Kyle Vanden Bosch was signed a year ago for his knowledge of Jim Schwartz’s defense, his on field talents and the veteran leadership he would provide. The 2010 season exhibited all three of those traits and the Lions’ defensive front rose to one of the top units in the league because of it.
However, the veteran leadership KVB provides extends beyond the white lines of the gridiron. Vanden Bosch was credited by teammates for showing them how to properly prepare for games both physically and mentally and leading by example.
As we stare labor uncertainty in the face for the first time since 1987, KVB’s action have to be tickling the Lions coaching staff pink. Per the Detroit Free Press, KVB has begun the Unofficial Lions Offseason Strength and Training Program at several Detroit area fitness locations. Vanden Bosch didn’t want the labor unrest to harm the team camaraderie that the Lions worked so hard to establish in 2010, so he organized team workouts to give the guys a way to keep in shape and stay close while the NFL and NFLPA hit the courtrooms.
Some think that doing this plays into the owners’ hands and undermine the players by “working for free,” but there is every reason to believe that the labor uncertainty will not cancel the 2011 season and when the time does come to suit up, players need to be in shape. The players need to stay in shape one way or another, does it matter if they do it by themselves or as a group?
All I know, is after years of hearing about conflict and division in the front office, locker room and on the field, the Lions appear to be a team from top to bottom and all moving in the same direction. When the football world snaps out of bizarro world and returns to normal, the Lions will be that much better for it.