The Detroit Lions will emerge from their bye week a different team. Although the recent firings of team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew won’t be evident from watching the players on the field, a shakeup like that can rock a franchise to its core.
On Monday, Lions owner Martha Ford, the woman who was responsible for firing Lewand and Mayhew, addressed her players and laid out her expectations moving forward. A handful of players detailed their 90-year-old boss’s message.
She (told us what she) expects from us and some of the decisions she had to make and all that stuff. And as an owner we respect that as far as her willing to come in and talk to us. So we know where she comes from, what she means. It's been a long time that we haven't been able to turn it around here and she wants to see something change and she had to make a big move.
Lions linebacker Brandon Copeland described Ford’s address as "candid," per the Free Press, saying that her goals aligned with those of the players and coaches the locker room:
We all are adults and we all understand that this is a business,” linebacker Brandon Copeland said. “And she addressed us and told us, just was very candid with us. She's still behind us and we have the support, but obviously we need to get things rolling in the right direction.
She's the owner and she wants what's best for this team and this city, the same way all of us in the locker room do, and she was just making sure that we were all on the same page and clear with that. It was a good meeting and get everybody on the same page and shooting in the right direction.
Veteran defensive end Darryl Tapp commented on the seriousness of the situation, via the Free Press:
Anytime the owner comes and talks to you it means business. But it's cool from the standpoint that everybody here is on the same page. Regardless of how good it is, how bad it is, we're all together from the owners to the coaches to the powers that be upstairs to the players. We're all in this together and that's the cool aspect about this team. Nobody's pointing fingers, nobody's looking for a way out. We still got our oars, still got our buckets, trying to paddle.
Ford’s rare decision to address the team may have a lasting effect on these Lions. They’ll have to play some inspired football on Sunday to take down the Green Bay Packers, even though both teams are losers of two straight.