This week, the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars host the one-win Detroit Lions. Both teams are desperate for a second win, and something has to give.
Of course, my two favorite NFL teams are amongst the worst squads in the league. Seems to be that way year-in and year-out.
Anyway, to get a clearer picture on a Detroit team coming off of a bye week, we reached out to Mike Payton over at Pride of Detroit — a fantastic website for all things Lions.
Check out our conversation below:
1. How long do you think head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn keep their jobs? In your opinion, is it better for the Lions to let them finish out the season, or fire them soon? Do you think both are gone soon, or does one stay?
Mike: I don’t think it’s far off. My theory is that in any other scenario, the Lions would have let both go last week. My theory is that with a very favorable next seven games, the Lions are giving these guys one last chance. However, if they head down to Florida on Sunday and come back with an embarrassing loss, then the Lions might just rip it off like a band-aid. If they survive this weekend with a loss and lose to the Falcons in Week 7, they might have to fire them two times in the same day.
This is a package deal. If Patricia goes, Bob Quinn is out the door with him. If anything, Quinn is gone first because you have to start the general manager search early so the new person can be a part of the head coach search.
2. Matthew Stafford is off to a bit of a slow start for his standards. Do you think Stafford is still the guy in Detroit in 2020 and beyond? Why or why not?
Mike: I do. The fact is Matthew Stafford is having a bad time right now. The Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell attributed that his footwork being off due to the back injury he sustained in 2019. I don’t know if that means he’s playing scared or what, but the other fact is that it doesn’t get any better than Stafford for the Lions. We’ve seen this quarterback overcome a lot. I’m guessing he overcomes this as well.
3. The Lions’ rush defense is a bit of a nightmare (not dissimilar to Jacksonville). Detroit ranks dead last in the NFL, giving up 170.3 yards per game. What does Detroit need to do to fix this, and contain James Robinson on the ground?
Mike: They need to get an entirely new defense. Seriously they need to stop being so predictable. Every team knows they’re going to play predominantly man coverage and every team knows exactly how to attack them. They lack the ability to get a push upfront and they won’t rush the passer seemingly on purpose. They completely open themselves at all ends. Look for Robinson to go off on Sunday.
4. Rookie cornerback and No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah’s struggles thus far have been well-documented. What does he need to do to improve, and has he shown any potential?
Mike: His first game against the Packers was rough. You can’t really blame him though, he got stuck with Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams for his first assignment. He’s played better since though. He had a tackle for loss and an interception against the Cardinals and wasn’t a complete liability against the Saints in the times he was on the field. I have no doubt that Okudah will someday be one of the best corners in the league. He’s willing to learn and his work ethic is second to none. Still, it’s going to take time for him to figure out the NFL game.
5. Both of these teams currently have just one win, and it doesn’t look like 2020 is the year for either team (surprise, surprise). Which franchise do you think is better set up for future, long-term success and why?
Mike: I think it’s the Jaguars. The issue in Detroit is that the good culture that was left by Jim Caldwell has been completely destroyed by this regime. I can’t imagine how many players are going to be lined up to come to Detroit next season. Plus Patricia and Quinn’s roots run deep in Detroit. So many of the players that are on this team under large contracts are from that Patriots system in some way or another. The Lions are stuck with those guys for at least another few years. They haven’t got a new deal for wide receiver Kenny Golladay yet as well. There’s a strong chance he takes off after this year. The future in Detroit is really dark.
6. Score prediction?
Mike: I’m picking the Jaguars to win this game. Both defenses are bad, but the Lions is worse. I think the final score is 35-23.
A huge thank you to Mike for providing great analysis and insight into the Detroit Lions. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter, and seriously, for some great Lions content, follow Pride of Detroit as well.