When it comes to Detroit Lion football, you won’t find a more committed pessimist than me. Forty five years of abuse, managerial misdirection, lies, obfuscations, and outright incompetence tends to buttress the walls of perception when it comes to team trauma.
No one has been more critical than I have when it comes to the old guard of General Manager Martin Mayhew and Team President Tom Lewand. That said, I was going to wait until mid season to write this apology on behalf of Mayhew waiting for a turnaround predicated on the on field play of the team, but the preseason has prompted me to push up my time table. So I humbly offer this apology to General Manager Mayhew who has done a good job.
I have no idea if the Lions are going to the Super Bowl any time soon, but a cornerstone has obviously been put in place.
Mayhew of course, gets all the credit. His shrewd drafting and free agent signings have been stellar for the most part.
I would give Mayhew an A- for his efforts. He would have gotten an A+ had it not been for a few minor mistakes. Keeping with the tenor of the apology, I won’t highlight those mistakes now. Nobody is perfect.
Quite frankly, the development of some young players has really stunned me. For one, Matt Stafford, who threw 9 interceptions in last year’s preseason play has completely reversed himself and now looks like All-Pro material. Numerous others who need not be mentioned have shown toughness, agility, and a nose for the ball; in other words, play makers all!
The recent addition of Alphonse Smith was a steal regardless of what undisclosed draft choice Mayhew swapped to get him. Moving up four slots to get Jahvid Best in the NFL Draft also turns out to be a wise move, even though he might have fallen into the second round and it cost the team multiple draft picks. Best has shown that he is a franchise running back in his short preseason career and the only question mark I have is can the man take the punishment of the NFL on a full time basis. Will he be able to handle over 300 carries per season? Time will answer all.
I think the only area the Lions backtracked was the linebacking corps which lacks depth. And there is always the Jeff Backus bashing this time of year regardless of his support from Schwartz.
I am big enough to admit I was wrong about Mayhew. The man deserves credit for his role in putting together a decent team. I therefore humbly apologize for my negative critique in the past.
The biggest winner in all of this is, of course, Lewand. Lewand was/is a company ‘yes man' but he did have the good sense to recommend Mayhew. And Mayhew’s success will obviously keep Lewand at the top despite the fact the man knows absolutely nothing about football. Or until some other shrewd owner decides to pluck Mayhew and make him numero uno elsewhere.
But until that happens, Mayhew has made me a true believer!