Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia is Bob Quinn’s biggest risk yet

Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

When Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn chose to hire Matt Patricia as head coach, it tied their two futures in the Motor City together.

It seems like very often, when a new general manager is hired by a NFL franchise, it can also include the hiring of a new head coach. It’s a pretty simply concept. If your employment as a GM is going to be directly tied to the success of a head coach, you want it to be someone you trust. Someone you know is really good.

For Bob Quinn, when he was hired as the general manager of the Detroit Lions after a 15-year stint with the New England Patroits, he inherited Jim Caldwell as his head coach.

Caldwell had just ended his second year in Detroit. After initially posting an impressive 11-4 season with the Lions, the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback coach/offensive coordinator was coming off a disappointing 7-9 record when Quinn was hired.

Quinn and Caldwell combined to give Detroit two back-to-back 9-7 seasons with a playoff berth in 2016. But, due in part to their inability to win in the postseason, the Lions opted to move on from their head coach earlier this year. That opened the door for Quinn to hire “his guy”.

That “guy” being Patroits’ longtime defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Coming off yet another Super Bowl appearance, Patricia was one of the hottest coaching prospects in the entire NFL this offseason. And it was seen as a real coup that Detroit was able to land such a high-profile coach to helm their franchise.

But as exciting as it is to have Patricia in the Motor City, the expectations for both Quinn and his new head coach are higher than ever. And that means the Lions must get over the playoff hump during their watch.

"“As yet another NFL decision-maker with a Patriots background, Quinn has a good sense of how to construct the Lions. But Detroit has not yet become more than a mildly above-average team, as familiar problems with the running game and defense persist,” wrote Vinnie Iyer for The Sporting News. “In Year 3 and now with Matt Patricia as his coach, Quinn’s positive personnel vibes need to start turning into bigger results.”"

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Of all the choices Bob Quinn has made during his time with the Detroit Lions as general manager, no one decision represents more risk than the hiring of Matt Patricia as head coach. Their fates in the Motor City are now intertwined. If the Lions win, they’ll both be hailed as legends in Detroit forever. If they the team loses, they’ll likely both pay the price.