Detroit Lions: New regime primed to build new identity

The copy-cat days are finally over as the Detroit Lions have hired a new general manager and are focused on a new head coach. Gone is the talk of Patriots-Midwest. Gone are the attempted replications of a New England dynasty that have never come to fruition outside of Foxborough. Finally, Detroit will have a new identity of its own.

For better or worse, Lions general manager Brad Holmes and presumed head coach Dan Campbell will be starting (nearly) from scratch to build up a new era of Detroit Lions football. As with every offseason, fans are asked to have hope and optimism through the process but also to have an aspect of realism mixed in.

Right now, everything is being shuffled around in the structure of the organization as far as who reports to Lions president Rod Wood and which people will be handling which duties moving forward. With all the change happening inside the building, the hope is there will be a change in output on the field each week.

Let’s be clear, the winning won’t happen right away. As The Score shared before the 2020 season:

“From 2010 to 2019, 67 teams entered the season with new names at the head coaching position. Those clubs improved their record by an average of 1.5 wins, with 41 of them finishing with a better record than the year before (those teams’ records jumped by nearly four victories each). As a whole, clubs improved their winning percentage from 34% to 43.6% under a new staff.”

What will 2021 look like?

So, what should you expect from the Lions in 2021? How about we give them the average and, due to recent history, round down. That puts them at six wins with the new coach and front office. Given the state of the roster and the huge question marks at quarterback and wide receiver, six wins sound generous at this point.

Campbell buys into the Bill Parcells’ philosophy of football: run the football and control the clock. In this way, the game isn’t won or lost by the quarterback. Which, for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, could mean a very different role in 2021. Or, it means Campbell will be happy to trade Stafford away and bring in the infamously-labeled game manager style of quarterback.

No matter what happens at the quarterback position in Detroit, these Lions will have a new identity in 2021. Will it lead to success? Or will it leave everyone saying, “Same Old Lions?” Time will tell. But at least they are trying to do something on their own instead of something that has never succeeded: replicating the Patriots dynasty outside of New England.