Friday, January 23, 2009

Mayhew's Hobby: HC Collection

The Lions added yet another great Coordinator/not-so-great-ex-HC to their staff when they confirmed today that, surprisingly, Scott Linehan had agreed to be the OC for the Detroit Lions!
(the article I linked to is on the site, and is the best one I saw with some great qutoes from Schwartz on philosphies and Linehans background, and reasons for taking the Detroit job -- It is a must read!! On a related note, every time Shcwartz opens his mouth, you just can't help but get more optimistic about this team. He isn't feeding lines of bull, or cliches -- he is just dosing it out straight up. Love it!)

This makes two coordinators cut from the same background -- great success in the past as a coordinator, made the jump to HC and it went okay but not great, and now are back at the coordinator position where they excel. Let's hope they do so with Detroit!

Most Lions fans (at least those who actually follow our division rivals as well) should be very familiar with Linehan. he was the one designing and calling the playings back when Minnesota had Randy Moss and Culpepper in MVP form racking up the points. If you took the current Minnesota Defense, and that offense -- put them together and you'd have...well...umm...the New England Patriots, I guess.

He knows how to utilize a large one-of-a-kind WR (Moss-CJ) while utilizing a strong running game to make defenses pay for taking away the long ball. I really like this fit, and think his style of balanced but potent offense pairs perfectly with Cunningham's preferred pressure D. In other words, while both are somewhat high-risk at times, they can also bail each other out.

I must admit that thus far, I am blown away by the quality and harmony in the moves and hiring by the new Lions front office -- from the coaching search, their low-key search for a personnel man, and their in-season trades and moves player wise.

Schwartz, and even Mayhew/Lewand, must have some kind of respect around the league for the Lions to not only have a real shot at, but to be signing the coaches they are signing. These are not guys that had no other options. KC wanted Cunningham to stay, but he basically badgered them into letting him leave(which they did, especially after it became apparent that Pioli was going to be firing Herm Edwards shortly.) More than one team not only wanted Linehan -- but either implicitly or explicitly offered him the job of OC!

He turned down the 49ers. They are in a rebuilding phase, and have been for a few years now although they are stuck in the same kind of Neutral Detroit has been for the past few decades. However, he also is reputed to have turned down an open invitation to be the OC for the Tampa Bay Buccaners. They also have an up-and-coming young coach, but are at a spot much further along in development than the rock-bottom Lions. Perennial challengers to enter the playoffs, most would consider that the best spot of the three to go, given the choice.

I even saw a headline that said "Linehan turns down 49ers and Bucs to coach...Detroit?!"

ROFL at that one -- such is the respect Detroit gets; and deservedly so after 0-16. However, what did they expect Mayhew to do? Run out and try to be worse than Millen? (which would involve going 0-16 twice, really, is the only way I could see that perceptually)

No, the Lions -- thus far -- have been doing everything right this Ifseason from the moment Lewand and Mayhew were named to their posts. They knew who and what they wanted to go after, and how -- and have been executing.

Will their run continue? Will they nail the draft and additional coaches as well as they have so far? Will they excel in FA moves? Those questions, of course, are at this time unanswered and unanswerable -- that why I call this the If-season.

If they do....or If they don't....

So far it looks good, but so did the Lions in the first half of 2007. There is a lot of Ifseason left.

Just a funny thought on the nepotism front -- look at who Josh McDaniels, the former-NE-OC-Turned Broncos coach hired...

Not a good omen for Denver, IMO. Not at all...

Go Lions!!


Anonymous said...

Good article '79.
I too am impressed with the moves so far. The credit has to go to Mayhew; he seems to have learned a great deal and also has vision - the most imprtant attribute of leadership.

For those of us who enjoy the chess games of the Ifseason, this is prime time. We will probably never again see a year where so many changes are made to both the team and the organization.

I look forward to the selections of defensive coaches; it would be good to get at least one rising star who can be groomed to eventually replace Cunningham who is 62. Of course Dick Lebeau will be 72 this year, so maybe the old guys are the way to go.

What do think will happen with special teams? Is there a chance for Stan Kwan to stay, or his he history? I think he may be kept for this year.


Anonymous said...

Reflecting back on the promotion of Mayhew to GM, who better to manage the Lions than him? He was privy to everything that happened during the Millen era and so far it looks like he's learned from all those mistakes.

At least so far ... so far so good ... Look forward to the hiring of assistant coaches, but hope that at least receivers coach Jefferson and running backs coach Gash stay. Undecieded about Colletto, however our running game did pick up in the second half and who knows how much Colletto played part in that?

The real test, however in my opinion, is with the draft, I can only hope to be as impressed with this management team after the draft as I am now.

Go Lions

Isphet said...

WOW to that hire in Denver.. the guy coached Quarterbacks in HIGH SCHOOL last year, and that makes him qualified to coach in the NFL? I'm shocked beyond belief at that hire; Denver fans should be furious; that's the exact definition of nepotism right there.

I'm very encouraged by what the Lions have done so far this ifseason as well. I'm curbing my enthusiasm; because the most important part of the offseason: namely, getting guys that can actually PLAY on the team, is yet to come. It doesn't matter how smart and experienced the coaches are if they can't get guys in that can play.

Anonymous said...

The good news for Bronco fans, it didn't say what assistant clip-board holding job the last two "Dude, Where's My Car?" frat-brothers were going to have.

For all we know, they may only need to know cold, rinse, and repeat. Air Dry.

I am pleased as well with the Mayhew changes so far. I am not a Stan Kwan fan; however, and do not want to see Stan the Man retain his can. I want it kicked; please give me your torch.

I can only look at special teams and see that average, steady 20 yard returns were what Marnielli wanted as it WAS consistent. But special teams are the one area that need explosion. And with two of the best kickers in the game, they should've been better on coverages, and the return game. It's not like Stan has to help Jason Hanson get ready for a season. Chuck Priefer's program from 20 years ago still works.

Time to go play hockey in Newberry tomorrow (in an outdoor rink). Game time temp at 9am is supposed to be -5F.

detroitsims said...

Great hires!! I am really starting to like the direction that Mayhew is going with this team. I liked Swartz from day one! I am with you guys on seeing who the other coaches are gonna be. I really hope they can stan kwan! There has to be someone out there that knows how to cover kicks better than what kwan was teachin!

I got a good chuckle out of the Bronco hires!! That just amazes me when there quite a few people on M-Live that were screamin for Pioli and McDaniels to come here! We will see how that works out for them with there High School QB coach.

Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...

Sorry deleted my previous because it was typed on my blackberry and formatted all weird and hard to read...repost:
Any thoughts by anyone on the senior bowl yet? I just watched it as I had it recorded but will be going back again. Defensively I was pretty dissapointed as no on really stood out. Even my boys from USC had a few mistackles and didn't look like anything special. If we switched to a 3-4 larry english would be a nice kind on the outside opposite side of avril if sims can move inside (not totally studied up on a 3-4
yet waiting til we actually switch or not). English has a great motor
though and can hit, not sure about his coverage though. Was
dissapointed in bj rajii as I watched practices and he was talked up being dominant in practice. I didn't really see it watching some of the practices but even more so not in the game. Never saw him really do a thing or even mentioned for how hyped he was. Alphonso smith dissapeared in the game too but I was already shying away from him after I found out he's only 5'8". That's pretty short for a corner no matter how good you are, only my opinion of course. Offensively parker
wilson from alabama stood out at qb (boy is harrel bad not in the
shotgun and taking under center snaps-rough draft ahead for him). It did help wilson playing in alabama and having his own center snap him the ball but he looked very calm and checked down well and ran when appropriate to keep the play alive (reminded me of stanton actually-i think haha its been so long since I've really got a good look at him on the field). Aside from wilson I'd be happy getting a WR, I know the dreaded position but I'm talking later like second pick 3rd rd. If we
could ever get a derek williams or somehow percy harvin 2nd rd that
could serve the duel purpose of compliment to calvin as well as pr/kr. That potential for a td on special teams is fluid throughout the nfl now and the lions have seriously lacked it since drummonds glory days. Not only that but line of scrimmage at the 18-20 compared to 30-35
with one of these dynamic guys changes the game. I doubt we get one of them but I think its a decent class for 3rd and 4th rd wr's like my USC boy patrick turner or carr from flordia st. Not sure their speed yet but say a 4.4 guy opposite calvin with furrey standeford or colbert in the slot? We talk about the deep ball after pounding the rock like linehan has done in the past-read Tys Lion Winter blog for a
great piece on that-but that'd be a great wr core to utilize deep ball after hitting u in the mouth with the run all game. Ok just typed all that on my blackberry and my thumbs are as tired as our safetys trying to run down rbs after they run through the lbs every play. -Todd

RIP said...

Curious on why Kwan is not the right guy for our special teams. He was trained by on of the best in Chuck Priefer for eight years. In his first year, he tried some of is own thoughts of schemes the way his units could perform. Then the team was ripped apart by injuries. Going into his second season, Rod admitted that he did not provide Stan with atheletes to support special teams. So we brought in Pearson, Gardner, and Droughns. Then on the final cut of training camp, Rod kept 11 defensive linemen. Special teams I heard is made up mostly with linebacker types (this would be anonther reason to go to a 3-4 defense).

Does anyone remember the day when our gunner on punt returns was our starting WR Leonard Thompson? He was the best on our team, and the head coach allowed it to happen.

Special teams, like offense and defense, depends on the philosophy of the head coach, and the players the head coach gives you to work with. I stuck my neck out in the support of our new front office hires (read earlier posts), and believe I should for this person too.

Here is a couple articles I saw for him.

To me his bio and experience would fit in for what Scwartz would want in a coach. Definately agree that we would need a young coach on defense to groom for the future.
Jefferson and Gash seem to be a good addition to the staff.
Also curious to so if Colletto is retained. This would reflect on what Linehan, and Schartz thick of the zone blocking scheme, and if they would be comfortable enough to use it.