A history of Lions head coaching difficulties
Have you ever wondered why everybody the Lions hire as their head coach can’t seem to coach their side of the ball? Think about it, it seems like every Lions head coach fails at their specialty. If the Lions hire an offensive-minded head coach, the offense has typically struggled. The same goes for defensive-minded head coaches.
Jim Caldwell was an offensive coach, but the Lions’ offenses weren’t any better than average under him. Both Jim Schwartz and Rod Marinelli were defensive coaches, but neither of them were able to build any really menacing defenses. What about Dick Jauron, Steve Mariucci, Marty Mornhinweg or even Gary Moeller or Bobby Ross?
If we want to honest about it, the last Lions head coach that had any real success with his inherent side of the ball was Wayne Fontes.
Fontes was a defensive-minded coach that was a defensive assistant coach and later the defensive coordinator for some pretty good Tampa Bay Buccaneer defenses in the late 1970s and early ’80s. He was then hired as the Lions defensive coordinator in 1985 by new head coach Darryl Rogers, an offensive coach who was only able to make the Lions offensive in the worst sense of the word.
Fontes defenses were mostly solid bend, but don’t break units that never dominated, but usually at least gave a workmanlike performance.
Now as we come back to the present day, consider how the defense has played in Matt Patricia’s less than two years. It started slowly last season then picked up pace tremendously and finished the year as the number 10 overall defense in the whole NFL.
Was there anyone who saw this kind of a slide back coming after an infusion of more talent in the offseason as well as more Patricia men in the locker room to help keep everyone rowing in the Matt Patricia direction?
That fact that Matt Patricia has probably forgotten more about playing defense in the NFL than most people know isn’t the end of the world until you consider the Lions are now playing like it.