Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is Mike Martz more imporant to the Lions than Rod Marinelli?

In today's Mlive Lions opinion piece, Killer Kowalski implies as such...

The first -- and really only -- question Millen must ask is this: If Martz takes a head coaching job in the off-season, how much will it damage the growth and potential success of the Lions' offense?

Kitna would likely tell Millen what he suspects already: that losing Martz will be devastating. It's not just the X's and O's of the offense; any other coach could pick that up and do a decent job coaching it. No, it's everything else that goes with it.

Devastating? Well, think about it. If Martz is one and done, a short timer only here to repair his reputation, as many thought would be the case when he signed, it would have to be considered a massive blow to the Lions.

But this is when Killer gets a tad carried away.

Millen has to tell Marinelli: "I'm going to throw a ton of money at Martz so we can keep him here for a couple of years -- and he'll likely make a lot more money than you. Are you cool with that?"

If Marinelli says yes -- and there's no reason to believe he wouldn't -- then it's time for Millen to dial up owner William Clay Ford.

Millen's pitch: "Mr. Ford, we're going to be paying Steve Mariucci $5 million in 2007 NOT to coach. Is it so crazy to throw $5 million at Martz to keep him and actually give us a chance to win?"

$5 million? You really want to do that? Seriously? Paying an assistant top tier head coach money? Talk about setting a precedent. Think that Millen and Ford might get some grief from around the league?

The legend in his own mind Martz may be worth it as a head coach, but as an offensive coordinator? You give Martz that much dinero, especially more than Marinelli, then what are you saying? The Lions might as well be telling the players that Martz is the defacto head coach. For that matter, you would be telling EVERYONE, the league, the media, the coaching staff, the fans, that self designated super genius Martz is more important than your current head coach. You would cut the legs right out from underneath Sgt. Marinelli.

I'm still not sold on the Sarge, but he won't have a chance in Hell of succeeding if that incompetent boob Matt Millen follows the Killer's advice. I think we can all agree that Killer's scenario will never happen.

But let's go back to my question. Is Martz more important to the Lions than the head coach, Marinelli? Right now? Yes, without question. The Lions are winning because of their, or should I say, Martz's, offense.

It sure isn't because of the defense, where the Sarge was supposed to make a difference with his Tampa 2 scheme. Many things that Marinelli was brought into fix are still issues. The defense still is a revolving door, both in personnel and in how they play. Discipline? Just ask Shawn Rogers about discipline. Or Joe Cullen, the drunk, naked, fast food eating laughingstock of a line coach. The taskmaster attitude hasn't yet helped in regard to mistakes, either. We still see the same mistakes over ans over, the ones that kill a team. Just go back to Sunday, when the offense had false start penalties on consecutive snaps. Now that's pure Lions football.

Marinelli may have a future as a head coach, but in the present, he has yet to make that much of a difference. Martz, on the other hand, has been huge. Jon Kitna is having a career year. Roy Williams is playing like an all-pro. Kevin Jones has become a threat, not only as a runner, but as a receiver. Mike Furrey has turned into the possession receiver that every team needs, much like Ricky Prohl was in Martz's St. Louis days. TE Dan Campbell, brought into block, averages nearly 17 yards a catch. Now that is what I call making a difference, people.

In my mind, all this speculation brings up another question. If Martz, crazy as he may be, is that important to the Lions future, then why isn't he the head coach to begin with? Martz had the experience and the track record as both a coordinator, and as the head man. Marinelli was a position coach, with no history of either. The Sarge was considered one of the best position coaches in the league, but was still just a position coach. If you are going to pay Martz like the head coach, as Killer suggests, you should have made him the man in charge to begin with.

Now the incompetent boob will find himself in another boondoggle. Martz is already getting attention for head jobs, if the Arizona rumors are to be believed. The Lions offense is light years ahead of what it was under Mariucci. Will it continue to be so if Martz leaves? No.

Martz is gone at the end of the year, pure and simple. If not to Arizona, to another offensively deficient team that is willing to put up with Martz's eccentricities, and make him their head coach. Millen and Marinelli were signing a deal with the devil when they inked Martz. For that 1 year of offensive innovation, you just may go back to once again struggling to complete a pass.

If Marinelli can't make some headway with the defense by next season, and keep the offense above water after Martz blows town, instead of losing games 31-24, the Lions will will be losing them 31-7.

1 comment:

  1. What a condundrum. You can't really blame the Mustache too much though. Signing Marinelli was the right move for one set of reasons and signing Martz as OC was the right move for another set of reasons.

    All you can do if you believe in what Marinelli is doing is stomach losing Martz and spend top dollar to bring in another solid OC who has a similar philosophy as Martz.

    If you don't the choice, is easy. Fire Marinelli and promote Martz. I'm not sold on Marinelli, but I also don't know if Martz is going to keep up the emphasis on responsibility and team play.