Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Aloha, Matt Millen

Add Detroit to the places where Aloha means Goodbye.

Millen (Photo Courtesy of ESPN)

Only a couple days after William Clay Ford, Jr. (son of Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr.) let his feelings be known publicly that he would fire Millen if he had the power to do so, someone with the power to do so agreed. At approximately 10:30 AM ET today, reports surfaced that the Detroit Lions ended their relationship with team President and CEO Matt Millen, thus ending an era that Detroit Lions fans would like to forget. As seen in my Tuesday FourCast, I pointed out that the Lions are the worst team in the NFL, and that Millen should be held responsible.

The Matt Millen Era in Detroit (2001-2008) was full of blunders. The coaching hires have been far from successful. We all remember Steve Mariucci and Marty Mornhinweg. However, the Millen Era will probably be most well known for the drafting of four wide receivers in the first round of the NFL draft in five years. Since I like to consider myself the resident draft guru, I will place my focus on Millen's drafts on a year-by-year basis.

2001: Day One was highlighted by three fixtures on the offensive and defensive lines. While day two, at best, provided a QB who started a few games, but caused an "Evil of Two Lessers" QB Controversy

1st: Jeff Backus - OT
2nd: Domanic Raiola - C
2nd: Shaun Rogers - DT
5th: Mike McMahon - QB

2002: What looked like a great Day One on draft day crashed and burned due to potential that was never realized. Day Two was nearly non-existent.

1st: Joey Harrington - QB
2nd: Kalimba Edwards - DE
3rd: Andre' Goodman - CB

2003: Rogers never lived up to his big play billing. Bailey was up and down and dinged up a lot. Redding has come around in the last 2-3 seasons, and was recently franchised by the team. Another weak Day Two yielded only two out of eight picks who had any impact at all (but both are out of the NFL now).

1st: Charles Rogers - WR
2nd: Boss Bailey - LB
3rd: Corey Redding - DT
4th: Artose Pinner - RB
5th: Terrence Holt - S

2004: Roy Williams has been one of Millen's better picks. Jones was serviceable when healthy and had one good season. Lehman and Smith offered value as part-time starters as well as coming off the bench. Day Two...still haunting Millen.

1st: Roy Williams - WR
1st: Kevin Jones - RB
2nd: Teddy Lehman - LB
3rd: Keith Smith - CB

2005: Another ugly draft. Mike Williams was a year removed from playing organized football. The next two picks in the draft were DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman. Cody's doubters, who questioned his size and desire, were proven right. Wilson, like Smith the year before has had some spot starts, but never fully cracked the starting lineup. Dare I mention the obvious?

1st: Mike Williams - WR
2nd: Shaun Cody - DT
3rd: Stanley Wilson - CB
5th: Dan Orlovsky - QB

2006: Sims is arguably Millen's best pick (Calvin Johnson was a no-brainer). While undersized, he has proven to be a tackling machine who plays all over the field with his speed. Bullocks was another good pick who has proven himself as an NFL starter. Calhoun showed promise before tearing his ACL (and possibly ending his career). Scott also showed promise before being cut earlier this season. Day Two…where are you???

1st: Ernie Sims - LB
2nd: Daniel Bullocks - S
3rd: Brian Calhoun - RB
5th: Jonathan Scott - OT

2007: Adding a franchise player like Calvin Johnson could have been key to saving Millen, but why get rid of a pass-happy OC in Mike Martz and add a Run-First OC in Jim Colletto? Jury is out on Stanton, but he can't beat Kitna for the job. Alama-Francis and Alexander have promise but the jury is out on them as well. Day Two still looks like a waste.

1st: Calvin Johnson - WR
2nd: Drew Stanton - QB
2nd: Ikaika Alama-Francis - DE
2nd: Gerald Alexander - S

2008: Seventeenth overall is kind of high for a right tackle. Cherilus may prove to be a reach. Dizon was a great pick. Kevin Smith won the starting RB job, but has proven to be very average. Fluellen and Avril make this list on potential alone. The Day Two Trend looks like it continues. (*Note: The 3rd round is now part of Day Two in the current draft format, but for purposes of this piece, 3rd rounders in 2008 will be considered first day picks)

1st: Gosder Cherilus - OT
2nd: Jordan Dizon - LB
3rd: Kevin Smith - RB
3rd: Andre Fluellen - DT
3rd: Cliff Avril - DE

Take any NFL General Manager, who has eight consecutive drafts, and there's a good chance that he has unearthed a couple of gems on Day Two. While some consider Day Two of the NFL draft a crap-shoot, some of the most successful GMs make their impact on that day (Ron Wolf, Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson). Where the Lions go from here, it is hard to say. However, getting a GM who knows how to run a scouting department and can draft well will at least get this outfit back on the right foot.


Jimmy G said...

Fine, Millen sucked testes. But do you really fire a GM mid-season? I mean, what good does that really do for you?

Seems like a move to just avoid fallout from having Junior calling out William Ford

The Santini said...

I partially agree. If Junior doesn't make that statement, Millen still (undeservedly) has his job.

I also see it as Mayhew/Lewand getting 13 games to prove something before they are outed too.

Armin said...

Agree on the fact that it doesn't do jack on paper, and that Millen would still have a job if Jr. didn't blow a gasket.

Maybe it gets others in the organization thinking about their jobs. Maybe they will consider doing a better job of scouting, at least.

Moshe Mueller said...

It's crap for Mayhew/Lewand b/c you're 3 weeks into the regular season ... not much time or much going on to prove anything. You don't draft 'til april and Free Agency is pretty much closed ... unless you want Daunte's cement block legs.

The only "big moves" they could make would be in the way of a trade ... and nobody really wants to trade for Jon Kitna ... or do they (cough*New England*cough).