Strahan's comments partly wrong
Fox analyst and former Giant Michael Strahan made some pretty damning comments about the Lions at halftime of Sunday's loss to the 49ers that I think were a little off base.
"You can teach technique, you can teach a guy to catch, you can't teach heart," Strahan said. "They don't want to play. You watch it, they don't want to play."
Here's where I think Strahan's wrong. The Lions still do play hard, especially early, but their effort sometimes appears lacking when a game's outcome is well in hand. It's human nature. And it has more to do with talent than heart.
Here's a comparison to amplify my opinion: I play in a rec basketball league. We have a pretty good team. There's another team in the league that's close to awful. They try hard. They always come out aggressive, play good defense, make a few baskets early. But in the second half, when we're up 20 or 30 points, their defense is less intense, they throw up more bad shots and get back on defense a little slower.
It's not because they don't try hard. They do. They're a generally scrappy bunch. But at the end of the day when the game's over (even if the clock's still ticking) they're resigned to their plight again.
Same goes for the Lions. When Jon Kitna throws a fourth-quarter interception after the Lions squander a late lead, it's almost reflexive that the defense gives up a touchdown. Another loss in the books. When the team falls down three touchdowns early for the third straight game, there's a little less zip in everyone's step. That's not an excuse, but that's the way it is.
Kitna was asked about Strahan's comments Tuesday and while he disagreed he made a very salient point.
"I think to say that a team isn't giving effort, that's an awfully big accusation," he said. "But when you're 0-3 you leave that door open to be scrutinized like that as a football team and that's where we're at so we have to accept all criticism."