Black and Blue all over: Town hall in Detroit

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
The Detroit Lions are trying an old political trick that isn't always on an NFL team's short list of ideas to sell tickets.

Monday night, the Lions will hold a town meeting at Ford Field to give season-ticket holders a chance to ask questions of team president Tom Lewand, general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz. There will be another gathering Tuesday. Both are private and by invitation only, according to Terry Foster of the Detroit News.

Many pro sports teams have barnstormed to drum up interest during the offseason. In this case, Lions fans will have a chance to ask questions of the decision-makers rather than mingle with a few of the players.

If handled right, this can be a good idea. After having four blackouts during an 0-16 season in 2008, the Lions need to take action to convince their season-ticket base they are on the right track. It's fair to keep the audience limited to season-ticket holders; they are the team's most loyal fans and customers.

But Mayhew and Schwartz, especially, are going to have to show some transparency during these events. They need to provide some level of detail about the team's direction and not give the type of non-answers that sports officials usually give the media in public situations.

Season-ticket holders who show up seeking answers and/or reassurance but hear only platitudes won't be sold. The Lions' new leaders are on the right track with this idea, but they need to follow through during the actual events.

Continuing around the NFC North on this fine Monday morning:

  • Schwartz wanted coordinators who could handle the daily duties of running the offense and defense so he could focus on the big picture of game-day management, according to Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.

  • Schwartz is hoping to bring at least one of his former Tennessee assistants with him: Defensive quality control coach Matt Burke, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean via ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky.

  • Like some other top NFL officials, Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo skipped last week's Senior Bowl festivities, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. Angelo will attend the "Texas vs. The Nation" all-star game in El Paso, Texas.

  • Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette traces the rise, fall and latest rise of the 3-4 defense, which the Packers will implement in 2009.