By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – For every personal foul committed by a Detroit Lion, the whole team will run three half-gassers. Sunday’s performance merited six of those. Sideline and back. Sideline and back. Sideline and back.
Will that make guys think twice before they get in the face of an opponent or make an illegal play?
“Shoot yeah,” safety Glover Quin said with a laugh. “I hope so.”
Quin, a veteran who joined the Lions this year from Houston, is part of the team’s leadership council, a group made up of quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, safety Louis Delmas, placekicker David Akers, running back Reggie Bush and other veterans.
The group decided that enough was enough when it came to the extracurricular penalties that have hampered the Lions this season, just as they have the past few years.
“I just was thinking, hey, we can’t fine them,” Quin said. “We can’t fine them. We’ve got to do something else. We’ve got to get the whole team involved. So hey, let’s run.”
The Lions’ lack of discipline to begin the season definitely merited some wind sprints. In the team’s preseason game against New England, players were called for unnecessary roughness and a personal foul, respectively, after two straight New England turnovers. The Lions managed just field goals out of each ensuing drive. Sunday in the season opener, penalties wiped out the touchdown DeAndre Levy scored after an interception as well as a fumble forced by Ziggy Ansah.
“Those are game-changing plays,” Quin said. “We can’t have those penalties, and then you look at the one that Lou [Delmas] had, [the Vikings] end up scoring a touchdown on that drive. That play happened at what, midfield? And then, boom, tack on 15 extra yards, so those plays hurt.”
The team – the players, independent of the coaches – decided to implement the system to create accountability for the irresponsible plays being made.
“We had to do it,” Burleson said. “You can’t just talk about getting rid of those mistakes and not doing anything about it.”
The last several seasons, the Lions had not done anything about it. With a leadership group that now includes several veterans – Quin, Bush and Akers among them – who have come in from outside the organization, the team is doing something now about the problem precisely because it failed to confront the issue in years past and did not like the results.
“In years past, we weren’t as successful as we wanted to be,” Burleson said. “So think about what we did last year, this wasn’t implemented, [and] let’s implement something that could help.”