At the beginning of Week 9, we posted our weekly SB Nations Reacts surveys, and in addition to our confidence tracker, we asked two more questions:
- Do you approve of the Lions trade of T.J. Hockenson?
- Do you expect the Lions secondary to improve after the firing of Aubrey Pleasant?
Let’s start with the Hockenson results, where 72% of fans approved of the trade. This matches up pretty close with our “grade the trade” post from Ryan Mathews earlier in the week, where 78% of fans gave the trade a “C” grade or higher.
In our Week 8 Reacts poll, 52% of fans believed that the Lions should be sellers at the trade deadline, and the following Tuesday, general manager Brad Holmes traded Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings. Holmes spoke to the media following the trade and justified it by explaining that the Lions are still in the rebuilding phase.
“We’re still in the build phase,” Holmes said. “So with the capital that we received back from a compensation standpoint, I just think it made a lot of sense for us to continue on this build.”
One of the biggest obstacles to Hockenson’s future in Detroit was his salary, which was set to balloon to $9.4 million (fully guaranteed) in 2023. Holmes downplayed that money was a motivating factor in the decision but acknowledged it was one of many that went into making the move.
“There’s a lot of variables and factors that go into these decisions,” Holmes said. “I’m not gonna say that was not one of them that was looked at, but that was one of many that was looked at, but it wasn’t solely focused on that at all.”
In the end, this trade was made solely about the future of the team. Clearing salary cap and upgrading draft picks, while moving on from a player that the team did not envision as part of their long-term plan.
With the season slowly getting closer to being lost, fans seem to understand the decision to move on from Hockenson. However, the move to fire defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant generated mixed results.
Earlier in the week, Jeremy Reisman asked if this was the right decision and two-thirds of fans said yes, they believed it was. So, while fans appear to have agreed with the firing, the results from our Reacts survey show that they don’t believe it’ll help, as only 38% believe the secondary will improve.
Now, some of this could be fans’ lack of confidence in the coaching staff to replace Pleasant, but it probably has more to do with fans' lack of confidence in the talent of the Lions players in the secondary—which would line up with the team confidence poll results below.
Our weekly confidence poll results show a continued decline after yet another loss. Things are still above 50% for now, but at some point, the Lions are going to need to win a game if they want to stop their free fall.
Will that win come this week?
Most Lions fans still seem hesitant to say yes, but if you listen to the writers/fans’ in Green Bay, a lot of them are picking Detroit to get the upset win. At 3-5, the Packers are in unfamiliar territory and the reactions have been somewhat panicked. In the Acme Packing Company (SB Nations Packers site) weekly confidence poll, just 12% of Packer’s fans are confident in the direction the team is headed.
A big reason for the pessimism? The Packers are having trouble stopping teams—78% think defensive coordinator Joe Barry will be fired—and with the Lions offensive potential, Green Bay fans are preparing for the worst. Let’s hope they’re right.
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