Could Bill O’Brien Coach Lions? Podcast Host Floats Interesting Scenario

Bill O'Brien

Getty Bill O'Brien yelling during a game in Kansas City.

The Detroit Lions have endured a very tumultuous bye week off the field in the wake of their 1-3 record, and everyone is beginning to ponder what happens next to the franchise in the near future.

Local podcast and radio host Matt Dery has a hypothesis on what could happen next that many would find unsettling and it revolves around dispatched coach Bill O’Brien, Matt Patricia, Bob Quinn and the entire Detroit organizational approach moving forward in 2020.

As Dery explained on his Locked On Lions podcast, it might not be much of a coincidence that Dan Orlovsky is taking a flamethrower to Patricia in the media lately while saying little about general manager Bob Quinn. Down the road, the one person who could benefit from all of this is O’Brien, who lost his job with the Houston Texans.

Here’s Dery’s take on the matter:

“Is it faction time in Allen Park? Could it be that Orlovsky is doing some of Quinn’s dirty work, and that Bob is going to distance himself from his coach to save himself? They’re attached at the hip. Nobody knows for how long. Let’s just say Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia, Rod Wood and the Ford family are all talking about what’s going on. Certainly, they’re not happy with the coach who’s 1-3. Bob Quinn presided over a couple successful 9-7 seasons when he had Jim Caldwell. So Bob Quinn I guess on the ladder is higher up than Matt Patrica. But, Bob Quinn deserves just as much blame if not more for the demise of this organization over the last 2 seasons. But if Quinn is already starting to plant the seed to the Fords and Rod (Wood) like ‘hey, I might have messed this up, this coaching hire, give me another chance. I’ve got a guy.’ The last thing the Lions want to do is replace a coordinator with another coordinator. Are they going to hire Eric Bieniemy away from Kansas City, are they going to hire Robert Saleh, the pride of Dearborn? Or, could Quinn in his conversations wth Rod Wood, should they have a discussion and say ‘if we’re going to make a coaching change, we can’t bring in a guy who hasn’t been a head coach.’ Woah woah, there’s somebody available with New England ties, that you know that’s won 4 division championships that had a winning record in Houston. Bill O’Brien. And no, we don’t make O’Brien the general manager, don’t worry. He’s just the head coach. Could this be something that could happen? I think so. Couldn’t you see that happen? I can.”

That type of situation playing out is likely nightmare fuel for weary Lions fans who want to see the entire house cleaned if the team cannot turn things around in 2020. Still, realism says it’s something that might not be out of the realm of possibility if the team elects to stick with Quinn in the front office and Patricia takes the fall for what has happened on the field over the past few seasons.

The important question likely to remain unanswered that could hold the key in determining the likelihood of this scenario is how much pull Quinn has with ownership and those above him. If the answer is plenty and he’s well liked, there is always a situation where Patricia could become the sacrificial lamb even though he is Quinn’s friend. If that plays out, O’Brien could indeed represent a soft landing for the franchise considering his modest success as a boss in the league.

O’Brien may have won some games with the Texans, but his tenure there was marred by discontent within his team, as new reports have surfaced recently regarding blowups with players. O’Brien the general manager was miserable as well, and while his record as coach is an average 52-48, he had a blowup in the 2020 postseason that would make even the inconsistent Lions blush, choking away a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs.

Nothing final has been written on the 2020 Lions season yet, and of course there is a chance the team could turn things around and render such scenarios moot. If their history holds, though, this is something to file away for the last weeks in December and early January.

Bob Quinn Could be ‘In Trouble’ With Lions

Bob Quinn certainly isn’t absolved from his role in the disaster that has been the 2020 season, and as a result, he gets his share of the blame as well for what’s happened on the field. As a result of this, Quinn could also be in trouble moving forward with the team.

According to writer Kevin Patra, Quinn and Patricia’s failures are putting their tenure in focus, and the general manager could also be in big trouble as it relates to his job security. That’s something that was learned from Week 4.

He wrote:

“It’s getting late already for Matt Patricia. His team has blown double-digit leads for the third time in four weeks this season to fall to 1-3. The former Patriots defensive coordinator leads a D that couldn’t stop a grade-school pillow fight. It didn’t help the coach that his best player, Matthew Stafford, continues his up-and-down play, missing too many throws, taking bad sacks and throwing a terrible interception. The INT summed up Stafford’s day. Falling away in the pocket, Stafford badly underthrew T.J. Hockenson in the end zone for a Patrick Robinson pick. The QB had his TE open if he’d put the ball deeper into the end zone. Stafford completed just 54.8 percent of his passes with the INT and three TDs. Detroit needs the signal-caller to play perfectly to win right now. Sunday, Stafford was off the mark. Heading into the bye week, things aren’t looking good for Patricia and Bob Quinn’s future. In a playoffs-or-bust year, Detroit keeps crapping out after getting up big early.”

Most understand Patricia is in trouble, but several aren’t sure where Quinn could fall in the pecking order of blame. Make no mistake, the duo is tied at the hip given their failures and plan seems to be intertwined together. It’s hard to envision one going without the other, so in the end, Quinn could have to face trouble if the Lions clean house.

Matt Patricia’s Future Murky With Lions

This week, Detroit heads into the bye week with a woeful record. The pressure from the fanbase to make a move will likely be immense, but that doesn’t mean the Lions are going to do so. In fact, probably far from it in the short term at this point in time.

Speaking to WXYZ’s Brad Galli after the 35-29 loss, Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Birkett was asked directly about Patricia’s future. As he said, while there might not be a short term danger to Patricia, there is certainly a long term danger.

Birkett said:

“I do think he should have concern for the long term future. I don’t think the Lions will make a move right now. I don’t know there’s much point to making a move after 4 games. 1-3, the Lions still have a shot, especially when you look at what’s ahead. I think the 7 teams before Thanksgiving, one of them has a winning record. We’re 36 games into Matt Patricia’s tenure as head coach. He inherited a 9 win team. When you look at what this team has done under Matt Patricia, there’s very little reason to believe that Matt Patricia is going to get a 4th season as head coach.”

Waiting until the end of the season might be painful for Lions fans, but it seems like the most likely scenario at this point for the team. Patricia had better hope he can make a run, or it could be curtains for the coach in Detroit.

If that happens, all bets are off regarding who takes over.

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