GM Martin Mayhew feeling the heat after Lions' 4-12 season

By Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com

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The Lions hope Reggie Bush can bring versatility to their offense. (USATSI)

Entering the 2012 season, the Detroit Lions were a chic pick to contend for the Super Bowl following their first playoff berth in more than a dozen seasons.

Beset, though, by injuries at running back and wide receiver, as well as an inability to generate turnovers the Lions struggled to a 4-12 finish. Now, general manager Martin Mayhew is feeling the heat as he prepares for his fifth season at the helm.

"When you win four games, you better have a sense of urgency about it,” Mayhew told MLive.com. “Certainly, I had a great sense of urgency about this offseason, but I wouldn't categorize it as not having a great sense of urgency in the previous offseasons. I just think we came into it with a great sense of urgency about getting better."

The Lions have been active in free agency with the signings of former Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, former Texans safety Glover Quin and Seahawks defensive end Jason Jones. Detroit also lost defensive end Cliff Avril and offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus to the Seahawks and Colts respectively, but gained salary-cap flexibility with their departures.

Wide receiver Nate Burleson, who missed most of last season with a broken leg, is intrigued about the addition of Bush. In an interview with NFL AM earlier this month, Burleson said Bush's presence could provide the Lions' offense with an explosiveness that diminished when Jahvid Best was sidelined by injury.

“I think a lot of Lions' fans remember when we had Jahvid and how explosive we were as an offense,” Burleson told NFL AM. “He was that guy that could take a screen play, a pitch play and could go 80 yards. Reggie brings that same type of speed, that same type of explosiveness.”

Bush will play behind an offensive line in transition. The Lions could have as many as three new starters on the line after Cherilus' signing with the Colts and the release of veteran right guard Stephen Peterman. Mayhew said during the NFL Scouting Combine that linemen Riley Reiff and Jason Fox have the ability to become starters.

Detroit could also target a franchise left tackle in the first round of the NFL Draft to replace 12-year veteran Jeff Backus. There are currently three offensive tackles projected in the top 7 in CBSSports.com's latest Draft projections, including Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel at No. 1 and Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher at No. 3.

Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter:@mattrybaltowski.

 
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