It’s a franchise that hasn’t won an NFL title since 1957 and the only franchise in the NFC not to appear in a Super Bowl. So how do the Detroit Lions end this longtime drought?
Apparently a 36-28 regular-season record was good enough for head coach Jim Caldwell to retain his job in the Motor City. The Detroit Lions did make a pair of playoff appearances over these past four years. But this is a franchise that still hasn’t won a postseason game since 1991. That would be Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders’ third year in the NFL.
Current general manager Bob Quinn has now enlisted the aid of Matt Patricia, who spent the last few years commandeering the New England Patriots’ defense. Veteran coach Paul Pasqualoni joins the staff as Patricia’s defensive coordinator while offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter returns.
The team has ample salary cap room (via Spotrac) to make some key moves. And that will be necessarily if the team is going to close the gap on the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North this offseason. So what direction could Quinn head in during free agency?
5. OLB Marquis Flowers, New England Patriots
Late last August, the New England Patriots were still looking for help when it came to improving their pass rush. Bill Belichick acquired linebacker Marquis Flowers from the Cincinnati Bengals for a seventh-round draft choice in 2018.
With the Super Bowl LII-bound Pats this past season, he finished with 30 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Flowers also totaled one sack in the team’s playoff win over the Tennessee Titans. A former sixth-round pick in 2014, the one-time Arizona Wildcat has played all 16 games in three of his four NFL seasons (he missed ’15 with a shoulder injury). In three years on the field, Flowers has also seen his share playing time on the his teams’ punt and kickoff coverage units.
While he spent just one season in Foxborough, the 26-year-old performer does know what new Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia is looking for on defense. He could be an ideal fit in the Motor City especially and could be a nice insurance policy if Detroit loses outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead to free agency.