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Aspiring NFL GM feels the Detroit Lions played give-up football against Green Bay

Did the Detroit Lions give up against the Packers? Why were they punting on 4th and 13 down by 18?

I am sorry, but when the Lions are down 35-17 with 8:32 left in the 4th quarter, and they elect to punt on 4th and 13 – – that is give-up football. 

What are they trying to do, mitigate how many points they lose by?

What is the difference between losing 42-17 or 49-17? Nothing. What if they made it and got a first down and still kept themselves in the game, opposed to not getting the ball back again until there was only 3:59 left to play? 

I have never in my life understood when a team that has little to no chance of winning a game or producing a winning season elects to punt? It makes about as much sense as team throwing a short screen pass on 3rd and 25. It is nothing more than give up football. 

With 8:32 left to play against Green Bay and being down 35-17, Detroit needed three – four scores (and possessions) to make up the 18 points they were down. At that point, what possible sense does it make to give up and punt? 

What kind of message does this send to the locker room?

It is better to go for it and not get it at that point than to just surrender and become part of Green Bay’s victory formation.

I am not one for second guessing coaching decisions, like why did Detroit throw the ball on 4th and 1 instead of trying to run (which they did earlier in the game), because they did what they calculated was their best chance in that moment. That is called playing “arm-chair QB,” to second guess those type of decisions and that is not what this is about. 

This is about a much deeper problem.

Detroit can not change regimes and beat on the drum all off-season about “changing the culture,” and then give up in the second game of the season. This organization has historically struggled to win anything and to punt in that situation, is not a change of culture. 

It is the same ‘ol thing.

I understand if it was 35-30 and they would have punted or even if it was 35-25, but no…there is no understanding when it is 35-17 with 8:32 to go. 

Not only that, but the Lions play in a division they have little to no chance to win. The Lions have not even made the playoffs since 2017 and have not won a playoff game since 1991. 

Why would a new regime not be aggressive as humanly possible who takes over Detroit? 

What do they have to lose? 

What’s the difference between 6-11 and 4-13. Nothing besides a spot or two on draft day and that has not seemed to make any difference either. 

If I were to take over in Detroit and become the next GM of the team, I would waive the punter and go for it on every single 4th down. Aggression wins. It is a mentality that permeates your locker-room. It is a mentality that says we are going to give this thing everything we have got and there is no turning back. It is actions matching words, not just this overplayed and worn-out cute talk about “We want to change the culture here.” 

Why punt the ball when the defense could not stop Green Bay all night – – not to mention they could not stop San Francisco in week one either – – not to mention Detroit’s defense is coming off a last-place NFL ranking defensively last season?

It is called give-up football and it only took two weeks and another blown year of payroll to prove it. 

Dear Mrs. Ford-Hamp, if you want someone who will come in and actually instill a winning attitude and culture, and someone who can win Super Bowl LVII for you, please bring me in and give me a chance to present my plan. It is a plan that generated interest and a personal response from Browns’ owner Mr. Haslam. I can do this. I have the staff in place. I have the plan in place. I just need the opportunity and I am willing to do it on a one-year Super Bowl victory or bust 100% commission only contract. No salary and no other guarantees. I do not believe in taking your money or your family’s money for a lack of results. 

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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