For the the past decade, the Detroit Lions have been a team that’s treated their entire operation like they had the Da Vinci Code and were smuggling it weekly. Things like the injury report were a complete mystery. With Jim Caldwell, it was “check the report.” With Matt Patricia, it was as if he was carrying the injury report in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. Much like the briefcase from “Pulp Fiction,” we weren’t allowed to see what was inside of it.
It wasn’t just the injury report. The Lions, especially under Patricia and Bob Quinn, treated the Lions like a forbidden business that we weren’t supposed to know anything about. It was impossible to get anything other than corporate speak out of Matt Patricia, and it was even more impossible to just have a conversation with Bob Quinn.
Let me just digress into a story real quick. When Matthew Stafford hurt his back in November of 2019, it was a complete shock. Nobody knew he had fractured bones in his back before the Lions played the Bears on November 10, including the NFL. Which, of course, is why the Lions were fined $75,000 for not updating the league on his status.
I was at Soldier Field to cover the game that Sunday. We had to essentially ambush Bob Quinn as he got off the elevator just to get some sort of comment on the situation. Even then he said basically nothing. Stuff like that is just not fair to Lions fans. They deserve to know what’s in the cards for their team on Sunday. It’s not like they’re asking for the security code for your house, Bob.
Lions fans don’t have to worry about that anymore. It’s a new era under Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. It’s the era of fun and openness. This group is only hiding what logically needs to be hidden, but that’s it. If you want to know how they feel about things, they’re upfront about telling you.
Take the Todd Gurley situation. The former All Pro running back came in to visit the Lions and Dan Campbell has been up front about the team wanting the guy. When Gurley visited the Ravens this past week, the Lions didn’t act like he didn’t exist anymore and that they had never heard of the Baltimore Ravens, they came out and said they aren’t sweating it and that they’re still interested if he is. That seems so small. But it’s refreshing to hear guys in this position just talk to us like we’re also in their position. It’s like an interactive experience at this point.
It’s the same with the injury report. To hear Dan Campbell tell us that an injury is “no big deal” makes fans feel better. That’s part of what these guys are here to do. Yes, it is about you Lions fans. The guys who are essentially the face and the words of this entire franchise should be here to relieve your stress and honestly answer your questions.
This new approach is just so welcome in Detroit. We want to have fun. We want to know the information and the whys. That’s exactly what we’re getting when we see things like the Lions dropping a 37-minute YouTube video taking you into the Lions war room.
Instead of a five-minute highlight video of the Lions simply making the picks you already know they made, we got to see the highs and the lows in the war room. We got to see the team deliberate over what guys they wanted. Instead of seeing a room full of guys that are sure they’re the smartest football guys to grace the face of the Earth, we got to see a group of guys and an owner openly talk about this being their first time at the dance. We saw them differing to John Dorsey’s experience on the draft process. We got to see everyone working together and leaning on each other. Hell, we even got to see the team’s scouts give their thoughts on players and prospect interviews.
Stuff like this doesn’t translate necessarily to lead to success on the field, but it does lead to a more healthy culture if you ask me. If the staff is honest and having fun with us, they’re definitely doing that with the players, and that’s something that was sorely missed around here. Let’s hope the Lions don’t lose this energy any time soon.