Friday, March 5, 2010
Lions bringing in 'big-time player'
By Kevin Seifert
At 12:01 a.m. ET Friday, Kyle Vanden Bosch's phone rang. It was Detroit coach Jim Schwartz, waiting outside the gate to his community.
As Vanden Bosch told the story Friday morning on 104.5 radio in Nashville, Schwartz sat in his house for 3.5 hours in an attempt to recruit the veteran pass-rusher.
"He's a great coach," Vanden Bosch said. "And last night he was a great salesman."
Vanden Bosch agreed Friday morning to a four-year, $26 million deal with the Lions, the third significant move the Lions have made in the past 24 hours.
What type of impact will he make? We noted earlier that Vanden Bosch might be past his prime as a pass-rusher. He is known as a player with outstanding character, and his experience in Schwartz's defensive scheme will no doubt help some of the Lions' younger players learn its subtleties.
But none of those attributes, Vanden Bosch said, was part of Schwartz's sales job.
"He said, 'We want to bring you in to be a big-time player,'" Vanden Bosch said. "Not a figurehead. ... He said, 'I watched the tape last year and you're still the same player you were two years ago [when he had 12 sacks for the Titans]. It's just one thing here or there.' ... It was good to hear that again."
Time will tell if Vanden Bosch can approach double-digit sacks again. But if nothing else, the episode helped reveal Schwartz as an effective recruiter and a coach determined to do everything in his power to rectify the embarrassing personnel holes he inherited.
"The vote of confidence he gave me [was great]," Vanden Bosch said. "He said, 'I could be anywhere in the country right now. I'm on your front step because you're the guy I want.'"
And now, suddenly, the Lions are 50 percent of the way to overhauling what I've considered their weakest position group. Assuming they pass physicals, Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Corey Williams will elevate the Lions' credibility at both positions. And don't forget the Lions still have the No. 2 overall pick of the draft, where they conceivably could draft another defensive tackle -- either Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy.
That's how you improve your team. In a hurry.