The Lions will be trying to end a seven-game losing streak when they put the cap on a very disappointing 2012 season on Sunday against the Bears.
While the season didn’t go completely into the tank until the second half of the season, linebacker Stephen Tulloch thinks the stage was set for the dismal results during the offseason when the Lions saw several players get arrested. Tulloch believes those incidents lingered into the season, providing distractions that the Lions handled poorly.
“I think discipline is the biggest issue, that kind of selfishness, it hurts the team. We’ve had guys hurt the team through their actions, and it lingered. We had Aaron Berry here, we were really counting on him, he gets dismissed, and now you need someone to fill in,” Tulloch said, via Albert Breer of the NFL Network. “And I think we’ve had changes in the secondary 13 times in 16 weeks because of that. It’s hard to get chemistry, when guys are hurting the team like that and you feel like you can’t count on them. I try to put my finger on whether there’s a bigger problem, but I get lost trying to pinpoint what it is. We need more accountability. Hopefully we can weed that out this offseason.”
The lack of discipline shown by the Lions on and off the field over the last two years has led to criticism of coach Jim Schwartz, although Tulloch doesn’t hold the coach responsible for the actions of the players.
“The problem here has to do with players, and learning how to handle success. It’s one thing to get there, but just because it’s the same team doesn’t mean you’ll get there again. It’s up to us as leaders to enforce things,” Tulloch said. “Coach puts us in good position, in a position to win. The only thing I could say, the players need to be more accountable and disciplined.”
Schwartz, who has several years to go on his contract, is expected to return in 2013 and accountability has to start from the top. If the Lions can’t find their way back onto the right track next year, Schwartz’s contract status might not be enough to save his job.