Building a contender the right way
With a rebuild, it has to be understood that there will be growing pains. When Jimmie Johnson arrived in Dallas in 1989, he had a rookie quarterback named Troy Aikman and an all-star running back named Herschel Walker.
Walker was traded for several draft picks, Johnson fielded a young team and the Cowboys went 1-15. Three years later they won the first of back-to-back Super Bowls.
Again, this doesn’t guarantee the Lions anything, but it does illustrate that you have to be willing to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Sometimes the painful trades are the ones that begin the process of a team moving in the direction of becoming contenders.
Stafford has been an outstanding ambassador for the Lions. Both with his play on the field and how he has handled himself off the field. He was tough and willing to do whatever he needed to in order to get a win.
But in fairness to Matthew, the chance to play for the Rams and have the opportunity to cement his legacy with some playoff success is what he deserves.
As for the Lions, if this rebuild does work and the Honolulu Blue and Silver becomes a legitimate contender in a few years, then those boosters that decided to follow Stafford and become Ram fans will be back, and here’s why; because building a legitimate contender is better than any of all the old ‘retooling’ jobs that were thrown together for the last six decades.
Instead of just tossing together some half-baked roster and seeing what happens, constructing an actual winner built through the draft, like all contenders do, with a few key free agent signings when the time is right to make a move is the way legitimate contenders are built.
When the Lions drafted Matthew Stafford, that was what they tried to do, but failed miserably. The problem was after it failed and Matthew was a young veteran, this franchise gave up on building a winner in the draft around Stafford when it still could have been done.
Instead, they reverted to the usual ‘retooling’ which has never worked. Again, that’s not Matthew’s fault, that’s the fault of ownership and the ‘yes men’ they employed.
Will Jared Goff be better than Matthew? I don’t believe so and quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell still get the best quarterback available in the draft at pick number seven.
But having a veteran who can play and mentor the rookie is always in the best interest of grooming a young passer, instead of playing too soon and destroying their confidence.
The Lions have parted ways with Matthew. We all wish him the best of luck, but with the additional draft capital that the Lions were able to get in exchange for his services, hopefully, this new regime can find the talent necessary to finally build a winner.
If they succeed, and only if they succeed, then we can say it does get better.