The Detroit Lions were one of the most undisciplined teams on defense under head coach Jim Schwartz, and that’s a statement that has been reiterated constantly. It’s important now that Schwartz is gone, because the coaching staff, especially uber-calm head coach Jim Caldwell, is focused on making the Lions a much more disciplined team. Even when Reggie Bush tried to defend Schwartz during the season, the subliminal message was that the Lions severely lacked discipline.
There are two types of discipline, though, and I don’t think the second type gets looked at enough. The first kind of discipline is avoiding penalties, but the second kind of discipline is avoiding mistakes like getting burned, blowing an assignment, not getting proper leverage etc.
The Lions are committed to avoiding all types of mistakes, and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin recently spoke about what he intends to do in order to cut down on the big mistakes on the defensive side of the ball. He said, via MLive.com’s Justin Rogers, “If you tolerate (mistakes), then they’ll keep making them. If a guy continues to make the same mistake, then what we do is we say, ‘Hey, listen, you obviously aren’t doing the things we need you to do for the team. You can come stand by me (on the sideline) for a while until you figure out how to do this right.'”
Austin isn’t saying that he’s going to bench or punish players for making a mistake here-or-there, because that would be senseless. Heck, Austin is going to make his fair share of mistakes, too. However, he wants players to be accountable and make sure that they are learning from those mistakes instead of simply repeating them. The word “accountability” comes to mind here, and Austin wants to make sure that the players on the Lions defense are held accountable for their mistakes if they consistently make the same error.