The Detroit Lions are trying to end the stigma of losing attached to their name. They haven't won a pro championship since 1957, have only won one playoff game since that year, and haven't won a playoff game since the early 1990's. So it makes sense that general manager Bob Quinn would want to fire Jim Caldwell after not getting enough out of his team this season, despite a 9-7 record.
One of their targets, and the guy who's expected to get the job according to Adam Schefter, is New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Patricia received a degree in aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was a four-letter lineman from 1992 to 1995. He's been Bill Belichick's right hand man for most of New England's NFL dominance, with his positions ranging from offensive assistant to safeties coach to his current incarnation as the defensive coordinator.
There is a large question looming over Patricia's (and Detroit's) head concerning his potential head coach position: Is Patricia the right guy for the job? There's a laundry list of New England assistants whose head coaching careers didn't pan out in the pros. Some names on the list include Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, and Josh McDaniels.
However, many of these assistants failed because they didn't bring the New England system with them. All successful football teams such as Alabama and New England have solid systems in place, leaving the newly anointed head coaches hapless in their job. This has been the case for the likes of Weis and Crennel. However, Quinn is putting the process of bringing the "Patriot Way", a philosophy centered around the operations of football, to the Detroit Lions.
If Matt Patricia is to succeed in Detroit if he goes there, he'll need to bring in his people. To start, he can bring in his defensive coordinator to fill the vacancy left by Teryl Austin, who left for Cincinnati for the same position. Many of the former New England assistants who got head coaching jobs didn't establish much of a system in their organizations, so Patricia must avoid their fate(s).
Fortunately for Patricia, he'll have a franchise quarterback in Matt Stafford. But the rest of the team is either spry or of average talent. Hopefully, Quinn will continue to instill the "Patriots Way" into a franchise with a hapless history. Lions fans are hoping that Patricia isn't just another New England assistant.
Photo courtesy of wbur.org
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