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Lions GM Bob Quinn explains benefits of signing ex-Patriots

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Adding former Patriots has its benefits... and drawbacks.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

If there has been one consistent criticism of the Detroit Lions’ aggressive offseason, it’s that general manager Bob Quinn was a little too tunnel focused on player that he has previous experience with. “The Detroit Patriots” has already become a meme on the internet, and it didn’t help when the Lions unveiled their alternate 2019 NFL Draft hat which sports the Patriots colors.

In total, Trey Flowers, Danny Amendola, Justin Coleman, and Rashaan Melvin all have had previous experience with the Patriots organization.

It’s a fair criticism, as that sort of strategy has rarely worked out for other branches of the Bill Belichick tree. But Quinn addressed those concerns this week on Ian Rapoport’s “Rapsheet and Friends” podcast.

First up was the Lions’ premier signing, defensive end Trey Flowers. There’s little doubt Flowers has the talent worthy of an aggressive contract, but Quinn said he brings a lot more than his talent on the field.

“The familiarity with the scheme is number 1,” Quinn said. “The coaching style, the structure, the schedule, the demands of the program, I think a guy that’s been through it for four years kind of understands it and kind of knows why you do it.

“I think nowadays players want to know why. Like, ‘Why are we doing this?’ and a lot of the guys we signed this year had some background with Matt and I, so they get that. So we don’t really have to reteach that.”

Last year, the Lions faced a lot of criticism about the drastic culture change. Matt Patricia’s coaching method was called into question, as there were several rumors that veterans were not happy with the stricter rules and the intense practices at training camp.

In other words, it seems like there were plenty of Lions players asking “Why?” last year.

But the Lions are now bringing in a culture of their guys. Detroit has barely signed any of their own free agents from last year, and they moved on from a couple of key veterans in T.J. Lang and Glover Quin—though there were other reasons to move on from those two.

Aside from being a culture fit, these new signings also bring something very important to Quinn: peace of mind. These are known commodities and known fits. You don’t always get that in free agency.

“There’s very few sure bets in free agency,” Quinn said. “I’m not saying these are sure bets, but I think when you have all the boxes and you can check most of them—you know the player, you know the scheme fit, you know the production—it makes it a little bit easier to go out and go after these guys.”

Of course, history shows us to be weary of signing former Patriots, but it’s clear that Bob Quinn feels he’s made the right decisions.