Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The day after….

The Lions fired head coach Rod Marinelli, his son-in-law and defensive coordinator Joe Barry, Barry’s father, and a few other position coaches, the day after officially becoming the worst team in NFL history. They demoted Colletto from offensive coordinator to offensive line coach, and promoted Martin Mayhew to GM and Tom Lewand to President. Now Lewand and Mayhew are looking for a personnel guy to work under Mayhew, and a new head coach who can then start shaping his coaching staff. Since guys like Pioli of the New England Patriots already hold a position equal to what the Lions are looking for, he and guys in the same position as he may not be hired away by the Lions… so one would assume they are looking at assistant personnel directors of other teams to hire in as personnel director and assistant GM (General Manager).

Mr. Ford Sr did not look outside the organization for a new front office, did not seek advice from the NFL (or if he did, he’s not saying), and saved a ton of cash by not brooming out the entire front office (most of whom are still under contract). Many say that is crazy after going 0-16 and with the need to completely revamp the entire team, some are taking either Lewand’s or Mayhew’s side (or both) and believing that it will work. I am torn.

{carefully gets up on the fence, notes it’s not as easy as it used to be}

First, there’s Tom Lewand. He’s handling the business/legal side of the operation. He was Ford Jr’s man in a manner of speaking, and had to earn Ford Sr’s trust, which he obviously has done. The only way that a new CEO/President was coming in to replace Matt Millen was if Ford Sr. distrusted Lewand and went outside the team to secure a new, hopefully experienced executive to take over the whole thing. Many have reservations about Tom Lewand, but he is now the top dog, there is no longer anywhere to hide and no one to hide behind, so we shall see how well he functions at his new position of power with the Detroit Lions.

Second, there’s Martin Mayhew. He’s handling the “football side” of the Lions now as the designated General Manager. He got the job without having to interview, without having to go up against other candidates, and there are a large number of people who do not approve of this. However, he would’ve been one of the interviewees should it have gone that way, and apparently he has presented a detailed plan to Ford Sr on how to build AND maintain a good football team. There has been a lot of mention of this plan, and how good it is, but so far I haven’t actually seen it. Perhaps it’s top secret. Anyway, he’s the guy now on the football side, and he and Lewand will be making the decisions, including when to bow to Ford Sr’s wishes, and they are now going to proceed to hire someone to run the scouting department. Their selection should shine some light on how good or bad they will be at their new jobs. One thing they do have going for them is their decision to fire the previous head coach and other coaching moves. There was a lot of worry that most of them would be retained, even after going 0-16. Between that move and the trade they got for Roy Williams there is some room for optimism… cautious as it may be.

Mayhew is a lawyer. He has helped Lewand with contracts, even getting some reluctant players to sign when talks broke down, but he is more then that. He worked in the personnel department for the Redskins long before working in Detroit, and he is a former player. In fact, he has a superbowl ring from his days as a cornerback for the Redskin, the year was 1991, the team they beat to get into the superbowl was none other then the Detroit Lions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFL_playoffs,_1991-92

Even with those positives, neither man has ever run a draft, ever hired a head coach, or for that matter, ever been in the top ranks of a successful team. They are… inexperienced. Now, all good options that Ford Sr passed up were once inexperienced as well, so that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is worrisome. The Lions could’ve used some previously successful experienced people to turn this around, it might have sat better with the fans, the media, and the others on the team. Instead we now have to wait, to see if these guys can put together a team that can succeed.

I shall sit up here on my fence, watching. Day one was a good start, let’s see what the coming days have in store for us. (note: I did not get to see the press conference day 2 so I have no opinion on how that turned out).

If nothing else, you could say that Mayhew owes us one for 1991.

1 comment:

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