Lions general manager Martin Mayhew doesn’t do a lot of interviews with the media, but he took time Wednesday to talk with the “2 Live Stews” on sports radio 790 in Atlanta.
Hosts Doug Stewart and Ryan Stewart (get the name of the show) touched on a number of subjects, including Mayhew’s hiring of coach Jim Schwartz in 2009, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, quarterback Matthew Stafford and how Mayhew was able to transform an 0-16 team into a playoff team in three seasons.
Here are some excerpts:
On the hiring of Schwartz:
“We talked to a lot of people and I had been here for a lot of years and through several coaches so I had probably sat in on 20-plus coaching interviews,” Mayhew said. “Jim was one of the the most impressive guys that we ever met with. He had a tremendous wealth of experience as a defensive football coach starting off as a quality control guy and then becoming a linebacker coach and becoming a coordinator working with Jeff Fisher for a long time.
“Prior to that he had experience in personnel working with Bill Belichick. He had a lot of experience in the NFL but yet he was still a relatively a young guy. He had great positive energy, a wealth of experience and had been through a lot. He had been with Tennessee when they were a great team in the Super Bowl and had also been with them when they got decimated by the salary cap situation and ended up with not quite as good a record. He’s been through good years and bad years and good times and bad times.”
“Early on (in the season) he had a couple borderline plays and looking back on it probably not enough people talked to him in those situations,” Mayhew said. “Then when this thing happened (stomping incident on Thanksgiving), probably too many people talked to him. The guy driving the bus to the games had an opinion on what Ndamukong needed to do. I got letters from every sports psychologist and councilor in the Metro Detroit area. He had so much input it was probably too much. But Ndamukong is a very intelligent person and intelligent football player who has a really solid foundation with great family and great network of support around him and he’s come through this thing. He came back with a great attitude and played great down the stretch and we’re going to put this behind him and move forward next year.”
“The state of Georgia has been very good to us with Matthew Stafford (Georgia) and Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech),” he said. “I think Matthew has stepped up into the upper echelon and is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. I think he showed that down the stretch. To play Oakland and be down and have to drive 90-some yards to win it, he made those plays; to go touchdown-for-touchdown with the Packers and just run out of time in that game; then to play like he did on the road against the Saints (in) the playoff game. He’s an outstanding player. Nobody in this building ever doubted his abilities or his ability to stay healthy.”
On the 19 trades for players and draft picks in his first 31 months on the job:
“We were 0-16. I remember I was in a press conference after our first draft and one of the reporters said, ‘Man, you guys are being really aggressive,’ and I said, ‘Well, we were 0-16, we can’t stand pat,’” Mayhew said.
“We had the opportunity to upgrade ourselves. We had a corps of players from those 2000’s drafts who sort of disappeared on us. So, we had a chance to go out and get Tony Scheffler in a trade, Rob Sims in a trade, Corey Williams, Chris Houston and we kind of replaced that nucleus of players that we didn’t have.
“It wasn’t a tough decision to draft Matthew Stafford or to draft Ndamukong Suh. We really believe in using every avenue to improve whether its trades, waiver claims, free agency, the draft and we’re not just focused on one avenue to go out and try to sign players. We use everything that’s available to us and the trades sort of just happened. We haven’t done any in a while but we plan to be aggressively looking to do some trades this year.”
Tags: Chris Houston, Corey Williams, Jim Schwartz, Martin Mayhew, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh, Rob Sims, Tony Scheffler
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