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Overheard: Analysis From Lions Comment Following Jim Schwartz’s Firing [BLOG]

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Mayhew: “It’s bigger than Xs and Os. It’s bigger than scheme, it’s bigger than that. This guy has to be a leader and has to be able to lead our team.”

This is interesting, when taken alongside Reggie Bush’s media appeal for a player meeting during the season. There was a curious lack of accountability within the Lions’ rank during Jim Schwartz’s tenure. No act was too unconscionable for benching. No penalty was too egregious. Mayhew, in his comments, might be suggesting that there was a lack of leadership under the now former Lions head coach.

Lewand: “I think we can be thorough, I think we can be expedient and I think we can be efficient. There’s no more pressure than finding the right person who can help us reach our goals in 2014. The goal isn’t to hire the biggest name or the most popular candidate and win the next press conference, it’s to win football games in 2014 and win a championship.”

Lions fans always get excited about a “in now” comment in times such as these, but Mayhew and Lewand have reason to believe. They’ve taken full responsibility for the future, and are talking about a winning football team in 2014. Should Lions fans take any heart in this? No, this is wallpaper talk when an NFL team switches coaches. It’s just as useless as when the new coach eventually gives his introductory press conference and tells people that the goal is to ‘win now.’

Mayhew: (on the reports of tension between him and Schwartz) “There’s a lot of speculation about a lot of things nowadays. It surprises me the things that people can speculate on – not my job in particular, but from when I read that we’re not speaking to our head coaches, I’m just dumbfounded by that, that we’re not on speaking terms. It’s totally wrong, it’s totally off base and there tends to be speculation about things where now people are just saying things that are just false, and that becomes news and it’s very disappointing.”

What’s Martin Mayhew supposed to say? That he hates his guts? The reports of Mayhew and Schwartz’s tension were too widespread to be made up. The Lions General Manager admitted some amount of tension to reporters in the preseason, “I think there’s a natural tension between a coaching staff and personnel staff that exists.” While Mayhew is being magnanimous after firing the former Lions head coach, it’s hard to believe that the widespread reports of acrimony between the two men were totally false.

Stafford: (when asked if he would like to be consulted about the Lions’ next head coach) “Yeah, sure—but I’m not sure that will happen. It’s not something that I’m concerning myself with at this point.”

Of course the headline in another outlet read: “Matthew Stafford would like to help decide who Detroit Lions hire as next head coach.” Talk about baseless. How should Stafford answer that? ‘Naw, I don’t give a rip.’ He’s had a few out-of-character slips in with the media in the past week, including the comment about the quarterback coach that was taken wildly out of context, but this is just a trap question, and a headline that bends the context of the quote. Stafford’s stomach is the weakest in the locker room, because now that Jim Schwartz has exited the hot seat—the flames are now underneath Stafford’s.

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