Detroit Lions principal owner and chair Sheila Hamp is not wavering on the plan she and senior leadership put in place almost two years ago to tear down and rebuild the franchise in hopes of building a consistent winner.
"I know this is difficult," Hamp said Wednesday after the open portion of Lions open practice. "Our rebuild is hard. But we really believe in our process. We really believe we're going to turn this thing around the right way, through the draft. It requires patience.
"It's frustrating. Am I frustrated? Absolutely. Are the fans frustrated? Absolutely."
But Hamp believes the team is making progress. She referred to the plan set in place after the 2020 season as a complete tear down with a new front office regime led by GM Brad Holmes, a new coaching staff led by HC Dan Campbell, and some significant roster changes, starting with franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford requesting and being granted a trade.
The Lions won just three games in the first season of the Holmes and Campbell era, and are off to a 1-5 start in year two after Sunday's 24-6 loss in Dallas.
But Hamp is preaching patience.
"We really are making progress," Hamp said. "You've seen it. This was a huge tear down and then turnaround. We're only a third of the way through the season. We've got 11 more games to go. So, I just don't want everyone to 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."
The wins aren't where Hamp wants them to be, but she pointed to the way the team started the season offensively as a positive. She said the offense needs to get back to playing the kind of football they did the first month of the season when they were one of the league's top units through four games. That side of the ball has struggled the last two weeks in losses to New England and Dallas.
She also pointed to the youth of the team and the valuable contributions they are getting from a number of young players. Detroit started four rookies on defense in Dallas, with all four making significant contributions. With any team that plays a lot of youngsters, there are going to be some ups and downs, and Hamp acknowledged that.
"It's not going to be smooth," Hamp said. "Boy, I wish it were. That would be simple. But it's not."
Hamp was clear that having a young roster isn't an excuse. She sees the young players learning from some early-season mistakes and thinks the team will be stronger down the line for having so many players getting a head start to becoming the core of what she expects to be a winning franchise.
"It's really hard to stay disciplined," Hamp said. "No one hates losing more than I do, than my family does, but we've got to sort of gut through it."
Hamp expressed her faith in the senior leadership throughout the organization, and in Holmes and Campbell on the football side.
"I really believe in what we've got and what we're going to be," Hamp said. "It just takes time. What I really have confidence in is the process we went through in the first place when we hired Brad and Dan. It was extremely thorough and we really believe we've come up with the right people."