Lions go with another untested head coach in Swartz

Jim SwartzThe Detroit Lions found their next head coach in former Tennessee Titans’ defensive coordinator Jim Swartz, who was hired Thursday evening to take over a franchise in dire need of a facelift.

At least as a head coach, Swartz is unproven, untested and his ability to lead a team (especially one coming off an 0-16 season) is unresolved. Can he do it? Can he take the Lions from the pits of hell to at the very least, mediocrity? Maybe. Or maybe he follows in the footsteps of Rod Marinelli, Steve Mariucci and Marty Mornhinweg and gets ushered out the door as quickly as he was rushed in.

Lion fans had to have felt a little better when they woke up this morning. Matt Millen isn’t the general manager anymore, change is in the air and another offseason of free agent signings and high draft picks is upon them. But the cold, hard reality of the situation is that Martin Mayhew (Millen’s understudy) is the general manager, Swartz (again, unproven) is the change and what’s the point of getting excited about another offseason when failure is quickly to follow it?

If you ask me, William Clay Ford Sr. got it wrong again. He should have hired somebody from a winning organization (somebody who has won somewhere, sometime) to be the general manager instead of Mayhew. Why would you want the guy that was under Millen? Why would you want the guy that was three people under Millen for that matter? If they wanted real change, then they should have air raided the entire front office and started from scratch. (Although to be fair, Mayhew’s first move was trading Roy Williams to Dallas for draft picks, which looks like it was a solid move.)

It’s hard not to give a first-year head coach like Swartz a chance because of the success rookie head coaches John Harbaugh (Baltimore), Tony Sparano (Miami) and Mike Smith (Atlanta) had this year. But Swartz won’t be able to do his job effectively unless Mayhew does his.

The Lions have a long ways to go to get the taste of 0-16 out of their mouths. Change is what they needed, but is Mayhew and Swartz the right change? Time will tell.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

The Official Mike Shanahan to the Detroit Lions Campaign

Today I launch a campaign that is essentially doomed from the start. It’ll never get off the ground because the people in the position to make the campaign work are completely incompetent of making sound decisions. That said, I feel it’s my duty to take on this mission, regardless of its pending failure.

Today, I launch the Official Mike Shanahan to the Detroit Lions Campaign, or OMSDLC for short.

The Detroit Lions are beyond a disastrous situation. They need a freaking team of thousands working around the clock to try and revive the sinking ship they call a franchise. And with the news of owner William Clay Ford Sr. promoting Martin Mayhew to general manager, the situation might be bleaker than ever.

Forget Mayhew, Bill – Mike Shanahan is your guy. You want to be loyal to a fault? Hire a guy that is coming off 10-plus years of experience in one job and won two Super Bowls. Hire a guy that has the fortitude and know-how to build a winning football team. Hire a guy that comes from a winning organization – don’t promote someone in Mayhew that had a hand in making Matt Millen the worst general managers in sports history.

Give Shanahan complete control. Allow him to bring in the free agents he wants, draft the players he wants and then coach said players. Don’t stand in his way, don’t question his moves and most of all – don’t give anyone else (Mayhew, Tom Lewand, etc.) the power to have their voice heard. Turn the keys of the franchise over to Mike Shanahan and then get the hell out of the way.

This is only part one of OMSDCL. There will be more to come in future weeks.

William Clay Ford Sr. doesn’t get it

Detroit Lions’ owner William Clay Ford Sr. fired head coach Rod Marinelli on Monday and then promoted Martin Mayhew to general manager and Tom Lewand to team president.

Rod MarinelliLewand was chief operating officer. Mayhew has served as general manager since Matt Millen was fired as president three games into the season. He was assistant general manager before Millen’s firing.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry, assistant offensive line coach Mike Barry and secondary coach Jimmy Lake also were fired, and defensive line coach Joe Cullen’s contract will not be renewed.

Offensive coordinator Jim Colletto was reassigned to offensive line coach.

Assistant director of pro personnel Dave Boller will not be retained.

The Lions went 10-38 under Marinelli. They started 6-2 last season and seemed on the verge of turning things around, but went 1-23 since.

The finale came Sunday, when the Lions lost at Green Bay, 31-21.

“Overall, the record speaks for itself,” Marinelli said after the game. “We know what that is. My feelings about it will be kept to myself, but the record speaks for itself.

You have to hand it to Marinelli – he always handled himself well. There’s no question he had to be fired, but he’ll find a job as a defensive coach (maybe not as a coordinator) soon.

I don’t know much about Mayhew; maybe he is the right guy for the general manager job. But when you hire a guy that had a hand in building a perennial loser over the years, what message are you trying to send to your fan base? Why not go out and get someone from a winning organization to try and get you back to respectability? Why not hire someone who understands how to build a winner? Not a guy that was already on board when the team was losing.

This was a bad decision by Ford Sr. and one that probably has set the Lions back even further. (If that’s even possible after finishing 0-16.)

NFL Week 17 Quick Hit Thoughts: Lions 0-16, Brees falls short, Big Ben hurt

Detroit Lions– With their 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions wound up on the wrong side of history in 2008, finishing the season 0-16. No team in the NFL history has ever finished 0-16, but the good news for Lion fans is that owner William Clay Ford Sr. doesn’t plan on changing a thing about the organization. Yikes.

– I feel bad for Drew Brees. He needed just 16 more passing yards in the Saints’ 33-31 loss to the Panthers on Sunday to eclipse Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single-season. I’m a little surprised that with Carolina’s defenders playing so far back, that Brees didn’t just zing one over the middle for 10 or 12 yards and let one of his receivers pick up the rest of the yardage. But I admire Brees for slinging it down field in an attempt to try and win the game. (I think that’s what he was doing?)

– In a nightmare situation for the Steelers in their 31-0 win over the hapless Cleveland Browns on Sunday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was carted off the field after suffering a concussion late in the second quarter. Big Ben’s head slammed hard against the turf after he was crushed by two Brown defenders and it took the trainers nearly 15 minutes to attend to him. It’s unclear at this point the status of his health, although the Steelers do have a bye week before they host a playoff game.

– I didn’t see much of the Ravens’ 27-7 win over the Jaguars, but I do know that Baltimore is one scary looking playoff team. Their defense will allow them to compete with anyone and Joe Flacco might be playing better than any rookie in the league – including Matt Ryan.

– Peyton Manning went 7 for 7 for 95 yards and a touchdown in his final tune up before the playoffs. Whoever wins the AFC West between the Chargers and Broncos Sunday night should savor the moment because it’s going to be short-lived considering they’ll have to play Indy next weekend.

– I can’t believe how far the Bears’ defense has fallen since Chicago’s appearance in the Super Bowl two years ago. I mean, the Texans did whatever they wanted to the Bears and Chicago’s secondary made Matt Schaub look like Joe Theismann.

– According to the St. Petersburg Times, Buccaneers’ running back Cadillac Williams appears to have suffered a torn left patellar tendon in Tampa’s 31-24 loss to the Raiders. I don’t want to speculate before more information is released, but it’s a shame that such a promising career might be cut short.

The Lions’ problems start with Ford Sr.

William Clay Ford Sr.Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

If that’s the case, that William Clay Ford Sr., proud owner of the Detroit Lions, is in fact, insane.

I don’t mean to sound disrespectful by calling Ford insane, but what would you call it? What would you call a man who sits up in his owner’s box year after year and continues to march a bona fide loser onto the field only to rinse, wash and repeat once the season is over with?

The Lions are 0-15 and on their way to 0-16. It would be the first time in NFL history that a team finished 0-16, but its owner is convinced that standing pat is the way to fix things.

Following the Lions’ most recent loss (a 42-7 defeat to the Saints), Ford said that he would like to leave interim general manager Martin Mayhew and chief operating officer Tom Lewand in place for next season. That’s right, the same clowns that helped former GM Matt Millen build this hapless roster on their way back for another tour of duty.

Ford’s problem isn’t blindness – he can see that his team is a garbage heap. No, his problem is loyalty. He believes that when he or his organization hires a man, you stick with him until he finishes the job (no matter how inept he may be at doing said job). It’s a novel idea when you think about, but unfortunately he’s created a situation with no hope.

Lion fans deserve better. They’ve suffered long enough. They deserve change and a new direction. They deserve an owner who isn’t going to stand for losing anymore and who is willing to come in and blow the whole thing up. I don’t know who that man is, but it’s not William Clay Ford Sr.

The Detroit Lions will go 0-16 this season. And unless they level the entire franchise in the offseason, they might become the first team in NFL history to go 0-32.

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