NFL Insider Explains Why Lions Kept Matt Patricia for 2020

Matt Patricia

Getty Matt Patricia shakes hands with Jason Garrett.

The Detroit Lions made a move that many would classify as unpopular when they brought back Matt Patricia as well as general manager Bob Quinn, but there could be a method to the team’s madness.

When Lions brass explained their decision to keep the duo in place for 2020, a major reason was seen as continuity, and how things looked before the 2019 season spiraled out of control with injuries and other issues.

As ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported, folks around the league in other front offices and other coaching rooms were extremely complementary of what the Lions were building prior to the bottom falling out this season, and they think the Lions could be on the verge of having a solid team given the changes they’ve made in the last few years.

With this in mind, it makes sense that the Lions would be apprehensive to pull the plug on Patricia after his second season. It’s true the group was doing some very good things prior to the implosion this season, and it’s possible the group is banking on a major resurgence for 2020. Obviously, that will have to be the case or jobs will be on the line.

Will the gamble pay off? That’s yet to be seen, but at the very least, it doesn’t seem as if the Lions are flying by the seat of their pants with this decision.

Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn Returning to Lions

Lions ownership made the decision on Tuesday and revealed it for reporters, and Martha Ford and company explained that Patricia and Quinn would be returning, with an expectation that the team would be contending for the playoffs in 2020.

According to a piece by Kyle Meinke of, the Ford family believes they have made the right move by working to retain the duo, even as things have spiraled out of control in 2019. Here’s a look at what was written:

“In short, they understand the calls for heads to roll. They go to the games too, and they see the losses stacking up. They’re frustrated like everybody else. But they believe there are mitigating factors, most notably the injuries, and that wholesale changes would disrupt the progress already made. So they are sticking with the process, opting for more minor changes to staffing and the roster instead.

“(Firing Patricia) would have been the popular choice, the popular decision, and we knew that,” Sheila Ford Hamp said. “But as I say, we’re doing what is right for the organization.”

Is it the right decision for a Lions team that has been close in 2019 but hasn’t gotten over the hump to retain the duo? Only time will tell, but many from the outside believe it to be the case.

Matt Patricia’s Lions Tenure

Patricia came to the Lions fresh off success in New England in 2018, and struggled out of the gate to capture the attention of the locker room. A bumpy start paved the way to a more solid finish in 2018 with the team only winning six games, but defeating squads like the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers, which offered hope.

Patricia has helped the Lions stay in games for the most part in 2019, something which the team struggled with in 2018, but has not gotten them over the hump at closing. That’s perhaps his biggest wart so far as a boss, combined with a lousy defense that has not picked up the program whatsoever. Patricia might get more of a pass considering the absurd amount of injuries he’s dealt with, but it’s hard to ignore that in his tenure as coach, the Lions have had the same discipline problems plague them that always have through the years.

The bet was that both Patricia and Quinn get a mulligan on 2019 considering the rash of injuries that have set the team back, while also living with the understanding that 2020 is likely the make or break year for this group.

It might not be what Lions fans wanted to hear, but it always seemed like the likely outcome. At the very least, there is some positive league reaction to the news.

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