There's no way around it. The Lions are not where they want to be as they prepare for their season finale Sunday at Ford Field with the playoffs out of the picture.
But the playoff elimination doesn't change their approach, as they still have plenty to play for, including pride.
"I think if you've got the right kind of people you don't change your approach that much," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "You always deal with the psychological portion of it, it's kind of what you do.
"But in terms of playing the game itself, like I said, you only get 16 opportunities and you better take advantage of them. That's what we plan to do. Get ready like we normally do. Get ready and go after it like we want to go after it."
"I think the football pads are on and it's Sunday," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "There's a lot at stake. Every time we go out there and play, whatever you put on tape is who you are as a player and who you are as a team.
"And it's another opportunity for us to go out there and play and get a win. There's a chance to have a winning record. There's a chance to be 5-1 in our division. Some opportunities to go out there and do some things that before the season you wanted to do."
PACKERS IN SAME BOAT
The Packers, who are also out of the playoffs and are set to finish the season third in the NFC North, are in the same situation as the Lions. This week's contest won't affect their standings.
"I don't like the way it feels, that's for sure," Packers head coach Mike McCarty said in a conference call. "We haven't been in this position in quite some time. I think it's also an opportunity to put things in perspective and make sure you appreciate how hard it is to be successful in this league and make sure as a football team we learn from this experience.
"This is obviously where we don't want to be at this point in the season. It's not a standard that we operate. Yeah, it's definitely different."
VALLES JOINS ACTIVE ROSTER
The Lions signed tight end Hakeem Valles to the active roster Tuesday.
Valles spent the entire season on the team's practice squad, something he says he's better off because of.
"I wouldn't say it was humbling to go to the practice squad this year," Valles said. "It was kind of, like, an ego check. Like, 'You're not as good as you thought you were. Yeah, you played all last year. But you're not that good.' So, it was kind of cool.
"You have to look at yourself in the mirror, and that's the hardest person to look at. So, it was kind of cool just to take that shock of getting cut. Like, 'Oh, snap.' And then getting signed to practice squad like 'Oh, snap, let's work.'"
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- Watch the highly anticipated season finale of Talkin' With T.J., featuring quarterback Matthew Stafford.
- Will Lions address the run game this offseason? Tim Twentyman answers that and more in his latest 10 Questions column.
- Catch up on all the news from Teryl Austin's and Jim Bob Cooter's Thursday press conferences.
- See Twentyman's selections for the 2017 All-NFC North team.