Blogs > Lions Lowdown

One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Eugene Monroe visits Lions

The Lions continued doing their draft diligence Friday, hosting Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe for a physical and visit.

Monroe is the last of the top draft prospects to visit Detroit, following Baylor left tackle Jason Smith, Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry and Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford. Because of the Final Four and a lack of available hotel rooms in the area, Monroe's visit lasted only the day.

Most league observers expect the Lions to draft Stafford with the No. 1 pick, but Monroe could be a candidate elsewhere if the Lions are able to trade down. He's also scheduled to visit or already has met with other teams at the top of the draft including the Rams, Seahawks and Bengals. also reported Thursday that Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith is scheduled to visit the Lions, who are seeking an upgrade for a line that allowed a league-high 169 sacks the last three seasons.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Anonymous Tom Tracy said...

Martin Mayhew has always had a plan. When he assumed the interim GM post of the NFL's worst run franchise in the last 50 years, like all good lawyers taking on a hard case, he sketched out a strategy.

It wouldn't be easy. The owner was a drunk with a long history of personal problems and a penchant for surrounding himself with pals and yes-men.

The team was a mess. A series of personnel blunders by his predecessor, Matt Millen, had left the roster as devastated as the Detroit urban landscape. There were a handful of legitimate NFL players on the roster, but not many. Much of the starting lineup would have had trouble landing a reserve spot on the better teams in the league.

The coach was a cross between Gomer Pyle, USMC and John Wayne, who spoke in platitudes but lacked even a rudimentary knowledge of the basics required to lead an NFL team into battle.

Worst of all, the team was in the midst of what would turn out to be the worst season in the history of the NFL. No other team had, or probably would ever again, go 0 and 16 in a league based on a salary cap meant to equalize talent and create team parity from year to year.

This was the breech Mayhew stepped into when he agreed to accept the interim GM job of the Detroit Lions early last season. His instructions were to rebuild a completely devastated franchise. He must have felt a lot like Mayor Ray Nagin looking over the city of New Orleans after Katrina had blown through. Where do you start?

In the NFL it’s mainly about good organization and talent. If you have the first, you stand a good chance of being able to acquire the latter. The Matt Millen years were stark evidence of what happens without a good organization.

Mayhew immediately tightened up discipline in the organization, putting in effect a gag order on front office personnel. Leaks to favored beat writers and columnists were plugged up.

Next would come the housecleaning. Players who expressed disagreement or reluctance to buy into the new regime’s way of doing things or who simply didn’t fit in, were released or traded. Gone were Kitna, Bodden, McDonald, Furrey, Redding and others.

While this was going on, Mayhew drew up a strategy for rebuilding the team’s talent, focusing mainly on the draft.

Roy Williams, a talented but inconsistent wide receiver, was shipped to the Dallas Cowboys for a King’s ransom - a first, a third and a fifth round pick in the 2009 draft. The Lions would end up with 5 of the first 82 picks in this year’s draft thanks to Mayhew’s holdup of the Cowboys.

He also signed Daunte Culpepper midway through the 2008 season, a quarterback many considered washed-up. In 2005 Culpepper had suffered a devastating knee injury. After the season he was cut loose by the Minnesota Vikings, ending up in Miami and Oakland in 2006 and 2007, posting undistinguished stats and struggling with the after-effects of his knee injury.

But Mayhew knew that prior to his knee injury Culpepper had been an All-Pro quarterback and considered one of the best in the game from 2002 through 2004, a year in which he threw for more than 4,700 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Culpepper had Randy Moss to throw to during his glory years. The Lions of course had a young receiver equally gifted, Calvin Johnson, who could race like the wind and elevate like a helicopter to snatch passes over the heads of outmatched defensive backs.

Out of shape and showing the rust of not having played football in over a year, Culpepper looked like anything but a franchise quarterback in the few games he played for the Lions at the end of the 2008 season.

Since then, NFL commentators and wise guys have heaped scorn on Culpepper and the Lions remaining quarterbacks, Drew Stanton and Drew Henson. At the most charitable, they have opined that Culpepper is at best a stopgap until the Lions can find their franchise quarterback of the future, most likely in this year’s draft.

It was no coincidence then, that after hiring Head Coach Jim Schwartz, a man whom Bill Belichek called the most intelligent coach he has ever worked with, Mayhew brought in Scott Linehan to run the offense.

Linehan had been the offensive coordinator during Culpepper’s best seasons in Minnesota.

Both Mayhew and Schwartz have been circumspect about exactly whom they intend to target in the draft, leading most draft forecasters to pencil in Matthew Stafford as the Lions’ selection with the first pick.

But both Mayhew and Schwartz have said they intend to build a team that can run the ball and stop the run.

Culpepper was once better than a guy the wags are all calling a franchise quarterback today, Jay Cutler. Statistically, for a few years he was the equal of Tom Brady, Kurt Warner or Peyton Manning. And at 32 he’s not old at all by quarterback standards.

If the Lions surprise the draftniks and pass on Stafford they could choose Aaron Curry with their number one pick, then an O-lineman at 20 and three more defensive players in the next two rounds. That would go quite a ways toward digging the team out of the hole they’re now in.

Or they could draft an O-lineman with their first pick and select four more defensive players in the first three rounds.

Tom Kowalski’s hunch was right. The Lions will go for an Offensive Tackle with the first pick in the draft instead of Stafford.

They’ve already got their franchise quarterback.

9:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^excellent post .. all the way up until the end when you said that peppy is our franchise QB. are you high? peppy has a few years, at best, left in him and then it'll be time for stafford to take over full time.

i will be shocked if stafford isn't the first pick.

animal jr
best ot available at the top of the 2nd

in that order, for me.

12:24 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone understands that QB will probably be the top pick no matter how much we want to fight it. Everybody thinks it will be Stafford. Sanchez keeps moving up draft boards and could end up being the top pick. Sanchez looks to fit the "Face of The Franchise" rather than Stafford. Its just a hunch and something to look for.

I'd rather have the lineman, but QB is the likely road the Lions will take at #1.

12:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would rather have stafford since he has the most experience in a pro style offense and has faced tougher competition than sanchez. sanchez might be prettier but i think stafford will have the better career provided we get him the protection and the help he needs in this draft and the next.

1:36 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard the arguments (mostly on mlive forums) against drafting Stafford #1. Many make the argument that it's Joey Harrington all over again and he'll be sacked out of the league.
Now that should always be a concern with rookie signal callers, but according to stats, the Lions allowed only allowed 11 sacks that year, least in the LEAGUE!. The sack total really climbed when they hired Martz in 06( 63), almost just as many as 04 and 05 combined(37, 31)
So, if people are worried about Stafford incarnating into JH, mind them to look at the cold hard stats.
Not saying the o-line was way better before or couldn't be improved, or that JH wasn't a bust...

4:25 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home