Yesterday the Detroit Lions took the first step towards reestablishing themselves as a legitimate NFL franchise. Matt Millen was fired as President, CEO, GM and whatever other position that William Clay Ford appointed him to. Millen was fired after posting a 31-84 record in just over 7 years at the helm of the Lions.
For Lions fans, this was a long time coming. The season before Millen was hired (2000), the Lions posted a 9-7 record. In the seasons that followed they finished 2-14, 3-13, 5-11, etc.
Millen was a great player in his time with the Raiders, and then went on to a career as a broadcaster, where he developed a reputation for telling it like it is. But he had no business taking the job with the Lions.
Lions fans have been calling for Millen to be fired for many years now. They have even staged "Millen Man March" in protest of the extension the he got a few years ago.
Since he was fired, Matt Millen has not spoken to the press. But Chris Mortensen of ESPN spoke with Patty Millen, his wife. She said that she was glad that he was no longer in Detroit and that he was out of "football prison".
Well Patty, your husband built that "football prison" brick by brick and would be considered the warden of this prison that you talk about.
So, Millen is gone and all is well in Detroit, right? Not quite. Firing Millen was only the first step towards turning this franchise around. There are many things that the Lions need to do. I've taken the liberty of putting together a to-do list for them.
- First, the Lions need to fill Millen's position with somebody that has a proven track record of putting together a winning football team. This doesn't have to be somebody with a well known name, just a good football personnel person.
- Fire Marinelli and bring in a reputable coach. The Lions had a good coach in Mariucci, but Millen had his hands tied when he forced Mariucci to play players that he didn't want to (Harrington).
- Trade Roy Williams and Jon Kitna now! Roy Williams looks like he doesn't want to be in Detroit any longer. His contract is up at the end of this year anyway. Does anybody really think that he will resign in Detroit? Not a chance. Trade him when his value is at his highest and get what you can in return. Trading Jon Kitna will allow the Lions to find out if Drew Stanton has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback or not.
- Make sure that whoever replaces Millen will have the guts to tell William Clay Ford that he needs to but out of football decisions. Yes, Ford is the owner and writes the checks, but he is not a football guy. He needs to let the people that he hires do their jobs.
This should get the Lions started on turning things around. Just be aware Lions fans, replacing Millen was a good move. They need to replace him with a legitimate NFL personnel person to make this a great move. If they go out and hire Terry Bradshaw or Howie Long to take Millen's spot, then they are right back where they started.