Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Monday, November 28, 2005

Lions presser post-mortem

Well, I was a bit disappointed by that press conference, if only because I was hoping (and expecting) some antagonism between Matt Millen and the media. Remember how the press attacked Mike Ilitch and Randy Smith when Phil Garner was hired as the Tigers' manager? Now that was a press conference. Of course, the late Joe Falls was on hand that day to demand some answers. Maybe that's what was missed in Allen Park today. Either that, or Millen's just too big, too scary a guy to take on.

You never know; Millen could pounce from behind that podium and attack someone. He still has that ruthless linebacker look in his eyes. At least when he's not sheepishly defending his 20-55 record as Lions president and general manager.

Hoo boy. 20-55? Wow, that doesn't look good at all - especially when you type it out like that. That had to have been the pink elephant in the room. And as far as I could tell while watching the press conference, the Detroit News' Bob Wojnowski was the first (and maybe only) one to point it out, asking Millen what mistakes he thought he'd made during his five years in Detroit.

But the press conference made it official: Steve Mariucci is out as Lions coach. Dick Jauron is the interim replacement. And Greg Olson will call the plays as offensive coordinator. In his brief remarks to the press, Jauron practically read from the sports cliche handbook, flatly stating that the Lions "had five more games, and would play them one at a time." However, I was intrigued by his comments that the defense performed poorly on Thursday because players were "freelancing," rather than working within the system.

Millen denied that any "emergency meeting" was called after the Thanksgiving Day massacre vs. Atlanta, saying that the decision was made this morning. Why did he wait?

"I was angry after that game," he said. "It was disturbing to watch. I did not want to make that decision based on anger."

After lamenting how difficult the decision was, based on Mariucci's quality as a person, Millen made it quite clear why a coaching change was made. He believes the roster is "capable of making a playoff run." He twice stated that the staff has "not developed our younger players, and that’s bothersome."

"The talent is there," he said. "And it hasn't played up to that level."

When asked whether a new coach should tailor his system toward the available players, or make the roster play his system, Millen said, "I think every coach has to adapt to what you have, and what you get."

There you go. In his eyes, Millen did his job. He brought in good players. But Mariucci didn't do his job. He didn't win games.

Of course, if the Lions have to hold another one of these press conferences in the near future, there won't be much question as to whether or not Millen did his job well.

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  • At November 28, 2005 8:51 PM, Blogger Greg Eno said…


    Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to hear the press conference, except for some brief sound bites.

    Regardless, the deed is done and it will be very interesting to see how the Lions respond in the next five weeks.

    Dick Jauron, I don't think, will be the next permanent (sort of) head coach of the Lions.

    Ya gotta pick an offensive guy!

  • At November 28, 2005 10:53 PM, Anonymous Evan said…

    I'm curious who the long-term replacement will be as well. I listened to Joey on WJR today, and he said something that struck me as interesting: All the players respect Dick Jauron and listen when he speaks.

    Now, he might not be the guy. But whoever they get has to have more gravitas than Mooch. Whoever ends up at the helm has to have a Cowher-esque presence. It could be a more subtle, less in-your-face approach or the true-to-style screaming madman. But either way, Mooch let his whole team get away from him. More than anything, that seems to be the problem. These guys need to understand that life in the NFL is more than collecting a fat paycheck and looking pretty on TV.

    I'm excited for what Olson/Harrington/Jones can do. Not WILL do. But can/could/might do.

    Oddly enough, I agree with Millen. The talent is there. Maybe not to be a contender. But certainly to have a better record than they do.

  • At November 29, 2005 8:02 AM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Greg, I want an offensive guy too, since the offense has been so putrid. Yet I cringe when I remember that Mornhinweg and Mariucci were both touted as offensive gurus when they were hired.

    Part of me wants a defensive bad-ass. Would that be Mike Singletary?

  • At November 29, 2005 8:05 AM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Evan, on FOX Sports Net after the presser, Jay Glazer talked about how much the players loved Jauron in Chicago. Brian Urlacher still talks about how much he loved playing for him.

    I wish the Lions could find a Cowher-esque coach too. That's all I could think about while watching last night's game.

    Maybe that's what I meant by "defensive bad-ass" in my last comment. Cowher has that glare and "the jaw." Singletary has that crazy-eyed look he used to give quarterbacks and linebackers. Roy Williams would cry under that kind of stare.

  • At November 29, 2005 6:23 PM, Blogger NFL Adam said…

    Why is everybody blaming Millen? He wasn't in the office as he was out on the road scouting receivers for the 2006 NFL Draft.


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