As the Detroit Lions hit a new low for the 2019 season, emotions are running wild for long-suffering fans who are impatient for success.
The age-old question is facing today’s Detroit Lions: “What have you done for me lately?” Well, the Lions lost to the Washington Redskins, a team that had only one win so far in the 2019 season. What has the reaction been? FIRE THEM ALL!
Before you pull out your pitchforks and torches, let’s do a little comparison of head coaches using Lions head coach Matt Patricia and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, because he’s the best. As a first-time head coach, Belichick had three straight losing seasons with the Cleveland Browns before posting a winning record and winning a playoff game in 1994.
Wow, I can’t believe the Browns didn’t fire Belichick after his first two losing seasons. Or after his third consecutive losing season. He was given four years in Cleveland to succeed and finally did. Then he regressed before ending up in New England. And with the Patriots in his first year … he posted a losing record.
This is the best head coach in the NFL! He didn’t succeed instantly. It took time. But in today’s NFL, “What have you done for me lately?” Patricia is deep into his second season, dealing with a bunch of injuries and looks like he will post his second losing record in Detroit. Naturally, the reaction is to fire him.
It’s not just Patricia that has become the target of the “FIRE HIM!” chants. Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn is evidently on the hot seat as well. With former head coach Jim Caldwell at the helm when he arrived, the team posted a winning season and lost a playoff game. Then they posted a winning record and missed the playoffs. And now they are looking down the barrel of two straight losing seasons.
He’s taking this team in the wrong direction, correct? The records say yes. But the change he’s brought is to be expected. It’s obvious that Quinn wanted his own coach upon arrival. New GMs like to pick “their guy” to lead the team they put together, not keep the incumbent. So, record be damned, Caldwell’s days were numbered from the start of Quinn’s tenure.
We can debate all day if that’s right or wrong, but it is what it is. And now we’re in the second year of Quinn having the coach he wants and adjusting the roster with Patricia’s input. Only two years. That’s really not a long time to construct a roster together and win together.
Imagine if Belichick was fired after two losing seasons in Cleveland. Who knows if he would have ever been given another shot at head coaching and be as great as he is today. Sure, there’s a lot of optimism in giving Patricia and Quinn another year or two to put together a winning product. But adjusting a roster to fit a new coach and his scheme doesn’t happen overnight.
Should Patricia and Quinn remain in Detroit next year? That’s up to the owner and management to decide. But don’t be surprised if they get another year or two. You can question their decisions and trades, we all do. We also don’t know what’s going on inside their offices and how things are actually working.
While we’re all looking at the record and hanging our heads in disgust after high hopes for the season, Quinn and Patricia certainly aren’t out there trying to fail. Some things in life just take time. Based on Belichick’s journey as a first-time head coach, giving them time might be the best thing to do, even in a “win now” league. But that’s not up to us.
One thing is for certain, starting over with a new coach and general manager ensures another year or two of rough seasons as they try to make the roster the way they’d like it. Again, success won’t happen overnight.