Why the Rams and 49ers may benefit from the Lions mishaps…

Nick Fairley walks off the field/AP

The Lions have had their share of off-the-field issues. Yeah… you may have read about it. Colleague Albert Breer broke it down nicely earlier today.

With a troubled but talented draft class from 2011, they have a lot work to do to right the situation. Nick Fairley’s arrest for DUI this weekend was only the latest in a string of disciplinary issues. The courts will have to handle some of it.

But so will Commissioner Roger Goodell thanks to the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Poor judgment situations like Fairley’s and that of RB Mikel LeShoure rarely benefit anyone, and as Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com tells us, the Lions as a franchise could be whacked in the pocket book¬†for it.

But let’s look on the field for a minute. Fairley and LeShoure have both been arrested twice this offseason. Both could possibly be facing suspensions, and with more than one incident, it could be more than one game.

So, the Lions, a darling of a Super Bowl favorite after their big season in 2011, open with the retooling Rams and then visit the 49ers. Game 3, should those suspensions extend there, is a road game against the Titans. Would be tough to be short-handed for those three.

What does it mean?

Well, the Lions could be without a starting defensive tackle and a starting running back for the first two or three games. Not crushing. It’s not like losing QB Matthew Stafford. But Fairley has looked strong in OTAs, and LeShoure is progressing nicely after tearing his Achilles. The absences would sting.

Both are going to be counted on big-time. And both could be on the sidelines when it all begins. If the Rams, under a new coaching staff, fulfill some of their promise, that’s a scary game for the Lions. And that trip to SanFran won’t be pretty.

An 0-2 start heading to a road game in Nashville? Not what the Lions are looking for. Yes, they can overcome a slow start. But it will keep happening unless some of their younger players learn to behave…

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