The Detroit Lions are getting set to sit down with ESPN’s Louis Riddick to talk about their general manager job, and no discussion about Riddick as a candidate can come without some analysis of what he’s said in the past.
While in his role on television, Riddick has had numerous opportunities to speak about the Lions and offer his assessment on what’s gone wrong and right for the team in the past. Riddick has been open about his feelings on Matthew Stafford’s talent level very recently, and it’s clear that he has plenty of thoughts about the organization as a whole as well and what might need to change.
It’s rare to be able to potentially get a picture into the mind of a decision maker in the NFL, but with Riddick’s words, a potential picture can be painted regarding the future the former personnel man would want to create if he were to get the job.
Clearly, from the commentary, Riddick is a firm believer in one particular thing that needs to change within the organization in order for the Lions to begin to sustain success. It’s even more interesting to consider this now given Riddick is officially a candidate to take over decision making.
Louis Riddick: Lions Organization Failed Matthew Stafford
When Riddick was on ESPN months ago in April, he explained on Get Up why the Lions didn’t need to be looking for a new quarterback in 2020, and the reason was because the team still hasn’t done enough to fully support Matthew Stafford in all the ways they can from the front office on down.
“You understand they haven’t put much around this young man at all. From 2011-2017, Matthew Stafford threw for over 4,000 yards every season. In 2011, he threw for 5,000 yards. He basically has carried this football team on his own with no help,” Riddick said. “They had no running game during this entire time. This is a team that has been in the bottom quarter of the league rushing the football because they just put it all on Matthew Stafford’s shoulders. And he delivered. He’s been a top 10 quarterback the entire time he’s been in the NFL. What has happened though is everything around him has been absolutely average to below average to mediocre. It’s been subpar. He’s gotten no help. No quarterback can transcend mediocrity when it’s surrounding him. Matthew Stafford has had to try and win and succeed in spite of dysfunction around him his entire career.”
As Riddick went on to explain in the same clip, the Lions have tried to change course recently, but it hasn’t gone that well for them, only further proving his point.
“Finally, they started investing in the offensive line. They drafted Kerryon Johnson, he needs to stay healthy. They’ve become a little more balanced. They’ve done some decent things on the defensive side of the football, but it hasn’t been good enough,” he said. “The people around Matthew have failed him. Matthew hasn’t failed Detroit, the people around Matthew have failed Detroit.”
The folks around Stafford would be the general manager, coach and others within the front office. Obviously, Riddick thinks he understands what needs to change and believes that the culture and decision makers in Detroit might be the biggest reason Stafford has been held back, not anything to do with the quarterback himself.
What Louis Riddick’s Comments Could Mean for Lions’ GM Search
Detroit has a huge choice to make for the future with whomever runs their front office, not the least of which is at the quarterback position. The Lions have to decide what type of philosophy they want within their franchise, and whether to start over completely or keep a player like Stafford around. Riddick is clearly someone who understands and can see there has been a dysfunction which could be hurting one of their best players.
Does this admission mean Stafford would be safe in Detroit under a potential Riddick regime? It’s unfair to make a judgement about that fact without fully getting to see him on the job, but it’s obvious that Riddick understands the team needs to have a major philosophical shift and start to build up their best players rather than destroy them with mediocrity. Within his interview, Riddick could make the case that he himself could change this direction, which could in turn help Stafford fully reach his potential. That could certainly appeal to owner Sheila Ford Hamp.
In the end, Riddick might be more inclined to say that Stafford is one of the least of Detroit’s problems, even as he ages and many aren’t sure if he should keep his job.