NOVAK: Apparently, the new leader has no interest in improving Lions

Published 1:21 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2020

I was hopeful that there was a chance atop the Detroit Lions power structure that it would be someone interested in making the team better.

Since it is Wednesday afternoon, and Matt Patricia still has a job, I guess it is the same old Lions. I cannot understand how Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn are still employed. All you have to do is look at their resume.

Detroit extended its National Football League record for consecutive games lost after leading by double digits to have games on Sunday with a loss to the New Orleans Saints, who the Lions led 14-0 before giving up 35 consecutive points to a team missing several key starters on offense. Detroit has lost 11 of its last 13 games.

Brought to Detroit to fix the defense, the Lions are one of the worst teams in the league in that statistic. Detroit has given up more than 20 points in each of its games this season. No other coach has lost all but two of its games in the span of two and a half years would still have a job. No team that blows leads left and right would be employed.

Remember, this is the team that replaced Jim Caldwell because 9-7 was not good enough. The ownership said it wanted a consistent winning on the field. As of today, Detroit has been nothing but a consistent loser with a head coach whose background is in defense. His defenses have been terrible pretty much throughout the 24 games he has coached.

Not only is Detroit bad on the field, but former players, and some who are still with the team, question Patricia as a head coach. They question Quinn as a GM. I question the owner of the team and the people in charge of signing paychecks? Why have they not stepped up and either fired the two of them or given them an ultimatum?

I figured it would come during the bye week, which the Lions are currently on. There is no better time than now to make the transition to an interim head coach. But, it appears Detroit is going to waste another season of Matt Stafford’s career, not to mention the careers of the few good players they have on the squad.

Former Detroit quarterback Dan Orlovsky dismantled Patricia on Monday on ESPN. He said Patricia and Quinn saying that there was a lot of work to do, was “a bunch of trash!” He pointed out that the Lions were a competitive team under Caldwell and that the organization’s environment was good. He pointed out that the team was 11-5 in 2014. They dipped to 7-9 in 2015, but won six out of the last eight games that season, which set up a pair of 9-7 seasons.

Then came the change.

“We were a good football team. Matthew Stafford was playing good as he has in his career,” Orlovsky said. “That was because of Coach [Jim] Caldwell. And we were an organization that was ascending.”

It has been a downhill slide ever since Detroit got rid of Caldwell and hired Patricia from the New England Patriots. Since that time, Patricia and Quinn had made so many trades with the Pats that it is like they are a farm club. The only problem is, Detroit sends them quality players and gets castoffs and aging players in return, who have not done a thing to make the Lions better.

Now the question is, when will Sheila Ford Hamp, who is running the team, will finally pull the plug on this failed experiment? Patricia and Quinn have to go. They were given an extension at the end of last season to turn things around. Obviously, after three games, that is not going to happen.

Detroit has shown no signs of life outside of their win at Arizona in Week 2. They have not only turned in sub-par performances in its other games, but have been downright awful. This was the week to try to salvage the 2020 season. Apparently, we will have to wait yet another year to see if the Lions can finally climb out of mediocrity like so many other teams have done during the time they have been mired in it.


Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at