Instead of simple negotiating laziness, however, Quinn explained that the reasoning had everything to do with the type of season the Lions were getting set to take on. When free agency began in March, America was in the early throws of the coronavirus pandemic. That created an uncertainty about the 2020 season on the field, and Quinn knew he wanted players in the mix who understood the system well.
So, as he explained to the media, he added one former Patriots player to every level of the defense in order to help out the defense. Danny Shelton was signed to help the line, Jamie Collins came into the mix at linebacker and Duron Harmon for the secondary at safety.
Bob Quinn said Lions added a player familiar with the defensive scheme at each level by design (Harmon, Collins, Shelton) when it was clear there was a threat of a truncated offseason.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 31, 2020
Quinn was ripped widely by the national media for the moves, but time seems only to have proven Detroit’s roster boss a soothsayer thus far. NFL teams had their offseason programs interrupted by coronavirus, and have had to fight through a truncated training camp. That could make adjustments and terminology difficult for some, but Detroit has a trio of veterans familiar with Matt Patricia and the defense to rely on to help ease this adjustment.
Will that benefit the team in the end when the games begin? Only the play on the field will tell, but at the very least, the Lions could be giving themselves a better chance at having a more seamless adjustment in a truly unprecedented offseason.
NFL Analyst Bashed Lions Offseason Over Patriots Signings
ESPN analyst Kevin Seifert had a complaint about the Detroit offseason a few months back regarding the type of players the team signed. In a piece breaking down some of the winners and losers of the free agency period, the Lions were identified as a loser, particularly because of their over-reliance on former Patriots players.
Here’s a look at what Seifert wrote as a critique on the Lions approach:
“Meanwhile, the Lions — led by two former Patriots staffers in general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia — guaranteed linebacker Jamie Collins $18 million, while also agreeing to terms with defensive tackle Danny Shelton and trading for defensive back Duron Harmon.
This isn’t so much a comment on the players themselves, but on the cockeyed and still unproven idea that there is some kind of magic sauce that comes with someone who has been in the Patriots’ program. Why can’t we just acknowledge that Patriots coach Bill Belichick has built a unique set of circumstances that routinely maximizes players in ways that aren’t likely to be replicated elsewhere? As a matter of team-building, giving an edge to people with a Patriots connection probably could cloud out more qualified candidates. Just stop it!”
In addition to the Lions, the Miami Dolphins were named as a loser for the same reason. Clearly, Matt Patricia is trying to institute his culture, and it will be interesting to see if this massive transplant ends up working for the team in 2020.
Ultimately, that will be how things are judged in the end, regardless of how many people are frustrated with the approach. Given the pandemic, it might only help to benefit the team more.
Bob Quinn Rated Low in General Manager Rankings
Quinn isn’t generating high marks for his work as a boss. Such is the case with Rotoworld and contributor Patrick Daugherty. Recently, Daughtery ranked all the general managers in the NFL and Quinn came in at No. 30 on his list, just one spot above both brand new league bosses. It’s clear that Quinn is as close to the basement as possible in the league.
Here’s what Daugherty wrote:
“Do you have strong feelings about Bob Quinn? Does anybody? Where are the impact players? Where is the plan other than cycling through people Bill Belichick allowed to walk in free agency? Why was Jim Caldwell fired after back-to-back 9-7 seasons only to be replaced by Belichick’s least impressive mini-me, Matt Patricia? Nothing has gone right for Caldwell since his Patricia galaxy brain, with Patricia proving more adept at chasing off talent (Darius Slay, Quandre Diggs) than cultivating it. Not that Quinn has been killing it. His 2017 first-round pick, Jarrad Davis, just had his fifth-year team option declined. Quinn continues to overinvest in the running game. To a comical degree — Trey Flowers, Duron Harmon, Justin Coleman, Danny Shelton, Danny Amendola and literally eight others — Quinn only seems interested in ex-Patriots on the trade and free agent markets. How about instead of co-opting someone else’s identity, you create your own? This is the Detroit Lions. It’s going to take a big thinker to turn things around. Quinn only seems capable of copying someone else’s thoughts.”
That’s a pretty scathing take down of Quinn as well as his boss Matt Patricia. It’s clear the duo haven’t been successful early in their tenure, but Daugherty seems to imply that there isn’t much hope here for Lions fans in 2020 and beyond with this duo at the helm.
There are two sides to every story, of course. The Lions have done a decent job in some ways with Quinn, finding solid players in the draft and free agency. There’s been misses of course, but no general manager is perfect. Quinn can take steps toward dispelling this frustrating ranking this season.
If he is able to, his smart free agency approach might be a big reason why.