ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Naturally, Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp admits she’s frustrated with the 1-5 start to the season, but she still feels that coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes are the right people to lead the rebuild.
Ford Hamp fielded questions from reporters for four minutes during Wednesday’s practice where she was asked if their jobs could potentially be in jeopardy no matter the end result of the season.
“I believe in the leadership,” Ford Hamp said.
Ford Hamp took over principal ownership of the Lions in 2020 after serving as one of the team’s vice chairs from 2014 to ’19 to succeed her mother, Martha Firestone Ford, who stepped down.
The Lions are coming off 24-6 loss at Dallas on Sunday — their fourth defeat in a row.
They’re 4-18-1 so far through the second season of leadership with Campbell and Holmes, but she feels they are making progress.
“It’s just this was a huge teardown and then turnaround, and we really — we’re only a third of the way through the season,” Ford Hamp said. “We’ve got 11 more games to go, so I just don’t want to ruin it, push the panic button and give up the ship because I think we’ve got the right people in place to pull this off, and I truly believe that. And I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t believe it.”
Ford Hamp called this rebuild a tough process and said it’s hard to stay disciplined because “no one hates losing more than I do, more than my family does, but we’ve got to sort of gut through it.”
The Lions currently possess the longest current drought between postseason victories in the NFL, with their last playoff victory coming three decades ago on Jan. 5, 1992. They haven’t won more than six games or finished with a .500 record since 2017.
“Everyone’s frustrated. I’m frustrated, but again, I really believe in what we’ve got and what we’re going to be,” Ford Hamp said. “It just takes time.”
Entering the bye in Week 6, Campbell said he held a conversation with Ford Hamp where they went through a thorough, deep dive of the roster — both good and bad — to have a clear understanding of the team’s direction. As an ex-Lions player who experienced the dreadful 0-16 season in 2008, Campbell can relate to the long-suffering ownership and fan base who are starving for success and is trying to change the “Same Old Lions” narrative despite yet another rough start.
“Yeah, I told her everything that I saw, things that we needed to be better at, offensively, defensively, special teams, myself, and moving forward, practice,” Campbell said. “So, really, everything. Everything that I had looked at our team and felt like we needed to be better at. I shared all of those thoughts with her and where we were going moving forward and that was it, so she’s been informed.”
Turnovers and key mistakes, such as the five turnovers in the second half of Detroit’s most recent loss to Dallas, have been costly this season. However, Ford Hamp acknowledged the young players on the roster and how they’re experiencing growing pains. That’s one of the many reasons that she said she has patience with the current leadership.
“What I really have confidence in is the process we went through in the first place when we hired Brad and Dan,” Ford Hamp said. “It was extremely thorough, and we really believe we’ve come up with the right people, so I can’t comment on other teams’ rosters or what they had in the first place. All I know is what we had and where we’re going.”