The Detroit Lions haven’t interviewed a candidate for their head coach vacancy in nearly a week. They’re clearly waiting.
They could be waiting because their chosen candidate may be one of the few still left in the playoffs. No team can officially (or, by the book, unofficially) come to an agreement with a coach still in the postseason.
This week, the Patricia-to-Giants rumors ran wild, immediately shooting him to the top of their candidate list. And one point in the week, it seemed like it was nearly a done deal for the Giants. However, it has since come to light that New York isn’t in the final stages of confirming any head coach. But one thing is still very clear from every report we’ve seen this week: The Giants are interested in Matt Patricia.
In fact, the latest reports out of New York suggest that the Giants have whittled their candidates down to three: Patricia, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Via the New York Post:
The next head coach of the Giants will be Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia or Pat Shurmur, with no surprise candidate looming, and at this point all three are very much in the mix.
And this story is corroborated by Tom Rock of Newsday:
The Giants want to give a second interview to their top candidate.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) January 11, 2018
There is no second interview currently scheduled.
Ipso facto, we are down to three candidates. Three who will be very busy this weekend.
Rock, of course, is alluding to the fact that the Giants’ three remaining candidates—Patricia, Shurmur and McDaniels—are all still in the playoff race and therefore cannot be interviewed again until they are out of the race or during the week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
For Shurmur, there is legitimate interest between both the Giants and Lions, but don’t forget about the Cardinals. In fact, according to some reports, Shurmur is the front-runner for the Cardinals job at this point.
McDaniels also has another suitor: the Indianapolis Colts, who have been eerily quiet during their coaching search. Some believe the Colts struck out on Matt Nagy, who joined the Chicago Bears this week, so they may looking for the next best offensive mind—although they’ve interviewed a fair share of defensive-minded coaches, as well.
So that leads us back to Lions vs. Giants for Patricia, and the ball seems to be in New York’s court. Reports that Patricia prefers the Giants job—while not confirmed to be true—certainly seem to fit reality. The Lions are in a holding pattern, suggesting that Patricia is their guy (otherwise they may have already made a move on someone like Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel). Patricia hasn’t agreed to a backdoor deal with the Lions (that’s technically not allowed, but, at the same time, happens all of the time), suggesting—as several reports have claimed—that Patricia is waiting on the Giants.
So we could be in for a long wait. The Vikings and Patriots are both favorites to win their respective playoff games this weekend, meaning Shurmur, McDaniels and Patricia will likely be unavailable for at least another week. Will both teams continue to wait it out, or will one give up and go with a potentially less-preferred option? There is motivation to get this done as quickly as possible, not only to setting any other coordinator or positional coach vacancies, but to have a staff in place for events like the East-West Shrine Game (Jan. 20) or the Senior Bowl (Jan 27).