When an NFL participant tries to quote Mahatma Gandhi, you understand issues are getting deep.
You realize issues are about to get actual. You realize the frustration has boiled over. Largely, you understand you’re within the Detroit Lions locker room.
Ricky Jean Francois, the veteran defensive deal with and the oracle of Allen Park, had clearly had sufficient Sunday after the Lions’ newest disappointing loss, a 27-9 defeat that dropped the workforce to 5-10.
“I believe I heard Gandhi say this in a e book I learn: ‘The one means you may change a tradition is you’ve acquired to vary the individuals inside in.’
“You wish to change the tradition, change the individuals. I’m not finger-pointing on who wants to vary or who must go someplace. However if you would like a unique regime, you need a totally different buy-in or one thing like that, the one means you get a unique tradition is you modify the those who sit in it.”
It’s comprehensible. The Lions had simply misplaced their second straight sport and their fourth in 5 video games. It was their sixth double-digit loss this season.
A vet like Jean Francois doesn’t survive within the NFL by being OK with dropping. He has to hate it. And he does. However he’s undecided what number of of his teammates hate it as a lot as he does.
“Excuse my French,” he stated, “however I’ll simply be damned if I’m going to work each week, put together myself, have a look at movie, dwell inside a coaching facility, do the whole lot that this coach asks me to to come back out right here and hold explaining this. It bothers me. If it don’t trouble you, you don’t love soccer. It bothers me.
“It simply bothers me to know that you simply’ve acquired to go to apply with the sport plan that’s in and simply execute it. Be the larger man. Know that the dude throughout from you is aware of what you’re going to do and simply beat him.”
There was a somber feeling all through Ford Area on Sunday. There have been loads of empty seats. The gang was quiet and doubtless at its loudest when it cheered the announcement that Mass Cassel had taken over for Matthew Stafford late within the fourth quarter.
The locker room was equally as somber. Nobody had solutions. Darius Slay’s voice was barely audible. Glover Quin’s locker sat empty for the primary time I can bear in mind. And Jean Francois was one of many few gamers who might muster sufficient vitality to vent his frustration with a disappointing season.
Even after 15 video games, Jean Francois struggled to say with certainty that sufficient gamers had purchased on this season. There have been glimpses of potential with high quality wins in opposition to groups just like the New England Patriots and the Inexperienced Bay Packers. However there was little consistency and when November got here — “when soccer season actually begins,” Jean Francois stated — the Lions went 1-3.
“I don’t know,” Jean Francois stated. “We should (have) didn’t purchase on this 12 months.”
It’s exhausting to pinpoint the motivations of 53 particular person gamers. Perhaps sufficient gamers don’t consider in Patricia and his means of doing issues? Perhaps they don’t consider within the scheme or how they’re getting used? Perhaps it is one thing else?
However I can say this with absolute certainty: It has been a really troublesome season for the Lions with no clear repair in sight.
The protection confirmed enchancment this 12 months, and may get higher subsequent 12 months with the addition of extra items that match Patricia’s scheme. However now one of many protection’s leaders is questioning the place the entire workforce is headed.
Jean Francois is correct. However he’s additionally good for proper now. The season might be over subsequent week and a brand new season will deliver a lot of new faces with it. For the nice and the dangerous, there’s little carryover from one NFL season to the subsequent. Perhaps Jean Francois’ phrases will resonate with sufficient gamers and coaches who return subsequent season. However perhaps they gained’t.
It’s not possible to know. In any case, even Gandhi wasn’t clever sufficient to elucidate one in every of life’s largest mysteries: the Lions.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at [email protected] or observe him on Twitter @cmonarrez.