Detroit Lions pressure to win in 2020 may not be quite what you think

Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

The pressure for the Detroit Lions to win next season and beyond may not have as much to do with how many wins they get, but as to how they get them.

Sometime around the loss to the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving Day last year, the Ford family and president Rod Wood got together about the Detroit Lions to discuss the future.

Well aware of the frustration shared by fans, the group came together to have serious discussions about what to do to resolve the constant failure. The seemingly impossible task of making the Lions an annual playoff contender.

In the days that followed, they informed general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia that they will be retained for 2020 as general manager and head coach respectively. But they demanded visible progress towards being a playoff contender in 2020, and a foundation that will continue a consistently winning team into the future. They also insisted on replacing some assistants from the coaching staff to help them do it.

In mid-December, the Fords met with a select group of media members. They revealed their plans for 2020 including the details above but also conducted a lengthy discussion that involved matters that they asked to be kept private per Kyle Meinke of

"“The easy way out would have been for heads to roll. I asked [Sheila] Ford Hamp and her mother about that thirst for blood, and whether it made their decision to stay the course more difficult. There was an agreement in place that they would be quoted only selectively during the meeting, but let’s just say they were nodding before the words were out of my mouth.”"

What else may have been discussed in that meeting that the Fords didn’t want to make public? Looking over the past two months the fog has seemed to have been cleared to perhaps get a clue.

In a recent interview, former wide receiver Calvin Johnson was quite critical of the Lions’ medical team. He gave instances where winning was put far ahead of his health. This was followed by comments from former center Travis Swanson that supported the statement with examples of his own.

The NFL players are a brotherhood. Their loyalties are to one another just as much if not more than to their teams. They talk to each other and share experiences. And while they know that football is a business, they still expect to be treated as human beings with families, lives, and a future after football as well.

As players, they know that they must give 100 percent all of the time. Often that means damaging their bodies in some ways that will impair them in some way for their entire lives. Given this, they’re certainly not wrong to expect to be treated as human beings as well. Perhaps even more so.

We have known for a long time that NFL players don’t hold the Detroit Lions franchise in high regard. They are far from the most desirable team to go to. Wasn’t hiring president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn in 2016 supposed to solve that problem?

How was making Calvin Johnson reportedly pay back $1 million of his signing bonus going to help the team? That is a lot of money to most people, but something like that could definitely cost the team untold millions in the future. What free agent wants to join a team that’s so petty, when they have so many other choices that will offer about the same money?

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman came out recently and revealed that the Lions offered him more money but accepted less from San Francisco, saying that he like music played during practice and that Patricia made the players run too much.

Even Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been reported as not wanting to be drafted by the Lions due to the team’s current coaching situation.

So here’s the biggest indicator of what might have came out of that meeting that the Fords had with Quinn and Patricia. Beginning December 10th, the Lions went all out on filling the Injured Reserve list.

Fully nine players, all starters, went on Injured Reserve between the 10th and the 23rd of December. Then, right after the season ended, another five were designated as Questionable for the start of training camp. There appears to be no pressure to be at offseason workouts unless fully healthy.

Hopefully, the Ford family finally has realized that making the Detroit Lions are a more attractive franchise by showing players, both on the team and around the league, that players’ health is of utmost importance. The best free agents won’t likely come to a team unless they feel they can trust them to be treated well.

Next. Top 5 former Lions who won a Super Bowl after leaving Detroit. dark

Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia have been rebuilding the Detroit Lions roster. They have the money and the draft picks to do it. Now comes the hard part, rebuilding their reputation. And know this. They cannot successfully do one without fully addressing the other.