Detroit Lions: Ownership is still the biggest problem

Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Until the Detroit Lions ownership is willing to commit to real change, this team will never win a Super Bowl. They continue to make the same mistakes.

On Monday, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn spoke on SiriusXM NFL Radio about his comfort with quarterback Matthew Stafford being the starter during the 2020 season. You can check out the interview clip here.

Quinn isn’t wrong to be comfortable with his quarterback. Stafford played very well last season. And was probably on his way to the best performance in his eleven-year career.

But what is actually happening here is that the Detroit Lions management isn’t thinking beyond this upcoming season. And this franchise is blind to the fact that they have no viable quarterback option behind Stafford – if he gets hurt or decides to retire in the next couple years.

It is astounding that the Detroit Lions don’t see a depth problem at quarterback. Especially after they watched back-up quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and David Blough play some awful football during the last eight weeks of the season.

On Tuesday’s Pro Football Talk Live, Mike Florio and Chris Simms discussed the idea that the Lions could have a big run next year, ala the San Francisco 49ers making it all the way to this year’s Super Bowl. Florio closed his remarks with a warning as to why the Detroit Lions are unlikely to make that run (01-21-20, “#3”):

"“I don’t like the way that ownership made it clear that Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia are on the hot seat next year. And also, ownership did too much to make sure that the fans know that ownership listens to the fans… When you acknowledge that you’ve heard the fans, you empower the fans to keep shouting… [The Lions] need to get their winnable games early, so they can build some momentum.”"

The ownership of this team has handcuffed Quinn from being able to do his job. Instead of the best available player with the number three pick (most likely Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa), the Detroit Lions will select based upon need – not the acquisition of the best talent.

Do the Lions need a starting cornerback like Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah? Yes. They need just about any position on defense – although their biggest needs are on the defensive line.

Yet, the Detroit Lions will end up reaching for defensive players just to satisfy the need. Meanwhile, bigger and more impactful talents like Tua will go make another franchise Super Bowl worthy.

Okudah is a fine player. But the secondary is not the biggest issue with this team. It just appears that way because there are absolutely no signs of a pass rush.

This stems from where the NFL is headed. Quarterbacks that can extend plays are able to give their receivers more time to get open. And when that happens, there is only so much a good corner can do to stop it.

With Tua, the Lions would have a quarterback that can keep extending the play. Allowing top-end talents like wide receiver Kenny Golladay (for sure) and tight end T.J. Hockenson (hopefully) enough time to break free of coverage.

And the Lions can use the Kansas City Chiefs model of allowing Tua to learn under Stafford, just as quarterback Patrick Mahomes learned under Alex Smith. It is the perfect situation.

The defense is terrible; no question. But you can’t just reach for a player and hope for the best. And you absolutely shouldn’t do this just because the owner wants results, or else!

It is disheartening that Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are on the clock in terms of job security. How can you build a team like that?

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The Detroit Lions continue to repeat past mistakes. And unless this draft yields top talents (or multiple picks with a savvy trade… and again, some top talents at those lower picks), this team is headed for another disappointing season.

And when that happens, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia will take the fall. The Detroit Lions will make another questionable hire at both positions. And the never-ending losing will continue indefinitely.