At 7:43 pm on Saturday (2:43 pm ET), the Lions sent out a tweet, letting the world know that General Manager Bob Quinn and Head Coach Matt Patricia had been 'relieved of their duties'.
The news comes after a very tough week which included being shut-out by the Panthers, then being blown out during the Thanksgiving Day game against the Texans. Pressure has been mounting for the last 12 months for the 'Quinntricia' era to come to an end and these last 2 games have really pushed fans over the edge. Offensive Coordinator Darell Bevell will become Interim Head Coach until the end of the season in hopes that the Lions can do something positive with their remaining 5 games.
Bob Quinn has been with the Lions since January 2016 after 16 years with the Patriots, his first 2 years as GM were with then HC Jim Caldwell. Both seasons saw the Lions go 9-7 and make the playoffs in the first of those 2 years. Jim was then let go by Bob in January 2018, because 9-7 'was not good enough'.
In February 2018, the Lions hired Partriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia. The move was announced the day after the Patriots' Super Bowl 52 loss to the Eagles. Matt Patricia struggled from the get go as HC and struggled to keep hold of many key-players due to his man-management style. He leaves with a record of 13-29-1 (.314) as HC of the Lions.
I'm not going to delve deep in to their reigns, what went wrong and why it's got to this point. We've discussed this many times previously on the podcast and I'm sure it'll be discussed many more times too, so I'll leave those discussions to the podcast.
An hour or so after the announcement, owner Sheila Ford Hamp and Team President Rod Wood met with the press to discuss the situation.
Key takes from the presser:
1)"We want to take the rest of this year to assess every aspect of our football operation, find the best individuals to lead and coach our team." (Opening Statement)
2) "We are going to do an extremely thorough and comprehensive search for both positions. And yes, we have some ideas on what we’re looking for, but again, not clearly defined." (On the most important attributes of a HC & GM).
1+ 2: Patience will be the key here for the fans. It's not a quick process and there's a big chance we won't hear from ownership in the next few weeks before the season finishes. It seems like there's a lot that may happen between now and the off-season and everything/everyone seems to be on the table.
3) "As I said in my opening press conference, I will do everything I can to put a winning team on the field for our fans and the City of Detroit." (Opening Statement)
4) "I meant what I said last December, and I still mean it." (On relieving the head coach and general manager is representative of her previous statement of wanting the team to play meaningful games in December.)
5) "I plan to be as hands-on as I possibly can from my seat.” (On whether she has been as hands on as she'd have liked to have been this since taking over.)
3, 4 + 5: They're simple quotes, but reassuring to know that Sheila stands by her word.
6) “We can’t hide our past, that’s for sure. But I think I’m very dedicated to turning this ship around and really making a difference, and hopefully we won’t have to look back very much. We’ll just look forward.” (On if it’s important for the next regime to know the franchise’s history and understand the past of the Detroit Lions)
Again, these are very reassuring words and indicate that Sheila is committed to learning from the mistakes of her predecessors and making a change to the culture of the Lions.
7) “Well since I’m not the coach, I’m probably not the right person to ask that question to. So, we’ll see what the new coach has to say.” (On the future of Matthew Stafford)
As mentioned previously it seems like everything is on the table - including Matthew Stafford. Sheila will not make that decision and will leave it up to the next regime.
8) "I’ll be the first one to admit when I’m making mistakes, too. I’ll look at that, but I really would rather look forward and try to really dig into what’s in front of me and make this hopefully a homerun for us." (On whether she will learn from her parents mistakes)
Hopefully, this is Sheila's attempt at distancing herself from her parents and preparing to make her own legacy as the owner of the Lions.
I'm not going to do any reading into the answers at this point and take them at face value. Sheila did not miss with any of these answers. She was, unfortunately, but understandably unable to answer many questions in the depth and detail we want, but it's early days in the process and there's a long road ahead. I don't think she made a mistake in the presser, and said what she needed to. As a podcaster and as a writer, I wanted more. As a fan, I also wanted more answers and clarity. But, I do understand the position that they're in, and appreciate their speaking to the media and answering questions as best they could.
As it stands, anything mentioned by this point is nothing but speculation. But, here are the current favourites to take both of the available positions (via Touchdown Wire, SI & The Athletic):
Jimmy Raye III (Senior Personal Executive - Detroit Lions)
Nick Caserio (Director of Player Personnel - New England Patriots)
Louis Riddick (Analyst - ESPN)
Scott Pioli (Former General Manager - Kansas City Chiefs)
Mike Borgonzi (Director of Football Operations - Kansas City Chiefs)
Daniel Jeremiah (Analyst - NFL Network)
Will McClay (Vice President of Player Personnel - Dallas Cowboys)
Ian Cunningham (Assistant Director of Player Personnel - Philidelphia Eagles)
Terry Fontenot (Vice President of Player Personnel/Assistant GM - New Orleans Saints)