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Stormin' Norman

How good is Martin Mayhew?

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The hiring of Martin Mayhew pissed off a lot of people, and for good reason - who promotes a member of a franchise whose failings are historic? Is it possible, if not at this point obvious, that he was the right decision?

One of the big names during the Post Season was Scott Pioli, and understandably so. One of the braintrusts of the Patriots looking to be a GM for another team? That's a sexy hire for anyone. The Kansas City Chiefs, of course, got him while the Lions promoted from within.

I ask you now, who would you want?

When I watched last year, I think it was plainly obvious that the biggest problem for the Rams, Chiefs and Lions was a severe talent gap with the rest of the league. (I know some will state this is obvious due to their draft position, but all too often do teams, like Seattle, play worse than their roster would indicate.) If we agree that the state of the Lions and the state of the Chiefs were similar (terrible defenses, no franchise QB, best player on the team a WR), then lets look at how the two men (Pioli and Mayhew) went about building their teams.

Both Pioli and Mayhew went out and acquired "their guy" at Quarterback. Mayhew will end up paying his guy more, but Cassel is making more than Stafford for 2009. While Cassel has more NFL experience than Stafford, no one can argue who the more talented QB is. Is Cassel a "safer bet" than Stafford? All my Stafford love aside, I am not sure. Cassel had success last year playing with an offensive group that the year previously was the best in NFL history. While Cassel put up pretty good numbers, nothing he did was extraordinary. He rarely hit Randy Moss on the deep ball and the majority of his yards came after the catch. Stafford's intelligence seems to match his talent - while it's hard to read too much from a three day rookie camp, it sounds like he had a rather impressive showing.

Both teams made noteworthy trades. Pioli acquired Cassel, along with Vrable, for a 2nd round draft pick; he also traded an icon in Tony Gonzales for a second round pick in 2010. Mayhew traded Redding and a 5th for a Pro Bowl linebacker. Kitna was traded for a starting cornerback. If you want to include the Roy Williams trade, Mayhews resume looks more impressive still.

Both teams addressed the defense. The Chiefs couldn't get any pressure on the QB (last in the league in sacks), so they added Zach Thomas to help Vrable build a defense. The Lions added two starting CB's from Playoff-caliber teams, along with Peterson, Foote and old Grady Jackson. The Chiefs first two draft picks were for 3-4 defensive ends, a year after drafting Glenn Dorsey (a DE in a 3-4).

The bright spots of both offenses last year was the play of a star receiver - though there is little doubt in whose receiver is superior. While neither team made a huge free agent signing offensively (though I think Bryant Johnson and Ronald Curry have more gas left than Bobby Engram), the Lions did give their newly acquired QB a big weapon in Brandon Pettigrew. While I doubt there will be any major roster changes for the Lions offensively, the Chiefs may dump Larry Johnson before the season starts.

Of course roster building wasn't the only project these two men had this offseason - they had to build their coaching staffs. Jim Schwartz and Todd Hayley are both first time coaches. Schwartz built one of the best defenses last year and is widely regarded as one of the most intelligent men in football - Todd Hayley had a successful year with Arizona, though wasn't smart enough to call a fade pass to Larry Fitz before Halftime in the Super Bowl.

I don't know about you - but when I look at the changes these two teams have made in the off season, it's easy to identify the team better position.

Evaluating the work these two men have made as first year GM's - Mayhew is destroying Pioli.

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IMO, way to early to be comparing these folks too much. As of right now, I think we're going to be praying for Redding to be back on this line half way through the season. That said, he wasn't worth his contract and we were able to shed it.

I also think your undervaluing Cassel a bit. He still was top 10 in QB rating, 7th in QB rating for QB's that played in every game. Obviously he had Sammy Morris in his backfield most of the year, i'm guessing Brady was drooling about that prospect heading into last year! ;-)

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I know it's early, but when you break it down, how many good moves did Millen make in his tenure here?

Better yet, what did Millen do in his first year as GM that compares to the moves that Mayhew has made. One year in, I give the advantage to Mayhew.

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I won't give Mayhew credit for Foote. I will give Foote credit for that - he actually wanted to be here and Mayhew didn't screw it up - Millen would have passed on him....

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Belichick > Pioli > Mayhew > Millen. At least so far. The trades that Mayhew have made are impressive but the free agent signings are quite meh and the draft is, of course, incomplete.

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Tyler Thigpen could have put up impressive numbers if he was throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

So Cassel is definitley a 'system' QB, but undrafted and 4+ years to rack up 100 catches Wes Welker belongs in the same sentence with Randy Moss?

Stats, by themselves, don't mean much. Same goes for an individual player, especially when someone wants to argue the system itself is the reason for the greatness of one of the players in that system.

Couldn't I just as easily argue that Cassel's numbers came despite the N.E. line giving up more than 2x the sacks it did the year before with Brady?

Couldn't I just as easily argue that Moss' increase in YAC were due to Cassel's ability to hit in better in stride?

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Couldn't I just as easily argue that Cassel's numbers came despite the N.E. line giving up more than 2x the sacks it did the year before with Brady?

Couldn't I just as easily argue that Moss' increase in YAC were due to Cassel's ability to hit in better in stride?

I think both these points are due to the fact that Cassel hangs on to the ball a little longer. In other words, Brady was able to make quicker decisions... but I totally agree with the first two points.

I like Mayhew for the simple fact that this is the most proactive the Lions have been since - I can't even remember. And, all the moves appear to be logical, sensible, pretty much error free when looking at where the team is now compared to 5 months ago (From 0 to 5 wins :nervous: )

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I think both these points are due to the fact that Cassel hangs on to the ball a little longer. In other words, Brady was able to make quicker decisions... but I totally agree with the first two points.

very true and based on past performances of inexperienced QB's...probably the reason that explains 95% of those increased sacks. But still, inexperienced QB's don't usually perform like Cassel either, with or without the support built around them.

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very true and based on past performances of inexperienced QB's...probably the reason that explains 95% of those increased sacks. But still, inexperienced QB's don't usually perform like Cassel either, with or without the support built around them.

Your right, and that's why it will be fun to keep an eye on Cassel this year to really gauge the mighty "New England system". If he does well, then he and Brady will look like play makers. If he falters...

This is one of those things that makes me so excited for the season to start!

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The only barometer on Mayhew is going to be who is better - Matt Stafford or Aaron Curry. That's what it will come down to.

How about who is better, Curry/best QB available in FA v. Stafford/Foote

I think our LB core is pretty solid right now, Smith would have been a better choice than Curry for me if they didnt go Stafford

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The only barometer on Mayhew is going to be who is better - Matt Stafford or Aaron Curry. That's what it will come down to.

No, Matt Stafford has to be better than every player in the draft. He's automatically one of the highest paid QBs in the league, so he better be.

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I will put Mayhew above Josh McDaniels, and about even so far with Pioli.

Mayhew has made some good deals on his watch. Granted he has to deal with Tom Lewand, who I believe is 50% of the problem with this franchise.

Also Curry must be better then Julian Peterson, because the Seahawks essentially gave up a veteran for a higher priced rookie. Curry was a lateral move for the Seahawks, and could prove costly in the end.

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No, Matt Stafford has to be better than every player in the draft. He's automatically one of the highest paid QBs in the league, so he better be.

He doesn't have to be better than the rest, in fact I'm guessing that as long as we don't say we need a QB in the next 7-9 years heading into a season, he'll be a good pick.

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He doesn't have to be better than the rest, in fact I'm guessing that as long as we don't say we need a QB in the next 7-9 years heading into a season, he'll be a good pick.

I completely disagree. He had better be a top 5 QB in 2-3 years or he's a bust. We're paying him as such, so he better perform as such.

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No, Matt Stafford has to be better than every player in the draft. He's automatically one of the highest paid QBs in the league, so he better be.

So if Crabtree ends up being better than Stafford, we can conclude that the Lions should have taken Crabtree at #1?

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I completely disagree. He had better be a top 5 QB in 2-3 years or he's a bust. We're paying him as such, so he better perform as such.

Holy high expectations, Batman!

If he performs similar to Jay Cutler in 3 years I'll be thrilled.

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The only barometer on Mayhew is going to be who is better - Matt Stafford or Aaron Curry. That's what it will come down to.

Piffle...pure unadulterated piffle...the sole barometer for Mayhew as a GM will be the Lion's performance. In two years if they're a playoff team with a legit shor at the Super Bowl, butStafford isn't performing as well as Curry, Mayhew will be a failure?

Please....

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So Cassel is definitley a 'system' QB, but undrafted and 4+ years to rack up 100 catches Wes Welker belongs in the same sentence with Randy Moss?

Stats, by themselves, don't mean much. Same goes for an individual player, especially when someone wants to argue the system itself is the reason for the greatness of one of the players in that system.

Couldn't I just as easily argue that Cassel's numbers came despite the N.E. line giving up more than 2x the sacks it did the year before with Brady?

Couldn't I just as easily argue that Moss' increase in YAC were due to Cassel's ability to hit in better in stride?

I never used the term "system QB" - I just don't think that simply because Cassel had a decent year playing in that offense does not mean he is going to have success in Kansas City.

Also, 2x the sacks than Brady goes against Cassel - not for him. A QB plays a huge role in whether he is sacked or not.

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I will put Mayhew above Josh McDaniels, and about even so far with Pioli.

Mayhew has made some good deals on his watch. Granted he has to deal with Tom Lewand, who I believe is 50% of the problem with this franchise.

Also Curry must be better then Julian Peterson, because the Seahawks essentially gave up a veteran for a higher priced rookie. Curry was a lateral move for the Seahawks, and could prove costly in the end.

McDaniels isn't the Broncos GM ;)

What has Pioli done to make you rank him with Mayhew? Is the signing of Zack Thomas that good?

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Holy high expectations, Batman!

If he performs similar to Jay Cutler in 3 years I'll be thrilled.

I won't be. Jay Cutler is nothing to write home about. What has he really done? Please don't tell me he's a Pro Bowl QB. Peters was last year. So was Favre. None of them should have been.

We took him #1 overall. We're paying him like a top 5 QB in the NFL. Why shouldn't I expect him to perform like that? This contract is 6 years. I don't care what he does in year 7. If we (Lions organization) didn't think he could be that, they shouldn't have paid him as such.

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Piffle...pure unadulterated piffle...the sole barometer for Mayhew as a GM will be the Lion's performance. In two years if they're a playoff team with a legit shor at the Super Bowl, butStafford isn't performing as well as Curry, Mayhew will be a failure?

Please....

I agree. Even great GM's make mistakes. If the Lions are a perennial(sp) playoff team starting in a couple of years, I'd allow him some errors. I also don't care if Curry is an All-Pro LB if Stafford is an elite QB. If Stafford becomes an elite QB, he's worth more to the Lions than Singletary/LT were to their teams.

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I won't be. Jay Cutler is nothing to write home about. What has he really done? Please don't tell me he's a Pro Bowl QB. Peters was last year. So was Favre. None of them should have been.

We took him #1 overall. We're paying him like a top 5 QB in the NFL. Why shouldn't I expect him to perform like that? This contract is 6 years. I don't care what he does in year 7. If we (Lions organization) didn't think he could be that, they shouldn't have paid him as such.

I don't need Stafford to start the 1st game of this season.

I don't need Stafford to be Peyton Manning this season.

I don't need Stafford to be Peyton Manning next season.

I don't need Stafford to be a top 5 QB within the next 3 years.

BUT: I WOULD like to see him be considered in the Top 5 range of QB's somewhere in his 3rd or 4th seasons. I'd like to give him some time to develop into that, and will not consider him a bust until at least the end of year 4 if he is not producing to "near-enough" a top 5 QB... at that time.

If he gets near Top 5 QB consideration during, or prior, to year 3, I will consider that pure bonus.

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