The Detroit Lions have become more secretive under coach Jim Schwartz, a Belichick-style coach who strives to keep his vest close to his cards, or something.
When it comes to the incoming rookies who’ll be visiting the Lions before the draft, the Schwartz regime suddenly has embraced Glasnost.
Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the team announced on its website the names of three players who visited the team last week: Aldon Smith of Missouri, Mikel Leshoure of Illinois, and DeMarco Murray of Oklahoma.
“The fact is, everybody in the league knows,” Schwartz recently said, per Birkett. “So if everybody in the league knows, it really doesn’t matter. And if it’s interesting for the fans, . . . then I’m all for it.”
The pre-draft chess match extends to the process of player visits and workouts, with teams engaged in various levels of mind games when it comes to whether they are or aren’t interested in the guys they’ve brought to town. Plenty of visits are smokescreens — and plenty aren’t. It’s impossible to know, which makes the parade of reports regarding who is going where largely irrelevant.
Some teams only draft from the pool of players they’ve brought to town or worked out. Other teams draft none of the guys whose tires they’ve kicked. The smart move would be to change it up on a year-in and year-out basis.
Still, homework needs to be done on the players in which a franchise truly is interested. And it could be that teams like the Lions will announce some of the guys they’re bringing to town, pretend that they’re announcing all of them, and try their damnedest to keep a small group of guys in which they’re truly interested quiet.
That’s easier said than done, and only a few coaches and G.M.’s have the juice to pull it off. Usually, a Super Bowl ring or two is effective in this regard.