What could have been
Revisionist history is always nothing more than a guessing game, but what would have happened if Bob Quinn had hired Mike Vrabel instead of Matt Patricia? Would a Lions team on the verge of the playoffs made it to the next level and been able to make some playoff noise either last year or this season, like Vrabel’s Titans just did?
Unfortunately, we will never know the answer, but considering that Mike Vrabel would have been ahead of the game having a franchise quarterback in place with Matthew Stafford, one would have to suspect his chances of at least paralleling what he’s accomplished in Tennessee would have to be pretty good.
That would also include making some playoff noise.
Mike Vrabel’s Titans are based on hard-nosed, tough defense and a ball-control offense. Would Vrabel’s input to Bob Quinn in free agency and the draft have resulted in the Lions having a more solid offensive line? A consistent ground game? A much better defense?
Maybe or maybe not, but it certainly seems like it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the Lions would be a more physical team that wouldn’t resemble the ‘same old Lions’ we’ve watched for the past six decades.
When you consider the added bonus Vrabel would have of being able to open the offense up with Stafford to compliment pounding the rock as he likes to, this seems like it could have been a match made in heaven for long-suffering Lions fans.
Vrabel is a players coach who also demands that his team plays like contenders. His players love playing for him and accept being accountable for their performance. He also won’t tolerate anything less than winning. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact he benched the teams ‘franchise quarterback’, Marcus Mariota in favor of Tannehill.
In words of the late Al Davis, ‘just win, baby.’
So was the hiring of Matt Patricia a mistake? Would this team be any better off with Vrabel? We’ll never know for sure. But the pressure is now on for both Bob Quinn and his hand-picked head coach, Matt Patricia to get it right. Because while Martha Firestone Ford’s mandate was definitely open-ended, another season like these past two will mean the end of the road for Quinn and Patricia.