The Detroit Lions have a coach who needs to win in a big way during the 2020 season in Matt Patricia. That is true, even if the optimism in Patricia doing so isn’t exactly sky high.
Typically during the offseason, folks took a look at ranking every NFL coach. This year, Rotoworld writer Patrick Daugherty has done that, and Patricia continues to occupy a low place amongst the bosses around the league. This year, Patricia placed 26th on the list. He’s ahead of the newly hired coaches in the league and Doug Marrone, but nobody else.
Here’s what Daugherty wrote about why:
“Although I do not believe Matt Patricia is a good coach, it seems harsh to call him one of the worst. But what else can you call 9-22-1? Patricia was hired to be the Lions’ Bill Belichick. In two years, he has barely matched Belichick’s win total from his worst season with Tom Brady. Matthew Stafford’s back injury loomed large over the Lions’ 1-11 finish in 2019, but it was Patricia’s defense that was most out of order. It surrendered 63 more points than the year prior, while Patricia chased off Quandre Diggs and alienated Darius Slay. Although the wins have not stacked up, reports that Patricia’s players don’t like him have. If you’re neither a winning coach nor a player’s coach, then what are you exactly? Patricia has a few things to cling to. After a disastrous 2018 offensive approach, Patricia course corrected with a more modern, explosive aerial attack in 2019. The coach can’t be blamed for Stafford’s injury. Meanwhile, even after Stafford went down, five of the Lions’ eight losses without their quarterback were by one score. The Lions’ bad luck was real. 2020 will be the final word on whether Patricia has any good luck to make.”
Obviously, Patricia hasn’t impressed much early in his Lions career for the reasons detailed above, but the team has done a nice job to build things up this offseason and give Patricia some pieces to work with. The hope is these players will help the Lions turn the corner and help Patricia look better as a coach.
Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn Return to Lions
Lions ownership made the decision a few months ago 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 MLive.com, 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, even if many still aren’t sold on Patricia’s abilities as a boss in the league.
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. Patricia has a lot to prove in 2020, and only if he is able to prove those things will he climb higher on lists like this.