Come on people, I just read a blog post on another Lion site and they were suggesting Condi Rice as a viable candidate for Lions GM. I don't want to go to war in Iraq. I just want the Lions to win football games! In my last post I suggested Floyd Reese as a candidate. Scott Pioli has been suggested by some and he would also be a great choice. After all he has helped build the Patriots dynasty; and who knows maybe he will persuade Matt Cassel to tag along to Ford Field?
Speaking of quarterbacks, Lions fans might get a chance to see their new QB in the Motor City Bowl. Nate Davis plays for MAC contending champion Ball State and he has posted some awesome numbers. He's listed as 6'2” and 217 LBS. He has attempted 324 passes and completed 218 for 3,095 yards with 25 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions according to the Ball State athletic department. He comes from good stock and is currently being mentored and coached by former University of Michigan assistant coach Stan Parrish, who has also coached Brian Griese and Tom Brady. Davis admits to having a learning disability, which he told USA Today “I had to work extra hard to learn the playbook”. What a concept - a professional football player actually working hard to study the playbook instead of hanging out at nightclubs with his posse and slinging (or at least trying to sling) a Glock! There is a good chance Davis might come out early. He could be available as a second rounder and would be a steal in the third. This would give the Lions the opportunity to draft some offensive line protection and start rebuilding the defense with the early picks. You can analyze Davis for yourself on Friday night. He will be playing on ESPN2 in the MAC championship game.
Julius Peppers name has come up recently as a possible free agent acquisition. He is having an outstanding year and is certainly a possible short-term solution. It will take the Lions more than one year to rebuild, and Lions fans have to accept that. Improving to 500 with a team that has talent and a committed desire to win would be a great accomplishment next year. Peppers is in his seventh season and last year had a dismal 2.5 sacks. But he has had double digit sacks in all but two of his pro seasons. Peppers is a good leader and a great athlete. He is the captain of the Carolina defense and also played in the final four for the North Carolina Tarheels in 1999/2000. He would bring maturity to the locker room, and hopefully he has learned from his mistake in 2002 after being suspended by the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy for taking a banned dietary supplement.
The Detroit Lions are now on the clock. The Lions select as the Number 1 pick in the NFL draft, Michael Oher from Ole Miss – can you say Jake Long? He has all the tools and has a mean streak, he can also play immediately. The scouts like his size for the position, but love his technique because he slides very well and knows how to use leverage. Regardless of who the quarterback of the future is, he along with Kevin Jones needs protection and gaping holes, Oher will be a beast in the NFL trenches.
With Ernie Simms and his Pro Bowl potential at linebacker bringing in another gritty and mean linebacker will help the woeful defense. Rey Maualuga from USC or James Laurinaitis from Ohio State would shore up the middle of the field quite nicely. If they are not available Aaron Curry from Wake Forest may be. He hits hard, runs a 4.60 forty, “power cleans” 400 LBS routinely, has great hands and is excellent in pass coverage. With Simms and the Detroit defense on the field more than most defenses in the league it is essential to strengthen the defense with the majority of the remaining draft picks; or as some have suggested trade picks to add veterans to the current roster. Rebuilding the defense is the key to success and teams with strong defenses seem to always be playoff contenders. If they ever do become a playoff contender having a quality backup QB will also be essential, but that is a blog post for a different season.
The scenarios are endless but the opportunity is there. As I said in my last post when I suggested Floyd Reese as the new Lions GM, this season is over for the Lions and now is the time to begin the rebuilding process. It needs to start now and it will start with the ownership. Since the owners have bigger fish to fry with their “other” business - handing the reigns of the Lions chariot over to an experienced NFL manager and team builder will start the process. In my opinion this does not happen by keeping the current front office staff, and it certainly does not begin by hiring ancient Model T's.
The Lions have a terrible history of firing coaches. This is the time to hire a new GM and let him decide what to do with the coaching situation. I don't know of many situations where a coach has had a losing season such as Rod Marinelli has and turned it around quickly? But, at the same time I am not sure what kind of control he had or if his opinions were considered in personell decisions with Millen at the helm? Darryl Rogers may have said it best, “what does it take to get fired around here?” In the words of the McCann award winner and Detroit News columnist Jerry Green. “The parade of coaches marches by.” Two things are certain, there is no need for an interim coach because that will just delay the rebuilding process. And the Lions ownership needs to look outside the Great Lake State for front office staff, coaching staff, and players. The days of fill-ins and crowd pacifiers from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State or even Grand Valley State needs to end and a new era begin anew. 75 years of Lions football in Detroit is filled with history. The new regime will need to look hard to find the tradition of winning ways; but if they look at the blue collar ways and ethics of their fan base they will find dedication and commitment. Mr. Ford, please put the pieces in place, it cannot get any worse!