Lions fired Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn one year ago Sunday

Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

A year after the firings of Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, the Detroit Lions can at least offer some glimmers of hope without the heavy angst.

Upon arriving as Lions’ head coach, as the latest Bill Belichick disciple to leave the New England tree, Matt Patricia tried to bring the “Patriot Way” to Detroit. A 13-29-1 record over less than three seasons later, and after a bad loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day, Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn were fired together on Nov. 28, 2020.

After the season the Lions brought in Los Angeles Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes to be their new general manager, and Dan Campbell was hired as the new head coach. The trade of quarterback Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and draft picks was the tentpole move of their first offseason, as a rebuild was made official.

The Lions of course lost again on Thanksgiving Day this year, as coaching errors in the final minutes took center stage. At 0-10-1 now, just getting a win before this season’s out would be nice.

Lions at least have hope with Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn gone

Quinn of course arrived in Detroit first, in 2016, from the Patriots’ organization. Then he got to pick his head coach, firing Jim Caldwell after back-to-back 9-7 seasons (with at least nine wins in three of four seasons) and hiring Patricia in 2018.

Quite simply, the Lions needed to win more games for Patricia’s coaching methods to have worked. But from his token accessory pencil over his ear, to looking like he raided his laundry hamper for that day’s outfit more often than not, to trying to advance himself as the smartest person in the room all the time, he couldn’t get it done. It’s not necessarily that the Lions couldn’t have benefitted from a different approach, it’s just that Patricia did it all wrong.

Campbell has made some mistakes in his first season as a full-time head coach, and hindsight will tell the story on the decisions Holmes has made and will make. But the Lions needed to cleanse themselves of Patricia as well as the guy who hired him, and the NFL’s worst record this season is (or will be, if it finishes that way) a small price to pay. The flickers of hope this season has and will provide at least come without as much angst for (and unabashed dislike of) the people leading the front office and coaching staff.

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