Today marked the end of an era for the Detroit Lions as they parted ways with head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn. Their tumultuous tenure has been a disappointment on the heels of one of the most consistent coaching jobs in modern Lions history. While Jim Caldwell had his faults, he was able to elevate the team to relative consistency. That performance hasn’t been matched by any other head coach in the past 20 years. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over as the interim head coach. We had pondered whether the Lions win over Arizona was enough to save Matt Patricia’s job, it turns out that isn’t the case. The last two mid-season firings of head coaches happened immediately after a loss on Thanksgiving.
Patricia and Quinn Let Go By Detroit
Bob Quinn was the first of the two former Patriots to join the Lions. He took over for Martin Mayhew in 2016 with hopes of righting the ship in Detroit and bringing the city its first playoff win since the 1990 season. His 2017 draft class ended up being one that set a negative tone on how things would end up going for Detroit the next several years. Teez Tabor, by no fault of his own, was selected in the second round after posting subpar combine numbers. He quickly proved he wasn’t able to hold up as a corner in the NFL. Within a few years he was out of the league. Quinn brought in Patricia for the 2017 season and the pair started to bring The Patriot Way to Detroit. Unfortunately for them, The Patriot Way only works for New England because they have Bill Belichick and consistently win. No one wants to work harder than everyone else while winning less than half as often. Players want their hard work to pay off in victories and those didn’t come often for the Lions under Patricia.
Patricia was brought in as a defensive guru who was the brainchild behind the dominant Patriot defenses of the last 15 years. In reality, that success came from a combination of scheme and personnel. That scheme hasn’t worked for Detroit even with Quinn and Patricia bringing in loads of former New England players to fill the defensive roster. This team now needs a total tear-down of the roster is needed to get the team back into playoff contention. Although it pains me to say, that means that Matthew Stafford should be moved this offseason. A team like the Indianapolis Colts would thrive with the arm strength that Stafford has. Their defense would take a lot of pressure off of Stafford and make it easier for him to make plays.
Next Steps for Detroit
While Darrell Bevell has been named as the interim coach, it is imperative for the Lions to bring in a new voice to lead this team. They have gone for defensive minded head coaches, but having a team that puts up points is a must. The most often rumored name has been Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. His success with Patrick Mahomes has lead him to be the hottest name on the coaching rumor mill. I personally would look to the college ranks and see if you could pry Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma. While his teams have struggled on the defensive side of the ball, he is without a doubt one of the brightest offensive minds in all of football.