The Detroit Lions clearly needed to make changes following another lackluster offensive performance in their loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Fans and media had been calling for the firing of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi for weeks, but the changes went deeper once it finally happened with offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn and assistant offensive line coach Terry Heffernan also being let go.
that amounts to a big shakeup mid-season but it might be just the beginning. According to what NFL.com’s Albert Breer has been been hearing, bigger changes could be afoot.
The suggestion of larger scale changes starts with the head coach but could also go much higher. Coaching is certainly to blame considering the level of achievement trails the perceived level of talent general manager Martin Mayhew has assembled.
That being said, Mayhew isn’t without mis-steps in the process, particularly concerning his draft record. And the end goal isn’t just collecting talent; that talent has to fit together and perform. Coaching plays a part, but Mayhew has been in charge for two coaching searches and success has not been achieved consistently enough.
Often overlooked in talk about a total housecleaning is team president Tom Lewand. The supposed cap genius guided the Lions through years of kicking the salary cap can down the road, ultimately leading to the situation that resulted in Ndamukong Suh leaving as a free agent.
The Suh situation marked the second time the Lions front office misjudged the market. They overestimated where the wide receiver market was headed in giving Calvin Johnson a monster extension and underestimated the market in negotiating with Suh. Had the Lions ponied up the money they reportedly offered Suh just before free agency started a year earlier, Suh is probably still a Lion.
Yes, the Lions were somewhat hamstrung by having so many high draft picks under the old collective bargaining agreement but instead of biting the bullet, the Lions chased after fool’s gold, pushing their cap commitments for another day until they ran out of days.
Fortunately, the salary cap outlook is much better going forward when a significant amount of dead money comes off the books after this season. But can the money man who helped create the mess be trusted to avoid those mistakes going forward?
Lewand was proud to show off the shiny new tunnel club at Ford Field prior to the season but those field level seats added in front of the lower level end zone seats on the tunnel side are mostly empty. Not exactly a feather in the cap for the man in charge of the business side of the team.
The trip to play in London has been something of a professional widowmaker, with former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin the latest to be relieved of his duties after the London game. Maybe more changes are coming next week but the scale of the changes that need to be made makes more sense to take place after the season.
For now, all we can do is wait and hope that big changes really are coming, whenever that might be.