Chris Houston: Lions’ distractions, chemistry problems are gone


A year ago, the Lions were in the midst of an offseason in which they averaged an arrest a month, leading up to a season in which they were one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments. But one Lions player says he can already see a big difference.

Lions cornerback Chris Houston, who re-signed with the team this week, said the Lions had problems in the locker room a year ago, but those problems won’t be back with the team in 2013.

I think we had a lot of distractions last year, on the offensive side of the ball, and like I said, there was so many free agents on the defensive side of the ball, and the chemistry wasn’t there,” Houston said. “But I think, upstairs, they’re doing a great job of getting guys in here who [are] about football, and good guys, mainly, in the locker room. Once you have that, and guys are on one accord, then it’s the sky’s the limit, and I don’t think that was the case last year.”

Houston didn’t say what the “distractions last year on the offensive side of the ball” were, but there’s not much doubt that he was talking about Titus Young, the receiver whose repeated misbehavior finally got him sent home for good late in the season. Houston also seemed to suggest that some of his teammates a year go were thinking more about their contracts than their assignments.

“One thing that I see with a lot of playoff teams, they’re more of a brotherhood,” Houston said. “I think, because of the free agents we had last year, there was so many that guys didn’t know where they was going to be, and the chemistry wasn’t there like it was the year before, when we went to the playoffs. I think, if we can get back to that chemistry where everybody’s on one accord on the defensive side of the ball, then it’ll be great things to come — like we made the playoffs and had all those interceptions the year before.”

The events of the first few days of free agency ensure that the Lions will look a lot different in 2013 than they looked in 2012. Lions fans can only hope the results will look more like 2011.

47 responses to “Chris Houston: Lions’ distractions, chemistry problems are gone

  1. He’s right and you,re right about Titus. Still have a long way to go to be considered a playoff contender again.

  2. typical athlete talk, though. they essentially had the same team last year as the year prior. i think a lot of the time these guys confuse “winning” for “good chemistry”. and if it was so different from one year to the next, with the same core group – then that’s a failure of management and leadership, neither of which has changed from last year to this year.

  3. Bush I hear is a big locker room voice I hear and I hope Quin is too cause Houston is absolutly right about this issue.. Hope we continue to bring in team guys that work their assignment .. Go D

  4. Rip on Suh all ya like, he was not the problem. Suh restructured his deal to win. He’s a team player so keep hating on him. Getting rid of Titus was huge, getting people locked down to bigger contracts was huge. I hope they resign KVB though. even if its for the league minimum the team needs him in that locker-room.

  5. irishgary says:
    Mar 15, 2013 7:14 AM
    Yeah but the Lions still have Ole Schwartzie and that means no playoffs


    He’s already BEEN to the playoffs. Your statement has already been disproven by history – like it or not.

  6. @irishgary Oh you mean Schwartz didn’t take them to the playoffs in 2011 for the first time in over a decade? How many coaches did we have in between appearances? I believe it’s 6. If anyone can do it, he can.

    People are so quick to push Schwartz under the bus because he’s worked for many great coaches (Belichick) and knows how to bring passion to his club. A few bad eggs went and got themselves arrested and immediately its Schwartz’s fault. The Lions are now a team that plays with an attitude; I’d rather have that than be the continuing laughing stock of the league. Kudos to Schwartz.

  7. I think they are headed in the right direction, Reggie bush was a nice addition to the offense but I didnt think he was a need. They NEED help with DB’s and OL. I dont care if you have Adrian Perterson back there he wouldn’t be able to run behind that line. The backs are solid now lets address the real issues.

  8. I am so tired of hearing people knock the Lions’ coaching staff. Here’s a team which has thrown for almost 5000 yards the last two years, has had no less than 27 players on IR over the last two years…and we’re not talking about special teamers, either…and still, everyone lines up to pick on Gunther Cunningham, Jim Schwartz and Scott Linehan.

    Trust me, if I saw terrible coaching, I’d be getting the lanterns and pitchforks, too, but what I see are injuries and lack of continuity, last year, not poor coaching.

    Note: Stafford got beat up a little, at the beginning of the year, but in general, the offensive line did a fair job. Why? The same guys started most of the season. Now take a look everywhere else. The receivers were a patchwork all year. For the second year in a row, the defensive backs needed a M.A.S.H. unit on the field every game, Levy and Durant played hurt and frequently out all year, and once Avril and Vanden Bosch got nicked up enough to stop getting to the passer, the defensive line had to give up the run to get there, and we all saw how well that worked.

    People, these were NOT coaching failures. Coaches cannot coach different players every week, against different systems, and succeed. They need stability in their lineups. The Lions didn’t have that last year.

    Give them another year without beating them up, and if a healthy Lions’ team still stinks, then break out the torches and the rope. Til then, sit quietly and wait.

  9. I believe that Titus was a distraction. But I don’t want excuses, I want wins. Mostly because my Dad always says I’ll die without ever seeing the Lions in a Superbowl.

  10. Houston says……”once you have that, and guys are on one accord…” I think he meant OF one accord. Otherwise, the suspension of the Honda sedan is unlikely to support that many grown men.

  11. Prior to the last two years the Lions had one of the best records regarding player behaviour. Mr. Ford insisted on the players being of good character. A number of very good players of marginal character were always passed over. The last two years they’ve taken some risks in the draft, etc. and the team imploded. CB starter Aaron Barry (gun issue) had to be released as well as WR Titus Young (WTF?).

    Once again the Lions are back to stressing the importance of the character of players. Hopefully this time around it translates into wins.

  12. So the problems are over and besides they were all on the offensive side, said the defender.

    Yeah. Sounds like nothing but the high road in the Lions locker room.

  13. Who is Chris Houston and why is he talking?!?! Lions are a joke, Detroit is a joke and 2011 was a fluke! Lions will be 6-10 this year and everybody in Detroit will celebrate because they won 2 more games than last year and weren’t the worst team in the league!

  14. Sounds like excuses…
    Maybe they should consider not giving all of the salary cap money to a handful of players…
    Just saying.

  15. It doesn’t say much about an organization if one 3rd rate WR can distract them into an 8 game losing streak.

    The Lions may have a lot of turnover this year, but that doesn’t translate into a team. It means there will be a lot of new players who haven’t played together before.

    And they’ll still have Suh and Schwartz.

    Still, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say the over/under for the Lions next year is about 7 wins.

  16. But all of the long years of miserable losing was always justified by us selecting the character guys or the guys who were about football. What were we doing during those years, trying to find players who bring bad chemistry? Every team has the same basic attitude as what he’s describing here, there’s nothing new or refreshing at all. The Lions have done things the same way each and every year and continue to fail, and that’s the bottom line of all that matters. And now we go out and sign Reggie Bush, well sorry but he’s not ALL about football. He comes with some baggage and some stories and drama and distractions. But you justify that because he has a lot of talent.

    I have no idea what Chris Houston is talking about, he’s just making things up on the fly that don’t match up with reality. I see right through this as nothing other than stereotypical yes-man fluff talk. And that is once again, NOT how you win football games.

  17. As per, “He [Chris Houston] is enrolled in the College of Education and Health Professions and is majoring in recreation with an emphasis on community sports.” So yes, not an English major.

  18. Yeah Schwartzie got the Lions to the playoffs and lost the TEAM the following year. I hope he coaches the Lions for the next 10 years that’s two wins a year for the Packers

  19. tdl8 says:Mar 15, 2013 9:48 AM

    Who is Chris Houston and why is he talking?!?! Lions are a joke, Detroit is a joke and 2011 was a fluke! Lions will be 6-10 this year and everybody in Detroit will celebrate because they won 2 more games than last year and weren’t the worst team in the league!

    I see the trolls are out today.

  20. Regardless what everyone is saying, the lions year in and year out have one of the hardest schedules is the NFL. Have you seen our schedule this year? Its absolutely murders roe. If we played an average schedule like all the “good” teams to we’d see more success to

  21. If three-fifths of my O-line was gone I’d certainly be concerned about distractions, chemistry and continuity — with or without gym shorts as my coach.

  22. Well said Chris. I would have to agree with you. I’m glad the Lions re-signed you. You have been the most consistent player on the Defense since 2010. And I can tell that covering Calvin in practice has only made you better. Too bad practicing with Calvin couldn’t make Titus better too….

  23. Translation: ya’ll are screwed. We had the talent the last two years but things got a little out of hand last year. Stafford had a down year, which isn’t going to happen again, and now we have Reggie Bush and a stronger secondary. Expect your team to lose to the Lions next season.

  24. More ‘chemistry’ is a good thing to hope for, but it’s only March and the team doesn’t have to co-habitate just yet. OTOH, Schwartz has seemingly blended in with the ‘character issues’ over the last couple of seasons by becoming a character himself. Maybe with a new cast of ‘characters’, that might change for the better.

  25. Calvin Johnson needed a historic year and Stafford played lights out just to get four wins.
    The Packers whole offensive line was injured, Jennings was gone most of the season, the defense was in shambles due to injury, and they ended the season with their fourth string running back as their only healthy option.
    Yes, a coach can coach different players up and get them ready. The Packers still ended up 11-5. Injuries are part of the game. The Lions couldn’t adapt and that leadership hasn’t changed. Even the lowly Ponder led Vikings adapted once Harvin went down and made the playoffs at 10-6. No more excuses for the Lions and especially their coach. Stop being homers and see it for what it is. Love your team but don’t do so blindly.

  26. irishgary-if you’re a Notre Dame fan I can give you a pass for being a tool because all Notre Dame fans are. If you are of Irish ancestry I will just assume you started drinking a little earlier than usual today. Have a great day and get ready for your team to get owned by the Lions next season.

  27. jimburns22 says:
    Mar 15, 2013 6:38 AM
    Yeah Suh is such a big distraction, how dare he restructure his contract so the Lions could afford to the FAs that they signed.

    exactly..the whole suh thing, people outside of detroit really have no clue what kind of guy he is..

    not that the restructure was a big deal, he still gets his money, its not like the lions can cut him after the season, but the guy is 99% good guy and is usually thinking of others before himself.

  28. A lot of haters show up on these pages.

    Chris Houston is a good CB and a great member of the Lions team. I’m glad to have him back. It’s good to see him talking to reporters, too. He is a great representative of what the D is about. If he is saying there were distractions that are now gone, I believe him.

    I’m excited for 2013. There is a lot of young talent on this team that will make their mark this year.

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