10-11-2012, 11:52 AM
It seems like only last season that the braintrust behind the Detroit Lions -- general manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz -- were lionized (sorry) for the miraculous team turnaround they engineered. Just three years after the nadir of the Matt Millen era had the team going 0-16 in 2008. the new-look Lions went 10-6 in 2011, and lost a playoff shootout to the New Orleans Saints. It was the Lions' first postseason appearance since 1999, and most people thought the Lions were well on their way to more success. So far this year, it hasn't gone that way. The Lions stand at 1-3 this season, and the boo-birds are coming back out. Thing is, it's not the fans wearing bags over their heads and wearing whatever version of the "Fire Millen!" t-shirt that would be most appropriate. At least one NFL executive recently took the Lions to task for their personnel decisions -- especially on a defense line that was once thought to be one of the NFL's best, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, supposedly the star of that unit. From Pro Football Weekly : "They don't have enough good players, and the players they think are good are not that good. Suh belongs on the All-Hype team. [DE Cliff] Avril is not that good — put on any game and you can watch him get blocked time and time again. Corey Williams is solid, but nothing that wows you or makes you wonder how you are going to block him. The other guy [DE Kyle Vanden Bosch] is a try-hard guy getting up in years that does not really threaten you. For as much as people talk about that D-line and all its depth, where are all the players? "I have listened to the media hype about Suh since he got in the league — what has he done? Even the year he had all those garbage sacks, the guy took a million plays off and got pushed around in the run game. I have never thought he was a very good pro player. I liked him coming out and thought he had a chance. But I also never thought he was going to be the second coming that he was labeled. I am not sure who bestowed that on him, but it is kind of a joke." "That fires me up," Lions center Dominic Raiola said in response . "If they had any (guts), they would say who they were. That's kind of like a coward statement to me. We just have to get back to what we did last year. Talent-wise, it's all the same. To take a shot at the Lions' organization like that, that ain't right." It was Suh, the primary target of that anonymous ire, who responded most succinctly.