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Anonymous criticism doesn't sit well with Detroit players

The SportsXchange

After the Week 4 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, wide receiver Nate Burleson and other veteran players talked about how the Detroit Lions needed to regain their us-against-the-world mentality.

"We need to get back to playing with that violent passion we had last year," Burleson said.

Well, if a 1-3 start weren't enough, the Lions got plenty more fuel for their fire this week.

A story on the Pro Football Weekly website cited two unnamed general managers calling Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew, coach Jim Schwartz and the defensive line overrated.

"That fires me up," center Dominic Raiola said.

"If they had any (guts), they would say who they were," Raiola went on. "That's kind of like a coward statement to me. We just have to get back to what we did last year. Talent-wise, it's all the same. To take a shot at the Lions' organization like that, that ain't right."

Here's a sample of the comments made by the anonymous general managers:

--"They don't have enough good players, and the players they think are good are not that good. (Ndamukong) Suh belongs on the All-Hype team. (Cliff) Avril is not that good -- put on any game and you can watch him get blocked time and time again.

"Corey Williams is solid, but nothing that wows you or makes you wonder how you are going to block him. The other guy (Kyle Vanden Bosch) is a try-hard guy getting up in years that does not really threaten you. For as much as people talk about that D-line and all its depth, where are all the players?"

--"I have listened to the media hype about Suh since he got in the league -- what has he done? Even the year he had all those garbage sacks, the guy took a million plays off and got pushed around in the run game. I have never thought he was a very good pro player."

--"The one thing that is clear -- they are not as close as people have tried to make it seem. They are a one-dimensional offensive team that if the quarterback is not on, people are figuring it out. If you take (Calvin) Johnson out of the game, who else do they have that can beat you? They are not a team that I think is ready. If I am going there to take over the job, I am not thinking that is a quick fix."

--"(Mayhew and Schwartz are) both overrated. What has he (Mayhew) really accomplished? Matt (former Lions general manager Matt Millen) never said he did a good job -- he was not ready for it. He did not have enough good people around him. There were things that if he had to do it again, he would not do. And he did not have the experience or the right people around him to get it done. So much of this is having the right people around you -- I don't know that Detroit has all the pieces in place like they think they did, and people are starting to see the cracks."

Schwartz waved off the comments.

"Anonymous? I can't comment on anonymous things," he said. "Hey, we're 1-3. That's what we are right now. We need to go win. We're judged on winning. We're not judged on popularity contests or what somebody says under the cloak of anonymity. We are judged by how many wins we get over 16 games. That's enough for us right now."

Avril said it was, essentially, the same old story.

"I don't really care; I never care about what people think about our team," he said. "It's always been about us proving everybody else wrong. That's the goal; to continue to prove everybody wrong."

Raiola probably summed it up best.

"If we're not fired up right now after what happened in the first four weeks, then you are in the wrong place," he said. "We've got all the motivation we need from those first four games."
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