One thing thats evident, the Detroit Lions have some serious issues that they need to sort out before they are ready to become a serious contender in the NFL. When you look at the 49ers, Mike Singletary took over for Mike Nolan and established a very disciplined and tough, hardnosed football team. Unfortunately, the offense was horendus and Singletary was just a bad game manager. Enter Jim Harbaugh, who brough everything to that 49ers team that they were lacking. Do the Lions need to make changes at Head Coach to solve all of their issues? Not sure, but one thing is certain, there are some major issues that need to be resolved accross the board from character, to player personel, and coaching.
1.) More Weapons on offense.....lets be honest here, whether if you like Linehan or not, you cant blame all of the offense's woes on Linehan, although I do think he deserves some of it.
The reality is this team lacks anything beyond Calvin. You cant stop Calvin. He's going to make plays all over you, but what you can do if you're an opposing defense is you can make it more difficult to get the Ball to him and thats what teams have been doing all year. What this team really has on offense is Calvin Johnson followed by a lackluster tight end Brandon Pettigrew who will catch (and drop) a ton of balls and then followed by a bunch of smurfs with Titus, Mike Thomas and Broyles. Now Broyles looks good on occasion and shows flashes of his talent....Broyles is young and could be something in a couple years. Mike Thomas has some ability as a slot guy, but the bottom line is: there's nothing special about him, and he really isnt the answer. And Titus hasn't shown nowhere near enough consistency. I can't believe im saying this but this team does miss Nate Burelson, and when your team is missing Nate Burleson, thats an indicator of how bad your recieving corp sucks. So a priority needs to be upgrade the corp of Megatron and the Smurfs.
Malcom Floyd absolutely fits the bill here for what i'd be looking for as a big 6'5 reciever who could complement Calvin. He’s fast and he has great hands amd last year, did not have any drops. This year, he's on pace for a career year as San Deigo's #1.
The team also desperately needs to upgrade at tight end with someone who will get down the field vertically and be more sure handed. Jared Cook from Tennensee and Fred Davis from Washington are great options. As much as I like Pettrigrew as a player....he just doesnt do any of that and he would be a better fit on a team that runs the ball more.
2.) Evaluate Scott Linehan and decide if he needs to be replaced
I'm 50/50 on this. Last year we all loved Linehan.
This year It seems in the community that fans are divided. Some blame him for the offense's inconsistency and others blame the lack of talent. One thing is for sure, they need to evaluate Linehan's job this offseason, and thats if Schwartz is retained of course. The one thing about this for sure is that there have just been so many questionable wtf type play calls that have happened this year, as well as an offense that just seems to be too predictibale as many people would say. But is it predictable because every team in the NFL knows the ball is going to Calvin? Sure, most likely. But as a coordinator/ coach, your job is to find creative ways to get the ball moving on offense, and put points on the board. The creativity has just been lacking on offense. Maybe all Linehan needs is just another season and more weapons.
Chan Gailey from the Buffalo Bills would be an excellent option to replace Linehan if Schwartz is retained and if the Bills fire him. Gailey has reestablished himself in the NFL as at least as a playcaller since he calls the plays as well as is the head coach for the Bills. He could bring Curtis Modkins, his longtime protege and future OC in training with him to coach the running backs, another spot this team might want to upgrade at. Gailey coached Calvin for a year at Georgia Tech and helped recruit him, so im sure Chan would be the main man to help utilize him best.
3.) Evaluate Jim Schwartz's job, and possibly make a change.
My biggest issue with this team thus far is its continued lack of discipline. The Lions continue to be one of the most penalized teams in the league, and its not a good thing when your coach is costing you football games because he doesn't know the rules, or because he lets his emotions over take him most of the time. Now I respect Schwartz for doing a number of things: taking a job few people wanted, and turning around an 0-16 team. He brough this team to the playoffs and now leaves the Buffalo Bills alone with the longest drough in the game.
But YOU CANNOT CONTINUE TO HAVE AN UNDISIPLINED FOOTBALL TEAM AND EXPECT TO WIN BIG IN THIS LEAGUE. Your team is often a reflection of its coach and im sorry to say, but Schwartz has been here for 4 seasons now, and if the problems have not fixed itself by now, why would it be better down the road? Guys like Bill Cowher, Marty Schottenheimer, and Bill Parcells would never stand for this teams lack of discipline.
If the team makes a change, i'll take Bill Cowher, but he probably says no since he doesnt want tp coach again, nor does he need to, unless its the Giants. If Rex Ryan gets canned with the Jets, i'd have no problem there as well as his twin brother Rob Ryan.
Bruce Arians might be too old to be a head coach for a new team at 60, but he's done an amazing job with the Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck, and I think he deserves a shot. Plus would he bring some quality assistants with him from the Steelers and the Colts?
Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator from the Atlanta Falcons would be choice #1 for me. He would bring the discipline and toughness I am looking for in a head coach along with a successful track record.
4.) Fire Todd Downing.
Once offensive quality control coach and now Quarterbacks coach Todd Downing did an excellent job with Stafford last season, and he needed to find answers this season, but has not. Matthew Stafford's mechanics are a mess, and this team needs to bring in a QB Guru to help work with stafford this offseason. QB coach may be the most important non-coordinator assistant position in football, and Downing needs to go.
5.) Change Defensive Coordinators or Scrap the "Wide 9"
Gunther Cunningaham hasnt been a coordinator of a top 10 defensive unit since his days in KC under Marty Schottenheimer....but in fairness, he's been apart of some horrible teams since. I think Gunther has this defense playing good enough most of the time, but there have also been many times where this defense has just been plain awful. But this team needs to ax this F'N wide 9 and they may need to change Coaches or Coordinators to do so. There is a ton of talent on this defense: Suh, Fairley, Avril, KVB, Delmas, and our linebackers of Tulloch, Levy, and Durant are one of the most underrated in the league, but this scheme really prevents this defense from achieving much.
I do like defensive line coach Kris Kourcek, and he seems to have a penchant for working with D-Lineman and pass rushers, so even if the Lions change coaches, I would hope he his retained. He's still young, and someday could make a good coordinator.
I dont know about the rest of you, but im really hungry for this team to get a top 5-10 dominant defensive unit here in Detroit, and we havent had anything like that or even close since Chris Spielman was here.
6. Get better corners, and continue to add depth