Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn addressed the media Monday afternoon after the team announced that Jim Caldwell was let go. Quinn hit on a ton of topics and was brutally honest. So here are my quick thoughts on the presser.
9-7 wasn’t good enough
While Quinn took responsibility for Detroit’s overall record—saying, “the record that we’ve had the last two years is on me”—he also clearly put some blame on the coaching staff.
Later in the press conference Quinn was asked simply did he think the Lions’ talent was better than the back-to-back 9-7 record shows. Quinn hesitated for a moment, before decisively saying “yes.”
“The standards that I have—and the Ford family has for this team—are greater than that,” Quinn said in his opening statement.
Bob Quinn is acting with pure autonomy
Many have worried that Quinn’s decisions are being influenced by ownership, but it is becoming increasingly clear that isn’t true. Quinn said that the decision to fire Caldwell was his alone, and he will have that same autonomy when finding his replacement. Quinn said that coaching interviews would be done by him and Rod Wood. No players. No ownerships. No Fords.
That being said, Martha Ford remains heavily involved in the day-to-day business of the team. Quinn said that he regularly meets with Ford “multiple times a week.”
There will be changes coming at running back
While Quinn doesn’t think he overestimated the Lions’ current set of backs, and thinks there’s talent there, he also admitted he thinks they will add a player to the backfield this year.
“Will we add someone? Probably,” Quinn said. “But that’s how the NFL really rolls. Every year there’s about 30 percent turnover on teams.”
But Quinn firmly expressed how disappointed he was with the running game overall. “We need to run the ball better, bottom line,” Quinn said. “We need to block better, we need to run better, we need to protect the ball better, we need to run better plays. You name it. Everything needs to get better.”
Eric Ebron is safe... for now
“Eric had a good year,” were the first words out of Quinn’s mouth when asked to evaluate his performance for the season. That alone speaks volumes, but Quinn went on to express trust in the young tight end.
“When you look at his play time over the course of the season, it actually went down over the course of the season, but his production went up. So I think he was really used effectively. He gained some confidence over the course of the season and he performed better.”
Then he was asked bluntly if Ebron would be on the team next year. His response was pretty clear. “Yeah, he’s under contract with the tender.”
Ebron’s fifth year option will cost the Lions $8.25 million in 2018, but for now, it appears that’s a price Quinn is willing to pay.
Bob Quinn was hard on himself
As mentioned above, Quinn took full responsibility for the Lions’ mediocre record over the past two seasons, but he also didn’t shy away from specific self-criticism.
“I definitely could have done a better job,” Quinn said. “Like I said, unless we win every game, I didn’t do my job well enough. I’m the first one to stand up and admit that I won’t be perfect, but I think we have more than a competitive team to be competing for championships.”
Overall, Quinn was incredibly blunt, self-critical and honest to the media. It was a refreshing look for an organization that has been shrouded in secrecy and half-truths. But talk is cheap. Quinn won’t be judged by his press conferences, but by his next move: hiring the next Detroit Lions head coach.