I'm taking a day off my bright spots on the team article. First, there was more trouble finding them than I thought. Secondly, ended up not having as much time to watch the tape. Thirdly, my pick was a little blunt, and my shovel needed polishing. Finally, I keep getting tired of seeing this comment:
Lions won't get a good coach because they will have NO say in personnel, and no self respecting coach will work for Mayhew.
There are so many things wrong with this statement, I'm not sure where to start.
1. Lewand will handle cap, and Ford Field, operations, that sort of thing. The business side. Bean-counter doing bean-counter things.
2. Mayhew is head of "football operations" which is everything from the weight rooms, ifseason programs, the Allen Park facility staffing, coaches, and the player and personnel departments.
3. They fired the head of the personnel department and are actively looking for someone who will be able to come in and handle the bulk of the organizing and details of the personnel work, with Mayhew as the guiding force. They don't just want scouts who report to Millen -- they want someone to be VP of Player Personnel and handle that part of the football operations. Then Mayhew will be in charge of that person and the new HC - including evaluating performance and most importantly making the final call when they disagree.
4. The above structure is more and more being adopted by a majority of teams around the league. Why? Because in today's NFL there are too many responsibilities for just one man to do all of those jobs AND be a real HC. So this is the norm, not the exception.
5. The coach they hire or look for will be someone whose philosophy fits with the type of team they want to build. Who says the coaches and the GM have to be on different wavelengths if they are not one and the same? They didn't say the coach will have NO say in personnel matters -- just that they are looking for someone to be a coach, and someone to be VP of Personnel. 2 people. 2 jobs. Not one person doing both.
6. Doing great as a coach and poorly as a GM is what got Mike Shannahan fired. There are plenty of great coaches who prefer working with a personnel focused guy. The personnel guy knows what the coach needs (communication) the coach knows what type of team he is building, which fits the view of the big picture painted and maintained by the GM (communication) and what building blocks he needs. The Personnel guy tries to fill those holes, without putting the team as a whole in jeopardy.
7. Don't think there will be the same problems with rookies not being given a real shot with playing time to develop. All the coaches on their interview lists are creative architects and playcallers with an overall philosophy that they adapt to the players they have. Especially Schwartz of the Titans and Spagnuolo of the Giants. It is a MUST in the age of the cap and free agency. You can't build a solid talent-overload team like the dynasties pre-cap era. Even the modern day "dynasty" of NE is built on a base of above average players, with a few great pieces in important positions all working together, and used to the best of their ability by the coaches.
8. I know there is more - patience in ownership, the facilities, and the chance to really be the hero and show how good you really are, and 5 picks in the first 82 to get restocked with young talent, and the solid small core of players in place that can be built upon the direction you choose. This last is most important. The Lions' offensive talent is mostly vanilla enough with good enough toppings that you can take it in quite a few very positive directions with only a few tweaks. The defense is even more malleable. The core players you would keep could fit a 4-3, 3-4 and any number of hybrid defenses. It is how you fill the gaping holes that will dictate what you can do with it.
What all of the above tells me is that the Lions are looking for a coach who is imaginative in his playcalling and schemes, who wants to coach and leave the nitty-gritty of personnel up to others, who is looking for a challenge, who will be respected by the players, who will be hungry for his chance and make the most of it, and who above all has not just the will, but the way, to win.
Can Lewand and Mayhew find it as they fly across these great United States interviewing coaches? I'm hoping so. As a Lions fan, IF they hire the right guy...