The Lions made a bunch of noise with a coaching staff overhaul last month. The addition of Rod Marinelli,Donnie Henderson, and Mike Martz was only supposed to be the beginning of the re-tooling. Instead, the Lions have done nothing but sit while quality free agents sign with new teams. The 2005 Lions had four wide receivers (R. Williams, M. Williams, C. Rogers, and K. Johnson) that were good enough to start and one quarterback (Joey Harrington)who hadn't done anything in four seasons in the NFL. The Lions had glaring weaknesses in the secondary and offensive line. So, what did the Lions do? They went out and signed another wide receiver that is good enough to start and THREE quarterbacks who haven't done anything in the NFL. That's it. That's the retooling. Bringing in Jon Kitna, Shuan King, and Josh McNown to replace Joey Harrington is like eating Haggis instead of Black Pudding. Does it really matter?
Steve Mariucci was only half of the problem last season. The other half was the inability to run the ball consistently and stop teams from passing. No amount of brilliance from the coaching staff can make up for a deficiency in talent. Plus, who's to say that there will be brilliance from the coaching staff in the first place? The Lions have been the same team for the last 20 years. Not once in the last 20 years have the Lions had a good secondary or offensive line. Until they address those needs, the Lions will continue to be a sad franchise in a league where just about every team competes for the playoffs within a two or three year time frame.
The Lions will likely come out throwing the ball all over the field in 2006. Martz will avoid Kevin Jones like the plague as he did with Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson. The offense will likely put up more points than the Harrington-led groups of the past few years. However, that will only force the opposition to throw more resulting in the Lions secondary getting burned even more frequently. It might be a more exciting brand of football to watch but it won't be a more productive brand of football in the win column.
Unless Rod Marinelli is as good of a coach as Bill Belichick, the 2006 Lions are doomed to repeat their sad history even with a fantastic quarterback troika reminiscent of the Chicago Bulls three-headed monster of Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, and Will Perdue.
Here is the giant splash the Lions have made in Free Agency thus far:
Corey Bradford WR
Jon Kitna QB
Josh McNown QB
Shuan King QB
Rex Tucker OT
Arlen Harris RB
Dan Campbell TE