It’s been almost exactly 23 months since the Detroit Lions hired general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell to lead this franchise into a new era. The buzzword since the two arrived in Allen Park—even if the two refused to say it—was “rebuild.” This team was in total need of a teardown: from culture to roster to philosophy. Nothing from the Matt Patricia era could remain.
Halfway through this season, Holmes spoke to the media after trading T.J. Hockenson, and he adopted the word “rebuild” for the first time since he arrived.
“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.”
It’s hard to believe that Holmes said that just over a month ago because this team has progressed exponentially since then. The Lions are 5-1 since that media session, and they’re starting to tally some big wins along the way. They beat the 7-2 Giants on the road, and they just took down a 10-2 Vikings team who was looking to clinch the division. These aren’t just wins, they’re wins that have eluded this franchise even during the relatively-successful years under Jim Caldwell.
So while there are certainly some improvements this roster still needs to make before they’re ready to contend for a Super Bowl, it’s also fair to say that this team is playing at a level that can contend with anyone in this league. So congratulations, Detroit Lions, you are no longer rebuilding. You have arrived.
On this week’s episode of the PODcast, we discuss an extremely entertaining game against the Minnesota Vikings, point out some breakout performances, and take a peek into Detroit’s suddenly improved playoff odds. Take a listen: