Foundation. If you’re a Detroit Lions fan and you’ve followed head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, then there’s no doubt this word has been beaten into your brain over and over and over again.
On Monday, Quinn spoke to the media for the first time since the NFL draft and he continued the beating there. The word was mostly used when Quinn was asked why he felt the Ford family decided to keep him and Patricia around
Quinn stated that while the wins are not there, “it’s just the foundation that’s here and the good things that have happened, even though they have not equated to wins and losses. To scrap that and start from scratch would be taking a step back.”
This has caused me to wonder. What is this foundation that the Lions front office keeps talking about? I want to delve deeper and share some thoughts and ideas on this whole situation. Let’s jump into it.
What do I think the foundation is?
When the Lions are referring to “The Foundation” I believe they are talking about building a core of young players and younger veterans that are familiar with the system. You definitely have to consider Matthew Stafford as one of the biggest cogs in the machine in Detroit, but what I’m talking about is the draft picks.
I think Quinn is probably hedging his bets on the idea that it takes a village and it takes time to win a championship. It takes time for his players—specifically drafted for Matt Patricia’s system—to take over and establish the foundation. This is about guys like Tracy Walker and Jarrad Davis. This is about the idea of taking these players and growing them into a system where each guy plays to his strength.
In this scenario, the Lions are going almost full-on Patriot Way, and they’re going to take their sweet time doing it. The foundation is in place. But would firing Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia knock that down? More on that a little later.
What Bob Quinn probably thinks the foundation is
I think it’s a little bit of Column A and little bit of Column B. Column A is obviously what I think, a core of young, drafted players. Column B is less about player acquisition and more about the culture.
Several Lions players have sung the praises of Matt Patricia in a season where this team only won three games. Of course, we’ve also heard the opposite former players that are no longer on the team, but nothing to that effect from he current roster.
That’s the foundation. Players are buying in. You can’t buy that. Sure you can pay a player millions of dollars, but that doesn’t automatically equate to them loving the coaching staff or buying into the culture the team is trying to implement.
At the end of the day, Quinn is probably a really good salesman. This is what Quinn most likely brought to the meeting with the Fords. It worked and now he and Patricia have their chance to stick around for what looks to be a make-or-break season in 2020.
What’s so special about this foundation?
Here’s my last thought. It goes back to a question asked of Quinn on Monday: Why does he and Patricia deserve a third season. He talked about the foundation and how the Lions would have to scrap everything and start over again.
But what about this foundation warrants the ability to keep building upon it? Assuming the foundation began with the hire of Patricia, they have only accounted for nine wins in two seasons. If you go back to 2016 when Quinn stated with the Lions, a 27-36-1 isn’t making any stronger of a case.
So why can’t the Fords move on? These players are under contract and aren't old dogs that can’t learn new tricks. Quinn said tearing it down and starting over with a new group would be a step back, but what does a step back from 3-12-1 look like? They’ve basically stepped as far back as they can go.
They may have the Fords sold on these ideas at the moment, but as of right now, I’m one skeptical customer.