If you hearken to the words of new Detroit Lions president Rod Wood, then you’re feeling extremely positive about the team’s future.
Despite Detroit’s 2-7 start, and despite the fact the franchise is in the midst of its third losing season in the last four, Wood is convinced the team he inherited isn’t far from contending. In fact, he believes the general manager he hires won’t have much to fix.
“We’re not as far away as I think people might fear,” Wood said after his first news conference as team president today (h/t Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “We were 11-5 last year (and) in the playoffs. Obviously we got off to a very disappointing start this year. There’s a few holes that I think we have to fill, but it’s not a rebuild. And I think that we can do that hopefully very quickly.”
The problem with this statement is that it simply isn’t based on reality.
Yes, this team absolutely needs a rebuild — like, from the ground up. Unfortunately team owner Martha Ford hired Wood, who is admittedly “not a football guy” but who is enough of a “football guy” to make a declaration of the team’s distance from fielding a consistently competitive roster.
Sure, Detroit won 11 games in 2014, and sure, they won 10 games in 2011. But other than those two aberrations? This team has been a cesspool of mediocrity — or worse — since the 1990s. Thanks to the “efforts” of previous presidents Martin Mayhew and Matt Millen — otherwise known as “he who shall not be named” in Detroit — the Lions are habitually terrible.
Featuring aging superstar receiver Calvin Johnson and his $24 million cap hit next year, perpetually underachieving quarterback Matthew Stafford and his $22 million cap hit next year and a defense that is still reeling from the losses of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, the next general manager of Detroit needs to strongly consider blowing the whole darn thing up in order to have a solid foundation upon which to rebuild the franchise.
Wood made another concerning comment when discussing the team’s eventual search for a general manager, saying he and the Fords don’t have “sufficient expertise” to make a hire and will hire a consultant. He’s not wrong, but then again this just further highlights what a terrible choice it was by the Ford family to hire a guy who has not the experience nor the understanding of how things work in the NFL to make the tough decisions.
The new president also admitted he isn’t going to make any decisions about what will happen to Johnson or Stafford, which goes to show he really had no business in the first place saying the Lions are “not as far away as people might fear” from featuring a perennial contender.