According to Fox's Jay Glazer, Millen is out as the GM of the Lions. I saw an ESPN report that said he was fired, but the Fox report was unable to confirm if owner William Clay Ford fired him or if he stepped down voluntarily in the wake of Ford's son, Bill Ford, Jr., saying publicly a few days ago that if it were up to him Millen would've been fired already.
Either way, it's easy to react as though this were good news for the Lions. And it at some point, hopefully, it is. But I'm reminded of a parable told in Charlie Wilson's War re: a monk who responds to every bit of news with, "We'll see."
The fact is, Ford has owned this team for more than 50 years and in that time it's won just one playoff game (which I attended in 1991). Is there reason to believe that after decades of ineptitude he's suddenly going to hire somebody that can actually turn this franchise around? This franchise needs what the other franchises in Detroit have, a Dave Dombrowski (Tigers), a Joe Dumars (Pistons), or -most ideally- a Kenny Holland (Red Wings). Until they are able to do that, this franchise will be stuck between being completely and utterly hopeless, or simply mediocre. Although, a return to mediocre doesn't sound too bad anymore.
So what happens after a new guy takes over the reigns? I think Marinelli will be out. Personally, I like him, but he doesn't seem to have the make up of a head coach. (Remember, he was Tampa Bay's DL coach before taking over in Detroit. That's a pretty big jump.) And the bottom line is that his strength is supposed to be the defense and the DL. So why is it that in year three of his stewardship that the defense, the DL in particular, is the weakest point of the team? That just doesn't speak well of his impact.
I think you're looking at an almost total tear-down of the roster that is built back up by drafting for defense. Our only first round pick in the Millen era that played D was Ernie Sims two drafts ago. And he's probably the only all-pro caliber player on the defense. But what that really says is that this team is not capable of finding impact players in the third round and later. That is probably the biggest reason this team has continued to fail, so it seems to me a complete overhaul of the scouting system is in order. But that's just fan speculation, which means precisely dick.
For this season, what I'd like to see the Lions do is get the young guys out on on the field. LB Jordan Dizon, QB Drew Stanton, the slew of DL guys they've drafted the past two years. This team's gonna lose a ton of games regardless of who on the roster plays. Let's at least find out if these guys have a future in the NFL. Lord knows the guys who've been here awhile already can't get it done.