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Detroit brass: Lions must be playoff contender in '20

The Detroit Lions ownership has made its mandate to coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn clear: Win in 2020 or else.

A day after announcing the decision to retain the coach and GM at least one more season, owner Martha Firestone Ford, her daughter Sheila Ford Hamp, and team president Rod Wood released an open letter to Lions fans, which plainly stated the team's stance.

The letter defines the Lions' 2019 season as disappointing, with Detroit currently sitting at 3-10-1 with two games remaining, but noted the close losses and injuries that have derailed the campaign, which included quarterback Matthew Stafford going on IR.

"As we evaluate this season, we look beyond just our record," the letter stated. "We are striving to build a team with a strong foundation of high-character players and coaches, that is physically and mentally tough, with depth at every position and one that can be successful over many years, not just one season. We see signs of this foundation in our team's toughness, competitiveness and culture. Injuries happen in the NFL and are never an excuse. Nonetheless, our team has played through serious injuries this season to some of our best players. Despite the injuries, we have remained competitive in each game and our team depth showed up as a strength."

In two seasons under Patricia, the Lions currently sport a 9-20-1 record. In four seasons with Quinn at GM, Detroit has a 27-34-1 record.

Sending a mandate for a winning season could have a major influence on how the GM and coach approach the offseason and react if losses mount early in the 2020 campaign. By coming out forcefully, Detroit's ownership is putting its team on notice.

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