Analyst Explains Why Matt Patricia Deserves Another Year

Matt Patricia

Getty Matt Patricia coaches on Thanksgiving.

The Detroit Lions have had one of the more disappointing seasons in the NFL, and that could lead them to some tough decisions in the weeks ahead, but one analyst isn’t sure that is the best decision.

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, there is a general sense that the future of Detroit’s duo of Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn is up in the air considering few people know what ownership is thinking. That doesn’t mean that Breer thinks the duo should be replaced at the end of the season.

In a recent piece, Breer looked at each team individually for what they’ve done this season, and when it came to the Lions, he admitted that he is intrigued enough by what the team accomplished when healthy that the duo should get another season to prove their worth.

Here’s what he wrote:

“I’d like to see the current Lions brass get another year in 2020 so we can see what it looks like with a healthier Matthew Stafford at quarterback. It’s hard to say whether or not that will wind up happening, because controlling owner Martha Ford doesn’t have a real track record yet on handling these decisions. But I think before Stafford’s injury there were signs that Matt Patricia’s program was turning the corner, which is easy to forget now.”

When it comes to where the Lions were at, Breer admits that it’s unclear what the Lions will choose to do at the end of the season mostly given ownership. As he said:

“Both Detroit and Carolina are in the tough-to-predict category because of the lack of track record from the controlling owner.”

Martha Ford last cleaned house in 2015, and then allowed Quinn to fire Jim Caldwell following the 2017 season. There’s more of a track record of patience with the family rather than not, so it’s more than possible this scenario Breer lays out will happen, even as others contend ownership could be considering a potential shakeup.

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 is 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.

That might not be the case when all is said and done, however, if Martha Ford has her way. At this point, however, nobody knows what the decision makers are thinking, even as they believe Patricia and company could earn another shot.

READ NEXT: Former Lions Linebacker Slams Matt Patricia

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