The Detroit Lions seem set on making some changes in the near future, but after that point, there’s also a feeling of what comes next given the uncertainty that always follows any firing.
It’s crystal clear some huge moves have to be made in Detroit, and the time is now for Sheila Ford Hamp to start thinking big while understanding that the usual plan for how the Lions operate is not going to be leading to any serious winning on the gridiron any time soon.
Everyone knows things have to change, but how do the Lions make that change count? It’s time for them to put established football people in positions of power and let them make serious football decisions. To that end, there’s a way for the Lions to climb out of the abyss they currently see, but only if they commit to making some bold moves.
Here’s one way they could go about doing that.
Lions Fire Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia, Re-Assign Rod Wood
There’s simply no way that this trio should be allowed to stick around any longer in positions of power, and no reason for the Lions to allow Quinn another chance to preside over a sixth draft or a second head coach hire. Wood, a trusted family friend, has to see his title change as well. There’s no reason a man with a clear business background should be dabbling in football, and nothing would have qualified Wood to serve as team president on the football side of things when he was hired in 2015. Still, it hasn’t been all bad for Wood’s tenure. Wood has done wonders with the business side and marketing as well as being a team spokesman, so move him there and give him a new role which doesn’t cross into football. These are tough decisions to fire Patricia and Quinn of course, as both are good people and will certainly land on their feet in due time. In Detroit, however, the time has come for dramatic power moves.
Sheila Ford Hamp Hires John Dorsey as Lions Team President
Knock Dorsey for his exits in some of the stops he’s made during his career if you must, but the fact is, the man has a serious eye for talent and long has. When push comes to shove, Dorsey has had a hand in building a trio of Super Bowl champions and has his fingerprints all over two of the most exciting teams 2020 has to offer. He started his career with the Packers where he worked in scouting developing the Super Bowl XXXI champions and was director of football operations for the team that won Super Bowl XLV. From there he was hired to become the Kansas City general manager where he delivered the draft which secured Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, who eventually delivered Super Bowl LIV after Dorsey was gone. Following his exit there, he joined the Browns as general manager where he presided over the move to add Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb and others in the draft and traded for key players like Jarvis Landry. Dorsey’s personality might rub some the wrong way, but he doesn’t have to be everyone’s best friend. All Dorsey has to do is bring in the right players and be allowed to make decisions for the betterment of the franchise without being encumbered. It’s been clear for a while he’s a great team builder.
John Dorsey Is Allowed a Hire at General Manager
Dorsey has been the general manager before in his last two stops, but it’s more than possible at this stage of the game at 60 years old that he would want to defer that power to someone else. If Dorsey is hired to be team president, he should be given the option of making himself general manager as well. If that’s not something he wants, he should be allowed a full search for a new Lions GM. In that scenario, the usual names should come up such as Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds, analyst Louis Riddick, Patriots’ front office consultant Eliot Wolf and perhaps even Chiefs football operations director Mike Borgonzi. Giving Dorsey autonomy to make his own decisions over personnel or having someone who reports to him that does would be a clean way to assure the Lions have something that resembles a usual structure in their front office.
The Lions Hire Eric Bieniemy as Head Coach
At this point, Dorsey and his crew will likely know more about Bieniemy than any other front office looking into him given the duo started together in Kansas City in 2013. Dorsey whiffed on Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, so he will badly want a chance to prove he can get a coach hire right. After Dorsey exited Kansas City, Bieniemy stuck around and his star has only grown as he was promoted from running back coach to offensive coordinator and has presided over one of the most explosive offenses in football. This isn’t to say the Lions don’t put feelers out elsewhere and have an exhaustive search. Names like Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and others in college and the NFL should surely be considered. Dorsey in Detroit could figure to be a big draw for Bieniemy, who might be the biggest fish on the coaching market this offseason. The elephant in the room remains Matthew Stafford’s future, but if the quarterback stays as many expect will be the case, Bieniemy is the coach who could try to expand on what’s made him successful and help take him to the next level. If Stafford isn’t the guy long term for Dorsey’s Lions, who better than Bieniemy to help decide on which youngster is next to bring along?
How This Plan Would Improve Lions
This blueprint might seem too ambitious or farfetched for the Lions. Many will call it pure fantasy. Fans who don’t believe something like this is possible are certainly forgiven. Even still, many plans seem ambitious before they’re executed. The biggest realizations that must come to the Ford family in 2020 are that business as usual no longer works and it’s time to get serious. A true captain is needed to steer the ship for the Lions to have success. Dorsey has the experience and the chops to be that ideal captain, and while he’s had some bumps during his other tenures and made some mistakes, there’s no reason he couldn’t be the right veteran mind to help get the team on the right track and determine the right way to build for the future.
Arguably, the Lions have never had someone as accomplished as Dorsey setting the tone atop their organization. While hiring him certainly wouldn’t guarantee success, it could be the best step the organization has taken to try for it in a long time.