- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Detroit Lions reporter
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DETROIT -- Five thoughts after the Detroit Lions' Town Hall meeting, featuring team president Tom Lewand, director of pro personnel Sheldon White, head coach Jim Caldwell and coordinators Joe Lombardi, Teryl Austin and Joe Marciano.
1. If you're bothered by the Lions' lack of movement in free agency, it sounds like that was the plan all along after doing a bunch of scouting. Lewand insisted it was part of the team's strategy in the past as well, what he called being "selectively aggressive," but that they didn't see the cost-benefit of certain players this year. He pointed to last season specifically, with Golden Tate as a high priority target, as part of his team's philosophy.
"We just didn't see the same opportunity in this free-agent class," Lewand said.
This is one area where I'm in agreement with Lewand on. Overpaying for free agents who you don't think will fit just to overpay for them is a bad strategy and the Lions have been good here the past two seasons. Some players would have made sense, sure, but at what cost. As I've written before, once this team lost Ndamukong Suh, there was not going to be much they could do on the free-agency market that could truly replace him -- so they've chosen different ways to fill the gaps.
2. Joe Marciano, the new special teams coach, is an intense dude. Maybe it is a product of hearing everyone else on the panel speak before or the usual calm nature of everyone else, but Marciano has some passion to him. From a special teams' perspective that would seem important as well since most of the guys he'll be responsible for are younger and hungrier than the offensive and defensive players more solidified on the roster. Marciano said he had other opportunities but when Caldwell called, he wanted to come back. He believes "this team's playoff ready."
3. The Lions, as expected, are going to be multiple on defense. Teryl Austin, the defensive coordinator, said as much in his first extensive comments since losing Suh to free agency. That includes lining up with both four-man fronts and three-man fronts. The personnel will be different and that could allow Detroit to experiment with some different things, but don't expect too much in terms of change. "It's a headache for all these offensive coordinators to block all these fronts," Austin said.
4. Detroit is, for now, continuing to have some belief in receiver Ryan Broyles. The former second-round pick is entering his fourth year and coming off his first healthy offseason. General manager Martin Mayhew, who was not on the panel Tuesday, has been vocal about Broyles getting a chance in the past and it sounds like Lombardi, the offensive coordinator, is at least interested in that. "I'm not sure I know who the player is at his best," Lombardi said. "I think you're going to see that this year."
5. Austin had the line of the night and showed again why he'll be great for a city as a public relations rep if he ever gets a head-coaching job. When he was asked about cornerback Darius Slay's improvement, he said "You talking about Slay-tumbo?" He was referencing Slay's finger wag after big plays, taken from the signature celebration of former NBA center Dikembe Mutombo. In then seriously answering the question, Austin pointed to Slay's confidence as part of why he made such a big leap.
If you're bothered by the Lions' lack of movement in free agency, it sounds like that was the plan all along. More from the Lions' Town Hall Meeting.