There might be some time until it’s officially announced, but the other NFC North team with a head coaching vacancy looks to be on the verge of locking in a new leader.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia will “likely” be hired as the Detroit Lions’ new head coach. Additionally, Albert Breer of SI.com’s The MMQB tweets the Lions have started to inform other head-coach candidates they have been eliminated and adds the position is “officially off the board.”
Lions GM Bob Quinn is a former Patriots front office executive who is familiar with Patricia. That familiarity made Patricia a top candidate for the position and it looks like that prior relationship has thwarted at least one other team from hiring him.
The New York Giants interviewed with Patricia on January 5 and emerged as the favorite in the Giants’ coaching search as recently as recently as Friday. However, it appears Patricia has chosen to lead a Lions franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991 over a legacy franchise like the Giants. If you’re a Giants fan, that probably stings more than you’re willing to admit. And if you’re a Lions fan, this is the biggest win the team has had in quite some time. Enjoy it while you can.
If Patricia’s choice is proof the Giants’ stock is falling, it is reasonable to believe the Lions’ arrow is pointing up. With franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford and a sense of familiarity with the general manager, a Patricia-led Lions team could present another challenge for the Bears in their rebuilding efforts with their own first-year head coach.
Patricia, who is in his sixth season as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, can’t officially be hired until after New England’s season comes to an end. The 43-year-old coach would replace Jim Caldwell, who led Detroit to a 9-7 season but was fired when his team failed to make the playoffs.