Mayhew: Don't judge me by Millen
Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand just got done meeting with the media for the first time in their new capacities as general manager and team president, and they gave us a lot to sift through. I'll have updates throughout the day, but here's my initial thoughts:
Mayhew is a smart man and may turn out to be a fine GM, and he's right that there's nothing he can do at this point to turn public sentiment in his favor. He was around for all eight seasons of the failed Matt Millen regime and is widely if unfairly viewed as extension of Millen.
I don't think he's a repackaged version of the ex-executive by any means he's already proved to be a tireless worker and deft dealer but that's not why I thought the organization should have cleaned house and conducted a thorough front-office search. Simply, I think that's what was needed to restore credibility after this ugly, 31-97 slide.
Regardless, Mayhew has total control of football operations Martin's making the picks, Lewand said. Martin's role is talent evaluation, and he will be judged over time on that alone.
In terms of specifics, Mayhew offered precious few Tuesday as reporters grilled him and Lewand for more than 40 minutes. He said he believes in building through the draft, won't hand out $30-million checks on the first day of free agency and is the right man for the job in part because he's been around to see and learn from Millen's mistakes.
Don't judge me by my friends, he said.
Lions owner William Clay Ford informed both Mayhew and Lewand a week ago on the Monday after the New Orleans game that they would fill their current roles next year. The trio had been in contact regularly since Millen's firing, and a few weeks ago Mayhew said he submitted a detailed plan for how to rebuild the franchise a few weeks ago.
The highlight of that, and the biggest failing of this decade so far, is to implement a single-minded vision shared by him, his scouts, his next coach and on down. He said he wants physical football players and faster football players, borrowing an old Joe Gibbs line that he wants smart toughguys.
The first step in that is hiring the right football coach. Neither Mayhew nor Lewand offered much in the way of a timetable for that, but interviews are being set up right now and should begin this week. Among those who could get first crack at impressing Mayhew and who would seem to fit what he wants are Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.