Offense wins games but defense wins championships. It's the oldest saying in the book with regards to sports and particularly, football.
For a long time, the Detroit Lions have been more apt to choose offense over defense, specifically at the skill positions. Many can argue that's led to their recent demise, considering a quality defense has seemed non-existent since the days of yore.
This offseason, the opportunity for an interesting paradigm shift exists. Two big free agents at positions of need are available. Which will the Lions choose to target, offense or defense? With two top flight free agents available on both sides of the ball in Reggie Bush and Charles Woodson, which player will the team go after?
Conventional wisdom and the monetary situation dictates that the team likely won't be able to afford both Bush and Woodson. Despite that, each is needed immensely and could aid in a major turnaround from 2012. On one hand, the Lions need a flashy speed back with big play ability to pair with Mikel Leshoure. On the other, the defense has sorely lacked a finisher in the secondary like Woodson, no matter his age. Either could help their respective unit in the exact same way.
In most aspects, Martin Mayhew has already proven he's not Matt Millen. Mayhew made the move to sign Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency and made a deal for Chris Houston. He's upgraded the defense bit by bit, and balanced that out by adding a few nice offensive pieces. That being said, he's never truly had to choose a substantial upgrade on one side of the ball or the other until this offseason. That decision will tell where the Lions are at philosophically.
Should Mayhew select defensive upgrades as his main focus by signing a player like Woodson in the wake of last season's embarrassments, it will signal to many that a mindset has completely changed. Should he choose to upgrade the offense with a lengthy commitment to Bush, plenty will view this as more of the same.
Many will also argue that the Lions don't have to choose. While that's true, there's likely only room for one bigger splash when free agency begins this March. Where will the Lions decide to allocate their resources this time around?
That choice will speak volumes about what direction this organization is headed during the immediate future.
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