I really try not to be that guy.
I really don’t want to be the guy that overreacts to a trade or roster move in the immediate when there are a lot of long-term variables at play. People who do that tend to jump to conclusions based on small sample sizes and swells of emotion over facts. People who do that end up on Old Takes Exposed.
But after just under seven weeks, I’m declaring it. The Quandre Diggs trade is an embarrassment, a disaster, a theft, a bamboozle, and a major strike against not only general manager Bob Quinn, but the entire Lions coaching staff.
First, let’s get some things out of the way. I’m not here pretending Quandre Diggs is suddenly an All-Pro safety. We all tend to overreact to interceptions, and the fact that Diggs notched two picks against the Rams on “Sunday Night Football”—including a pick-six—is not necessarily representative of his overall level of play with the Seattle Seahawks.
A few of his interceptions look to be of the right-place-at-the-right-time variety, not necessarily great breaks on the ball or amazing instinctive plays. His ability to make plays, too, is almost certainly aided by a front seven that can actually generate pressure.
And I’m not even going to make the argument about how trading a defensive captain affected the Lions’ locker room. Darius Slay was obviously very emotional about it, but there have been no signs that Detroit’s young secondary—or anyone else on the team—has given up on this coaching staff or front office.
But the Lions currently find themselves desperate for playmakers on the defensive side of the ball while the Seahawks are benefitting from the addition of one. Since the Quandre Diggs trade, the Lions have two interceptions. Diggs, himself, has three since the trade... and he’s only played in four games. His PFF grade in certainly improved in his four games in Seattle, while Detroit is making every quarterback look like Hall of Famers in Diggs’ absence.
Quandre Diggs has talent. He’s not even 27 years old yet, and he’s making plays at a rapid pace in Seattle. Just look at the kind of things people in Seattle are saying about him. He’s already drawn comparisons to Earl Thomas, he’s improving the players around him. Hell, one analyst even called the acquisition of Diggs as the single reason the Seahawks are contenders. While that last one is certainly some hyperbole, here’s what Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is saying about him.
“I’ve always just kept track of (Diggs) because I thought he was a rare player in what he was willing to try to do,” Carroll said. “Some guys play by the book and they’re really conservative. He’s not.”
The Lions gave that up to move up 40-some spots in the final day of the draft.
Detroit has still not offered an adequate reason for why they traded Diggs. In his post-trade press conference, head coach Matt Patricia glossed over Diggs’ contributions both as a leader and a playmaker, and decided, instead, to spew coach-speak to rationalize the trade.
“There are certainly things that we try to do to help the team get better in the long run for us, and certainly in a situation where we think moving forward hopefully, we have some players that can still help us, even if we do make a move like we did,” Patricia said back in October.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn has remained silent, and we probably won’t get an explanation until his season-ending press conference in the new year.
The growing feeling is that Diggs and the Lions staff were at odds. The signs are everywhere, if you’re looking for them. Diggs thanked everyone in Detroit during his exit—except for the coaches and management. Diggs told the media his trade was likely a move to control the locker room. His brother, Quentin Jammer, tweeted this right after the trade, and Diggs seemed to endorse it:
If you’re trying to protect your young, impressionable secondary room, and Diggs is a threatening disturbance, trading him would make sense. But how did we get to this point where Diggs was such a bad influence? Just weeks prior, his teammates thought he was such a positive influence that he deserved to wear the title of captain. Over his previous four years with the Lions, Diggs had built a reputation as a hard worker who played with a chip on his shoulder and an instinctive football mind. Suddenly, he turned into a diva on the levels of Odell Beckham Jr. or Josh Norman?
I’m not buying it. Instead, this reflects poorly on the coaching staff. It’s their job to get the best out of their players—both as leaders and as players. If Diggs, who for the first four years of his career was nothing but a perfect example of a team player and a blossoming playmaker, suddenly was on the decline, that is fully on the coaching staff, and the Seahawks are making that clearer as every Sunday passes.