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 Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew says 
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Post Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew says
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January 12, 2012 at 1:00 am
Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew says

Allen Park — General manager Martin Mayhew acknowledged that the defense crumbled a bit down the stretch but said Thursday that he didn't think an overhaul was in order.

"I like our defense," he said. "We didn't finish the season the way we would have liked, but our defense did a lot of good things this year."

He ticked off the accomplishments:

* Seven defensive touchdowns, the most since 1937.

* Forty-one sacks.

* Twenty-one interceptions.

* Thirteen fumble recoveries.

"We made a ton of plays," he said. "We would like to shore some things up as far as stopping the run."

The Lions gave up 45 points in each of the last two games — to the Packers and Saints. They gave up an average of 31 points over the last eight games, including the playoffs.

"Obviously, we didn't finish off well, but I think injuries were a factor in that," Mayhew said. "By no means do I think we need an overhaul on defense. We have a lot of good defensive players and a good defensive coaching staff. We need to healthy-up a little bit."

Specifically, Mayhew tied the decline of the defense to safety Louis Delmas' knee injury on Thanksgiving Day. He called Delmas a "vacuum cleaner," because he cleans up so many mistakes. But Delmas has battled through injuries the last two seasons. Mayhew was asked if he was worried about Delmas' ability to stay on the field moving forward?

"You worry about everybody's durability; but no, he's a young guy and he's not getting shoulder or neck injuries," Mayhew said. "He had a groin in 2010 and a knee injury this year. He's a good player and he makes a difference."

Here are some other topics Mayhew covered during his press conference Thursday:

On running back Jahvid Best, who is recovering from multiple concussions: "I expect him to be back, but it's not going to be my decision. At some point Jahvid and the doctors will say he can come back and at that point we will say we are glad to have him. But it's not to that point yet. He's still being evaluated, but we are very optimistic about the preliminary reports."

On whether the uncertainty of Best and Mikel Leshoure (Achilles) impacts his offseason plans: "We are not going to make any emotional or hasty decisions about what we have to do. We will see how it all plays out. Running back is a tricky position for us right now because we could have an embarrassment of riches. If Jahvid is back and Mikel is back, that's going to be a solid group. On the other hand, if either one is unable to play football, that could be a situation we need to address."

On his reaction to Ndamukong Suh's stomp and suspension: "Things happen during the season. You fight through them and you move on to the next thing. I felt like the league had dealt with it appropriately and I felt Ndamukong came back with a great attitude. We've moved on from that. That's sort of dead and I don't want to walk over and kick it. Let it go."

On Suh's season: "If you look at every game last year and every game this year, his performance wasn't that different. He didn't have those impact plays — the interception or fumble recovery and touchdown — he didn't have those splash plays, but he played solid and consistent."

On the team's discipline problem: "I don't know if we have a discipline problem. Maybe I am by myself on that. We had a problem in that particular game (New Orleans), it was addressed appropriately by Jim (Schwartz) and the team leaders, and after that we didn't really have a problem. I would like to see us reduce the number of penalties, but I don't think that's a discipline issue."

On the handshake episode between Schwartz and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and his refusal to accept a postgame apology from Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli: "As an organization, we haven't really mastered that postgame handshake thing (laughter). We are still working on that. We will get that right next year."

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2012 ... ayhew-says


I am sooooo glad we have him as GM and I don't think I've been so happy to be so wrong about someone. Great job WCF! =D>
(haven't been able to say THAT too often :shock: :lol: )

Go Lions!!!
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January 13th, 2012, 10:48 am
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
I think the Lions defense is one that is always going to give up quite a bit of yards, so they need to be opportunistic to be successful. The keys, besides turnovers, need to be 3rd downs and red zone defense. They still have quite a bit to do in those areas but some building blocks are there.

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January 13th, 2012, 11:51 am
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
Pablo wrote:
I think the Lions defense is one that is always going to give up quite a bit of yards, so they need to be opportunistic to be successful. The keys, besides turnovers, need to be 3rd downs and red zone defense. They still have quite a bit to do in those areas but some building blocks are there.


Interesting that Mayhew specified "stopping the run" as a point of emphasis. That may be a clue as to what they'll look to do in free agency or the draft. Of course Mayhew is so guarded with information that his statement may have been meaningless, so who knows?

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January 13th, 2012, 12:00 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
I don't have a problem with the Lions bringing Gunther back, there's a lot to be said for continuity as far as the coaching staff goes. He may not blitz as much as everyone would like but I wouldn't either with that secondary especially when the pass rush is ineffective putting pressure on the QB....with the right personnel I'm sure he could be more creative but he is limited somewhat with what he has to work with.

Having said that, the "wide-9" defense is another story. It appeared later in the season OC's found pretty simple ways to effectively neutralize the overly aggressive pass rush of the Lions with runs up the middle, screens, reverses etc. They were getting absolutely gashed by runs up the middle (of course the poor tackling did play a big factor) but I'm not a big fan of the wide-9 and hope they go back to a more traditional set next season.

As far as the secondary goes Houston and Wright would be fine next season considering the cap issues. Not a big fan of Alfonso Smith but he has enough talent to be back. Aaron Berry has more upside .... when he learns how to play the ball and catch the pick he will be Ok. I like Spievey but I think he is better suited to a backup role and hope they can upgrade at that position.

As far as linebackers go Levy is nothing special and should be tendered as such. I'm all for bringing Tulloch back but at the right price, If he wants too much $$ I'm fine if they move on and fill his spot in FA or the draft. Durant was good when he wasn't injured. They do need more depth at LB.

Corey Williams is too expensive to keep at his current salary, Avril is a good player IN THIS DEFENSE but if he is unreasonable with his $$ demands I would not pay him as an elite DE. Lo Jack and Willie Young are players with upside that have had some success in limited playing time. With increased playing time both could be effective IN THIS DEFENSE. Stafford and Johnson will take up quite a bit of cap space very soon so developing players is going to be critical to future success.

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January 14th, 2012, 5:37 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
Taug107 wrote:
I don't have a problem with the Lions bringing Gunther back, there's a lot to be said for continuity as far as the coaching staff goes. He may not blitz as much as everyone would like but I wouldn't either with that secondary especially when the pass rush is ineffective putting pressure on the QB....with the right personnel I'm sure he could be more creative but he is limited somewhat with what he has to work with.

Having said that, the "wide-9" defense is another story. It appeared later in the season OC's found pretty simple ways to effectively neutralize the overly aggressive pass rush of the Lions with runs up the middle, screens, reverses etc. They were getting absolutely gashed by runs up the middle (of course the poor tackling did play a big factor) but I'm not a big fan of the wide-9 and hope they go back to a more traditional set next season.

As far as the secondary goes Houston and Wright would be fine next season considering the cap issues. Not a big fan of Alfonso Smith but he has enough talent to be back. Aaron Berry has more upside .... when he learns how to play the ball and catch the pick he will be Ok. I like Spievey but I think he is better suited to a backup role and hope they can upgrade at that position.

As far as linebackers go Levy is nothing special and should be tendered as such. I'm all for bringing Tulloch back but at the right price, If he wants too much $$ I'm fine if they move on and fill his spot in FA or the draft. Durant was good when he wasn't injured. They do need more depth at LB.

Corey Williams is too expensive to keep at his current salary, Avril is a good player IN THIS DEFENSE but if he is unreasonable with his $$ demands I would not pay him as an elite DE. Lo Jack and Willie Young are players with upside that have had some success in limited playing time. With increased playing time both could be effective IN THIS DEFENSE. Stafford and Johnson will take up quite a bit of cap space very soon so developing players is going to be critical to future success.


I agree with much of what you say here. I think the Lions actually have decent depth at LB, with good but not great starters. Tulloch coming back would be OK, but he wasn't outstanding this season by any measure. Corey is a guy they may consider either renegotiating his deal, or maybe field some trade offers. I like the guy, but with Hill, Suh and Fairley in the fold he really isn't that needed.

The biggest area of concern for me is safety. Louis Delmas is not a "vacuum cleaner". He makes enough mistakes of his own that he can't fix anyone elses. I liked him in his rookie year, but allowances were made due to it being his first season. He hasn't improved since then, but rather he's gone somewhat downhill. Watching the game today between New Orleans and San Francisco, the one big difference in that game was the play of the 49ers safeties. They cover well, and they tackle well. That is something Detroit cannot say about Delmas or Spievey. On the one TD by Jimmy Graham, what Donte Whitner did is EXACTLY what Louis Delmas would have done.....go for the big play, instead of the smart fundamental play. Spievey started off really well this season, but seemed to get worse as the season wore on. Neither of them know a damn thing about form tackling. Neither of them covers very well at all. Injuries played no part in the poor safety play this season, it was all about their fundamentals sucking. As the team gets better around Delmas and Spievey, they stand out as the weak links for this defense.

I am not a big fan of the Wide 9 defense. Another thing I noticed today with SF and NO was that the 49ers had really good success running stunts with Justin Smith looping around and getting to Brees. In the Wide 9, the only stunting is between the two tackles, since the ends are just lined up too damn far to the outside. Doing that creates an easy zone blocking attack inside that allows the runner to read the hole because the o-line will take the DT where ever he wants to go. Pulling guards don't have to worry about the DE being there, and can simply take on either a LB or the safety if they are there. Talk about your mismatches. I agree that teams are finding ways to attack the aggressive nature of the defense, as well as the Wide 9 technique. There needs to be more variety.

I think differently about Berry, however. I don't think he finds the ball well, and at times he seems very stiff in changing directions. With his size, he may be able to switch to safety. Since this was essentially his first full season, I'd be OK with the Lions giving him another shot at the nickel spot in 2012. But as a starter, no way. I want the Lions to sign Wright, and extend Chris Houston. They both played better than most give them credit for.

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January 14th, 2012, 11:13 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
Wright got badly abused for some stretches, far worse than Delmas - ur supposed weak link. Houston being out forced A Smith on the field and he couldnt handle it. Smith's gotta go. I could go either way on Wright - depends mostly on what salary he will command. He is capable of playing at a high level but the same thing that happened to him in Cleveland happened here.


January 15th, 2012, 3:33 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
The Legend wrote:
Wright got badly abused for some stretches, far worse than Delmas - ur supposed weak link. Houston being out forced A Smith on the field and he couldnt handle it. Smith's gotta go. I could go either way on Wright - depends mostly on what salary he will command. He is capable of playing at a high level but the same thing that happened to him in Cleveland happened here.

Our secondary got torched but the always happens when the QB has an unlimited time to throw

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January 15th, 2012, 11:50 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
The Legend wrote:
Wright got badly abused for some stretches, far worse than Delmas - ur supposed weak link. Houston being out forced A Smith on the field and he couldnt handle it. Smith's gotta go. I could go either way on Wright - depends mostly on what salary he will command. He is capable of playing at a high level but the same thing that happened to him in Cleveland happened here.


I never said Delmas was the weak link in the secondary. All of the players had their mistakes, all of them could be better. But Delmas is the one who gets the attention as being the "leader" of the secondary, and how he's some borderline Pro Bowl talent. Hogwash. Wright may have gotten torched a few times, but there were also times that it looked like Wright was at fault, when in fact it was the safety who failed to get proper position in their deep coverage assignment.

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January 16th, 2012, 9:56 am
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
m2karateman wrote:
The Legend wrote:
Wright got badly abused for some stretches, far worse than Delmas - ur supposed weak link. Houston being out forced A Smith on the field and he couldnt handle it. Smith's gotta go. I could go either way on Wright - depends mostly on what salary he will command. He is capable of playing at a high level but the same thing that happened to him in Cleveland happened here.


I never said Delmas was the weak link in the secondary. All of the players had their mistakes, all of them could be better. But Delmas is the one who gets the attention as being the "leader" of the secondary, and how he's some borderline Pro Bowl talent. Hogwash. Wright may have gotten torched a few times, but there were also times that it looked like Wright was at fault, when in fact it was the safety who failed to get proper position in their deep coverage assignment.


Boy do I agree with you on this. You talk to your average Lions fan and they say Delmas is so great. I ask them WHY? Other than his rookie year, what has he done to be in conversation with the Ed Reeds? Nothin. He has cool hair, sure. What else?

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January 16th, 2012, 6:07 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
In terms of secondary play, I always try to reserve judgement, unless it's blatantly obvious. Unless you are in the stands or watching actual game film, we simply don't know from what we see on a tV screen. From my perspective, Houston was pretty solid since teams didn't throw at him much. The less you see of a CB, the better they are. Wright is a different story, and don't even get me started on Smith. Berry is somewhat of an enigma since there is both bad and good. Regardless, perception may not be reality.

As for the safeties, we actually have less of an idea about what they're supposed to do on any given play than the CBs. Are they in run support, man, or zone? We simply don't know. Sure, if someone misses a tackle, it's easy to assign blame. But in terms of coverage, it's any armchair Qb's guess.

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January 17th, 2012, 2:00 am
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
slybri19 wrote:
In terms of secondary play, I always try to reserve judgement, unless it's blatantly obvious. Unless you are in the stands or watching actual game film, we simply don't know from what we see on a tV screen. From my perspective, Houston was pretty solid since teams didn't throw at him much. The less you see of a CB, the better they are. Wright is a different story, and don't even get me started on Smith. Berry is somewhat of an enigma since there is both bad and good. Regardless, perception may not be reality.

As for the safeties, we actually have less of an idea about what they're supposed to do on any given play than the CBs. Are they in run support, man, or zone? We simply don't know. Sure, if someone misses a tackle, it's easy to assign blame. But in terms of coverage, it's any armchair Qb's guess.


Sly, you can usually get a pretty good idea of what the safety is supposed to be doing by the their position on the field pre-snap, their actions immediately after the snap, and the position of the corner before and after the snap. Yes, I agree, that their are times when the CB has primary coverage on an outside receiver who just happens to run a post pattern through the middle of the safeties. However, when you see the CB purposely take the inside position on the receiver and the safety is back there, you know that they are supposed to be bracketing the guy (safety behind, CB in front). Many a times I saw Wright or Houston take their position in front, and the safety (either Spievey or Delmas) was out of position, running behind the receiver. Good safeties gain position in back of the receiver, but slightly in front of his running pattern, so that when the ball arrives they either make the big hit and dislodge the ball or they are in position to cut off the receiver and intercept or knock down the pass. Spievey and Delmas failed at that late in the season. And don't even get me started on their horrible coverage on tight ends.

I had high hopes for Spievey as a compliment to Delmas. Delmas should be assigned to the strong safety spot, and Spievey to the free safety spot. Instead, Schwartz wants right and left safety positions so that the coverage is better disguised. I understand that, and would agree other than the fact that Delmas is more of a pure strong safety and Spievey is more suited to pure free safety play. Even then, Spievey's lack of instincts hurt his ability to play free safety with the effectiveness this team needs. In my opinion, this team has no real free safety on the roster. A sure fire tackler who can play centerfield and read the quarterbacks eyes then has the reaction instincts to get in position to break up or intercept the pass. It's what this defense really needs.

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January 17th, 2012, 2:41 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
Houston was the most targeted corner in the league the first half of the season. So it had nothing to do with not being thrown at. Wright made a few glaring mistakes but the real bad ones were safety coverages that were blown. Speivey is the weak link. We don't play with strong saftey and free safety, but rather 2 free on each side, and both aren't really suited for that. Spievey still struggles with his hips and is late getting over to coverage as evidenced in the NO game, and Delmas can't stay healthy.

We need another corner that's going to compete for a starting position and push the depth down the list. If everyone is capable, then we won't have the same issues we had this past season.


January 17th, 2012, 5:33 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
m2karateman wrote:
The Legend wrote:
Wright got badly abused for some stretches, far worse than Delmas - ur supposed weak link. Houston being out forced A Smith on the field and he couldnt handle it. Smith's gotta go. I could go either way on Wright - depends mostly on what salary he will command. He is capable of playing at a high level but the same thing that happened to him in Cleveland happened here.


I never said Delmas was the weak link in the secondary. All of the players had their mistakes, all of them could be better. But Delmas is the one who gets the attention as being the "leader" of the secondary, and how he's some borderline Pro Bowl talent. Hogwash. Wright may have gotten torched a few times, but there were also times that it looked like Wright was at fault, when in fact it was the safety who failed to get proper position in their deep coverage assignment.


u wrote : As the team gets better around Delmas and Spievey, they stand out as the weak links for this defense.


January 17th, 2012, 7:05 pm
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Post Re: Lions don't need defensive overhaul, GM Martin Mayhew sa
The Legend wrote:
m2karateman wrote:
The Legend wrote:
Wright got badly abused for some stretches, far worse than Delmas - ur supposed weak link. Houston being out forced A Smith on the field and he couldnt handle it. Smith's gotta go. I could go either way on Wright - depends mostly on what salary he will command. He is capable of playing at a high level but the same thing that happened to him in Cleveland happened here.


I never said Delmas was the weak link in the secondary. All of the players had their mistakes, all of them could be better. But Delmas is the one who gets the attention as being the "leader" of the secondary, and how he's some borderline Pro Bowl talent. Hogwash. Wright may have gotten torched a few times, but there were also times that it looked like Wright was at fault, when in fact it was the safety who failed to get proper position in their deep coverage assignment.


u wrote : As the team gets better around Delmas and Spievey, they stand out as the weak links for this defense.


Operative word....THEY. The safety position needs to be upgraded. I point out Delmas due to the fact that he is much more highly touted of the two. But if I had to just pick one safety to replace, it would be Spievey. While Delmas may not be the playmaker he is advertised to be, he at least IS a playmaker. Spievey is not.

I would prefer (and I've said the before) that the Lions allow the safeties to take on a more traditional role as strong and free, rather than right and left. Delmas is a strong safety. He is not a good free safety. Spievey.....I won't say I'm quite ready to give up on him entirely, but he should not be starting if he has peaked.

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January 18th, 2012, 4:48 pm
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