National media unanimous about Lions’ ‘never-ending train wreck’

Detroit News

Detroit News
 |  The Detroit News

It was pretty much universal.

The Lions didn’t fare much better with national media reaction compared to Detroit football fans, who expressed frustration and disappointment with another wasted season in comments on The Detroit News’ Instagram accounts.

Here’s what NFL analysts had to say about the firing of general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia.

►Sports Illustrated, Albert Breer

“To the credit of Hamp, Ford and Wood, they did try this year. They gave Patricia and Quinn room to deepen the team’s identity. They signed off on the trade of three-time Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay, and acquisitions of Patriot-connected players Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton and Duron Harmon. They stayed the course longer than much of their fan base would’ve liked.

“The concept wasn’t wrong, and I’d even extend that to the firing of Jim Caldwell, a good coach and a good man — the idea there being that the program a scouting department is working to build should mirror the ways of the guys prowling the sideline. (Caldwell wasn’t the first, and he won’t be the last, coach or GM type to lose his job in such a transition.)

“The problem, really, was that Patricia struggled to get buy-in early, and after he finally found it, having worked with Quinn to reshape the roster, the team wasn’t good enough to keep advancing what those guys were trying to build. At the end, any investment gained from the locker room eroded as the results did, putting final nails in the program’s coffin.”

►NFL.com, Judy Battista

“With more than a month left in the regular season, Patricia is already the third head coach to be fired — he follows Atlanta’s Dan Quinn and Houston’s Bill O’Brien — which means, if nothing else, that there are going to be plenty of opportunities for NFL owners to prove they might be capable of changing their ways and conducting comprehensive, inclusive coach searches after all. The Patricia debacle only underscores Caldwell’s skill — his .563 winning percentage was best among full-time Lions coaches in the Super Bowl era — and should make him the target of any intelligent coaching search.

“This hiring cycle will be a test for the NFL’s practices, especially considering the recent enhancements to strengthen the Rooney Rule. Those enhancements, which, among other things, mandate multiple diverse candidates get interviews, should boost the profile of candidates like Dearborn, Michigan-native Robert Saleh, the 49ers defensive coordinator who should receive serious consideration from multiple teams.”

►ESPN.com, Michael Rothstein

“While there was far less grumbling about Patricia’s style from players this season — and a real connection seemed to emerge from Patricia and his players around social justice issues — it never translated into on-field improvement.

“The Lions too often looked disorganized and unprepared, hallmarks of coaching failure. Players blamed the team’s failures on execution but it often comes down to how they are coached during the week.”

►Yahoo.com, Dan Wetzel

“This was a never-ending train wreck in progress. Patricia showed no ability to match Caldwell, the coach who Quinn said wasn’t nearly good enough to keep his job. At no point did either of them show much of anything, other than the ability to cash in on Bill Belichick’s shine.

“They all could have been justifiably fired last year. They weren’t. The Fords believed in them. Instead, this season it was more of the same, only worse, all as Stafford’s prime continued to get wasted away.

“The Lions finally had enough. And finally held Patricia and Quinn to the same standard as Caldwell, one by which they fell well short.”

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