Brad Holmes didn’t put cart before horse in Lions rebuild

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes (Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press Syndication)
Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes (Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press Syndication) /
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Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

Building a foundation for the Lions quarterback of the future

Let’s rewind the clock 12 years. The Lions were coming off the NFL’s first 0-16 season. A moment that was as embarrassing as it was predictable that Detroit should be the first to reach the lowest milestone in league history. However, that futility also gave them the first pick in the 2009 draft.

On April 25, 2009, the Detroit Lions used that number one overall pick to select Matthew Stafford as the cornerstone of their rebuild.

Now in all fairness, the Lions actually got the quarterback selection right. The problem was that Matthew was thrust onto the field to be Detroit’s savior with absolutely nothing to work with outside of Calvin Johnson.

Granted any quarterback would love to have Megatron to throw to, but the injuries Matthew suffered early in his career came from having little to no pass protection. The inability of the Lions to be able to run the ball with any kind of decent efficiency didn’t help either.

When we come back towards the present and stop at last season, what do we find? 11 years into Stafford’s career the offensive line wasn’t complete, but finally had some talented pieces and there was a talented rookie running back, who spent the first half of the season sitting behind an over the hill Adrian Peterson.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Stafford’s heroics were often amazing, but for a franchise whose modus operandi was to get weapons for Matthew, how does it take 11 seasons before he is surrounded by any kind of real talent on all levels of the offense?

We won’t even address the complete lack of defensive commitment the Lions front office had outside of one season they caught fire, before falling right back to earth.

While having weapons on offense was important, having a defense that could actually take some pressure off the offense was pretty important too.

Today Matthew Stafford is now the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams and will find out what it’s like to have a complete team around him. As for the Lions… well, their rebuild has started in the trenches.

But there are still some who are upset that the Lions didn’t do the thing they usually do and use their top two picks on a blue-chip receiver like DeVonta Smith and a young quarterback like Kyle Trask, Davis Mills, or Kellen Mond.

Because going the opposite route of building a strong foundation for that eventual quarterback of the future so he has a chance to actually have more help than Matthew ever got couldn’t possibly work. Or could it?