ALLEN PARK — Nate Burleson has a unique insight into the Lions since he spent four seasons as a wide receiver in Detroit.
On Monday, Burleson appeared on the NFL Network’s “Aftermath” to talk about the Lions’ huge 20-16 win over the Miami Dolphins, their 7-2 record and what the future may hold.
“I just feel like their potential for growth right now is through the roof. They’re winning games without, in my opinion, the best receiver in the game and they were doing it in different types of ways; they were coming from behind, they were in sticky games and pulling it out at the end,’’ Burleson said on the show. “And then all of a sudden, Calvin comes back and he makes an immediate impact. That just means he’s going to get better and better.
“You have Calvin, you have Golden Tate, you have Reggie Bush coming back healthy,’’ Burleson explained.
He also noted that the tight ends haven’t really got into the action too much yet due to injuries. Joe Fauria has missed six straight games with Eric Ebron out for the past three contests.
“Their tight ends haven’t really played a lot of football and been a big part of this offense — just imagine when they get going. I just feel like right now with the way the defense is playing and the weapons they have on offense and the calmness of Matt Stafford, they are the team to beat in the North,’’ he said.
Burleson also had a chance to talk to the Lions about coach Jim Caldwell who has brought a whole new attitude and focus to the Lions.
“I talked to some guys while I was in Detroit and they said — a vet of nine years said — this is the first time I’ve ever felt like a professional football player, talking about Jim Caldwell,’’ Burleson said.
“Another guy said he is one coach that understands the temperament of this team which means when we show up on Sunday, we’re going to give everything we got because he’s taking care of us during the week.
“Another person said in the organization that’s not even a player, I haven’t heard him curse or raise his voice,’’ Burleson said. “That goes a long way with a team who is supposed to be immature over the last few years. Now all of a sudden, you still have a young team but there are vets. They are different now.”
Of course, Burleson is somewhat biased since he still has many friends who wear the Honolulu blue and silver. He’s putting his credibility on the line when he touts the team, but one thing we learned over four seasons talking to Burleson — he means what he says.