Interviewing with an edge
A handful of names the Lions intend to interview for their head coaching vacancy already have leaked out. Jerry Gray, Josh McDaniels, Jim Schwartz, Steve Spagnuolo, Jason Garrett, Leslie Frazier.
The Lions will do their diligence and interview a dozen or so candidates in the whittling-down process, but I wonder how many of those guys are really legitimate options to be the next head coach? Three? Five?
General manager Martin Mayhew spoke Tuesday of watching what he says with the media so as not to give opponents any sort of competitive edge.
I read the clips for every NFL team 365 days a year, he said. I read what's going on, and I'm doing that looking for a competitive edge. And what I don't want to do is be the person who gives somebody else a competitive edge on us.
Even in my role as a reporter I can admit that's good policy (though Mayhew should know I can be trusted with off-the-record information). It also got me thinking about this whole process.
The Lions might truly be interested in McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator, or Garrett, OC in Dallas. Or Mayhew might be interviewing them because he can. They're bright assistants, yes, and likely will make fine head coaches one day. I just don't know how they mesh with Mayhew's philosophy on building a team.
Admittedly, Mayhew didn't go into great detail about that Tuesday, but the first thing he said on that topic was we need to be a physical football team. He spoke of getting bigger defensively and adding smart toughguys. McDaniels and Garrett, of course, are two offensive coaches with reputations in the passing game.
Maybe they'll wow Mayhew with their interviews and maybe their bottom line is toughness, too. But it's also possible Mayhew, in his thirst for an edge, wants to compile a dossier on each coach that can help him on the field or in the draft or in free agency one day. Heck, McDaniels, an Ohio native, certainly could be the head coach in Cleveland next year, and guess who comes to Ford Field? Same with Schwartz, a prickly defensive coach who, from a distance, appears to fit Mayhew's philosophy. Or Frazier, who is an absolutely legitimate candidate but also NFC North rival Minnesota's defensive coordinator.
Admittedly, I'm reading into things here. But if the new general manager is that ferocious a competitor, he might as make the most of this opportunity.