The Detroit Lions have struggled in 2020 and if those struggles continue, Matt Patricia could quickly find himself out of work.
How quickly? According to a new report from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6 could be the final straw for team ownership as it relates to making a decision on a change for the future. La Canfora reported that the team’s brass was weighing a change if the team was not able to beat the Jaguars to get to 2-3 on the season.
La Canfora wrote:
“Although it has not been expressly conveyed by ownership, several Lions sources believe Week 6 to be a must-win in order to stave off a coaching change. At 1-3 the Lions are already three games behind the Bears and Packers in the division and have already lost to both teams in dramatic fashion (the Packers blew them out and the Bears scored 21 points in the fourth-quarter with soon-to-be-backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky to pull off the shocking comeback).
“This feels like do or die,” one Lions source said.”
In addition to this potential deadline, La Canfora reveals in the piece that the Lions had already considered sweeping changes in 2019, but the ownership transition allowed Patricia and Bob Quinn to hold onto their jobs so Sheila Ford Hamp could evaluate them herself in 2020. In spite of that, La Canfora revealed that internal talks in recent weeks have centered around how to proceed in an interim basis should Patricia be let go, and the duo knew they were firmly under pressure to perform this coming season.
With all of this in mind, Patricia’s leash appears to be very short in the weeks ahead. Even if the Lions beat the hapless Jaguars, it might not be enough to save his job if the team suffers some losses later on down the road. Patricia, as La Canfora hints, could be “running out of time” on the sidelines.
Matt Patricia’s Hot Seat
The Lions coach is feeling the heat in 2020 in a very big way in the court of public opinion and it’s due to his inability to win games consistently and not blow leads. As a whole, Patricia is 10-25-1 as a coach with the team going into Week 6. That’s a pretty futile mark of trouble for the team which he had promised to turn around into a major contender. Patricia has struggled to find any shred of consistency in his time with the team, and the Lions have suffered as a result.
This season, if Patricia’s team falls apart further, the Lions could choose to move on should they be dissatisfied with where the team finishes. It seemed not wise to expect a change before that time whatsoever, considering the franchise has rarely elected to make dramatic in-season shakeups. Interestingly, though, this La Canfora report could change the thought of that, with Patricia perhaps being more at risk in-season than many have felt.
How Would Matt Patricia Get Fired?
The Lions schedule down the stretch gets pretty soft statistically in terms of their opposition. With the players still on the roster, there should be an expectation that the Lions make a run at the postseason even though they have started 2020 off well below .500. If the Lions continue to struggle, it seemed likely that they elect to move on after the 2020 season. That timeline, however, could be accelerated a bit now.
Should Patricia fail to make any type of run with the schedule he has coming up, it will be possible if not likely that the team elects to move on at some point. It’s been stated this is a playoff or bust type season, so the biggest question might involve what happens to general manager Bob Quinn.
This new report sheds some major light on what the Lions could be thinking during a tough start to a season, and a change could be coming sooner rather than later.