One of the biggest problems with the Lions of late is that they have too few players on the roster who can or will lead from within.
G.M. Martin Mayhew realize the team needs those qualities. He blames the absence of in-house leadership in 2012 on the fact that the guys who would have provided leadership were injured.
“That was tested last year in a big way because of [safety Louis] Delmas being injured and not on the practice field,” Mayhew said, via Anwar Richardson of MLive.com. “You guys know how much energy he brings to practice, and the tempo he played with, and he was sorely missed. Not just the games he missed, but also the practices. He barely practiced last year.”
Mayhew also mentioned defensive lineman Corey Williams, receiver Nate Burleson, and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who started every game but was injured during training camp and the preseason. Vanden Bosch already is gone, and Williams and Burleson may not be far behind.
Mayhew acknowledges that more leaders need to be development from within. “That is an area that we need younger players who are developing with us to take more of a leadership role, but there also can be some opportunities that we may need to bring in some guys that have some of those qualities,” Mayhew said.
“Part of developing as a player is not just developing on the field, but it’s developing leadership, locker room, off-the-field, and you start to feel a little bit more comfortable every year. We need some guys to step up that way, also.”
He didn’t mention them by name, but Mayhew possibly is referring to players like quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and receiver Calvin Johnson. All are talented, well regarded, and highly compensated. It’s time for each of them to take real ownership in the team and to hold their teammates accountable.
And also to urge Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz to avoid the temptation to draft or sign talented but troubled players like Titus Young.