By: Eric Thomas
Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew are coming back for a 2013 season, and unfortunately they are bringing back many of the philosophies that netted them four wins this year. Mayhew met with an intimate audience of writers yesterday and managed to say one encouraging thing surrounded by a thick thatch of things that don’t bode well for the future of the Lions.
I’m apathetic about Schwartz’s return to the Lions. This is a position that doesn’t fit in the natural “for or against” sports blog template, but it is the truth. I’m a Lions fan first and this season left me raw. Longtime Lions fans should be used to this sort of thing, but this year hurt. Things were supposed to be different with Schwartz and Mayhew, and when they bumbled their way to a 4-12 season, they revealed themselves to be just more of the same. If the Fords fired Schwartz I wouldn’t have cared. They kept him and I don’t care.
Mayhew admitted he “overestimated” the talent on this year’s team, and his biggest mistake was having no plan B once Jahvid Best was unable to play. This is encouraging because it proves Mayhew recognizes the problem. The Lions are buttoned up around the media, so when the team is failing fans have no idea if they see the same things. When Schwartz explains a loss as “we lost,” it leaves fans in the dark. We don’t know if they understand the problem. This is an indication that Mayhew sees the hole left by Jahvid Best.
Mayhew’s humility is encouraging and it shows that he is far different than his former boss. Matt Millen would have never admitted he did something wrong.
I draw no optimism from the rest of Mayhew’s talk with reporters. He said that he will not change draft strategy in 2013, sticking with the “best player available” policy. I pray, but I hold no hope, that Mayhew is head faking there. When I read this quote, I realized that the Lions will be a losing franchise for the foreseeable future. Every other team in the NFL gets help in areas of need; last year’s weaknesses become next year’s strengths because other teams in the NFL fix their problems. Opposing teams have to come up with a new game plan, because every team changes in the offseason. Not the Lions. Is the defensive secondary bad? Oh well. You have two choices with the Lions: The unit will stay the same, or likely get worse. Problems stay problems. Five game losing streaks will become six, and so on and so forth. Stay the course, even if it’s a nosedive.
Let’s not forget that the “best player available” strategy was employed by Millen, too. It’s not like Mayhew’s strategy has produced anything in the late rounds either. The talent cupboard was bare this season and for Mayhew to offer anything less than a full throated apology for the past drafts should be an ominous omen for Lions fans.
He also isn’t ruling out bringing back Titus Young for the 2013 season. Mayhew hopes that the troubled WR will overcome his troubles and blah blah blah. It’s not fun when you cross your fingers hoping that the GM of your favorite team since childhood is bald faced lying to the media. I would like to remind Lions fans that Mayhew was hoping that Titus Young would grow up and act professional when they drafted him. They were hoping for the same thing after he threw a ball at an official during last year’s prime time Saints game. They were hoping for the same thing when he got into a fight with Louis Delmas in the spring and when he was a general malcontent during this season. What did all that hoping get us? So now Mayhew wants to keep with the hoping strategy? Why? Because it has yielded any at all results?
The pattern remains with the Titus Young question. Problems stay problems because no one seems willing to fix them. Stefan Logan stinks? No matter, run with it. Understand it’s going to stay this way. The Lions keep marching to the beat of their drum, regardless of results. They inherited a 0-16 team and they are going to, in my opinion, hold that over all of us like a death sentence. They fail to take responsibility for their mistakes and they want a ticker tape parade for every success no matter how minor.
I don’t care if Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew come back. I am resigned to the idea that I root for a losing football franchise and there is no evidence that is going to change. They are back this season and I don’t care because it doesn’t matter.