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Shutdown Corner

Is Gunther Cunningham to blame for the Lions’ excessive aggression? Hell no, says Gunther Cunningham

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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Grumpy Gunther

With Ndamukong Suh stomping on people, Brandon Pettigrew shoving officials and various others picking up personal foul penalties, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and head coach Jim Schwartz come under a bit of scrutiny for how they coach the young men in Honolulu blue.

It's a simplistic explanation for what's probably a more complicated problem, and the people making it aren't at Lions practices, watching what goes on every day. The criticism is nice for conversation fodder and filling time on NFL Live, but in the end, it doesn't mean much.

But still, when it comes from ex-players and coaches, it makes Gunther grumpy.

"Here's the issues for me," Cunningham said. "There's some ex coaches on television, in the media, making statements. Why don't they come and talk to me about it? Tell them to face me and come and talk to me about it. Don't tell me how to coach. They were in high school, and maybe not even born, when I started in this business. I think I know a little bit about it.

"I'll challenge any coach to face me in a room, one-on-one, put the tape on and tell me how to coach football. That's what I object to. The media, the rest of you, you do your job. But those guys? To tell Jim Schwartz how to coach? To tell me how to coach? Good luck."

Ah, relax, Gunther. You know what you're doing, and you've been in the media crosshairs before. You've been coaching for 42 years. You've been a head coach at the highest level. You know what criticism matters and what doesn't.

He wasn't done, though. He also took the time to chastise Jared Allen for what he said Thursday about the city of Detroit.

"He's not good enough to live here," Cunningham said. "I know him well. He should go back to California, Los Gatos, where all those nice people live. This is too rough of a town for him. I love Jared Allen. He makes all those comments. I hope he didn't learn them all from me. He's an outstanding player. I love the guy. He plays great."

I guess when you've been around as long as Gunther has, you're entitled to be a cranky old man when you feel like it.

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