Sheila Ford Wants 'Major Improvement' From Quinn And Patricia In 2020

"We expect an improved team and I think we’re going to get that." 

Will Burchfield
June 23, 2020 - 4:25 pm
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When the Lions chose to bring back Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia for another year, it was with the expectation that the team takes a big step forward in 2020. The mandate, delivered by ownership, was meaningful games in December.

And that remains the case with Sheila Ford Hamp replacing her mother as the team's principal owner. Which isn't a surprise -- Hamp had a big say in the decision to retain the team's GM and head coach.

But what, exactly, constitutes meaningful games in December? The mandate has been vague from the start, intentionally so. It allows the Lions to reasonably proceed in any direction after next season. Asked to clarify the expectations for Quinn and Patricia during her introductory press conference Tuesday, Hamp, citing the unknowns presented by the coronavirus, declined to get specific. 

"I think this is going to be a weird year, so I don’t want to say anything about wins and losses," she said. "I think the overarching thing is that we want to see major improvement. At this point, I can’t really say what those specific measures are going to be, because I don’t know what the season is going to be like. But believe me, major improvement is the goal." 

For a 3-12-1 team, that should be the expectation. And Hamp is confident the Lions will get there, based on their moves in free agency in the draft. 

"I do feel that we’ve made some progress in the offseason," she said. "I haven’t seen any of the players because all the meetings have been virtual and obviously nobody’s been on the field yet, but on paper I’m very pleased with our draft and free agency. And I know coach Patricia is very pleased with the meetings he’s had. It looks like the group is very cohesive. These difficult social justice conversations have actually helped to bond the team.

"I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone in action. Yes, we expect an improved team and I think we’re going to get that." 

Should the Lions win a few more games in 2020, it's more likely than not that Patricia and Quinn will be safe. Hamp said the organization needs more stability at the top to change its fortunes moving forward. Another regime change wouldn't be the logical move. 

"I think, for one thing, a winning organization has a lot of consistency. You have to get the right mix of people and then stay with it," she said. "You look at a team like the Patriots, that’s what they’ve got. I think there’s been a lot of changes over the years with the Lions, but we haven’t been able to – yet – reach that magic formula. This will be Coach Patricia's third year and hopefully things will start to gel. I think we’ve got a really competitive team. I just hope we get to play football."