Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia met with the media on Wednesday at the NFL Combine (watch it here) to discuss the team’s future. While details were scarce, both had a few interesting things to say about the state of the Lions.
Here are some of their most interesting talking points from the day:
Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia like Ezekiel Ansah a lot
As expected, the two had to answer for Tuesday’s decision to franchise tag the team’s leading pass rusher, but both didn’t hesitate in supporting the decision.
The biggest concern over Ziggy is the myriad of injuries, but Quinn seemed to downplay that a worry. “He’s had some injuries, no question, but when you look over his career, he hasn’t missed all that many games,” Quinn said.
As they say, one of the best abilities in the NFL is availability, and it’s true that Ansah has only missed seven games in his five year career, and Quinn attributes that to Ziggy’s toughness.
“One thing about Ziggy is that he’s extremely tough,” Quinn said. “He works extremely hard behind the scenes to get ready for Sundays, and I have a great deal of respect for that.”
Though Ansah has been on the field for plenty of time, some worry about his productivity in those games. It appears, at times, injuries have been hampering his play and limiting his statline. Patricia didn’t seem too worried about that after watching game tape:
Bob Quinn on Ezekiel Ansah: "When you really watch the tape, the offensive line slides to him all the time."— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) February 28, 2018
Patricia, too, had nothing but good things to say about Ansah after looking at him on tape. “Ziggy is an outstanding player,” Patricia said after meeting with the pass rusher earlier in the week.
Don’t lock Graham Glasgow into the center position just yet
While it has been presumed for a while that the Lions will move on from Travis Swanson at center and slide Glasgow over to the middle, Quinn emphasized that decision has yet to be made. In fact, he’s very happy with the versatility that Glasgow provides.
“We’re going to leave that open,” Quinn said of the starting center position. “The great thing about Graham is that he can play both spots, and I think he proved that the last two seasons.”
The Lions were impressed with Jarrad Davis’ rookie year
Though Davis struggled early, both Quinn and Patricia mentioned how well they saw the rookie linebacker adjust to being put in a tough position to start the year.
“We threw him right into the mix at the start,” Quinn said. “Middle linebacker, playing every snap for the first however many weeks, making the calls on defense. And then we kind of slowed it back there midseason a little bit, to kind of let him just go play. And then towards the end of the season, he really stepped it up and played great down the stretch.“
Patricia, who said he’s seen rookie linebackers take on this “extremely difficult” task, came away very impressed, too.
Bob Quinn has made Matt Patricia’s job much easier
For a first-time head coach, Matt Patricia was given a tough task. Not only is he taking over a team that is expected to not have any real “rebuilding” stage, but he is also getting a late start—just over a month after most other NFL teams. But the adjustment period has been shorter than normal, thanks to his familiarity with Bob Quinn.
“I’m extremely lucky to be in this situation where—quite honestly, this is my first time walking this path—so to have someone that’s kind of next to me saying ‘Hey, look, be here for this’ or ‘Let’s be ready to go on this’ and kind of just pushing me along from that standpoint, because he’s already been in the fire for the last couple years with it, has been hugely helpful.”
But Quinn’s value doesn’t come just from being in the Lions’ organization for a couple years already; it’s the comfort level Patricia has working alongside his former co-worker of over a decade.
“We kind of just fall right back into our normal routine and it’s, like (Bob) said, like the good old days but like time hasn’t really passed you just fall right back into the pattern,” Patricia said. “Bob and I have a language, I’ll call it, that’s very similar from a standpoint of how we look and talk about football. And when you have that communication that flows smoothly like that, things tend to go a little more quicker.”
There were vague updates on personnel decisions
Here’s a rundown of what both indicated regarding several players:
- Bob Quinn says Eric Ebron will be back, so don’t expect him to be a cap casualty.
- Quinn has not spoken to Haloti Ngata yet.
- Jamal Agnew wasn’t in the mix last year defensively because of depth at nickel corner.
- Quinn was very supportive of Ameer Abdullah, stating he has “three-down value”.
- Quinn says they purposely started Teez Tabor out slow in 2017, and was impressed with how he finished the year.