Last Updated: January 06. 2011 1:00AM
Q & AMartin Mayhew: Lions have learned how to finish
Chris McCosky / The Detroit News
Allen Park— Before the season, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew was asked what he felt the team needed most.
"We need to learn how to win," Mayhew said.
"I am extremely happy with the way we finished," Mayhew said Wednesday. "Our guys matured in a lot of ways. We learned how to finish football games. We learned how to play in the fourth quarter and we learned what it means to develop a killer instinct. I think those things are very important."
Mayhew said he doesn't necessarily believe in a carryover effect from wins, but does believe winning habits carry over.
"There is a benefit derived from that," he said. "I said before the season that the team has to learn how to win football games. I think we did that and it was great to see."
Mayhew talked on several subjects, but would not go into detail about his priorities this offseason.
Q. Are you at least seeing fewer holes in the roster?
A. If you go back two years, then certainly you are seeing less holes.
But you can never stop trying to improve and get better. I was very pleased with the way we finished the season off. The coaches did an outstanding job. They were a big part of us finishing the way we did.
In terms of development, we had a lot of young guys develop. We put a lot of them on the field and they performed at a very high level.
Q. What are the challenges of having the 13th pick in the draft, as opposed to have one of the top two picks like you've had the last two years?
A. Certainly it is more of a challenge to pick at 13 than it was to pick at one or two. But we think we had a great pick at 20 in 2009 with Brandon Pettigrew. And we think we had a pretty good pick at 30 last year with Jahvid Best. So from my perspective, there will be a great player at 13. We just have to identify and draft that player.
Q. Will you be taking the proverbial best player available?
A. We are going to take the best available player, and you have to understand at that point we're taking about a group of players with a similar grade. We will not suspend common sense, but we will take the best player.
Q. Does the pending labor dispute hamstring your offseason efforts, in terms of signing free agents or making trades?
A. I don't view it as being hamstrung. What it means is we have to prepare for every eventuality and every scenario.
Q. How do you proceed with a pending free agent like cornerback Chris Houston?
A. Chris was a good pickup. We don't know really what his contract situation will be, whether we will have the ability to tender him or not. But we are prepared to tender him or deal with him and make him an offer.
Q. What about quarterback Drew Stanton?
A. Drew falls into the same category as a lot of guys, as far as not knowing what the system is going forward and not knowing what years it's going to take for free agency. Right now, it's still sort of a work in progress.
Q. With the injury problems of Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill, is it more important to have a seasoned third quarterback?
A. It's important to have a guy that's reliable. All three of our quarterbacks had injury problems. I am not sure it makes Drew any more reliable than somebody else. The one knock on Drew is injuries. We were pleased with his performance on the field, but injuries set him back again.
Q. Stafford has finished his first two seasons on IR. Do you have any doubts he will be durable enough to lead the Lions?
A. He wasn't an injury-prone guy prior to getting here, so I don't think it's going to be an on-going issue. The doctors don't think it's going to be an issue.
Q. Four weeks ago, Calvin Johnson talked about possibly moving on if the team didn't start winning games. How did that sit with you?
A. I have no problem with anything he said. I think we all feel that way. Who wants to be somewhere for 10 years and never win? Not me.
Q. How do you view the running back situation?
A. It's still in flux, I guess. We have some guys we feel really good about and we have some numbers there. But we are still evaluating that position. firstname.lastname@example.org
From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110106/SPO ... z1AGJxror7