Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Millen Had To Go, But What Now?

After all these years, and all those losses, there are no profound thoughts that come to mind about Matt Millen being dismissed as Lions team president other than, "It’s about time."
In his position, Millen was a like a library book that had been checked out in 2001 - and never returned.
He fired three coaches. He lost an average of 12 games per season. His drafts were utter farces, which will hamstring the next general manager mightily.
But there are couple questions that need to addressed as the Lions move forward.
1. Rod Marinelli should go, too, but after the season. There is no tangible evidence he is a good NFL head coach. Only the opposite. The problem with dismissing Marinelli is his staff is so bad, there is no obvious interim replacement for him as head coach, like there has been in the past with Gary Moeller and Dick Jauron, who were actually better coaches than those replaced - in my opinion. What are the Lions going to do, make Jim Colletto head coach? Even they’re not that clueless.
2. The sooner the Lions make a change at quarterback, the better. Every game with Jon Kitna as starter is a waste. They need to find out what Dan Orlovsky can do, before moving to the brighter hope for the future, Drew Stanton.
3. The Lions need to study this and come up with a sound organizational structure. In the past, owner William Ford Clay has waited forever to make moves dismissing people, but often acted in a knee-jerk manner when hiring them. Ford has either given one person too much authority (Millen, Bobby Ross) in the past, or had it shared and unclear who was in charge (the Chuck Schmidt-Wayne Fontes-seven vice presidents era). The Lions desperately need to strike a proper balance.

Random Thoughts

- Look, I’d bring Jim Leyland back as manager of the Tigers. I’d give him a contract extension through 2010. But the way the Tigers have played lately, particularly during Tuesday night’s loss to Kansas City, is not helping his cause. To fall to last place, given the expectations this season, is amazing. Losing that much ground to the Royals in that short a period of time is even more so. The Tigers played with no competitive spirit whatsoever Tuesday. Seems like Leyland stopped being heard long ago. It’s different with a new season, but he’ll be drowned out quickly next season if he doesn’t get a contract extension.

- The Red Wings and Pistons remain the great hopes in this town, eh?

- Two most overrated schemes in the history of football as far as I’m concerned: The West Coast Offense and the Tampa 2 Defense. They sure didn’t do right by the Lions.


Blogger Fred Brill said...

But here is the thing - the Lions now will be treated like it's a new season - starting a week from Sunday. If somehow that Honolulu blue and silver mob of players and coaches we call Lions can play out the remaining games with a winning record "post-Millen" - then you will see the Marinelli / Kitna duo again next year.

This town forgives.

As for Jim the Skip Leyland? I don't want to lose either him or Dombrowski during the off season.

But ...

Somebody will have to go. You can't finish the year in the basement (we're finishing our last four against Tampa - we are finishing in the basement - face it) after being hyped as the most powerful offense ever to step on an MLB field - poised to get world series rings before the comencement of the pre-season - and finish in the basement - and still not fire one if not both Leyland and Dombrowski. It's business. And it's accountability.

Mr. Illitch has to. He has no other option.

"No, it is not okay to finish in the basement when you dole out that much of my money and tell me to get my ring finger sized!", will say Mr. Illitch. And then he will hug them and thank them sicerely for all the wonderful work they did do for the Detroit Tigers during thier time her.

And it will completely stink when it happens.

1:04 PM 
Anonymous Hollis Keys said...

Book, you are right about this coaching staff, they have less talent than the players-but with that said Marinelli must be given an ultimatum if he wants to finish out the year to play EVERY draft pick of the last three years if they are still on the team so that a righteous intelligent determination of the quality of players on this team can be made-and if he cannot do that then give him and his rock the same memo that Mr. Millen got. As for me I BELIEVE IN NOW!
Hollis Keys In Detroit

1:23 PM 
Blogger D_Fenner said...

Hooray! Ok, now that I got that out of the way ...

I couldn't agree more about the West Coast Offense and Tampa Two Defense. In both cases, the Lions jumped on the bandwaggon WAY too late. The biggest reason those systems were successful was because they were new and unfamiliar to other teams. By the time the Lions were running the schemes, it seemed like half the teams they were facing were running the same system.

Stick with the basics this time. Build the offensive and defensive lines. And find the right Quarterback. That's always been a winning formula.

- Dan

1:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The tough part with the Tigers is assigning accountability. Like Leyland and Dombrowski, most of their players and coaches have successful track records in their current position. But that track record for success doesn't include this season.

7:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Hollis Keys,
Marinelli doesn't seem to be any better than Millen evaluating talent. I don't believe he is the answer in anyway, shape or form.

7:53 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Great point. They were behind the curve both times. They are never on the cutting edge with anything schematically.

7:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, you thought Tuesdays game stunk, they topped themselves tonight.I can't think of enough negative words to describe this season. Disappointment is an understatement. I think we should keep Leyland and Dombroski but we need to replace the coaching staff ASAP. Another must is addressing the pitching. If they don't go after pitching in the off season, we're doomed. Pitching was an issue last year and it wasn't addressed and here we are. Verlander and Galaraga (?) are the only ones we can count on as starters. Bonderman is a big question mark. He may go through what Sheffield did with the scar tissue problem. The bullpen needs a complete overhaul. Most of all we need a dominant closer. Someone with a tough mind set, not a headcase like Rodney. Then we still have to worry about Guillen, if he needs surgery on his back, he'll miss all of next season. There are more holes to fill in this team than a slice of swiss cheese. It will be an interesting off season to say the least.

12:56 AM 
Blogger Larry said...

I'm glad you mentioned the Tigers, Pat. The Lions' debacle has helped to obscure the utter shame of their performance in the last days of the season. They are certainly leaving us with very little to be hopeful about. But at least Brandon Inge and his many fans are happy that he has been installed at third base. For them, all is right in the baseball universe.

6:51 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...


I feel the same way about the Tigers. I would rather keep Leyland and Dombrowski, since both have very good track records, but avoiding accountability would also be a bad thing. Look at the Lions, if you want to see what happens when you don't hold your employees accountable for their actions. Ford let every president/GM he has ever hired to remain comfortable in their job regardless of the outcome of their work. Of course they are just going to go to work and not worry too hard about making the team better, because in the end it doesn't really matter to their well being. Illich has not done that in his tenure, although he may have kept Randy Smith too long. He never let him get comfortable with losing though, and you could tell that pressure was always there. So I do wonder how he will respond this offseason. I hope he keeps both manager and general manager, but we will see.


12:15 PM 
Blogger Max Perilstein said...


Just curious- your thoughts on Brandon Inge. The guy may bat below .200, at best he'll be .209 or so.
No one even brings this up... how can anyone be happy with this performance? He has been as bad as all of the other disappointments this year.
Plus it looks like he has a guaranteed job for next year, which is crazy.
All in all, I know this team has a ton of holes but it amazes me folks don't believe this is one of them.

3:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I am actually writing this after they beat the Rays on Thursday, but I couldn't agree with more about the last two games of the Royals series. Talk about just playing out the string. It kind of summed up a disappointing season during the Tigers showed little spark.

6:45 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That's very true. The Tigers haven't been on "outrage" radar screen because of the Lions. Another thing: They have been so bad, it's like people stopped paying attention awhile ago.

6:47 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Well, ESPN seems to be saying Leyland is safe for 2009. Seems Mr. Dombrowski has sqelched any rumors.

But Mr. Dombrowski is as vulnerable as Mr. Leyland.

But for some reason, I don't think this is the last word on the subject.

I agree whole heartedly Marty - this will be a most eventful offseason - more so than last November even.

6:59 PM 

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