During their Monday press conference, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew discussed what will go into their search for a new head coach. The search officially began shortly after Jim Schwartz was fired on Monday morning, and Lewand and Mayhew discussed the process of hiring a new head coach, what they'll be looking for from a football standpoint and what they'll be looking for from a leadership standpoint.
Starting with the actual process of the coaching search, the Lions have already started taking calls from potential candidates, and they've presumably already reached out to potential candidates as well. Lewand noted that this will be a "thorough" coaching search, and Mayhew said that the Lions will listen to feedback from the NFL's panel on diversity as they put together their list of candidates.
Lewand declined to put a timetable on how quickly a hire could be made. However, we do know that Lewand and Mayhew will handle the "legwork" during the search. The legwork will likely involve reaching out to potential candidates and interviewing finalists for the job, but they will not necessarily make the official hire. The Fords will be the ones ultimately responsible for signing off on the Lions' new head coach.
As for what kind of coach the Lions are looking for, Mayhew left the door pretty wide open. He would prefer someone with previous head coaching experience, but that's not a requirement, and he doesn't necessarily want an offensive-minded head coach over someone who is defensive-minded. Also, he would prefer someone who runs a 4-3 defense since that's what their personnel fits, but he didn't completely rule out the possibility of bringing in a coach who utilizes a 3-4 scheme.
More than anything, Mayhew seems interested in finding a head coach who will be able to lead the team and change the culture to get the Lions over the hump.
Mayhew: "We have to take into account a coach’s ability to change our culture a little bit" in coaching search.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 30, 2013
Mayhew talking a lot about changing mentality and culture as the key to "getting over the hump." Hard to disagree.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) December 30, 2013
Mayhew; "it's bigger than Xs and Os .. this guy has to be a leader."— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 30, 2013
A few other points from Monday's press conference:
- Mayhew has already started discussing what went wrong in 2013 with veteran players, but he's not necessarily seeking their input in the coaching search.
- The Lions are targeting a "different profile" of a head coach this time around compared to the one they had back in 2009. Since this team isn't in need of a complete rebuild, certain things they're looking for in a head coach have changed.
- Mayhew acknowledged that the Lions need to bring in somebody with a track record of working with quarterbacks, but he made it clear that the head coach doesn't necessarily have to be that person. In other words, they don't necessarily need their new head coach to fill the role of helping Matthew Stafford improve since the head coach could bring in an offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach to fill that position.