current state of the lions:

according to scouts inc. that is:

Scouts Inc. takes a look at all 32 NFL teams heading into the 2010 season: the decision-makers, the offensive philosophy, the defensive outlook and three main team needs. 

Decision-makers: Lions fans are hoping they finally have a front office they can trust after years of bad personnel decisions. Detroit has a fresh coaching staff and a rebuilt front office, and better days may be ahead.
Former interim GM Martin Mayhew got the full-time job, and he is a hard-working guy who is making safer decisions than in the past. He is attracted to blue-collar players who make plays and also display good character. President Tom Lewand has a lot of power, but he will likely defer to Mayhew and his staff on a lot of day-to-day decisions. Head coach Jim Schwartz (who has a solid background in scouting) and his staff will have considerable input, but not final say, in decisions. The Lions also have former Jacksonville VP of Player Personnel James "Shack" Harris as Sr. Personnel Executive, and he can be a huge help to Mayhew as this front office develops its identity.

Offensive Philosophy: New coordinator Scott Linehan is very good at recognizing talent and then adjusting his schemes to fit that talent; that is his challenge in Detroit. With a young quarterback situation, this will be a run-first offense preferably, and we don't see a lot of exotic schemes -- even though Linehan has a reputation as a good play-caller and identifies matchups well. Right now, we see some shifts and motions to find these matchups, with a lot of precise timing routes in the passing game. However, with the emphasis on the run, there may be quality play-action opportunities on some deep balls to the Lions' best playmaker, Calvin Johnson. There is a lot of excitement about the potential vertical passing game that could develop as Matthew Stafford progresses.

Defensive Philosophy: Coordinator Gunther Cunningham most recently ran a Cover 2 scheme in Kansas City, but in Detroit, under Jim Schwartz, he has switched to a 4-3 attacking defense that Schwartz ran in Tennessee.

However, the personnel on hand is not the same, especially in the front seven. The Lions would prefer to blitz a little less than they have in the past to apply pressure. They want their defensive line to excel at one-gap penetrating schemes and line up wide, allowing their linebackers to flow and fill with speed and range. The guys on the back end will play a lot of zones; they must step up and tackle versus the run, but they must also be able to play man when necessary. Philosophically, this is a sound defense that won't give up a lot of big plays, but the Lions must get more physical up the middle.

Team Needs

1. RB: Kevin Smith is coming off a 2009 season with significant knee and shoulder injuries, and he may have lost his explosiveness and big-play ability. The Lions need a productive run game to take pressure off the passing game, so a physical and durable 20-plus-carries back would be welcome. There are limited playmakers on this unit, and an all-around guy who can run and catch would help.

2. OG: LOGs Manny Ramirez and Daniel Loper are not good enough, and this position has no stability. Even LOT Jeff Backus is not a perfect edge protector. A lot of the hits that Stafford takes are from the left side, but in the right scenario he could even move inside. The best OG or possibly OT available would give the Lions some wiggle room.

3. DT: They needed help inside and outside, but they did acquire high-priced free-agent DE Kyle Vanden Bosch from Tennessee. He'll help, as will DT Corey Williams, who came over from Cleveland. The Lions failed to generate any kind of a four-man pass rush in 2009, and they can't stop the run. They need a run-stuffing DT with quickness who can penetrate from the inside. Some mock drafts have them taking Ndamukong Suh (or Gerald McCoy) with the No. 2 overall pick.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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