Detroit Lions: 4 dream replacements for Matt Patricia

Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)
Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports) /
2 of 4
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. Lincoln Riley, HC – Oklahoma

It may require the Lions to give up near-complete control of their team in order to pry Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma to come to Detroit. But that doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t do it.

Riley has been able to transform quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts into Heisman-worthy passers, with all three being candidates and two actually winning the award. And in the case of both Mayfield and Murray, helping to make them back-to-back number one overall selections in their respective NFL drafts.

Pairing a quarterback whisperer like Riley with a quarterback like Matthew Stafford in Detroit could finally put the Lions over their playoff hump. The hope would be that the offensive innovator would get the most out of Stafford in his remaining years in Motown (unless the team opts to rebuild).

Since taking over a successful program under former longtime head coach Bob Stoops, Riley has led the Sooners to three-straight 12-2 seasons. And he did so with three different quarterbacks under center.

Just 37-year old, Lincoln Riley is the ideal head coaching candidate if you are searching for the next Sean McVay, the 34-year old head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Perhaps a younger head coach would be able to better relate to his players. And he could potentially be with the franchise for decades, similar to Mike Tomlin’s tenure as the longtime head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.