The Detroit Lions have a decision to make at head coach in the weeks ahead, and a recent development on the league’s coaching carousel should have big implications for the team.
A few weeks back, the Carolina Panthers let veteran boss Ron Rivera walk. Rivera was a winning, stable coach for the Panthers and managed to take the team back to the Super Bowl. He also was a dual coach of the year award winner and a classy guy who managed to get the best of the Panthers up until the bitter end.
For the Lions, the decision on what to do with Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn is a tough one. On one hand, the team has only given Patricia two years as a coach and Quinn four as a general manager and has endured a ton of injuries. On the other, they can’t beat good teams, as evidence of Patricia’s one win against squads with a winning record in two seasons.
Rivera has had no such issues through the years. Even in a lost 2019 season with the Panthers in which he was fired from his job, the coach has two wins against teams with winning records this year alone, beating the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. Compared to Patricia, Rivera has been there and done that in the league as head coach, and could make the Lions a better team with his presence alone.
This offseason, the focus will be on the usual smattering of hot coordinator candidates, but after the Lions have had trouble hiring that way through the years, going back to the established well could be a smart move. A coach like Mike McCarthy might not make much sense, but Rivera has enough upside left that he would.
Given the situation Detroit is in, they must proceed with caution. A hasty coaching change made simply to make one shouldn’t happen, and Detroit should only move forward if they are sure they can better their situation dramatically in order to move the team in a serious direction.
Rivera would arguably give them the absolute best chance to be able to do that for 2020 and beyond. If the Lions can get some assurance he would consider the job, it should be on the table.
Ron Rivera’s Lions Odds
Interestingly enough, Las Vegas is aware of this potential connection as well. The recently fired Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. After Rivera was relieved of his duties last Tuesday, a SportsLine list came out of some new odds as it relates to where Rivera may be coaching in 2020. While the New York Giants were the understandable overwhelming favorites, the Lions also landed on the list, perhaps surprisingly.
Detroit was sixth on the list at a +1000 to land Rivera, and while those odds aren’t that great, they are still ahead of teams like the Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, teams who are also facing similar frustrating seasons.
At this point, it still doesn’t seem as if Patricia will be on the move, but all has been quiet on that front lending some to wonder. An established coach like Rivera is now on the market, and it will be fascinating to see where he lands.
If the Lions are serious about winning, Rivera might be a decent choice even the oddsmakers can get behind.
Ron Rivera’s Fit With Lions
As a coach with the Panthers, Rivera took the team to Super Bowl 50 and is a two time Coach of the Year winner in the NFL. He has a winning 76-63-1 record as a boss in the league, and is known for defense, given he played for the Chicago Bears and won Super Bowl XX while there.
Prior to being a head coach, Rivera was the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, and also the defensive coordinator for the Bears. He’s got a long history with defense, which is the biggest problem with the Lions as it stands today.
In terms of Detroit, if the move was ever made, the team would gain an immediate winner who has been a head coach on the highest level if they were to get into the mix for Rivera’s services. He’s an established mind and someone who could bring an instant credibility to the position much like Darrell Bevell did for the offense. Combining the two in 2020 could be a home run move for the team.
The Lions could be in need of instant credibility given what has gone on in the last few seasons. They’ve watched the young coordinator gamble blow up one more time in their face, and an established coach like Rivera could give them the most to offer.
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