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Sunday open thread: What do you need to see from the Lions to make you buy back in for next year?

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What would make you optimistic for 2020?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

You know the situation. 3-6-1 in a strong NFC conference, the Lions are all but out of the playoff race and have next to nothing to play for. The diehards will still watch the games and cheer the Lions on, of course. You know how you are.

Barring a complete meltdown from Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, the current regime probably still has another year to steer the ship into relevancy. That word, relevancy, is not often synonymous to the Lions. Heading into Patricia’s third year (or perhaps not), it’s going to take a lot for me personally to buy back in to the belief that this team can make a run at the playoffs.

Which brings us to today’s Question of the Day:

What would it take for you to buy back into the Lions’ chances for next year?

My answer: I don’t think a head coaching change or a general manager change is the answer just yet, but next year should be Patricia’s and Quinn’s last year if failure continues.

With that being said, I think it’s absolutely crucial to see actual improvement from the defense for the remainder of the year. We saw last year’s run defense transform into arguably the league’s best during the second half of Patricia’s rookie year. If we can see the defense finally create pressure on opposing quarterbacks, or abandon the three-man rushes on key downs, then there may be some hope that we can carry that over into next year.

To see this through, we’re also going to need to see better individual play. Jarrad Davis has been awful throughout his career, but has put together back-to-back impressive performances. If he can continue to play well, that would be huge for the defense.

Last year, we had guys like Frank Ragnow, Da’Shawn Hand and Tracy Walker make early contributions as rookies, but we haven’t really seen that from this year’s class. Someone to keep an eye on is Austin Bryant, who was recently activated from IR and may have a chance to finally contribute.

Your turn.