Citing A Psychologist, Caldwell Makes It Clear: 'Big Picture Softens You Up'
By: Will Burchfield
Through nine weeks of the season, the Detroit Lions are in second place in the NFC North and have home games remaining against each of their three divisional opponents. The big-picture looks pretty darn good.
Jim Caldwell doesn't want to hear it.
"I don't look ahead and talk about that, about three games at home and all that kind of stuff," said the Lions head coach. "I do not look at it. We do not talk about it. Only thing we talk about is what's coming up in the next game.
"I think the quickest way you can get in trouble with your team is when you start to have your team try to look big picture. Big picture softens you up – and we try to keep our guys away from that. Narrow focus is the one that's extremely important to us, and that's the way we try to keep it week in and week out. So when you ask me about goals and future and all that kind of stuff, we don't let that stuff even sink into our mindset."
The Lions' win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday thrust them ahead of the Green Bay Packers in the divisional standings. Detroit is now in sole possession of second place, just a half-game behind the Vikings.
In a crowded NFC playoff picture, the 5-4 Lions are very much alive.
But Jim Caldwell insists they don't talk about this – or any team goals – as the season unfolds.
"I talk about it one time and that's before the season starts. We set them up, we talk about what they are – they're not for public consumption – and then we go ahead and we narrow our focus," he said.
Caldwell has preached a one-game-at-a-time mantra since the season began. His players have, too. In a sport as complex and demanding as football, the coach believes there's no other way to operate.
"I'm assuming that it's much like anything else. I'm not certain that it's anything odd. All you have to do is try to multitask," Caldwell said. "You talk to (psychologist) James Clear, who's pretty good at human sort of interactions and behavior, and he says there's no such thing as multitasking because of the difficulty that it takes. I think that's the same way that it is for football.
"In football, you better be focused, you better be on your game, you better be able to play with some intensity. I really do think it makes you kind of start to look around corners…This is just my own personal opinion, that's how I feel, that's what I communicate to our team, that we're better off just looking at what we have directly in front of us and attacking it that way."
On their bye this week, the Lions will return to action on Nov. 20 when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"We're 1-0 this quarter (of the season) and now we gotta look to the next game. We've got a real challenge. Already started to look at Jacksonville and you can see this team is loaded with a number of very high draft picks. They're going to be a real challenge so we got our work cut out for us. We don't look ahead further than that," Caldwell said."
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