.
So I decided to get some answers. Lions receiver Nate Burleson spent a solid five minutes-plus in front of the media microphones Thursday talking football, Detroit, underdogs and more.
Q: Can this offense be even better then it was last season?
Burleson: “That’s the goal. You know we sent the bar high but it’s good to be in this position then the opposite. When I got here there were questions about everything. People asked if the offense could be good in general. Now it’s how much better can we be and if we are asking ourselves that question then we definitely have a lot of potential. And, we have the Weapons.”
Q: It seems like the so-called experts are counting the Lions out; has that motivated this team at all?
Burleson: “I can sit here and tell you what my goal is, but at the end of the day it’s not going to matter and neither will the words of the experts either. What’s going to matter is what we do during the season. We know we are a good team but to be honest I hope we keep getting pushed down and looked over and talked about poorly because that is when we play our best. The more bullets people fire at us the more we fire back and that is what makes us a special team. We are young and we are hungry and being put on the pedestal is not our style, we like to work for everything, that’s what people in Michigan do.”
Q: What is he expecting from the replacement referees on Sunday?
Burleson: “I kind of equate it to playoffs in the NBA; they are going to let us play a little bit. The way I look at film now is you have to be a little more aggressive because they are not going to pull out their flag and throw every little thing because maybe they are not up on the minor details of each call. I’m going to go out there aggressive and they will have to tell me to pull back on the way I play football.”
Listen to the entire 5 minute interview with Burleson and then make sure to catch the Ram and Lions right here on 97.1 The Ticket at 1 p.m. Sunday.