By Ashley Scoby
If the Lions are to fix what's wrong with their offense this season, they have to start with embarrassing themselves in front of each other.
After getting obliterated 42-17 by the Cardinals Sunday – and turning the ball over six times – the entire Detroit offense got together in an auditorium and watched every single, brutal snap of Sunday's game the next day. When a player saw a play where he could have done better, he would raise his hand and explain what went wrong, and how the situation could be fixed in the future.
Missed block? Cutting off a route too soon? All of it came under fire in that meeting room Monday.
"Everybody called out when you can be better. If you did something good, other guys were like, 'Hey, nice job,'" quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "This, that and the other, just more of that, more guys understanding what it takes on offense to have a good play and that's 11 guys doing the right thing all the time, full effort, assignments sound and that's what it's going to take. Until we get that, hopefully that happens really fast."
Players didn't have to formally stand up in front of the room when they had a mistake to point out – "This ain't elementary school," said tight end Eric Ebron – but they all took responsibility.
It was an ugly tape. But to move past it and to finally tally a win, the Lions had to watch every brutal second, no matter how embarrassing it might have been.
"It's just funny to see how many actual men and leaders we have, to see everybody stand up and tell what they did wrong," Ebron said. "It takes a lot of guts to do that, especially with the head coach in there. It was different. … That reflects upon you, about how much of a man you are, to accept responsibility for your mistakes."
There were plenty of them: Golden Tate fumbled. Ameer Abdullah fumbled. Stafford threw three interceptions. One of those picks came partially because of Calvin Johnson – "It should've been back shoulder," he said. "I could do better on my part and get my head around a little sooner."
Detroit actually ran 89 plays for 436 total yards, and tied an NFL record for most pass attempts (70) in a regulation game. But they couldn't translate any of that into significant points, other than their first touchdown drive and a garbage-time touchdown towards the end.
Coming to understand each other was crucial on Monday for a team that certainly looks from the outside to be falling apart. There was no shortage of material to review.
"(I) thought it was important that we all sat there together at the same time so everybody could hear the corrections on every single position and see exactly what our issues are," said head coach Jim Caldwell. "Oftentimes you may know, but the offensive line might not know what's going on with a receiver, or vice versa. But every once in a while it's certainly worth doing."
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