Detroit Lions at the halfway mark: Positional report cards
Quinn hired in his old buddy Patricia to help instill the values, schemes and winning culture that has made their old team, the New England Patriots, the most revered and successful NFL franchise of the last two decades. It hasn’t happened yet, and one has to wonder if it ever will for these two in Detroit.
Give Patricia credit for bringing in Bevell, who has been an excellent fit for Stafford and the entire passing offense. After a year away from the NFL, Bevell has helped Stafford accentuate his strengths, though he has yet to find a way to generate any sustained production in the run game. Losing Kerryon Johnson doesn’t help matters, but he wasn’t excelling in Bevell’s offense anyway when he went down.
Patricia has rid the team of players that don’t fit his philosophy and he’s done a good job of reincorporating several of his former disciples from his time in New England. Also, his constant emphasis on fundamentals has resulted in more takeaways – they are just three away from surpassing last season’s total of 14.
However, the sharp decline of the entire defense, particularly against the run has been alarming and confounding, as has Patricia’s inability to generate a respectable pass rush despite multiple resources dedicated to that pursuit.
His timeout usage has been odd at times, and he simply hasn’t been able to figure out how to close tight games – three of their four losses, and their tie, have come when the Lions have had the lead or been tied in the second half.
Quinn deserves kudos for acquiring productive players at little cost – McKissic, Hall, and Amendola have all made big plays for the Lions despite being some of the team’s lesser compensated members. He wisely stood pat at the deadline, as teams were likely looking to pry some of their notable players away for less than market value.
His three biggest free-agent signings from this offseason though – Flowers, Coleman, and James -haven’t collectively produced at the level that was expected, and Quinn may have underestimated how important a legitimate backup was for the injury-prone Johnson. They have also gotten somewhat disappointing contributions from their rookie class, though judging a first-year crop after eight games isn’t necessarily appropriate.
Ultimately, Quinn and Patricia will be evaluated based on how the Lions finish in 2019. The playoffs are probably an unrealistic expectation at this point, but progress has to be made to justify another year under this pair. Whether that means eight, nine or more wins or simply a consensus that the program is firmly pointing in the right direction at the end of the season remains to be seen.
Do you agree with our grades? What changes would you make to our Lions halfway-mark report cards? Let us know in the comments section below.
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