According to Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride, the Lions have inquired about KC’s disgruntled safety Jarrad Page. Apparently, it didn’t get much past the inquiry stage, possibly due to the asking price. Scout.com’s Nate Caminata found out from Scout’s Chiefs expert Nick Athan the Chiefs’ valuation of Page ($). Whether the Page talks develop into a Page trade, or whether they’re not getting any farther than they’ve gotten, this is important.
For starters, it shows the Lions aren’t satisfied with throwing C.C. Brown atop a pile of bodies (Ko Simpson, Marquand Manuel, Marvin White, Daniel Bullocks) at safety. Brown, nicknamed “Can’t Cover” Brown by Giants fans, won’t fix the frequent blown assignments we saw from Lions safeties in 2009. The others . . . well, they’re the same guys from 2009. So nothing the Lions saw in minicamp gives them confidence that the answer at safety is currently on the roster.
The second, and arguably more, important thing: they’re doing something about it. Throughout last season, the Lions cycled players on and off the roster at an incredible rate. Any time they could make a move to improve the roster, they did—and given how much of that roster needed improving, they made a lot of moves. A commenter, TimT, did a breakdown of last season’s roster churn, showing that 123 different players were Lions (to one degree or another) during the 2009 contract year.
After the free agent bonanza in March, and subsequent draft in April, there was a collective exhalation, as though the mad rush was over. Outside of a few key spots (RT, OLB, CB, and S), the roster makeover was nearly complete. Skilled veterans and talented youngsters were all over the starting lineup—and what’s more, they fit what the coaches want to do. The Lions-observer hivemind was satisfied that with a couple of top free agents next season, and a third solid draft, the Lions would be well on their way to perennial contention.
While the Lions-observer hivemind are satisfied at the progress, the Lions execs and coaches are not. Rather than call the last 18 months of work good, and head into camp with more answers than questions for the first time in forever, they’re still furiously turning over every stone. With the signing of Dré Bly, and this move for Page, we see that the Lions aren’t content with improvement in the relative sense, not satisfied with merely being better. They won’t look on a hard-fought five-win season as a success; they’re not playing for 2011.
Given the brutal division in which they play, and magnitude of the mountain they had to climb just to get to “bad,” and the unknown height yet to climb before “good,” this relentless effort to improve in July won’t really matter, will it? The difference between Ko Simpson and Jarrad Page won’t be the difference between a winning season and a losing one . . . will it?
Well, even discounting the impact that some of the “minor” additions like Zack Follett have had on the roster, the greatest impact will be the process of improvement itself. The phrase “relentess effort to improve” hasn’t been used in association with the Lions since . . . well, it’s been a while. Just the fact that the Lions are continually adding, improving, changing, looking for more, striving to be better, even when other teams are not . . . it will pay real, material dividends in the W-L column this fall.