Monday, July 14, 2008

Myth-Busting: Lions not changing?

I came across this piece that I started to write back on April 10th of this year. It has some thoughts that are just as relevant heading into camp as they were leading up to the draft, so I updated/finished it and here we are!!


I have a customer who, every time he calls, begins his phone conversation with "It all began when I was a child..." and, if you don't say "Hello *NAME*" -- he will keep going. He has stated he can go on for over 45 minutes without stopping (and I believe him!). To me, that is what many Lions fans do, and it is just as irritating.

"it all began in 2001, when Millen was named GM....his drafts....his coaches...his mustache...his record"and on...and on....and on....

After listening to Ford's interviews (both Sr and Jr, though both rare), Millen, and Rod for two years - I have come to the conclusion that when he hired Rod, (right after getting his extension) that Millen was essentially starting over. He had 5 years of "on the job" training, and had found a coach with a vision he could buy into, and understand.

I referred to something similar yesterday, but will expand upon the metaphor. In ancient Dynasties, you had the Dynasty (the overall ruling family) - but you also had individual Eras that were influenced by whomever was emperor, and in many cases, their most trusted advisers. In the biggest sense, you have Ford and the Lions as the country. Currently, the Millen Dynasty is running Lions country. After going through the Mornhinweg Era, the Mariucci Era, and a brief caretaker Era under Juron, in 2006 the Millen Dynasty entered the Marinelli Era.

This is significant, because what one emperor did, another would often undo -- and while the Emperor ruled, he was still subject to the elders of his own family, and the empire. Think of this as Marinelli is emperor of the Lions, but still subject to the constraints of being a member of the Millen Dynasty. Marinelli is basically the guy who got the throne after the treasury was empty, and the country was engaged in a war with ill-trained troops who had endured loss after loss until many felt losing was all Lions country was headed for, and the only thing keeping their enemies from looting the capital weekly was a bunch of overpaid guys with some talent and no loyalty. But, he (unlike some of his predecessors) has the full support of Lions Country, and the guts to make the hard calls. So he has to do three things:

1. Train what he's got, and hope it works until he can get something better
2. Change the Culture
3. Fix the finances
4. Ditch the Overpaid Mercenaries
5. Develop his own troops

In 2006, the Lions made a few cuts, and re-signed guys who had the potential to emerge as leaders and great players. He also moved to fill some glaring needs as he could, put was hampered by the cap implications of 3 sour top ten picks, who were no longer with the team, and fat FA contracts on the books. So he focused on #1. (so much so, someone filed a complaint with the league) and #2.

He really has to continue to make #4 and 5 work to make 2 and 3 happen. Thus far, it looks like he is making a lot of progress, but that does not mean the Lions Country has established any kind of dominance.

They have shown that they can win well at home (5-3 in home games last year) but that they could still do better at protecting their borders. That is one thing that needs to be improved on even more this coming season.

After protecting your borders, it comes down to invading thy neighbors and beating them down at home to get any further. I.E. - they must win on the road. 2-6 there last season, so not doing great on the whole invasion thing. Until they can consistently bring it to others in their own house, they will be a middle of the pack country holding tight and trying to protect their borders.

It will be interesting to see, heading into camp, how the players are practicing. In order for this team to succeed, the last 3 years of draft picks and FA really need to step everything up a notch. From unknowns like IAF, the rookies, Bullocks from injury -- to the new backbone of White, Redding, Bodden... How well will everyone elevate their game? Will they be able to take it on the road and hand out some good old fashioned butt whoopin??

IF the players come together, and that culture is changed, and the list of 5 is closing in on improving -- then they may be able to march into at least enough victory to enter the postseason. At the worst, they shall be able to hold even. (8-8). IF not....

Can't wait until the Ifseason is over, and the "roll the tape and see what you got season begins..."


Can said...

Lions not changing? absolutely not

This is the same team you and I have watched for many years now. I'll admit I'm not the smartest fan out there, but when my wife and my son can predict a Lions season better than I can year after year, then there's something seriously wrong with the Lions football program.

I was always getting mocked by friends, family, coworkers, and yes, even walmart shoppers for being so stupid for following these perennial losers. I would smile and just think, o-well maybe someday.

The moves they made this offseason give me very little, to no hope.

With all due respect detfan 1979, it's not a Myth or mystery to me anymore why the Lions are at where they are at year after year.

I like WCF but I don't think you'll see much more production out of this team until Bill Ford Jr. takes over, then lookout!

I'm still a huge fan guys and I don't want to rub anyone wrong by bashing players, coach's, ect.

On a scale from 1-10, I stand at 3 for being optimistic, they have to show me results.

We shall see, Can

Anonymous said...


There are 31 chat rooms around the country, with little saintfan 1979's, and chargerfans1979's chanting mantras in their web sites about the spirited virtues of the needed water from the dripping fonds.

Many believe in "The Leadership Qualities of Ghangus Khan" and pray their team will follow the same path. But 31 teams didn't rejoice when the Giants hoisted the cup.

Matter of fact, very few people had the New York Football Giants doing anything last year, and most wanted Tom Coughlin's head.

What's worse, they had to rely on a 4th string, 7th round draft pick (drafted by another team) to tote the rock.

Did the Giants catch lightning in a bottle, or is there really that much parity in the National Football League?

I differ from you, can. I don't like WCF as an owner. He's committed, but isn't obsessed by wins and losses. As a fan, I want an owner who sleeps, breathes, and bathes in football. Not just somebody who rolls another bland widget off the line, but someone who is passionate about his craft, trade, and skill.

And then you get to Millen. His contention and desire have crossed paths. When he hired Marty Morningweg, he really wanted Steve Mariucci. Then when he hired Mariucci, he realized that golden nugget of information just wasn't right for his vision and the Lions at that time.

Kinda seems flippy-floppy, and wishy-washy?

Then you get a guy like Rod Marinelli. He stands by his intuition and skills and craft. He promotes people (like DeWayne White) for their talents within the system, not for other superfilous things. He tells guys they need to be warriors ready to put on armour. No country club practices. He breathes it, he believes it, he teaches it every day in every action.

This guy is different, this guy gets that something special out of his men. He even gets guys to leave their teams to come back and play for him. He even signs former colleagues that want to come over and work with him. The mutual respect everyone has for Rod. The reverence that Dungy, Gruden, and Lovie share is just how the ancients worshipped their dynasty. Think of the shoguns, all were taught to respect their heritage.

Mogli, Ghangus, and Kublai Khan and their beliefs were that of warriors as well. ((No CHIEF, Shere Khan was the tiger in Jungle Book)).

The reason this is different, the reason this is worth investing in, is because (for the first time in a long while) the Lions have a coach that isn't just teaching football, he is teaching core values that are intrinsic to teh intensity and tenacity needed to keep pace with a warrior.


CHIEFGER139 said...

sorry but i think your giving marennali way to much credit, the words still out on him yet and truthfully i dont think last years team bought into entirely-no way they go out the last 8 games and only beat the chiefs at home if they did. i give coach rod time and congratualte him for winning 7 games with basically zero running game and zero defense and zero special teams other than kickers-thats a miracle in itself-im glad we didnt get another coach and blow the whole thing up but in a way coach rod, did blow the whole thing up, new running back,new linebacker, possibly 2 new safties starting, new rt tackle, 2 new cb's , new dt, new o'coordinator,new qb coach, new backup qb-i dont think a new coach would of made that many changes. obviously coach rod thought this team needed blowing up-hope he's right-cannoppener how can you say nothings changed a 3rd of the team will be changed?? we may be worst or we may be better but we definately have changed-a totally differnt team next year with a new offensive scheme-weve changed for better or worst.