On Football Night in America last Sunday night, Tony Dungy remarked that watching the Lions lose a game thanks in large part to some crippling penalties led him to the conclusion that these were the “same old Lions.”
Members of the Lions disagree with that assessment. Despite being flagged for 19 penalties through two weeks, wide receiver Nate Burleson said that the 2013 Lions are “a much different team” than they’ve been in recent years and that he thought it was too early in the season to make such sweeping proclamations anyway.
“I didn’t hear him say that, but I don’t appreciate those words. I’m very sensitive about my team,” Burleson said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I wonder what he said after Week 1. Did he say the same thing after we started the season off on a good note against a good team with a good running back and get a victory? It’s the NFL. I don’t want people to get too caught up in immediate results. Yes, this is the regular season, we’re 1-1, but you can’t say the same old Lions when we lose a tough game against a tough team on the road. We have another chance, hopefully we can turn Tony Dungy into a fan. I’m a fan of his.”
It’s hard to argue with the notion that you can put an indelible label on a team after two games, especially when they won one of them. At the same time, though, it’s pretty natural to feel like nothing much has changed when a team with a history of shooting itself in the foot with penalties shoots itself in the foot with penalties in each of their first two games. The next 14 games will determine how accurate Dungy was about the Lions.