Apparently, the end of the season wasn't too soon to offload some of the Lions'...ummm...talent? As Brian Kelly's tenure in Detroit came to an end.
I thought that it was a good idea (if you look back in the blog history) to bring in Kelly as a mentor and backup...but I was not thrilled with the idea of him starting, and truly thought the Lions would be playing more man and doing more blitzing like they did in the preseason. That would have played to the strengths of Keith Smith and Leigh Bodden, while freeing up Alexander, Bullocks, or one of the LB to blitz in -- like hard hitting Ernie Sims maybe?
However, the Lions -- despite being "desperate" for a win really haven't done much of anything to bring in the pressure on the opposing QB consistently. They continued to count on guys like Darby and Cody to do what it was quite painfully obviously they were incapable of doing - creating pressure with just the front four.
Michael Lombardi had an interesting blurb on the Lions based on a Killer article on Mlive (whew - this is a lot of analysis of analysis of analysis). But he really hit the nail on the head in that the Detroit Lions 2008 is a picture of the perfect storm of what not to do with a football team, young players, head coach, front office, draft, free agency. You name it, they've screwed it up.
I am reminded of the old Highlights magazine for kids. When I was younger, they had them at the doctor's office, and we would read them. I always like the hidden pictures best, to be honest. But there was one section where they had two kids -- Goofus and Gallant.
Gallant was better than Beaver on "Leave it to Beaver" -- everything was right, good, sweet, kind, perfect -- he never spilled his juice, always cleaned up, was always polite and always did what he was told and what he was supposed to do. Gallant was very happy.
Goofus, on the other hand, was completely the opposite. He would not only trip and spill his plate of food and drink, but it would be on the brand new ultra white carpet! (Gallant, smiling away, would always find a way to clean it up though. Jerk.) Nothing he did was, or could be, right. Goofus always looked mad or sad.
I always felt for Goofus -- no matter how hard he tried, things just never worked out for him. Life conspired against him, while all the while lifting up Gallant. Now, luck aside - Goofus also made most of his problems worse by his own actions -- that is what took it from oops to WTF. For instance, after spilling food on said ultra-white rug, grinding it in with his foot and screaming about the injustice of their being a white rug there, and if they only had bought purple instead and screaming and pouting and moaning about how no could ever clean it up, while the mother is chiding him. There were other times, however, where he was just in the wrong spot at the wrong time, but was never given the benefit of the doubt. Bird falls out of a tree in front of him on the sidewalk, and everyone is up in arms because he "knocked the poor thing out of the tree." See, the thing about always doing stupid shit is that when you really don't do it, no one is going to believe you. (Like, say, pass interference)
The Lions have a reputation of being Goofus (for very good reason) and thus even when they do things right, in or out of game, it is seen as bad. That being said -- this season they have been totally Goofus and I would like to see them break out of the mentality. No one is as perfect as Gallant, but the Lions have been as close to Goofus as any entity can really get this season. The Lions have a lot of work to do, but just because things haven't worked out in the past doesn't mean a new GM, coach, etc. are doomed to failure "because it's the Lions".
If I went back to 1995 and told you the New England Patriots would be the dynasty of the 2000's, you would be laughing at me and correcting me that perfect regular season meant the kind the Lions are going for now, not the kind the Patriots had in 2007. That is because right up until their underdog win over St. Louis in the Superbowl, the Patriots had been a perpetual bottom-feeder in the league since they joined it. They didn't even have a decade like the 50's to look back to and say "we want to go back there". While they never managed to make Owen part of the team, they came darned close year after mediocre year.
Things can change in the NFL, or anywhere -- and they can change in the blink of an eye. Just because Detroit has been Goofus in the past, doesn't mean they always will be - in the future.
For now, however, I'm already designing my 0-16 commemorative shirt. Something like "I Survived: DetFan1979 vs Owen16"
As for questions about head coaching candidates, I'm not really sure. See, I'm good at pointing out problems and theoretical solutions -- but when it comes to specific players or personnel, lets just say I know what I don't know, and that is too much to list here.
I do know that they need to select a new GM, and that whoever that GM is and his approach to building the team will directly impact which coaches would be a good fit. I'll definitely look into it more as we enter the ifseason.