The Detroit Lions didn’t make the move to fire Matt Patricia, and for weeks, many folks have been wondering why that is the case.
Monday, Lions general manager Bob Quinn spoke at his annual end of the season press conference and shed some light on that fact. Quinn himself was allowed to come back for 2020, something he admitted he was grateful for. When it came to Patricia, the powers that be simply couldn’t convince themselves to make the move so fast.
According to Quinn, the decision amongst all the parties was it simply would not make sense to start over once again with a brand new coach and uproot the culture of what Patricia is trying to build.
Many Lions fans will likely disagree with that sentiment, but it is the truth as Quinn and the leadership sees it. The team simply did not want to commit to another full rebuild after they just started one in 2018. The quickest way to ensure another rebuild is to fire the head coach.
It’s a definite gamble, but it is one which will have to pay off for the duo in 2020.
Bob Quinn’s Lions Tenure
Quinn came to Detroit after Martha Ford stunningly blew out Detroit’s front office following a debacle in the 2015 season. Quinn entered from New England and elected to observe Caldwell for two full seasons before making a move. Though Caldwell would finish with a winning record, Quinn eventually sacked him at the end of the season in 2017.
All the while, Quinn has been the one crafting the roster, and there have been some major hits as well as some obvious misses for the general manager. In 2016, Quinn’s first draft involved the selection of Taylor Decker along the offensive front. Decker has been solid, but far from elite. The 2016 draft also saw the Lions pick up Graham Glasgow who’s been a starter, as well as a solid piece.
From there, Quinn has managed to find a few difference makers every draft season. 2017 brought Jarrad Davis, who has been alright as well as Kenny Golladay, who has arguably been Quinn’s best pick. In subsequent drafts, players like Glasgow, Jamal Agnew, Frank Ragnow, Da’Shawn Hand, Tracy Walker, Kerryon Johnson and Tyrell Crosby have been solid contributors and shown glimpses.
In free agency, Quinn’s work has been more hit or miss. He has picked up names like Marvin Jones, Justin Coleman, Trey Flowers and Devon Kennard but has surprised by adding names like Jesse James, Christian Jones and Rashaan Melvin, all of whom have struggled to fit in. Quinn has also made some failed signings at running back.
As a whole, it’s perhaps a bit more on Quinn that Detroit has struggled so badly this season. His roster has not had the advantage of key depth that so many teams in the NFL feature.
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, which is now truth.
Now, the duo has to make the right decisions to get their program on the right track.