Playoffs? The Detroit Lions are 4-7 and they’re talking about playoffs?
Yes, they are.
As one of his first acts as interim head coach, Darrell Bevell spoke with the team’s leaders about playing for a wild-card playoff spot.
Bevell met with the players’ leadership council before Wednesday and outlined goals for the final five games of the season following the firing of coach Matt Patricia on Saturday.
“Coming off the Thanksgiving game we had a little bye week basically,” left tackle and council member Taylor Decker said Wednesday. “And with the facilities being shut down, obviously we had a couple extra days.
“And he pretty much was just: I want everybody to come in here refreshed and of the mindset that we still have something to play for. We’re only two games out. Let’s try to be able to get a wild-card spot. And there’s still a lot to play for. And if you can’t get excited to try to go out there and win, then, I mean, do you have a pulse? I don’t know.”
Decker said other procedural issues about practice and meetings were discussed because Bevell wanted the council to disseminate information to other players so that Wednesday’s first practice of the week could get off to a good start.
Bevell did not tell reporters Wednesday that he had discussed trying to make the playoffs.
“I had meetings with our leadership group,” Bevell said Wednesday. “So there was some free-flowing, give-and-take in that. Today, in my (full-team) meeting, was not. I just wanted to make sure that they understood my message, exactly what I’m looking for, what I expect out of them, and how I see this thing – then we kind of went from there.”
The Lions are not mathematically eliminated, but the postseason is a longshot. They’re 11th in the NFC standings, two games behind the 6-5 Arizona Cardinals, who hold the seventh and final wild-card spot. They also trail the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears; both are 5-6 and have beaten he Lions once. Fivethirtyeight.com gives the Lions less than a 1% chance of making the playoffs.
That uphill fight will begin Sunday when the Lions visit the Bears, who were part of the focus of Bevell’s message to the team during an 8-minute meeting.
And beating the Bears was part of the broader message that resonated with Decker about playing with consistent effort, regardless of what the future holds this season.
“What we want to do is do the most that we can with these last five games,” he said. “Like I said, we’ve got stuff to play for. We’re not out. We’re two games out.
“And even if we were out, you’ve got to have personal pride. And so I’m going to go out there and be, personally, the same player every single day. And I think my position group’s going to go out there and be the same unit, strive to be that same unit every single day.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions coach Darrell Bevell tells players: Let’s make playoffs