Martin Mayhew gives the Lions one thousand reasons to fire him

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

CaldThis is essentially what happened on Monday when Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew finally opened up to reporters about the situation regarding losing Ndamukong Suh to free agency.

Evidently the Lions made sure that Mayhew would only be seen and heard by the reporters because there does not appear to be any audio or video to go along with any of the reports that have surfaced. So, did the comments really take place if we cannot hear them? For the purpose of this article I will assume they did.

1,000 reasons

So far this offseason Mayhew has not only managed to lose one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL when All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was allowed to walk, but he also lost other important pieces from a defense that carried the team to an 11-5 record last season.

Mayhew finally decided to speak to the media following the Suh signing and basically admitted to not doing his job well. When asked if he would do anything differently regarding the Suh situation, Mayhew finally attempted to give some sort of explanation, though in my opinion it did not explain much at all.

“You see a lot clearer in hindsight, so yeah, there’s about 1,000 things I would do differently,” Mayhew said, “but you make decisions in real time, with the information that you have, and I feel good about every decision that we made every step along the way.”

Wait a second as I ram my head against a wall. Let me get something straight, Mayhew is admitting he would do 1,ooo things differently regarding the decisions pertaining to Suh, but in the next breath he claims to feel good about every one of those decisions? How should Lions fans take this? More importantly, how should his boss take it?

I can’t help but think about how things would play out if I were to tell my boss I would have done 1,000 things differently regarding a situation, but I feel good about every one of those decisions. There is a good chance I would be looking for a new job.

What about winning now?

When Jim Caldwell was hired as head coach he told everyone who would listen that now was the time for the Lions to win. Apparently Mayhew does not necessarily agree with that thought process as he seems more worried about the future than winning now.

“Ever since we did Matthew (Stafford’s) contract, whenever that was, we’ve always been sort of top heavy with a few guys up there,” Mayhew said. “The thing about the franchise tag, really, was continuing to kick the can down the road. (We would have had to) restructure deals to make that happen. And we want to get out of that situation at some point. So that didn’t make a lot of sense.”

Giving Stafford a mega contract after one statistically good season while he still had multiple years left on his current contract was a mistake, we all know that, but I will save that for another conversation.

What about winning now? The Lions were 11-5 last season and it was primarily as a result of their highly ranked defense that they were able to slide into the playoffs. So what does Mayhew do? He allows Suh, the most dominant player on said defense, to leave because he doesn’t want to kick the can further down the road? Doesn’t sound to me like he is too interested in winning now.

Detroit Lions sign DE Josh Paschal

This tells me one of three things 1) Mayhew does not believe the Lions can win now, 2) He does not think Suh is as good as everyone else believes he is, or 3) He has lost his mind. None of those options are something that anyone wants to hear about their general manager.

But he traded for Ngata

When the writing was on the wall that Suh would be signing with the Miami Dolphins, Mayhew was immediately contacted by Lions vice president of pro personnel, Sheldon White to look at some tape he had cut on Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

Don’t get me wrong, Ngata is a solid player and given the circumstances the Lions are lucky to have him, but the move was reactionary to Suh leaving and that is a problem. As a general manager it is crucial to be proactive rather than reactive and Mayhew has not done that.

Drafting disasters

One of the most shining deficits Mayhew has is his lack of drafting ability. The general manager himself admits he has struggled in that area, especially when talking about the 2011 draft.

“(That) wasn’t a good draft for us,” Mayhew said. “I didn’t do a good job in ’11. I think I was overly aggressive, you know?

“I learned a lot from that, and our drafts have improved since then.”

We can finally agree on something. Yes, the 2011 draft was awful. But what about the 2010 draft? The Lions have exactly zero players remaining from those two drafts. That, my friends, is unacceptable. In 2012 and 2013 he showed improvement, but most good football teams are built through the draft and that is an area at which Mayhew has struggled since becoming Lions GM.

Mayhew tried to explain away the 2011 draft by saying he was too aggressive, but when asked to explain what he meant he was stumped.

“I’m just going to leave it at that,” he said. “You can interpret that how you want to interpret it.”

Really? Well, I will interpret it as proof you are not good at evaluating talent and how it will translate to the NFL. Sound like an accurate interpretation?

Is the hole too deep?

Mayhew and his sidekick, Lions team president Tom Lewand, are destroying what could have been a very special team in the Motor City. They have put the Lions in a position where they were not able to re-sign their best defensive player, completely whiffed on multiple drafts, and may have wasted the prime of one of the most talented wide receivers in the history of football in Calvin Johnson.

Not keeping Suh via the franchise tag would have been completely acceptable if the Lions were coming off a losing season and needed to rebuild but that’s not the case. This was a team that, before losing Suh, was on the verge of competing for a Super Bowl. Now they look more like a 7-9 team than an 11-5 team, at least on paper. That falls on Martin Mayhew.

(Image Via: Philip Zaroo |

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