New Detroit Lions General Manager Bob Quinn comes from the New England Patriots, the most consistently successful team in the modern NFL. It makes perfect sense Quinn would borrow heavily upon the “Patriot Way”, a broad term which encompasses roster building, scouting principles, dealing with the media and organizational security.
It’s the media relations and shrouded secrecy where Quinn has definitely embraced the Patriot Way. This past weekend’s rookie camp is a perfect illustration.
The Patriots, under Bill Belichick, are notorious for releasing as little information as possible. The paucity drives the media covering the team batty, and the New England press see it as a badge of honor to successfully glean tidbits form otherwise vague or ambiguous public statements.
Detroit media, well…it’s an acclimation process. One that is going to require some serious adjustment.
Refusing to provide information on what players are participating in a tryout is extreme. Even the Patriots provided both the local and national media with rostered lists of tryout players.
Not Quinn. Not these Patriot Way Lions.
Some plumbing was definitely in order. The Martin Mayhew regime was somewhat transparent in intention, and the local media was able to get deep insight from sources both open and private. As an example, I was able to talk pretty freely with coaches and scouts during All-Star game sessions and college games. Obviously the depth of information was fairly shallow (most of the time), but they had no issues with professional courtesy and superficial pleasantries.
That changed with Quinn taking over. Lions employees I had been friendly with for years were now afraid to be seen speaking to me in public. The beat writers largely got the same treatment. Even strictly off the record info has dried up on strict orders from above. Belichick would be proud of his young protégé.
I hoped to write about all sorts of rookie camp developments, as Pat Starr wonderfully did for the Texans. You might note the Texans head coach is another offshoot of the Belichick tree, Bill O’Brien. He has no problem with opening up something as insignificant as a rookie tryout and basic camp to the media. The Seahawks and Packers, two other consistently successful teams both on and off the field, invited open and detailed coverage of their rookie camps and tryouts too.
Not Quinn. Not with his adaptation of the Patriot Way.