Detroit Lions Rebuild
Matthew Bassin: As far as the Detroit Lions rebuild is concerned, one of the arguments that people keep popping out is, what about this team? What about that team? What about this one? These teams were all in rebuilds, and these seem to be the same names as far as the names that are being thrown out there.
Giants, Jets, Jags, Browns, and some people throw in the Bengals in this mix as well. So I wanted to take a look at where each of these teams was. Now, the Giants are the only ones with an actual good record right now of four. That's fantastic for them, and we can get into the what, what's different about them.
Some of the big things different with them are they're in their fourth year of their supposed franchise quarterback Daniel Jones, who they're still not sure about. They're in their fifth year with their all-generational running back Saquon Barkley, who's finally looking like the running back. They thought they were getting five years.
But this is a team that has had a whole bunch of turnarounds as well. You're talking about since Tom Kauflin was their head coach from oh four to 15, you saw Ben McAdoo for two years, and Steve Spagnuolo for part of a year. Pat Shurmur for a couple of years, Joe Judge for a couple of years, and Brian Daboll is now in his first run with it.
But the Giants are in the same situation as far as the cap space is concerned. They're one of the best teams with money that has not been spent and is available to use for the upcoming season. But they're not in the same position the Detroit Lions are in. We're talking about a year-five running back and a year-four quarterback.
It's a brand new head coach, but it's not a brand new gm. so they're in a different position than the Detroit Lions have been in completely at this point. Now you wanna take a look at someone like the Jets who obviously the big comparison because everyone was looking, at Sola to be the head coach for the Detroit Lions as a possibility.
The Jets also have a different position. The New York Jets same thing as the Detroit Lions, though. A lot of different head coaches. Ever since Bill Parcells was their head coach for a few years, they've had a bad head coach. After a bad head coach, the best they got was Rex Ryan, who still couldn't get the 500. Went to a couple of AFC Championship games with the Jets but couldn't get the 500 as a record, not a winning record.
Todd Bowles does not have a winning record. Adam Gates, we saw what a disaster that was. Sola, so far, is seven and 15, and defense is where apparently he makes his name. The Jets defensively this year are starting to look a little better, but there are just many questions in Jets country about Sola as there are in Detroit Lions country about Dan Campbell.
We don't see them because our focus is on the Detroit Lions, but go look up some of the stuff being spoken about the Jets. Yes, they're happy about how they're looking right now at three and two and so far this year, but there have been questions throughout this entire season as. The next one to me, this is just crazy, you wanna talk about the Browns, who are two and three, have spent more money than God can even produce for this team.
They have a top-end player, money wise, at their quarterback. They're running back, their D line, their defensive backs. They've spent money all over the place to try and get out of the hell that they have been in forever, and they're still in it. They have had one playoff appearance in the last so many.
They're not doing it consistently, either. And I don't want the Detroit Lions to have a, Oh, we were good for this one year, and then we're back to being terrible, which is what the Browns have been a year in and year out for God knows how long. And then the last one is the Jags. The Jags. It's just, look, you went from Urban Meyer, who was an absolute joke, to a Super Bowl-winning head coach in Doug Peterson, who has the credentials and the wherewithal to be a good pro-NFL coach.
They have their quarterback of the future, or what they perceive to be their quarterback of the future in Trevor Lawrence. They have what is considered more of a soft rebuild than a total rebuild, which is where they are piecing together pieces from teams that are still there before and putting them together with teams that have guys that are coming in now.
But it's not a complete and total rebuild the way that Detroit Lions are trying to completely from the ground up, build this organization into something different than what we have seen for the last 25-plus years. So the 21st century came around. The Detroit Lions have been, for the most part, an embarrassment to the word football.
And we are trying not to have that all. That one year where Stafford, and then 2014 or 2012, whatever that year was where we got screwed in the playoffs of the Cowboys and all that. Great. It was one year. What do we do otherwise? We didn't do anything otherwise. We are trying to break that trend, and that's where I need the patience to come in from the family.
Cause I'm never gonna get it. There's no chance. Some feel the way I do. Some don't. But as a fan base, we are trying to break a trend of what we've been for so long. And by doing it the same way we've been doing, it doesn't make any sense. That's literally the definition of insanity, of doing the same thing again and again and trying to see a different result.
You're not going to get a different result by continuously bashing who you have and giving up on them before there's time to see improvement. I think we have seen some improvement so far. It's on the offensive side of the ball, on the defensive side of the ball. There has to be improvement eventually.
Eventually is not forever. We're going to see improvement by the second half of this football season. Honestly, I think if our guys can get healthy if we can see what passion brings to the table, which can free things up for Aidan Hutchinson to do his job better, because like you have said so many times already on this show, he has half a game of football.
He's shown so far this year, and that's it. PFF can grade him however they want. I see him overrun. Rookie, fourth-round quarterback, and the quarterback just escapes him very easily. Zappe got away from Hutch with no problems on that play, and Hutch just completely overran him. He has been a little bit involved, but not as much as obviously, we'd hope.
And yes, he has been double-teamed quite a bit. Why? Because there's no one else on the defensive line that's really that talented, that's worth the attention that he is. Apparently. I think passion will bring a. Ingredient to the table, which will allow Hutch to do his job better because passion's gonna be getting some pressure as well.
At least, that's what I hope. That's what I saw coming outta Kentucky, and I hope we see it for him on the field for the Detroit Lions as well.
Ryan Griffin: You do hope. So I guess one thing I would say is the Jags look better in Urban Meyer was a dumpster fire, but they recognized he was a dumpster fire immediately and fired him.
They didn't wait till whatever his contract was. I'm sure it was probably five or six years. Like they saw it, they said, No, this guy isn't working. Boom got rid of them. And again, not now they're two and three. The Jags aren't some powerhouse, but they have much to be excited about. And, to your point, a lot of that stems from them having a young quarterback.
Even, with Trevor Lawrence, even with the Jets, they have Zach Wilson, who, no, wasn't here for most of the season so far, and the jets are three and two. I would understand why they're fans. Now would be excited, but they were still, again, winning games with Joe Flacco. They just dropped 40 points on a Miami team that people were really hyped up about.
The Giants that you mentioned, Four and one. The schedule they played is pretty laughable, but they've won four out of the five games, so, like, you can't, and they just beat the Packers, so it's not like all the teams that they're playing, they're just playing the five worst teams in the NFL.
I think the biggest difference is with the Detroit Lions so these other teams are still bad. They still don't have a lot of talent. Not that I think Detroit Lions do. Maybe the Detroit Lions were operating from the biggest deficit of any of these teams. Again, we just talked about two of those teams having a young quarterback that they still really and the Giants don't, right?
They didn't pick up Daniel Jones's fifth-year option, which kind of tells you everything that you need to know about how they feel about Daniel Jones. And I'm sure if their season went a little bit worse and they were in contention for the number one pick, like some people thought they might be, then they'd take CJ Stroud or Bryce Young, Will Levis, or whoever ends up being the number one guy at the end of the.
Now, do they still might they move on from Daniel Jones? Maybe, but they have. I think they just have a different reason to be excited. And their reason is probably that they like their coach, right? Their coaches out there, their coaches making some of the same ballsy moves that Dan Campbell is making.
It's just working for Brian Daboll, and it's not working. For Dan Campbell here in Detroit, and then again, we don't have that young quarterback to get excited about. If the Jags were two and three and they didn't have Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew still their quarterback, there wouldn't be nearly as much excitement.
but they see the growth that Lawrence has made, and they're still projecting him out in future to be this great quarterback. And the Detroit Lions don't have that. We have that with Swift and Amon-Ra and Jameson Williams when he comes back, and Aidan Hutchinson, and there are guys that we feel like that about, but we don't think we have a franchise quarterback, even the guys.
Who, like Jared Goff, they don't think that he is like franchise-changing quarterback. They just think he's a good quarterback. Much like you would think Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback or how some people felt about Stafford now, people felt stronger about Stafford than they did about Goff.
Certainly, and they should have, cuz Stafford's a better quarterback. But I don't think it's unfair. To compare the Detroit Lions' rebuild to some of these others. And especially when you're getting frustrated because you see some of these guys who are second-year head coaches the Jets kind of, especially where you look at Sola, and you thought, that's a dude that should be in Detroit.
And then some weird reporting when he came out that the Detroit Lions weren't so interested in him, and he was all about being a Detroit Lion here and all of that. Hey, this didn't happen, I was essentially being blamed on it. It's like the Detroit Lions just didn't like them as their guy. And if that ends up being a mistake, and Dan Campbell gets fired after next year, and then Robert Salah goes on to lead the Jets to back, wild guard appearances or something.
People, like people, are just gonna be mad that the Detroit Lions made that decision. And I think so I think there's part of it. That's fair. I think the fairest part of it is looking at and. When people say the Detroit Lions just don't have the talent, how can you expect them to win? I don't know that the Giants are so much more talented.
Saquon Barkley would be the best player on either team, most definitely. But I don't look at the Detroit Lions and think, Oh, that's just some team that is, that's oozing with talent. Same thing with the Jets and the same thing with the Jaguars. They obviously had the number one pick with Travon Walker, but if the Detroit Lions had the number one pick, most of our fans would've wanted us to take Aidan Hutchinson in any way.
They thought we had the best player in the draft. And you look at the Jaguar's offense, you have Jim Robinson, you have ETN, but they don't really have anything. A wide receiver, right? They have Marvin Jones. Who else did they're the ones who paid Christian Kirk all that money?
So their receivers are, just like, kind of whatever. I guess in a similar boat with the Detroit Lions, right? Where you have Amon-Ra, who thinks really good and then you're looking at Chark, you obviously Jameson Williams not here yet. Then you got guys, Raymond and Quintez Cephus, and stuff. So I think it's fairer than maybe you do, but as always with anything in the NFL, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Matthew Bassin: I agree. For the most part, the Jets one is a more fair apples-to-apples comparison because you have Sola, who's in his second year, and their general manager, Joe Douglas, is in his third year. He's been held to the flame as well, and I know we're trying to compare them and think that everything's all sunshine and rainbows over there and that it's all held over here, but it's not, it's definitely not the case over there.
He is in his third year. His winning percent is coming into this season. He was six and 20 as they're coming into this off-season. So the Jets have not been good with Joe Douglas at the helm. They're trying to get better with Robert Sola, but just like with the Detroit Lions, the Jets gave Douglas a six-year contract cuz he inherited a bad roster.
The organization's been in turmoil, and he is trying to take a slow, steady approach to remake this roster and turn them into a winner. I think we need to be the same. And obviously, the front office does. They gave that same contract to Brad Holmes. All these years to try and actually build something, and we, as fans, look, this is what we do.
We react to what we see. That's how it works. And we forget what happened the Sunday before, and we'll forget what happened this past Sunday in a few weeks as well. If all of a sudden the Detroit Lions start putting up 35 points and the defense somehow holds teams to 25 points, and we win three straight, like all of a sudden, it's all gonna be forgotten.
That's how we work. But you can't overreact either way. It's a slow process. It's not a quick process. And for people who point out things like the Bengals went from worse to first, the Bengals were in a completely different situation where you're talking about a team. Consistently made the playoffs.
Did they win a playoff game? No, but Marvin Lewis led under the playoffs year in and year out before they finally said, Enough is enough, and let's tear this whole thing down. And then, obviously, after the first pick with Joe Burrow, and then he got hurt, it ended up being another bad year so that they could use another early pick.
And they brought his wide receiver in, but then they went in the off-season and spent all sorts of money on building the team around him with veterans. Who has been doing the job for a while and can continue to do the job Now, in Cincinnati, the Detroit Lions haven't gotten there yet. We haven't gone out and gotten the veterans that want to come to Detroit and make this team better.
It needs time to happen, and we need not overreact, whether it's good or bad, in my opinion, obviously, but that's how I feel.
Ryan Griffin: Yeah, you always feel like we should give people more time, but you also can't, again, just be out here making all these dumb decisions. And I haven't watched every Jags, Giants, or Jet game to know if their coaches are making similarly dumb decisions.
So I guess I will leave that up to any Jets, Jags, or Giants fans that we have and the comments here to let me know that, but I would say that would be my biggest difference because I would assume that even if they're making dumb decisions, it is not at the same frequency that Mr. Campbell is.
Matthew Bassin: All right. Obviously, people are going, Oh, the bi-week here, so there should be some people getting fired during the bi-week, and we should have something different coming in after the bi-week. I am not expecting anything of the kind, me personally. Are you expecting anyone to be fired?
Ryan Griffin: No, I don't. No, I don't think anybody's gonna get fired.
Matthew Bassin: Okay. Well, we will use this time wisely to get prepped for the NBA and NHL seasons, which are right around the corner. So we'll be talking Pistons and Red Wings a bit going forward over these next show or two before we dive back into the Detroit Lions.
And, of course, We'll preview the Michigan State Spartans football team and the Michigan Wolverines, who have a big game against Penn State coming up this weekend. We will be previewing that, obviously, on our next show, but that is gonna do it for this show. I wanna thank you guys for kicking it with Griffin and Bass for Ryan Griffin. I'm Matt Bassin, as always. Wu-tang is for children. We'll see y'all in a couple of days. Peace.
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▬ Griffin & Bass – Hosted by Ryan Griffin and Matt Bassin – We discuss the latest hot topics of the week and have some fun while doing it. New episodes are LIVE Tuesdays and Fridays.
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