Inside the Lions Locker Room: Week 5

Lions' insider Mike Mady delivers you the scoop from Allen Park, including: Why are opposing teams still trying to run on Detroit on 4th and short? The Lions refuse to get lost in the hype, while also representing the city of Detroit's blue-collar work ethic.

Lions insider Mike Mady covers the Detroit Lions for Below are notes and quotes he's gathered while meandering the team's post-practice media discussions in Allen Park.

Is anyone watching the film?

During last week's victory against the Dallas Cowboys, there was a crucial play that occurred during the first quarter.

The Cowboys had a 7-0 lead and had moved the ball to the Lions one-yard line. It was fourth down and the Cowboys opted to keep their offense on the field. They ran the ball at the middle of the Lions defense, and were stopped. 

Did the Cowboys' coaching staff not see the Minnesota Vikings' failure to convert a fourth-and-one by running up the middle the week before?

Perhaps they also missed the Lions Week One contest, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- faced with fourth-and-one on the Detroit 11-yard line in the fourth quarter – attempted a similar feat that ended in the same fashion. This is also something that happened on multiple occasions in 2010 – including three of four consecutive plays from the one-yard line in the season opener at Chicago.

So, are opposing teams neglecting to watch the film?

"I think they are watching it but they just feel like they are going to catch us slipping," said defensive tackle Corey Williams. "It hasn't happened yet.  Hopefully one day they'll realize it ain't going to happen."

If that day doesn't come soon, the interior of the defensive line won't complain.

"They can keep trying to run it on us," said defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill, with a smile.

Lions representing their city

The Lions have put forth a tireless effort in their attempts to return the organization to legitimacy.

As they ascend the NFL ranks, demonstrating blue-collar work ethic and rock-solid resiliency, they are representing more than the logo on their helmet, they are representing the city of Detroit.

"We are a hard working group," said wide receiver Calvin Johnson.  "We put our hard hat on every day and we come out to work."

Head coach Jim Schwartz agrees with his star receiver.

"I think there's something to that," said Schwartz.  "It's a blue collar town and we like to envision ourselves as a blue collar team. This is a hard working team. I've said a lot of times that our best players are also our hardest working players. It makes it easy to stay consistent when that's the case. I think that they have a belief in themselves but they also have belief in their teammates and I think the city is sort of the same way in people believing in themselves, believing in their city. When you have those ingredients, you can bounce back from a lot of tough times."

Team not getting lost in the hype

The Lions are currently on an eight-game regular season winning streak, and they are one of two undefeated teams remaining in the NFL with some of the league's most exciting players residing on the roster.

It was only a matter of time before the rest of the league took notice.

The Lions have been featured in numerous national TV spots, been a popular conversation topic on many national radio shows and have most recently been awarded the cover of Sports Illustrated. The team has forced the spotlight where it hasn't in quite some time.

"It's easy to bring the cameras to big cities," said receiver Nate Burleson.  "When you're in a big market, everybody is big stuff on campus.  Who's thinking about Michigan?  I think we're kind of forcing people's hands to consider – not that we're the best team ever – but that we got some talent and that we can play football."

With all of that, don't expect any of the hype get into the Lions locker room.

"We come out here, we put our head down and grind," said quarterback Matthew Stafford.  "We understand that is what got us here and that is what is going to keep us going."

Amidst all the discussion and attention has been debates over the team's status amongst the elite in the NFL.

Some have the Lions securely nestled in their top five while others are predicting an eventual fall from grace.

"People that think we are for real, we're going to prove them right," said Burleson.  "People that think we are pretenders, we're going to prove them wrong."

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