Surprisingly, Lions GM Martin Mayhew stood pat on the NFL’s trade deadline day, yesterday. Mayhew has clearly established, during his brief time as the team’s chief personnel executive, that he is not afraid to tinker with the team’s roster (it has been his modus operandi, out of desperation) and has achieved a modicum of success in that process.
I am more than a little surprised, given the Lions 1-5 start and poor showing at Curly Lambeau’s Field on Sunday, that Mayhew wasn’t able to parcel off players like Anthony Henry, DeWayne White, Julian Peterson, and Grady Jackson into at least marginal hauls of draft picks, younger players, etc.
There were numerous rumors of their purported interest in Chiefs DT Glenn Dorsey, aside from that, it appears that the league looked at the Lions roster, which is so bereft of talent on defense, and said a collective, “Meh?” (with shrugging shoulders)
Jim Schwartz did indicate that changes were one the way, even if the front office was unable to accomplish a continued rebuild of it’s roster, one piece at a time, at yesterday’s deadline.
Here are some thoughts by Schwartz:
“We haven’t been afraid to make moves with those guys. It’s business, it’s nothing personal,” Schwartz said. “We’ve got a lot of hard-working guys on this team and there’s a lot of character on this football team, but the bottom line in this business is performance, and we have to be very objective when it comes to performance.
“As a coaching staff and as an organization, we can’t be afraid to make that call based on being objective. We can’t let our heart strings control those decisions.”
These statements were made in regards to shifting Anthony Henry to safety and the virtual turnstile of players on and off the field due to injury and poor play, which has been particularly noticeable in the secondary. Schwartz further states:
“There are certain things that we’ve continued to do in season,” Schwartz said. “We’ve worked the bottom of the roster, we’ve claimed people off of waivers, we’ve made trades and we’ve done things like that. There’s not a whole lot more that you can do, but we’re certainly open to working different personnel and making sure that the people are accountable for their jobs.”
Schwartz said acquiring and developing talent is the top priority for all NFL teams, whether they’re 1-5 or undefeated.
“I think if you ask 32 teams what their need was, they’d say talent. This is a player-driven league, that’s always been obvious,” Schwartz said. “I think what the injuries have done from our standpoint is not so much uncover the need for talent, as much as depth is an issue also. That’s also come to the forefront.”
The Lions appear to be back on the kind of downward trajectory that we have seen them approach routinely as their pathetic seasons wend forward towards oblivion. Sunday’s performance, was a horror show that, if the Packers hadn’t been so merciful, could have easily seen the Lions end up looking worse than the Titans did in their blow out loss to New England.
Does anyone want to take any bets whether the same two teams, Titans and Lions, had actually met last Sunday, who would have actually won? I think not.
In that case, Mayhew and company acted in noticeable negligence by not continuing to churn their roster and jettison any unnecessary flotsam that obstructs their path towards their ultimate goal—NFL viability. Remember, playoffs are some far-off vista to the Lions organization. Approaching .500 would be a major and necessary step back. Right now, that thought, seems to reside in speculative fantasy for the foreseeable future.