The Lions have had enough of Titus Young and his temperamental ways.
Young was sent home from the Lions’ practice facility Monday and coach Jim Schwartz said he will not play in Thursday’s Thanksgivinggame against the Texans as punishment for repeated selfish behavior that culminated in Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Packers.
Schwartz would not term the punishment a suspension, but he said Young probably won’t practice again today and his status with the team will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
“When you play a game like football it’s a team sport and players have obligations to the team and Titus hasn’t done a very good job of fulfilling those obligations this week and recently,” Schwartz said. “He’ll be inactive this week and we’ll plug the other guys in and go on.”
Young lined up at least two times in the wrong position Sunday, including once on a crucial fourth-quarter series when the Lions failed to gain a yard, and had a verbal confrontation with receivers coach Shawn Jefferson that precipitated a shouting match between Jefferson and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan that was caught by Fox TV cameras.
With just under two minutes to play and the Lions trailing 21-20, Young lined up in the slot receiver position to quarterback Matthew Stafford’s left, where tight end Tony Scheffler was supposed to be. When Scheffler motioned into the slot, Young waved him back outside.
Schwartz said Young's misalignment "caused a lot of confusion" on the play and led to a false-start penalty by Gosder Cherilus that left the Lions in a second-and-15. Stafford threw incomplete on the next three passes.
"With Gosder, he was sitting in the blocks way too long," Schwartz said. "Anybody that's ever run track, you can't keep guys in the blocks that long and it was because of the situation with getting aligned."
TV cameras caught Jefferson yelling at Linehan to “take (Young) out” after that series. Schwartz said that exchange was regrettable, but insisted Monday there are “no issues” between his assistants.
“The thing about it is they were both on the same side of the argument, but in the heat of the moment they ended up missing that fact,” Schwartz said.
Young, whose agent did not return an email seeking comment Monday, has had a long history of immature behavior dating back to his time at Boise State.
He was suspended for most of his sophomore season after a fight with a teammate, and was widely considered a character risk when the Lions took him in the second round of the 2011 draft.
“It was part of what he did in college, but that was early on his college career,” Schwartz said. “That was his sophomore year and our indication was that he was able to have two years after that. There’s a lot of guys that have all kinds of incidents and all kinds of things that happen when you’re 18 years old or 19 years old and away at college. I think that you’ve got to count on guys putting that stuff behind them and maturing. That hasn’t always happened in this case.”
Last year, Schwartz benched Young for most of the second-half of a December loss to the Saints after Young was penalized for shoving a defender near the goal line.
In May, he was sent home from the Lions’ practice facility after he sucker-punched teammate Louis Delmas, one of the Lions’ most respected veterans, and he’s repeatedly drawn the ire of coaches and teammates this year for running lazy routes and sulking when plays don’t go his way.
For all his behavior problems, Young has contributed little on the field. He had 48 catches for 607 yards as a rookie, and has 33 catches for 383 yards through 10 games this year despite an increased role the last four weeks since Nate Burleson was lost for the season to a broken leg.
Young’s normally dour mood changed dramatically after Burleson’s injury – he rarely speaks to the media, but grew light-hearted and even playfully bear-hugged one reporter in the days after Burleson went down – and he had his first career 100-yard game the next week in a win over the Seahawks.
But Young has just seven catches in the three games since, and has rarely appeared on the same page with Stafford.
Veteran Mike Thomas, acquired in a trade last month from Jacksonville, is expected to start at outside receiver against the Texans, with rookie Ryan Broyles staying in the slot.
Lions captain Kyle Vanden Bosch said most “everybody likes Titus as a person and everybody’s tried to bring him along.” But Schwartz said Young’s behavior “is going to have to change” because “eventually there’s no more opportunities to be able to get it right.”
“It’s disappointing because this is ground that we’ve already covered and I thought we would be past this, but we haven’t been,” Schwartz said. “His behavior on Sunday was unacceptable and it hurt the team, particularly on offense, and it was a distraction and we’re going to eliminate that distraction particularly this week.”http://www.freep.com/article/20121119/S ... |OPINION01