Almost nothing has gone right for the Lions this season. They overpaid in free agency. Their draft picks haven’t performed. They fired their coach. They lost a half dozen starters to injury.
Oh, and their quarterback is potentially on the trade block.
Yesterday we asked if you could handle another Lions rebuild.
Today, I want to go over if they’ll actually do it.
Will the Lions blow it all up this offseason?
My answer: No.
I’m not saying it’s the right move or the wrong move, but I don’t see the Lions organization lead by Sheila Ford Hamp, Rod Wood, and Chris Spielman being able to stomach a complete and utter rebuild.
There are two main factors that stick out in my mind.
1. The Lions don’t think they’re THAT far off
This might be teetering toward delusion, but think back to when Matt Patricia was fired. Sheila Ford Hamp came out and said, “You know, 10 days ago, we looked like we had a good chance to be playoff-bound, and both of those games were extremely disappointing. It just seemed like the path going forward wasn’t what we wanted it to be.”
To me, that’s a signal that the Lions think they have enough pieces to build around to be in the mix of the playoffs. The defense is awful. Historically awful.
But the Lions have enough pieces on offense where I could see them squinting hard and seeing a way forward.
2. GM candidates believe in Matthew Stafford
ESPN analyst (and Lions’ GM candidate) Louis Riddick said on “Get Up” this week that “Matthew Stafford should be sitting right where he is...they build around him, Detroit’ll be just fine.”
And this isn’t anything new. Back in April Riddick had a similar sentiment, saying that “Matthew Stafford has had to try and win and succeed in spite of disfunction around him his entire football career.”
Louis Riddick absolutely preaching about Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions:— Ku (@KuKhahilNBA) April 11, 2020
“The people around Matthew have failed him. Matthew hasn’t failed Detroit. The people around Matthew have failed Detroit.” pic.twitter.com/ZwasIT4lHV
And that feeling is shared around the league as well.
Stafford was rated the ninth best quarterback in Mike Sando’s 2020 Quarterback Tiers where they poll NFL executives and coaches before the season. Many pointing to how well he looked in the first eight games of 2019.
One defensive coach echoed similar things, saying, “If you landed him in Pittsburgh or San Francisco, you’d see a winner.”
Stafford certainly has his haters in and around Detroit, but he’s still thought highly of around the league and I’m not so sure a new GM is going to want to place his bet on a complete unknown in the draft or a retread free agent.
The Lions' best bet to win quickly is to stick with Matthew Stafford.