Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings had a front-row seat to one of the moments when the Lions lost their composure last season.
It was on Thanksgiving, when defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh stomped on Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith and earned himself a suspension from the league. It was part of a season-long impulse control problem for Detroit, although none of the other personal fouls they racked up crossed the line the way that Suh did at Ford Field.
That led to calls for more discipline around the club, even though the Lions went to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, and those calls have only increased during an offseason that’s seen several members of the team arrested for things like DUI and marijuana possession. During an appearance on the NFL Network to discuss the NFC North, Jennings said that he wonders if the Lions will stay composed enough to better their 2011 success.
“They’re a very talented team, but they have struggles on the field containing their composure, and definitely, the things we’ve heard of, them being in the media with off-the-field problems and off-the-field issues,” Jennings said. “Can they maintain their composure? Can they be a professional ball club for 16, 17, 18 solid weeks throughout the regular season?”
Jennings has hit on one of the crucial questions facing the Lions this season. Teams that pop up with a strong season after years in the wilderness tend to go one of two ways the next year. They either take a step back into the pack or they build on it to have an even stronger season. The Lions could go either of those routes and their ability to remain composed will have a lot to do with determining that final result.