... and this deficiency starts at the top. The problem is not only or, its not only a lack of talented players on the roster, or bad coaching, its both. How could we be so unlucky? Talented people want to work with other talented people, and if given the option will stay away from people they know or suspect to be less than optimal. Bill Belichek can hire any assistant he wants because everybody wants to work for him. Just who wanted to take the Head Coaching vacancy in Detroit following the 0-16 season? A team with bad personnel and a General Manager who used to work for... Matt Millen? Nobody with talent would have taken the chance. So Mayhew, who I think is a decent GM, took who was available... Jim Schwartz. Who I think we can now be pretty certain is too inexperienced to be a Head Coach. Yes I know he has bravado and a high level of self confidence, but doesn't mean he is competent at his position. If he was we would be winning the Free Agency battle. Talented players would want to come and work with a guy that they can sense gives them the best chance at winning.
Mayhew had the deck stacked against him from the start. Nobody with any worth was going to take a chance on him. What Mayhew needs to do is clean house and hire a coach with experience and a decent track record... I know, who right? I don't know either, but that is what needs to happen. Even though you probably won't win a superbowl with a Cowher or a Billick (though there are two rings between them), you might at least start to attract talent to your organization, talent that might attract the next Jim Harbaugh.
Jim Schwartz may turn out to be a fine coach down the line if made to learn from his mistakes. Personally I think he got where he is by being a big talker and looking good working next to Jeff Fisher. If Schwartz really was talented, he could have replaced ST coach Crossman with somebody more legit, but I don't think anybody wants to jeopardize their future career by working for a proven loser who seems to think he's better than everybody else.
Seriously, the Lions are the only team in the entire NFL who act like they're better than everybody else (at least until the last few weeks when reality started to sink in) without beating anybody outside of pre-season games. And that does start with the Coach.