The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result. By that definition, the Ford family (as owners of the Detroit Lions), has been acting insanely for the past fifty plus years.
Sure, they have been at the helm for the hirings of many different general managers, team presidents, coaches, and players. But their approach is always similar, and the results are almost always the same. The biggest common denominators for the Lions under the Ford family ownership, are failing and losing. That makes the Detroit Lions (including the Ford family ownership) failures and losers.
Incidentally, Detroit Lions fans (myself included) are just as insane as anyone else for continuing to torture ourselves, hoping for changes we know will never come. This article is a lost cause, because I know I am asking for the impossible. But I must ask for something (and therapy coupons are hard to come by).
At 0-5, and getting worse by the week, it’s time for heads to roll. Ownership, as well as players, should be held accountable, but those are different stories for a different day. Right now, it’s time to fire some coaches. Either offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, or head coach Jim Caldwell has to go, and one of them should go immediately.
When Joe Lombardi was hired, Lions fans were promised a new and improved version of the (then) highly successful New Orleans Saints offense. While it’s not (necessarily) Joe Lombardi’s fault that Matthew Stafford is no Drew Brees, Lombardi has to take some blame for the endless tailspin that is the Lions offense. The numbers are undeniable. The Lions rank 26th in total offense, dead-last in rushing, and quarterback Matthew Stafford is regressing badly with each passing week.
And it’s not just the numbers that highlight Lombardi’s (or the offense’s) failures. There have been multiple reports that Lions opposing defenses have been recognizing the offense’s plays before they happen. Lombardi’s response: instead of concern about the predictability of the offense, he expressed worry about signal stealing. Worse still, player effort has come into question, with some players even admitting publically to not giving 100%.
While Lombardi can’t make his players compete, he is responsible for putting them in positions to succeed. In the 2nd year under Lombardi’s control, the offense should be improving. It’s doing the opposite, and, variables aside, that is a strong indictment of Lombardi himself.
Caldwell should be sent packing too. He hired Lombardi, Caldwell himself has input in the offense, and just earlier this week Caldwell announced there would be no major changes to scheme or personnel, despite the underwhelming start to the season. I’m no football coach, but such statements make me think either Caldwell has not actually been watching the Lions games (even if his body was there and his eyes were open), or he is in complete denial (at least publically).
Ultimately, such details don’t matter. The Ford’s won’t fire Caldwell during the season. It’s too bold for their blood. Besides, the Fords usually only fire their incompetent coaches one, two, or five years too late. In that way, Lombardi is an easier target. His scheme isn’t working, the offense is getting worse.
There’s talent there, but the results are nowhere to be found. Lombardi has failed his players, the other coaches, the owners, and the team. He is not the only one to fail for the Lions this year, but he is a big part of the problem. Firing him, and finding a suitable replacement ASAP, would be the smart choice for the Lions.
Unfortunately, hoping the Fords will make the smart choice for the Lions, is asking a lot.