The “Patriot way” has been a buzz word around Detroit since the hiring of new GM, Bob Quinn. After developing for 16-years within the successful New England Patriots system, many assumed he would transfer all the customs and routines he learned in the process to the Lions. No doubt, he will be heavily influenced by his former organization’s methods, but he has his own unique vision that he wants to implement as well.
In an interview with ESPN, Quinn had some profound observations regarding his past and present situation.
“I don’t think you can take the Patriot way to Detroit. I think it has to be my way. The things I learned from New England, obviously, I’m going to take with me and try to implement them. New England’s a special place. And I learned most if not everything I know about the NFL from the people at the Patriots, starting with coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft. I want to create my own legacy in Detroit and use the things I’ve learned in New England. It’s not the Patriot way.”
Quinn has heavily emphasized the importance of building depth; one trait that he would like to convey from his prior mentors. Many fans craved a stark contrast between former GM Martin Mayhew and Quinn, and from the looks of it, they got what they asked for, just maybe not exactly in the “sexy” high-profile style they expected.
Mayhew handed out large contracts and regularly had a substantial percentage of his salary cap wrapped up in a few players (Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford). This strategy was essentially what became his downfall, as the lack of depth and an unbalanced roster would fail him in the end.
Now, with both Suh and Calvin gone, Stafford is the highest priced player on the team. After this years outrageous contracts which were given to career backup quarterbacks, Stafford has what seems to be a team friendly deal. Quinn has plenty of money to spread out during free agency, and as of now, that’s exactly what he has done. He has signed a number of versatile depth players to one or two-year contracts (Marvin Jones being the only exception). Most of the signing are also incentive-laden deals, which the old regime never seemed to utilize. A great motivation tool for the player and low-risk option for the team.
Quinn’s so-far strategy is a breath of fresh air and a necessary change of pace for the Lions. Maybe it’s time to drop the Patriots way moniker and start calling it the Quinn way.