After the Detroit Lions were drilled by the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving Day, former linebacker Stephen Tulloch directed some pointed comments toward Matt Patricia and the team’s coaching staff.
Now, he wants folks to know that he wasn’t exactly calling for people to be fired outright, but was rather merely expressing some frustration with how things have gone for the team. As Tulloch said, he’s a Lions fan, and he believes the time is now for the team to reverse some of the biggest problems they have endured through the years.
Tulloch was merely saying things plenty of fans were thinking in the moment after Thursday’s game played out. Frustration with Patricia and his staff is at an all-time high as the coach has slipped to 9-18-1 in his tenure in Detroit. That’s led to some rumors about his job, even though the team is staying quiet on those fronts right now.
Tulloch himself wants folks to know he is merely speaking as a passionate fan and not calling for anyone to be fired.
Stephen Tulloch’s Stats
Tulloch broke into the league in 2006 as a fourth round pick of the Tennessee Titans. Under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, he had a solid career in Tennessee and managed to earn a big free agent deal from the Lions in Detroit, where he’d join Schwartz as he became a head coach for the first time. With the Lions, Tulloch became a fan favorite for his aggressive play and his ability to cover ground on the field. Tulloch played from 2011-2015 with the Lions and then departed for Philadelphia. He played there for one season in 2016 and then retired from the league.
As a whole, Tulloch finished with a solid 949 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries and 1 defensive touchdown in his career. Since his retirement, he has devoted himself to his charitable work and remains a fan favorite in Detroit not only for his play, but for his passion for the city and the team.
Bob Quinn’s Lions Tenure
Quinn came to Detroit after Martha Ford stunningly blew out Detroit’s front office following a debacle in the 2015 season. Quinn entered from New England and elected to observe Caldwell for two full seasons before making a move. Though Caldwell would finish with a winning record, Quinn eventually sacked him at the end of the season in 2017.
All the while, Quinn has been the one crafting the roster, and there have been some major hits as well as some obvious misses for the general manager. In 2016, Quinn’s first draft involved the selection of Taylor Decker along the offensive front. Decker has been solid, but far from elite. The 2016 draft also saw the Lions pick up Graham Glasgow who’s been a starter, as well as a solid piece.
From there, Quinn has managed to find a few difference makers every draft season. 2017 brought Jarrad Davis, who has been alright as well as Kenny Golladay, who has arguably been Quinn’s best pick. In subsequent drafts, players like Glasgow, Jamal Agnew, Frank Ragnow, Da’Shawn Hand, Tracy Walker, Kerryon Johnson and Tyrell Crosby have been solid contributors and shown glimpses.
In free agency, Quinn’s work has been more hit or miss. He has picked up names like Marvin Jones, Justin Coleman, Trey Flowers and Devon Kennard but has surprised by adding names like Jesse James, Christian Jones and Rashaan Melvin, all of whom have struggled to fit in. Quinn has also made some failed signings at running back.
As a whole, it’s perhaps a bit more on Quinn that Detroit has struggled so badly this season. His roster has not had the advantage of key depth that so many teams in the NFL feature.
Matt Patricia’s Lions Tenure
Patricia came to the Lions fresh off success in New England in 2018, and struggled out of the gate to capture the attention of the locker room. A bumpy start paved the way to a more solid finish in 2018 with the team only winning six games, but defeating squads like the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers, which offered hope.
Patricia has helped the Lions stay in games for the most part in 2019, something which the team struggled with in 2018, but has not gotten them over the hump at closing. That’s perhaps his biggest wart so far as a boss, combined with a lousy defense that has not picked up the program whatsoever. Patricia might get more of a pass considering the absurd amount of injuries he’s dealt with, but it’s hard to ignore that in his tenure as coach, the Lions have had the same discipline problems plague them that always have through the years.
The bet is that both Patricia and Quinn get a mulligan on 2019 considering the rash of injuries that have set the team back, while also living with the understanding that 2020 is likely the make or break year for this group.
That might not be the case when all is said and done, however, if Martha Ford has her way. At this point, however, nobody knows what the decision makers are thinking.
For right now, Tulloch simply wants fans to remember he is on their side and wants to see the team become a winner.
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