The Detroit Lions opened their new and improved weight room and training facilities to players this week. It was the first time the returning Lions got to use the state-of-the-art equipment.
It was also their first exposure to new Strength & Conditioning Coach Harold Nash, and the players quickly realized a new sheriff is in town. Glover Quin talked about how the workouts are noticeably “more intense”, and several players took to social media to express their newfound exhaustion.
Some have derided the Lions for celebrating the new facilities and revamped program. If you’re a Lions fan, you’d better not be one of those critics.
This new and upgraded program means the ownership is finally taking real steps towards bringing the team on par–at worst–with the rest of the league. One of the reasons the team had some issues in signing free agents or getting players excited about being in Detroit was the antiquated facilities and equipment in Allen Park. While the old equipment was pretty good, it didn’t wow.
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The new facility brings out that wow. NFL players are used to having everything be top of the line. Detroit was near the bottom of that top line. And that fell squarely on deposed team President Tom Lewand.
I’ve never made secret my enmity towards Lewand and his mismanagement of the team both on and off the field. He played towards the late Mr. Ford’s frugality. The Lions have continually been one of the least profitable NFL franchises in part because Lewand never underestood the concept of spending money to make money.
This is where Rod Wood’s experience in the business world outside of football pays dividends. He understands the business side of things in ways Lewand never could. Treating the employees with the respect and top-shelf handling they expect as professionals of an NFL organization seems self-evident, but Lewand couldn’t see that.
Will this translate into better on-field results? Perhaps, but it’s unlikely to make a big impact. Still, it can’t hurt.